Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Sewing Day Here
We've had snow on the ground for about 2 weeks .....brrrr....baby it's cold here! I think all of you are experiencing the same weather....except for you lucky gals in the southern hemisphere. (Barb and I are dying to visit you.....I bet we could still catch a flight. We we won't stay too long.....just about a month. And we are good help in the kitchen!!! We would promise just about anything to get a bit of sunshine and warmth.) We are expecting about 4-6" more of snow today. Dave and I haven't shoveled the drive from the last 10" of snow. We are the kind that just keep driving over the snow in the driveway, hoping to mash it into shape with the car tires. Might have to get someone to plow us out of here.
Great time to stay home and applique. Which is exactly what I'm doing. Barb has come up with a great quilt design for our next book with the Kansas City Star. I'm doing the invisible machine applique method I blogged about in May of 2009. (Click on the date to find the post.) I had to find just the right thread for this fabric...a very light limey green. While this piece is on the machine I thought I would go over a few details about this technique.
I use an open toe presser foot. It opens my field of vision. I need to see my exact needle placement. I have an older Bernina sewing machine. I purchased it in 1988. When I went to the store I told the saleswoman, "I want a machine that just sews a seam...not a lot of fancy stitches."
As it turns out, I did need a couple of fancy stitches....and this hem stitch is one of the ones I use the most. It takes 3 straight stitches and then a small zigzag stitch. The 3 straight stitches are made adjacent to the stem I'm appliquing. Then the small zigzag stitch goes over into the stem and appliques it to the background. Take a look at the left side of the stem and you will see some of the applique stitches.
There are 4 adjustments I make to my machine. The first is to increase the tension on the thread coming up from the bobbin. On the Bernina there is a small hole in the bobbin holder. I run my bobbin thread through the hole as shown below.
This keeps the bobbin thread from showing on the surface. I use a taupe colored thread in the bobbin without fear of it showing on the top. (less changing threads) If you don't have this feature or can't tighten the tension of the bobbin thread, you will have to use the same colored thread in the bobbin as you are using for the applique.
All my fancy stitches are shown above. I change my stitch to the blind hem...or #2. If you don't have this one on your machine, practice with some of the stitches and see if you have one that might give the same look. I've even done a small jigzag stitch that works well too.
I adjust my stitch length. Small tight stitches are needed. If your straight stitches are too far apart the applique stitches will be too far apart.
My zigzag stitch is adjusted to a small bite. A big or wide zigzag stitch would result in your applique stitch not being invisible. Which isn't bad....just not the look we are going for here. The wider white line indicates the length of my zigzag stitch....not the silver handle.
The photo above shows the needle going in for the small zigzag stitch. Just enough to catch the fabric....but not enough to show on the stem.
I can applique one block a day. Fast results to say the least! Not relaxing like hand applique...but fun to see a quilt come together so quickly.
Four blocks done....5 to go!
Take a visit to Amanda's blog and see her "Home Sweet Home" quilt. This one was made with real love!
Shawna Wilde, Utah writes...."I love the quilt and wanted to thank you for the wonderful pattern! By the way, I am teaching a quilting group of 13 ladies, and we are all making "Home Sweet Home" in 1020. When we are finished, I'll forward photographs of all of our quilts. It has to be fun as a designer to see quilts made up from your patterns!" Again, thanks.
Shawna's quilt is pictured below. Looks like she won a ribbon too! Congratulations Shawna.
Hope you are keeping warm and toasty today. Great day to make a quilt....or at least stay under one!