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Archive for the ‘Machine Quilting’ Category

When to pre-shrink!

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Over the past week to two weeks, I have been working on ….sit down and prepare yourselves for this… a **pieced** quilt. Yes, me. A very simple pieced quilt, but nonetheless.

Eye-candy…my 214 colors, test-driving super wide borders with possible squares or rectangles. I’m going with nothing to distract from that glorious grid of color. Hopefully the quilting will make the wide borders look good. Want them that big so they will fit on a king size bed–we’ve got a queen but the pug takes up a ridiculous amount of room for such a small dog! The center is 72″ and overall I’m hoping for about 100″ square.

I’ve also been experimenting with the AccuQuiltGO! that was given to this year’s crop of Michael Miller Fabrics Brand Ambassadors. To my distress my block was not perfect–too small! I KNEW it had to be something on my end (it was), so I triple checked my seams (perfect to scant). I checked the size of the fabric cut on the dies: perfect. I checked that I used the correct dies: I did. Then I noticed something. After ironing, the block seemed off. Look at what I discovered:

First I placed my half square triangles on the dies, and look how much smaller the pieces are after sewing and ironing! So then I checked the start of the square-in-a-square center of the block. Same thing: after steam ironing/pressing, a unit that finishes at 2″ and one that finishes at 3 1/4″ are each 1/16-1/8″ smaller!

I decided to get a bit more scientific about it: Cut, measure, dry iron, measure, steam iron, measure. Here is what happened with the Cotton Couture, a delightful solid with a glorious feel in the hand:

Batiks are made using hand-dyeing processes that include a resist being applied (usually wax of some sort), then the wax is washed out, more dye applied, and so on. This means some of the shrinkage should already have happened.

As cut with the AccuQuiltGO! Perfect 4 1/2″
One last image: Here I created the center square-in-a-square for a pieced block. I cut the purple fabric to 4 1/2″ thinking that might help my accuracy, and sewed on two half square triangles. I then used navy for the central square and piled on identical half square triangles. All are cut with the lengthwise grain as suggested by Accuquilt for accuracy. LOOK at how much smaller due to more pressing and moisture from the iron. ERK!

So my lesson is, when I am not fusing things up, I really need to either pre-steam-iron everything, or prewash and mostly-dry it and then iron dry and smooth. I can now use the perfection of the AccuquiltGO and actually achieve as close to perfect as I will ever get! Now, off to order backing fabric for my BIG quilt.

Unboxing Minerva: the new Janome M7 Continental!

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

What a BEAST! I think this machine may be able to do everything but cook and do the dishes (Janome: hint hint LOL!). While visiting with Janome America staff (Regena, that’d be you) at International Quilt Market in Houston, I was thrilled to learn that Janome wanted me to take this beauty for a test drive, blog and share and sew on it for the next year! THANK YOU JANOME, and yes indeed-y I am shouting! I’ve been beyond lucky to be a Janome Artisan since 2003–don’t ask me how I’ve lasted this long, I’m not sure, but I’m just really proud to be affiliated with them (I’m not an employee but all opinions are honest and unvarnished).


Today I’ll share a quick video of the unboxing. Then I have Christmas gifts to make, so I will share various things and features that I have found. So far I know I’m going to miss the flip-up chart of the stitches, but there are so many other beyond **amazing** features that I can cope–and photocopy the pages in the manual for ready reference! I’ll get to learn about the new AcuSpark phone app that one can use for tutorials and tips using the on-screen QR codes on how to use the machine, and I am in love before even turning it on with the new built in antenna thread stand, the fact that the antenna collapses so I can actually USE the COVER on the machine easily, not to mention the massive harp space. One bit of advice: you may need help hoisting this machine onto your table!

This box is so big that *I* could fit inside it! Widgeon is so impressed (and deaf and nearly blind) that he doesn’t realize he has a cookie on the floor in front of him!

As for the name: the Janome 7700, from some years ago, was the most beautiful ruby red on the front. I’m not much of a red fan but boy do I miss that face plate! So, as a fan of the Harry Potter books, I named that beastie Rubeus Hagrid (the gamekeeper). When I had the 15000 top of the line on loan, of course it had to be Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of all time. Later, the silver-faced 9400 (and its heir the 9450) became Gandalf the Grey, because we love the Lord of the Rings, too.

BUT, I decided it was time for a POWERFUL WOMAN, so I have named her Minerva McGonagall, headmistress of Gryfindor and one of the bravest, stronger, most powerful and wise witches of all time. Here’s to Minerva!

The Quilt Show with … me(OMG!) … is live! Episode 2508

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Bucket list item: appear on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims: CHECK! Here’s the link to watch if you are a member. If you couldn’t tell, I’m giddy!

Sarah Ann Smith on The Quilt Show https://thequiltshow.com/component/allvideoshare/video/show-2508-sarah-ann-smith
Just took this screen shot as I’m watching my first of two “doing” segments on The Quilt Show….I’m over the moon!

To watch the show, you usually need to be a member of The Quilt Show community, which is an online “TV” show and so much more. Next Sunday, for one week from October 13-20, 2019, or thereabouts, the episode will be FREE to anyone with the code. I’ll post here on my blog, Facebook and Instagram. I might even post my first tweet (Shudder!)…. so stay tuned.

For those who aren’t TQS members, you can see the preview now, at this link.

I am so grateful for this opportunity, so excited, and hope some of you can join me in my classes at International Quilt Festival 2019 in Houston (there are still a few spaces in my Friday class, Tame Fussy Fiddly Threads which includes painting and learning to handle those glitzy threads that really aren’t hard to use once you learn how from me, and my Saturday class on Hawaiian Style appliqué…did you know I love it?)

Join my 3-day workshop playing with paint on cloth at ProChem in Fall River, Mass., in August 2020, to spend time learning what I’m demonstrating in my first segment on The Quilt Show. You can sign up now by going here https://prochemicalanddye.net/workshops/exploring-paint-on-cloth-smith-august-2020.html

And one more time……SQUEEEEE!

I’m on The Quilt Show #2508

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

WOOT! Check an item off the Bucket List!!! I will be on The Quilt Show (TQS) with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson as of October 6th! The promo video went live last night, and you can see it right here! Members of TQS will be able to see the show starting the 6th, but for non-members, there is ONE week where you will be able to view it for FREE from October 13-20, 2019. Of course I’ll post this again, but here is the link to use–remember, the link won’t work to view the show until the 13th. I share my quilts, my crazy “previous life,” and using paints and other tricks on my art quilts. And to those of you who are new to my website, please use the sign ups in the right sidebar to subscribe to the blog and/or to my newsletter. Thanks and enjoy!

To say that I am delighted is an understatement! Here are some photos from taping in April. My show is #2508, so click this link to take you directly to that show. Remember you do have to be a member of The Quilt Show to view it unless you are watching during the one week it is free to all.

I surprised Ricky and Alex (and Justin and John) with special TQS Logo aprons for use on the set, made with thermofax screens I did up special for them. And yes, I gave them the screens, too! Thanks to Producers Shelly Heesacker and Lilo Bowman for helping me pull off this surprise. Thanks to Adele Merrell for this and the other shots …. they are perfectamundo!
On the set with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims (and Mary Kay’s hands LOL) going over my next segment — this is where I explain how I thread color my work.
Seeing the production room was so cool…it was so professional…look at all those displays, about six people working at desks, with headsets to communicate with the crew on the set about positioning lights, cameras and whatnot.
And here I am with the four principals, with aprons in their favorite colors. Left to right Justin Schults, Alex Anderson, me, Ricky Tims, and John Anderson.

The Quilt Show likes to say that Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims bring you the friendliest interactive online community for quilters worldwide. Join today to learn, share create, connect and watch Alex and Ricky in brand new episodes of The Quilt Show! As you saw in the promo video, I joined on Day One when TQS launched many years ago. I am so glad to now be a part of the TQS family–THANK YOU!

Hawaiian Applique in Houston

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

Most of you know me as an art quilter, but did you know I also love Hawaiian Appliqué, especially by machine? Well I’m teaching that very class in Houston on Saturday, and I’d love you to join me. Best of all, you can translate what you learn in the class into traditional, modern and art quilts. A screen shot of the full class description is below. Click HERE to see the class listing and follow the links to sign up!

Just one of nine blocks in my Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul quilt. You get the entire pattern in class and learn my own techniques–that I’ve not seen anyone else teach–to make a beautiful piece. This is actually a 26″ square pillow sham!
This is the full quilt, about 72″ square. The blocks can range from 18-20 inches, and you get a 2-for-1 pair with my fusible technique. It’s so much fun to see the wonderful variations students make.
We start with a couple little fun practice blocks (6″ finished), then move to the big ones!
Hawaiian Cats anyone?
Here’s the class listing from the International Quilt Festival class catalog! Sign up here.