Monday, January 24, 2011

Machine Embroidery Tutorial

Yay - my first ever video Tute, sharing one of my favourite ways to play!
I'd have liked to have covered some aspects in more detail however it got to the point where I either got what I had on YouTube or threw the camera & tripod out the window!

I'm no expert (there's plenty out there that are), this is a very simple explanation of machine embroidery, it's how I do it - I hope it helps & inspires you! 

The points I'd like to clarify & emphasize are;

Feed Dogs - need to be out of the way. With some machines you have the ability to drop them with the Feed Dog Control knob, others require a special plate that sits on top of the Needle Plate.
Presser Foot - I have always used the Darning Foot, it has a central hole where the needle goes through and a spring mechanism at the top of the shaft which allows movement when stitching.
Needle - Size 80.
Settings - Stitch Length at 0 and needle Centred.
Control - the saying, 'Slow Hands, Fast Foot' works, it is the secret to maintaining control over your design.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Second Theme

'The Ties that Bind'

  Love & laughter shared with family & friends give me direction & purpose.
This block was borne from my love of mens ties.
I use them a lot in REinventions.

What I did:

After choosing the ties best suited to the overall look of the Quilt,
 I over-lapped them, pinned them in place & cut them to size.
It took a bit of manouvering over a couple of days to get the block to sit mostly square - this was helped by filling in little gaps & finishing raw edges with some bias binding. 

I'm not sure how square this block will sit when stitched to it's neighbour however I'm prepared to have it overlap or likewise trim it back to fit.

The free machine embroidery is a work-in-progress.
Eventually I'd like the scrolly-flowery-viney bits to join up in stages - it was hard going, stitching over lumpy thick bits so I'll come back to it later.
Next time I would remove the interfacing from the ties which would get rid of some of the bulk.
 Overall I'm pleased - ties aren't the easiest things to get to sit straight and my machine embroidery leaves a lot to be desired however it says what I wanted it to say in more ways than one 
and besides what's a challenge if its not challenging!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

First Theme


Creating is at the heart of everything I do.

During my Eco Quilt journey I'd like to share with you the process my Blocks take to create, knowing that unless you have identical pieces you're not going to create the same however I hope it gives you some ideas.

There's a couple of things I've learnt while creating the few Quilts I have, techniques which are unique to Quilt making, No.1 - that it's a good idea to keep your Blocks straight & square, if you want the 
the finished product to be straight & square and No.2 - work your way
 out from the centre.

Having decided that the first block would sit at the heart of the quilt it was a very simple decision choosing the fabrics, as the colours were always a given - pinks & greens make my heart sing!

I've used 3 favourite pieces ie. childs cotton shirt & 2 matching embroidered/cutwork doilies.
I've had these filed for years, occasionally pulling them out in the hope they were just what I needed for the REinvention I was working on at the time - thankfully not! 

I roughly worked out where each piece worked best together, while always referring back to my template as a guide to size & proportions.
Having decided to frame my 'heart' with the doilies I backed them with an old cotton pillowcase cut to size, ensuring that the edges matched. 
I eventually want the edges of the doilies to hang over what ever I decide the strips will be.
The 'heart' was then stitched in place. 
This of course is the back view, I did stitch from the right side.
Another section from another old pillowcase was used to back the entire piece, thus forming my Block.
It was essential that the backing was cut square and centred onto the front because it is this backing that will be stitched to the strips.
By using my template all the time as a guide while working out what was going where and then using it to size & cut my backing piece meant everything sat square.
  I'm not sure if you noticed - I stitched the 2 fronts of the shirt to a section of the sleeve, in a way that allows the cuff to still function (not as a cuff of course!) and am thinking of stitching a little something underneath - later.

 So there you go, the Eco Quilt Challenge is a happening thing!
What do you think, are you inspired/tempted to take up the challenge?

Next theme will be posted in a fortnight!
Good luck to those that have joined in already and have their templates & designs at the ready - don't forget to share your journey on the flickr site.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Getting started.

A few tips to get you started....

Colour - for me this is the most important ingredient in my Quilt. I have chosen my favourite colour combination pinks, greens, blues & yellows with a hint of blue and white - I had also toyed with white-on-white - sometimes I am such a girl! I also have favourites (fabric & garments) which I know will definitely be used. Start with a palette you like - you can always add to it later.

Fabric - keep like with like. If using heavier fabrics like denim you may want to think twice about stitching a light cotton to it. I have chosen mostly med.weight cottons however the other Quilt I did similar to this was mostly denim jeans.

Condition - if you start with quality you'll end with quality. Make sure the garments you are using are clean and that any marks or holes are taken into account - you can cut around these or stitch over them if you know where they are.

Content - the more you have the more you can play with! 

Consider mixing your fibres ie. T-shirts can be stablised with interfacing or free-machine embroidered into and like Knitwear could be used as a feature appliqued for interest.

Come on, jump in - it's going to be alot more fun with you!

The Idea

Hi and welcome!

The Eco Quilt Challenge has been a thought brewing away for quite a while and I can't tell you the amount of times it nearly didn't happen!
Not being a traditional 'Quilter' I've endlessly doubted my ability to successfully create the sort of Quilt I'd want to live with, while inviting others to do the same.
Having suffered the angst of how I was going to present the idea in the hope it would appeal to others I have decided to just do it and hope you'll join me!

  The bones of the idea is really very simple;
to create a beautiful piece of fabric ie. a Quilt using garments & fabric we already have - the only thing that should be spent on this is time.
 With inspirational prompts from me, posted on this blog every 2wks, we'll spend the following fortnight creating our own unique blocks.

This is not a skills based project, anyone can join in - you'll need to have a sewing machine, the internet and the ability to thread a needle, oh and you'll need to have a passion for fabric, a penchant for 'filing' garments & fabric and enjoy a challenge!

This will be an interpretational piece of work where I will encourage you to use your imagination, stretch your sewing capabilities and learn new stitching techniques.
I have created a template & a pattern for all of us to use so there is guide to aide in forming the finished Quilt, it will be fascinating to see everyones interpretation of the guides & prompts when all stitched together at the end of the Challenge.

There is a seed of an idea to display the Quilts...

At this stage I see the finished Eco Quilt measuring approx. 138cm x 150cm - not so big however with a fortnight to complete each block it will take (again approx.) 18-20wks/5mths - or longer, if we're having too much fun and want a bigger Quilt.

A Flickr group has been set up for everyone to share their creations, ask questions, discuss & share ideas. 

If you are interested in being a part of this Challenge please leave a comment below then email me with your email address and I''ll send you through the Challenge Details, Pattern & Template guide, along with an invitation to join the flickr group.
 I'm so excited I've made a start...

and will have the first theme (prompt) up at the end of the week!