Category Archives: Tips Tools Techniques

Getting organised!

When DS-in-L asked for a particular thread by number, it was ‘Oh Dear – where is it?’ Most of my threads are ‘organised’, but these ones looked like this.

01 getting organised

‘Isacord’ quilting threads collected over a few years, a jumbled mess in a big box!

Threads don’t like being jumbled, they develop a life of their own, unravelling and tangling together. So the ‘put-off’ task became ‘get it done now’.  Time to go a-hunting for a storage solution. Took a couple of reels with me for measuring against boxes all over the suburb. At last, when in despair on the way home – the last stop was where I should have gone in the first place – a fabulous local $2 shop with exactly what I needed!

 

Next step was to sit and untangle threads and sort them into their colours according to the colour card. Yes, that’s blu-tac on most of the bobbins, I’ve never had a problem with it and it’s a lot cheaper, easier, and less fiddly than bobbin holders.

02 getting organised

Threads sorted – like marching soldiers!

Into their new home – photocopy on the lid, compartments numbered to match the colour card, and all’s well – except I need another box, so if you happen to see one on your shopping travels – let me know!

04 getting organised

Now I can’t say ‘I can’t find it!”

 

RobynsPatch

 

Quilting ruler patterns!

So now it’s time to quilt Alyce’s baby quilt. I’ve decided to use machine quilting ruler-work. Using rulers by hobbyists is a quickly developing area, many professionals like Leah Day and Angela Waters are producing rulers for domestic machines. Leonie and Bill from ‘Westalee’ have been doing this for a few years, so my collection of theirs and others is growing.

So, for this quilt, I’ve decided that each block will have its own pattern, instead of an allover pattern. I prefer to work on an already pieced quilt, rather than the other way around of quilting a pattern and making it into a quilt.

So where does ruler work fit in amongst domestic machine quilting techniques? At one end of the range is walking foot quilting, and at the other end of the range is free motion quilting. Ruler work sits in the middle. It has the look of free motion, yet has the stability of controlled quilting.

What’s my process? In the beginning, it’s paper and pencil planning, then as that becomes embedded it’s to seek out patterns amongst the squillion on the Internet, and interpret them into ruler work. Of course following specialist quilting bloggers is a sure way to fast track learning!

The first step is to draft up the block, Layer a piece of tracing paper over the top, if one ‘pattern’ works, but doesn’t quite suit the quilt – don’t rub out the drawing, keep it for another quilt. This builds up not only a pattern library, but it also trains the brain into seeing other possibilities. So use another piece of tracing paper. (There are great classes using this technique on the Internet.)

Draft 01

Get out the rulers, a pencil and a tracing circle – the most expensive gadget in the toolbox! Look at the block and work out how much quilting is needed. Would lines or curves be best to enhance the block as compared to an all over pattern? Match the idea up with a ruler and start to draw. Drawing helps plan the actual quilting on the machine – where to start and finish; which direction to go in first; how the quilt will sit or fit under the machine.

Draft 02

The results are patterns that enhance the quilt. Arrows show direction, —— show stitching in the ditch (previously ditch-stitched).

Draft 04

Draft 03

So let the quilting begin!

Ruler 01

Two days later it’s all quilted – nothing like an imminent birth for a deadline!

Finished Quilt

Hope you like the choices for this quilt – I’m sure the new mum and baby boy loves it!

RobynsPatch

Baste Away, Baste Away, Baste Away …

After having explored and had a go any the many ways a quilt can be basted, I seem to stick to my ‘go to’ favourite method – spray basting using ‘505’. It is quick, doesn’t add weight to the quilt, lays flat without wrinkles, stays basted for years, and doesn’t gum up the machine sewing needle. I do need a flat open space to prepare the quilt – a tad difficult in the never-ending house renovation cycle!

Basting back

Taping the backing down and stretching it tight to eliminate as many wrinkles as possible.

Basting wadding

Layering the wadding and the top over the backing, smoothing it out as it’s done. Then folding it back twice to half way – makes it easier to manage when starting the spray.

Basting top

Once the wadding is basted down, the process is repeated for the top. This time it’s necessary to check that none of the seams have shifted as it’s rolled back and smoothed down.

Basting done

Letting the basted quilt ‘rest’ to dry a bit – doesn’t take long – before ripping off the painter’s tape, a very satisfying feeling because that means it’s time to quilt!

And yes, it’s ‘fussy cut’ for horizontal layout of all those fabrics! The border fabric was a disappointment because it looked straight on the bolt but when it came to cutting it up into patches, the print was definitely not straight! Came out okay around the feature fabric (elephants), but in the longer border pieces it’s wonky – but I don’t think the baby will mind!

Cheers

Robyn

How to make a ‘Modern Hexie’ the easy way

‘Modern Hexies’ are easy to make. All you need is

  • a piece of fabric larger than the hexagon – great for stash busting!
  • a paper hexagon
  • water spray bottle
  • iron

I used a Charm Square (5 inch), and a 2 inch hexagon.

  • Spray the back of the hexagon with water – starch is not necessary!
  • Centre the paper hexagon on the fabric. Using a hot dry iron, flip over each edge in turn and press for a few seconds.
  • Once the whole hexagon has been pressed, flip it over and press from the front.
  • Flip to the back, remove the paper, and give it a final press to make sure it is dry.

Have a look at my Flipagram ‘Making Hexies’

RobynsPatch