Christmas Top!

I pieced together this quilt top over the weekend:

I used the jelly roll race technique and probably pieced it together in under 3 hours total. It would have gone a lot faster but I’m bad at following directions and had to rip out a lot of sewing because I sewed in the wrong direction.

C’est la vie.

I used a Pinwheel of Christmas Cheer by Patrick Lose Fabrics. I’m going to put a border on it, probably in solid red and then bind it with something green. I’d like to get something from this fabric line if possible so I’m going to have to hunt down some yardage…otherwise, I’ll just go with plain colors.

This is destined to be a birthday present for my mom. She tends to be cold anyway and I thought it would be festive for her to use while she’s at dialysis three times a week during the holiday season.

The technique is fast and fun. Next time though, I think I’d iron my joins before starting the full sewing process. I’m hoping most of the wrinkles will iron out!

If you’d like to learn how to do the jelly roll race technique, I used this video tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

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Secret Quilt Post #1

Hello!

I’ve done some work on some quilts since I last posted! The first project is a SECRET. I’m making it for my husband and my goal is to have it done for his birthday or Christmas but we shall see if I can get it done in time…considering the fact that the whole quilt is over 5,000 squares. So I couldn’t get started because I was waiting for fabric to arrive – then I had to work up the courage to start cutting into said fabric. The first block is so big that the designer broke it up into 12 different bits…and it’s going to measure 36″x54″ I have my work cut out for me. Here’s the first corner though:

Any guesses as to what it is?

I’ve asked my husband to stay away from my blog for a while so I can post about it. It should be a miracle if he doesn’t figure it out since I’m sewing it up at our dining room table in our pretty small apartment while he sits 20ft away watching tv or playing video games. OH WELL THOUGH!

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My New Machine – Juki TL-2200-QVP Mini

I ended up getting a new machine in the middle of my first quilt project because poor Harold just wasn’t cutting it. I talked about my research in this post and when I was on vacation I finally bit the bullet and got…

*drumroll*

None of the ones in that post!

I ended up going with a Juki TL-2200 QVP Mini!

Picture shamelessly stolen from the Juki website. Click to visit the website.

So far, I love it! It sews like a dream, has all the features I wanted and the throat space is to die for! And it is a SOLID machine. Pretty heavy and definitely has the feel of a workhorse.

My only complaint so far, and it seems to be most people’s complaints, is that the automatic needle threader is a bit finicky. In fact, mine completely conked out b/c the hook that goes through the needle eye got misaligned but with some gentle coaxing I got it back where it needed to be.

I haven’t taken a class on it yet but I probably will in the next few months to make sure I’m doing everything correctly.

Mostly though, she needs a name and I’m still mulling that over – any suggestions would be appreciated! Right now I’m considering – THE BEAST.

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Finished Object: The Quilt!

I did it! I finished a sewing project and I’m really quite pleased with it! I present: THE QUILT!

Full shot

Up close

The back!

I did some fairly basic quilting by just stitching in the ditch. I then washed and dried it to give it the crinkly look. I did end up buying a new machine and did half the quilting with that and it was a DREAM. I can’t wait to start my next project!

I definitely learned a lot from this project – my main takeaways are to really make sure my seams are as uniform as possible and square up the blocks as I go. There are a few places where it gets wavy and looks a little lopsided, but I love it anyway.

Fabric: No idea, it was a fat quarter bundle I got ages ago. The binding and sashing were (I think) some Kona solids I got from Joann in black. The backing was picked up at Fabric Depot in Portland but I can’t remember who did it…I will take better notes next time!

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Finished Object: Pumpkin Hat

Last week I finished a quick knit for my brand new nephew (he’s so cute I could DIE).

Basically I just used Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s recipe for hats and added an icord stem. It’s not very elaborate but it’s functional.

 

Yarn: Black Trillium Fibre Studio Pebble Worsted in the Phoenix Rising colorway. The green is some Knit Picks superwash…can’t find the label.

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Quilt Top and a Nephew

First the most exciting news! My nephew was born a few days ago and mother and baby are doing fine. He’s so precious and I can’t wait to actually hold him in a few weeks when we’re back up in Canada. All I want to do now is make him teeny little hats and sweaters.

In other news, I’ve finished the quilt top!

I am IN LOVE with the black outlining the squares. I really think it makes the blocks pop. I swung by the store yesterday and picked up some batting and backing for the quilt and hope to get it basted today so I can start the quilting this week. My current plan is to just stitch in the ditch.

It turns out that my little sewing machine actually CAN do free motion quilting. It’s not the smoothest process and I don’t have the right foot for it but I can do it so I probably won’t have to upgrade for a while (which is good since I probably couldn’t save up that much money for over a year anyway). Though I’m considering maybe making project bags to sell through Etsy to try to make a little extra money.

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Research

I’ve been doing a metric shit-ton of sewing lately. My practice quilt is coming along and I’m getting more consistent with my seam allowances and all that jazz. It’s become clear that I definitely need more practice with my cutting but that will come with time as well.

No pictures today – but it’s really coming along. I finished all the 9-patches and laid out them out so I could determine how I want to stitch them together. Also, I decided to go with black sashing so I tested that out and it looks RAD.

However, since I’ve been doing more sewing, I’ve noticed a few issues with my machine (poor Harold). A lot of times, when starting to sew, the thread underneath gets all rat nest-y. It seems if I hold on to the top thread & bobbin thread when I start my stitches that mostly takes care of it but it’s pretty annoying nonetheless. Harold is a great starter machine and can do the entry-level tasks well but as I get closer to the actual quilting part, I know there are going to be issues.

For example: there is very little room in the throat for large projects. I’m excited to quilt my own projects and there likely won’t be room on that side. I’d also like to try free-motion quilting and I just don’t have that option with this machine.

So I’ve been doing some research on upgrading my machine!

Y’all – fancy sewing machines are EXPENSIVE. The ones that have the features I’m looking for are bare minimum, $800. I think. It’s almost impossible to find prices which is super annoying. I get that dealers want to keep it close to the vest so they can do what they need to do but I ALSO NEED TO KNOW WHAT TO BUDGET. It’s definitely going to be a while before I have the money to invest in that. But I thought I would share with you guys some of my finds in case you’re also in the market!

 

Husqvarna Viking Jade 20

Pros:

  • Price – This one just started getting sold at Joann’s along with dealers – in fact Joann’s currently has it on sale for $599.99 with it regularly priced at $799.99
  • Throat Space – Nearly 8″ of space to the right of the needle
  • Speed control – Sometimes I feel like I go too fast when I’m sewing so it’d be great to set a max speed while I’m still learning
  • Looks – I think it’s a real pretty machine. Probably the least important but there you have it.
  • Top loading bobbin

Cons:

  • No auto thread cutter
  • FMQ Presser Foot is separate
  • Extension table separate

Baby Lock Jazz

Pros:

  • Throat Space – 12″ OF THROAT SPACE!
  • Top loading bobbin
  • Automatic bobbin winder
  • FMQ foot & 1/4″ foot are included

Cons:

  • Only 28 stitches
  • No auto thread cutter
  • Price – Around $1,300

 

Janome 1600P-QC

Pros:

  • Throat size – 9″ throat size
  • Speed control
  • Auto thread cutter

Cons:

  • Price – MSRP of $1,499
  • Not a ton of accessories included

Juki TL-2010Q

Pros:

  • Throat Space – 8.5″ of throat space
  • Extension table included
  • Speed control
  • Auto thread cutter including being able to cut using the foot pedal
  • FQM feet included
  • Even feed foot included
  • Metal parts – no worries about computer issues

Cons:

  • Price – List price appears to be $1699 but can go as low as $999
  • Per some reviews, it can be hard to thread
  • Fewest bells & whistles

All of these can be found at my local sewing shop so when I get to the point of really wanting to invest, I will probably go test drive them. If anyone has any of these machines or tried them out and wants to weigh-in, I’d greatly appreciate it!

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Blocks!

Still not a lot of knitting around here – it’s been too hot. I have been working on some quilt blocks though! Still the simple 9-patch. I think I’m going to need about 12 to make a blanket. And I’ve got some fabric for sashing. But here’s what I’ve got!

And my favorite…I call it “Disco Rabbit”

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