Archive for the ‘Machine Quilting’ Category

MQU: The Fourth Quilt Layer

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015
The opening spread of my article on stabilizing the quilt sandwich in the July/August issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited

The opening spread of my article on stabilizing the quilt sandwich in the July/August issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited

Over the past six years, I have been fortunate to have been invited to submit a quilt and to have works accepted in the Dinner@8 Artists exhibits and in Living Colour Textiles.   For those shows, work had to be a specific size.  The problem is that when you quilt, especially when you quilt a LOT, as I do, the quilt shrinks.  And you need to have a good composition and framing once it is done–not chopped off, not too much leftover because the piece shrank less or more than you expected.

It is hard to predict how MUCH it will shrink.  So I decided I needed to tackle the problem and acquire some knowledge.   It was a lot of work to test nearly a dozen stabilizers, so I was thrilled when I proposed an article on my explorations to Machine Quilting Unlimited and they agreed it would be a useful article.

This is the cover of the current issue with my article:

The cover of the issue with my article.

The cover of the issue with my article.

and a bit more:

This page shows some of my testing in  progress--yes, there are ELEVEN samples.  All quilted the same.  Can you say TEDIOUS?

This page shows some of my testing in progress–yes, there are ELEVEN samples. All quilted the same. Can you say TEDIOUS?

The issue is still on stands, and is available for order on the MQU website here.  The article also has a link to an on-line Web Extra with all the extensive details of the testing on various stabilizers, interfacings, and canvas/cotton duck which you can print out for your own reference.

Even happier, at the end of the article I mentioned that I would be trying cotton duck, dyed by me, as the backing instead of a fourth layer.  That quilt is made and has been juried into this year’s Dinner@8 exhibit, Affinity.  And in the January 2016 issue MQU will publish my article in their “Challenge Quilts” series about Descended From the Stars.  WOOT!

A day off, sort of….

Saturday, July 18th, 2015
I think that the Coastal Quilters challenge has gotten a bit big for it's wallspace...literally.   My closet/design wall is 20 feet long.  It was not long enough--there is another 6 foot panel!  SHEESH!  BUT, the Coastal Quilter TOTALLY ROCK!

I think that the Coastal Quilters challenge has gotten a bit big for it’s wallspace…literally. My closet/design wall is 20 feet long. It was not long enough–there is another 6 foot panel! SHEESH! BUT, the Coastal Quilters TOTALLY ROCK!

Today began with finishing up chores:

1.  So yesterday I packed up my quilts and teaching supplies and whatnot for teaching at Maine Quilts this coming week (speaking of which, there are still some spots in my classes:  Birch Pond Seasons, Decorative Stitch Applique and Intro to Machine Quilting–go to MaineQuilts.org for more info!). Sent pdf’s to Staples for the handouts, which I’ll pick up Monday.

2.  Started prepping The  Coastal Quilters (my local chapter of the Pine Tree Quilt Guild) Chapter Challenge yesterday.

  • Today I prepared the signage and finished pinning all 23 or 24 quilts,
  • got the signage pin,
  • lint-rollered the black drapes/panels for the bazillionth time (we have every color of cat and pug hair there is and it ALL floats–closed doors are not a barrier that work),
  • folded and padded and packed them up.

This takes HOURS.   HOURS.   Every year I swear I will NOT do it again.  And every year I do.  Thank heavens next year’s challenge the quilts are all to be 16″ square, cuz I’m not doing this with multiple sizes.  Ever.  Again.  Never.  (Don’t quote me on that in a couple years.  Sigh.)

3.  Prepared my quilts (entry and teacher quilt) for delivery on Wednesday.

4.  Found the quilt I entered in Houston and that got accepted.  (More in a future post.  Yes, I’m evil.  You have to wait.) Need to pack it up Monday and ship.

5.  Made more chocolate chip cookies for the child.  OK, so we could both eat batter, plus bake some cookies.  Slurp.

6.  Watched a video or two for my new online sketching class.

7.  Didn’t start the lesson for my photo class.  At least I have an idea or two.  Of course I’m leaving it to the last day, as usual.  Sigh.  But I love the class.  Anyway….I digress (what else is new?).

So I decided to reward myself by working on a small Hawaiian Block/quiltlet that will finish 26 1/2 square.  Yep, the size of a Euro Square pillow sham.   Number 1 of the pair was done in time to teach Hawaiian Applique in Florida this past March.

Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul, (my pattern) Taro block

Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul, (my pattern) Taro block–first of two matching pillow shams.

I was marking it to square up after quilting when Paul called me up to dinner.  These two will replace hand appliqued, hand quilted Hawiian style pillow shams (pattern by Elizabeth Root) that were the first hand applique I ever did.  I made them during the FIRST Gulf War.   They are now largely “formerly quilted” as most of the threads have broken and worked out, but the applique is still intact.  A few tears from critter claws, threadbare or tufting on the piping due to wear.   Those things, I realized tonight, are 25 YEARS OLD–yes, quarter century old pillow shams.  Yes indeedee, I think it is time to REPLACE THEM.  Still like them, but they look like they have (and they have) literally been around the world.  I’ll share more when done!

That’s it for tonight!  That’s all, Folks!

Descended from the Stars, Part 1

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

I’m thrilled to be able to share my most recent major work along with the news that Descended From the Stars has been juried in to this year’s Dinner@8 exhibit, Affinity, which will debut at International Quilt Festival 2015 in Houston, Texas, this coming October.

(c)Sarah Ann Smith 2015; quote (c) Mirza Khan, used with permission

(c)Sarah Ann Smith 2015; quote (c) Mirza Khan, used with permission.  Click to open slightly larger.

You can find more about the exhibit and the other artists here.  I am blushing to find myself in such company, and humbled to be in this exhibit for my sixth consecutive year.

The theme is Affinity, and the call for entry reads:

I am the garden that I plant.
I have…a natural liking for or attraction to a person, thing, or idea.
I am all the books that I have read.
I have….. A close resemblance or connection to someone or some thing.
I am the places that I have been
I have…. An agreement with someone.
I am the people that I love to be near
I have…a relationship or ties to another individual.
I am the sum of my life experiences.
“Affinity”.
Months before hearing the new theme and call for entry, I had received an email from my high school, San Domenico, with a Lenten message.  This particular day’s message didn’t have an attribution as did the other quotations, so I wrote to Religious Studies director Mirza Khan (after googling the words) and learned he had written the text.  I asked and received permission to use them in an art quilt.  When I heard the call for entry, at a dinner with other Dinner@8 artists in Houston last year, I immediately thought of the quote and felt as if the theme were about identity. Here are Mirza’s words:

ONE LIFE

We have descended from the stars.   We have risen through the forms of thousands of animals. We have passed through the lives of our ancestors, our grandparents, and our parents.  And now we have been born into the moment of our supreme existence. We have a life. What will we do with it?

Mirza Kahn

San Domenico

Here are two detail shots of my quilt.  In my next two posts I’ll share more about my process and thinking as I made this piece.  All I can say is that I am REALLY HAPPY with it!
Detail of the lower right corner, showing the autumn tree of life.

Detail of the lower right corner, showing the autumn tree of life.

Detail of the lower left corner, with the winter tree kissed by snow.

Detail of the lower left corner, with the winter tree kissed by snow.

Vermont Quilt Festival–come play with me!

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Wanna come play with me?  It is time to look forward after a very busy winter and spring! I’ll be teaching at Vermont Quilt Festival at the end of June.  I’m so looking forward to it…pretty much my three most popular classes and a new one.   Balinese Garden teaches you decorative machine applique in your choice of pillow top, small quilt or table runner.   Fussy-Fiddly is about how to use those  (not really) challenging threads successfully; we’ve got so many wonderful thread choices available to us now, so let’s USE them!   Birch Pond Seasons teaches you skills and techniques to make not only this “north country” pattern, but go on to work on your  own designs.  Finally, Sunday’s half-day class, Easy Peasy Inside Out Bags, is about making quick and easy, lovely bags:  any size you want, easy zipper installation and addicting like potato chips–bet you can’t make just one!  I sure couldn’t–I keep making (and giving) them!

Here are my classes:
115    Balinese Garden                                                                    Thursday, June 25
218    Tame Fiddly Fussy Threads for Machine Quilting        Friday, June 26
314    Birch Pond Season                                                               Saturday, June 27
410    Easy-Peasy Inside Out Bag                                                Sunday, June 28

To sign up, click on this link:  http://www.vqf.org/all_classes_view.php .  Once there, look just below the purple “Basic Sewing Supply List” for “view by instructor.”  Use the dropdown list to select Sarah Ann Smith, and it will pop up information on all these classes.   Also, I’m happy to answer emails with questions!

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Balinese Garden Table Runner–Class is Thursday June 25.  As always, I encourage students to cut loose, be creative, and make the project their own.

115    Balinese Garden  Thurs June 25

Here are four versions of my tossed leaves.  You learn to make a freezer paper stencil and paint on cloth.  While the paint dries, learn key tips to success with metallic, holographic, heavy and shiny threads, then free-motion quilt your piece.

Here are four versions of my tossed leaves. You learn to make a freezer paper stencil and paint on cloth. While the paint dries, learn key tips to success with metallic, holographic, heavy and shiny threads, then free-motion quilt your piece.

Here’s a closer view:

The original quiltlet which happens to be on the cover of my book!

The original quiltlet which happens to be on the cover of my book!

218    Tame Fiddly Fussy Threads for Machine Quilting        Fri June 26

Learn all sorts of fun tricks for making free-form fabric collage quick and easy

Learn all sorts of fun tricks for making free-form fabric collage quick and easy

And the autumn view.  I encourage students to personalize their quilts.  Bring a photo of your favorite mountain and make it the featured hill.  Make it any season you want!  Be creative!

And the autumn view. I encourage students to personalize their quilts. Bring a photo of your favorite mountain and make it the featured hill. Make it any season you want! Be creative!

314    Birch Pond Season        Sat June 27

These bags are so easy and fun to make.  They are wonderful to use (in all sorts of sizes), to give as gifts, and can even be turned into iPad or notebook covers.

These bags are so easy and fun to make. They are wonderful to use (in all sorts of sizes), to give as gifts, and can even be turned into iPad or notebook covers.

If you watch Quilting Arts TV, these may look familiar, as they are on one of my episodes in season 1400 AND were in the 2014 Quilting Arts gifts magazine.

If you watch Quilting Arts TV, these may look familiar, as they are on one of my episodes in season 1400 AND were in the 2014 Quilting Arts gifts magazine.

410    Easy-Peasy Inside Out Bag  Sun June 28

For all my classes, you can check here on my “Classes” page for more information and PDFs of the supply lists, or look on my “Resources” page for the downloads.  I’d love to have you in class!

The perfect 1/4″ seam, part two

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Thanks to my contact at Janome America, I learned of a couple new things that will help owners of the Janome machines that are capable of the 9mm wide stitches.   The top-of-the-line 15000 has a new throat plate that has THREE holes in it, including one on the right.  And there is a quarter inch “Clear View” foot that will work with that throat plate.  First, the presser foot:Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.50.27 PM

janomeknowhow clear view quarter inch

My contact wrote:

” I wanted to pass along this information sheet on a foot that we released for 9mm stitch width models last fall. Maybe this will help her. I’m also going to include this small excerpt from my contact in Tokyo too, as it applies directly to your machine –

*This foot can also be used with the MC15000, but by using the right needle position of the MC15000’s straight stitch needle plate with the 1/4″ Seam Foot O (a standard accessory), or the Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set (Optional Accessory No.: 202-089-005),  the same results can be achieved.

The above note is because the MC15000 has that three hole straight stitch plate, based on needle position. Previous models only have one or two holes in the straight stitch plate.

Just passing this along since I saw it!

Here’s a link to information on the Janome website, and another link for the PDF which has more information than on the Janome website  janomeknowhow clear view quarter inch .

The throat Plate is called the Straight Stitch Plate for the 15000, but can be used on Janome machines with a 9mm stitch-width capability (but check with your dealer FIRST to be positive it is compatible with your machine).  This is a not-so-great photo of the one from my machine.  Notice there are THREE holes.  The left and right holes are slightly not-round, which permits one to fine-tune the needle position to get your perfect seam allowance (see previous post).

Straight Stitch Plate for Janome 15000

Straight Stitch Plate for Janome 15000; if I can get my hands on the part number, I’ll update this caption.

My contact added that

“Yes, this foot will work with the 8900 as it is a 9mm model also. If you
wanted, you could ask your dealer to order the Mc15000 straight stitch
needle plate (with the third hole) and that would fit all the 9mm models
also. You just have to watch your drop position. Like you mention in your
post, because of the feed dogs and purpose of different sewing machines,
the needle drop is not always the same from machine to machine. This
happens when you are switching from quilting models, like an 8900 to
embroidery/quilting models like the MC15000. The “standard” positions are
changing based on the model.

This will definitely solve her problem then, allowing her to use a straight
stitch and set needle position with the straight stitch plate included
with her machine, and achieve a 1/4″ seam.”

I have to say, Janome is incredibly responsive to its customers.  I was THRILLED my contact read my previous post and wrote to suggest these new offerings.   Another great thing developed for the 15000 (which I sew on now) is the AMAZING extension table.  I don’t know what they did to the surface, but it is absolutely the “slippy-est” extension table I’ve ever felt.  Even though it doesn’t look as slippery as the clear plexi (perspex in the UK I think) tables, it is vastly superior.  When I saw the US VP for Janome at a show after I got this machine, I told him they needed to make ALL their extension tables out of this stuff.  It totally rocks!