With the long weekend, I thought I’d take advantage of the opportunity to get some quilts done; posting about Lynn Harris on Friday reminded me that I have my own Aurifil mini quilt to design, and not a lot of time left to get it finished!
If you’re working on Carousel with me, or any other UFO, I’ve got more info for you below, but first I want to chat a little bit about what I’ve been up to.
You know I’m on a vintage machine kick. A while back, I purchased a so-so Singer 66 in a beautiful 7-drawer treadle cabinet, and a few weeks later, saw an ad for a Memphis-decal Singer 27 in a not-so-beautiful cabinet. When I went to pick up the 27, it was really grungy, but I didn’t care. The Memphis is the one I’ve really wanted to have, and when you find a vintage machine you want, you buy it, as you don’t know if it will ever come to you again.
As with all my vintage machines, I take them over to Grant at Sew Restored to see what he can do with them. The transformation was amazing; when I first got the machine, I couldn’t even tell if the decals were in good shape, but after cleaning, you can see that the decals are pretty much intact and the chrome looks like new:
If you want to see more photos of this amazing restoration, pop over to the Sew Restored photo album on Facebook.
Now that the 27 is back, I decided to kick the so-so 66 out of her cabinet and install the 27 (which I named Nefertiti) instead.
I gave the cabinet a good oiling to bring out the natural beauty, and I was so excited I forgot to wait until after I installed the belt to snap the photograph. This beauty is in perfect working order now and I’m eager to choose a project to work on her with.
I probably shouldn’t be so excited about starting up new piecing projects, since my quilting closet is bursting with quilts that need to be longarmed. There are a couple of customer quilts in there (yikes) but the majority of them are my own projects that I prepped backings and bindings for last month when I got back into the studio.
I got cracking on my Aurifil Designer Mini quilt instead of longarming, using this super-cute fat quarter bundle of Rumble by Windham Fabrics that I was given at Market. Windham is a new fabric company that I’ll be working with this year, and I’m really excited to design with some of their upcoming lines.
This little cutie is one of the blocks in my mini: it finishes at 5″ square, and is simpler to make than it probably looks. The rest of the quilt has that same feel… looks complicated, but it is simple when you break it down into steps. You’ll see that one in mid-July.
I had a really scary moment when I thought I ruined the quilt on several occasions, but now that it’s finally at the binding stage, I feel much better about it. If I’d been really smart, I’d have been piecing some of Carousel in between making blocks, but I was kind of in a groove and forgot about Carousel until this morning. That’s why this post is a little bit late!
Well I can’t do anything with such a mess of things on my cutting table, so if you’re in the same boat, take a few minutes to clean up your work area so you can get into a UFO-busting mood. After I cleaned off my table, I felt much better.
Carousel Fat Quarter Bustin’ Quilt Along
Today, I think I’ll work on some of the 2-patch units that are used in the blocks. If you did your cutting over the last couple of weeks, you’ll either have a huge stack of strips or a huge stack of squares to work with. Because this UFO was in progress, I had a couple of 2-patch units already done.
Before you start stitching yours though, when’s the last time you gave your machine a little cleaning and treated it to a fresh needle?
For piecing, I always use Schmetz 75/11 Quilting needles. I buy them in boxes of 100 at a time so that I treat them like the consumables they really are, instead of as treasured gold that I have to hang onto for dear life. How many of you are still on your original pack of needles that came with your machine? 🙂 Get more needles, y’all. (And I piece with 50wt Aurifil Cotton Mako thread. It’s amazeballs.)
Setting up for the two patch piecing, I lay my prints face down and my neutral face up (it’s a solid, haha) so that I can pair them easily for sewing. If I leave this stack next to my machine while I’m piecing other projects, it will remind me to grab a couple and stitch them in between.
These days I’m stitching on a B780, and I have to confess something to you. I recently acquired the 97D foot, which I waited 6 months to get, and hadn’t put it on the machine until this weekend. I honestly thought, what could be the big deal about this foot, and really – what’s with the guide on the plate, I hate that, because I can’t use pins and it just looks like more trouble than it’s worth and I’ll just stick with my 57D foot.
But you don’t wait 6 months to get something and then never use it, and OMG. I am a convert, completely. I didn’t think the foot could make such a dramatic difference in my piecing life, but it has, and if you have a Bernina, put in your order for a 97/97D foot. Seriously.
I also solved the pin dilemma by applying a trick I use for pinning on my serger: just flip the pins around.
Anyway! Back to the piecing. So, honestly I’d finish piecing more of these strips before I started cutting and pressing, but you get the point. Sew strips together, then cut them, then press them.
Yes, you read that right, cut them, then press them.
I cut them first because when working with long strips cut on the crosswise grain, it’s really challenging to press them and keep the seam straight. So I’d end up with a bunch of strips with wavy edges and a wavy center, because the seam was too long to press.
Here, I’m using my June Tailor Shape Cut Ruler (affiliate link), but if I had more strips, I’d lay them across my die cutter and do a ton of these at once. Cut this strip pair every 2-1/2″. They’re pretty easy to cut flat like this too!
Line them up on the ironing board, and press them for a couple of seconds to set the seam. (Setting the seam this way nestles the thread into the fabric and makes it easier to press the seam.) Then you can start pressing them open. Here, I’m pressing my seams toward the print, which works out pretty well for this quilt. Work your way down the line!
Here they are, all in a row, and the seams are nice and straight and even.
Now just keep going with that until you have a whole bunch of them made, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks to make more progress! I’ve got about 400 more of these puppies to make.
Carousel Quilt AlongBelow are links to all the posts for the Carousel UFO Quilt Along - so you can catch up on anything you've missed!
|Post Date||Post Name||Post Contents|
|April 22nd, 2015||Let’s Quilt Wednesday: Selecting Five UFOs and Deciding Their Fate||Announcing the Carousel Quilt Along|
|April 26th, 2015||Summary Sunday: Carousel Quilt Along and UFO Progress||Fabric requirements for the quilt, in five sizes|
|May 10th, 2015||Summary Sunday: A Bustle in the Studio, the Carousel Quilt Along||Cutting instructions, tutorials for strip piecing and making HSTs|
|May 24th, 2015||Summary Sunday: Working on Quilts, Carousel Continues||Making the two patch units|
|June 7th, 2015||Carousel Quilt Along – I Am Stuck, But You Should Keep Going!||Work on your HSTs|
|June 21st, 2015||Summary Sunday: Handi Quilter Retreat and Carousel Quilt Along||Making the pinwheel block|