Free Motion Quilting Class

Last Saturday I did the Let’s Quilt Free Motion class with Deborah Louie. It was a follow on from the class I did with her in March.

This class is more hands on sewing and playing because in the first class you have been taught all the basics of prepping your quilting piece beforehand. Your machine is going from the moment the class starts. To be honest before the class I thought free motion quilting was your hands going busy trying to keep up with an out of control sewing machine as you have no feed dogs to keep it in place your fabric is going everywhere. Somehow you end up with a quilted piece. Deborah teaches you how to control it. It’s a very stop start process. It involves a lot of thought.

FMQ Class Flower

We started off just having a play to get used to working without feed dogs. I have played around and done free motion once before so it wasn’t a total foreign feeling. I did some movements with the machine and even managed to draw a flower.

FMQ Class Tension

In the class we learnt about adjusting the tension for your machine. It is a different tension to what you normally sew at. Looking at the back it took me a couple of attempts to get the tension correct. Also the type of thread you use is important. I was working with one thread but found it to be too fluffy on the top of my machine. When I changed threads I had to re-adjust my tension to fit the new thread. Again it took me a couple of fiddles with the tension disc and but I got it correct.
FMQ Class Back

We learnt how to do various patterns and designs. It is a very mentally stimulating form of stitching at your always thinking. You have to figure out where you want to stitch next. How you want to stitch it. There are so many patterns but what would be best for that area. How do I best fill the area with stitches. Your hand placement is very important to. Your hands are what is controlling the fabric so you need to have them placed so you can move the fabric to the area you want to get to and stitch next. There is a lot of stop, reposition the hands, start again.

FMQ Class Front

The back of quilt looks just as good as the front if your tension is correct. It was great working in the contrasting colours as you could really see your stitches. The class has really changed my thoughts on free motion. It has taken out the fear of the out of control fabric. Before I thought things just happened randomly but it is more planned and thought out than I realised. It is very creative form of stitching.

FMQ Class Expert

This was a spiral Deborah did. I have a sample piece she was working on. When you see how neat it can be it is very inspiring to give it ago. It all comes down to practice. The more you do the better you will get.

The class was fantastic. Deborah is a great teacher. The way she breaks things down and explains them is so easy to follow. In the classes she gives you well written notes so when you get home you can remember what you were taught. These days there are so many ways to learn new skills online with Craftsy and Youtube which is great if that is the only access you have to such things but nothing beats sitting in an actual class with a teacher if you can. The hands on things you learn is worth it.


ASG May Photo A Day Challenge Week 3

Week 3 of the ASG photo challenge for May Sewing Month

Day 15 – Biggest wadder

Day 15

I wasn’t overly too familiar with what they meant by biggest wadder so I took a photo of one of the biggest items I’ve made. This polar fleece blanket was one of the first projects I completed. It is doubled sided in a patchwork style.

Day 16 – Oldest Sewing Machine

Day 16

I’ve posted about my little sewing machines before. This little one has just turned 4. She is perfect to take to my ASG meetings or to classes as she is so light weight. I can do all I need to on her.

Day 17 – Bias Binding

Day 17

The blue binding is leftover from the blue blanket pictured in Day 15. Mum worked out how to make it and helped me with it. She did a great job. We had a lot leftover and I’ve used it on various projects over the years. This is the last I have of it. The pink binding is leftover from Snug as a Blanket. Normally bias binding and I are not friends but I did pretty well with this one.

Day 18 – Your View When Sewing

Day 18

I can watching tv when sewing. Some days I have a movie on whilst I sew or will just have random shows on. Its great for those times you have to reverse sew. Some days I play music instead. What I really like sometimes is nothing at all. I love just sitting there listening to the hum of the sewing machine. You get into the stitching zone and nothing else around you matters.

Day 19 – Favourite Piece Of Material

Day 19

This fabric I got about 10 years ago. I have a thing for blue and a thing for hearts. I’ve used it in making 2 slip covers for a foot rest that I use every day. The fabric is a bit faded as it gets used. I figured why not use my favourite fabric in something that I’m going to use every day.

Day 20 – Oldest Work In Progress

Day 20

After I took this I remembered I have another WIP that I stared about 10 years ago but that is in a garage somewhere. I started this stitchery quilt last year. So far I have completed 1 block of 7. The other item in the photo is the pony I need to finish from early this year, I will get back to her.

Day 21 – Favourite Sewing Haunt

Day 21

This shop is where my group meets for our Sewing Guild meetings once a month. I love sewing in this shop as your surrounded by bolts of fabric and sewing notions. It really gets the creative juices flowing. Something will catch the corner of your eye and suddenly a new idea pops into your head or you inspired to try an idea.



Different Walking Feet

Did you know walking feet come in different types?

Walking Feet

I had no idea until I did the Deborah Louie Beginners Quilting Class. In my stash of feet which I’d gotten over the years with various machines I had a couple of walking feet but never took much notice of them however on closer inspection I realise they are 2 different.

So what is the difference?

Walking Foot Standard
Standard or Regular walking foot has a closed area at the front like your regular sewing foot (Janome A) You can easily line your fabric up with the centre to sew straight lines.

Walking Foot Open Toe

Open Toe walking foot has a wide area in front like a F2 foot does. You can use it to stitch decorative stitches as the needle has a wide area to work in. There is still a centre mark in which you can use to line up the centre of your stitch design.

Walking Foot In Use

Do you need both?
I think it depends on the type of sewing you do and what you will be making. If you just do piecing or used your foot to do regular stitching the standard foot would be all you need. If you wanted to quilt using the decorative stitches on your machine or stitch the decorative stitches on thicker fabric which is easier with the walking foot (it helps move the fabric through the foot) I would suggest getting an open toe foot. Your view isn’t obstructed so you can easily see where the stitch will be placed.

A word of warning when buying a walking or daring foot know the model of your machine. Some have a high shank others have a low. You need to buy the foot that will fit your machine. It turns out the not all the walking feet in my stash would fit all my machines. My MC11000 only came with a standard foot so I brought an open toe foot for that as I do the majority of my sewing on it. For my smaller machine I have only have an open toe foot (it came with the machine) it will allow me to do all I need to do on it. I’m finding I’m using my different walking feet more and more. Thick items like bags are walking foot is a must. It made sewing the 2 Zip Hipster so easy as the foot help guide the fabric through the machine.

Sew Box Subscriptions May

I’ve decided to join up to Sew Box Subscriptions. It is a company that each month sends you a mystery box of patterns and sewing supplies. The May box was my first one.

SBS May 15

In the box this month we have

  • 1.5m of jersey knit fabric
  • 30cm piece of chiffon
  • 1m cotton edge lace
  • 2 cross grain ribbon
  • 1m Riley Blake pom pom trim
  • Julia Woman’s cardigan pattern by Mouse House Creations
  • Scarves and Cowl pattern by Make It Perfect
  • Birch shirring elastic
  • Birch hemming tape
  • Wooden beads
  • Discount voucher for Zebra Fabrics
  • Schmetz jersey sewing needles
  • Fabric bead necklace tutorial

You get a lot in the box. The cardigan is not normally a pattern I would’ve tried but I’m going to give it ago at some point. There a few variations of it so I’ll find one that is for me. Unfortunately I already have the Cowl pattern but that’s ok cause I’ll give it away. At least I know its something that I would’ve like to get. The sewing supplies included will get used at some point as will the fabric. I’ve wanted to try a fabric bead necklace for ages so now I have the beads.

I’m happy with the first box. I wasn’t sure what to expect or if I would use what was in it. Everyone has their own taste in sewing and fabrics. I’m hoping these boxes will expand my sewing to different areas that I wouldn’t normally think of going to. When I make the cardigan it will be a step away from my fascination of sewing skirts.

ASG May Photo A Day Challenge Week 2

Week 2 of the ASG photo challenge for May Sewing Month

Day 8 – Most common alteration

Day 8

As I don’t do a lot of dress making the alteration I do most is when I’m making a softie I construct is so that leave a gap to stuff the limbs after I’ve attached them to the main body. I struggle to fit a limb full of stuffing into a body casing as I’m assembling the main body. It does create a few minutes more work ladder stitching the limb closed once it is stuffed but I find I’ve saved time and frustration when stitching the main body piece.

Day 9 – Cotton / Thread

Day 9

Most of my threads I inherited from mum. She kept them in these funky IKEA boxes. Just recently I’ve sorted my threads so I keep the same brands together (I have a lot of Gutermann, Rasant and IKEA) All other threads are sorted by colour. The boxes stack neatly in the cupboard.

Day 10 – Scissors

Day 10

I have more scissors than I know what to do with (but I can never find a pair when I want them) These are my favourites to use:
Thin Silver – Live next to my sewing machine for trimming threads
Purple Floral – These are my embroider scissors that I use to cut thread and floss. I also keep a pair in my wallet so when out and about I can cut threads or wool
Black Handle – These I use to snip seams and trim small bits of fabric. They are great when you want to cut in tiny spaces.
Toffee Handle – Paper / toile / anything that’s not cotton
Blue Floral – Fabric scissors. They have a good solid weight to them. From memory I got them with my first ever sewing machine.

Day 11 – Project or detail most proud of sewing

Day 11The project I’m most proud of is the recent 2 Zip Hipster bag I made. The entire bag turned out awesome. It has so much fine detail in it with all the top stitching. I attempted so many new techniques when making this that it really made my sewing skills grow. My friend has now received her bag and I think she was a little blown away by it.

Day 12 – May sewing progress

Day 12

I’ve made some progress on my May sewing plans. One toy is half made, a pattern has been drawn up. Since taking this photo I have finished one craft swap project.

Day 13 – What you sew to kick start your sewing mojo

Day 13

I like to stitch straight lines when I’m lacking my sewjo and I want it back. Things like assembling baby blocks are always good as they are straight sewing. Other things like WIRES pouches which are straight forward to. I like seeing things come together really quickly to motivate me to sew. I don’t want to look at a 20 page complicated pattern when I don’t to even look at my sewing machine (yes it happens)

Day 14 – What’s in your stash

Day 14

Most of my stash is kept in plastic tubs in my garage. Every few projects I raid my stash looking for the perfect fabric. This is my transport basket that I carry my stash in to and from the garage. It’s amazing how many times I suddenly decided to do to try something new or add something to a project and I find the fabric already within this basket. This saves me running to my stash. I also keep any new fabric that has to go away in this basket, which reminds me I must empty this and look for the next lot of fabrics…

Gem Scarf

I mentioned in my Stylecraft Yarn post about 3 balls of yarn I brought to make myself a wrap or shawl.

Gem Scarf

The yarn is called Extra Special DK the 3 colours I chose were Vlola, Greengage and Waterfall. They just reminded me of the gemstones amethyst, peridot and blue topaz. The yarn is very easy to crochet however due to the change in colour tone I find I can’t crochet it at night when I’m tired. My eyes are struggling to find where to place my hook in the row below. Of course if I bothered to put my glasses on it would help but I’m too lazy so instead just reserve it as an early morning or daytime project. I have plenty of mindless knitting to do of an evening. I can’t wait for it to be finished. Yes I may just get to wear it this winter.

Marlyn Alpaca Yarn

Last Saturday we had a guest come to the Knitter’s Guild meeting Jill from Marlyn Alpaca. She set up a little shop and I thought the yarn will be lovely but I don’t need any more yarn.

Alpaca Yarn

Jill gave us a talk about her alpaca’s and the process of producing the yarn we could see in front of us. She talked about how the different breeds yield different types of fleece. Some breeds have more of thicker warmer yarn whilst others have a lighter more silk like touch. All the yarn is grown, milled and spun in Australia. I often see alpaca yarn for sale elsewhere but its milled overseas and not done locally. I love the concept that little farms are producing yarn locally and able to process it in little mini mills here.

Alpaca Yarn Tag

Jill had a simple knitted striped scarf done in beige and a brown which took my eye. I could see myself wearing something very similar. She had yarn from 2 breeds of alpaca. The Suri breed had the more silk like touch. She only had one skein of dark brown in that and I had my eye on it. After her presentation I had to have it. I also got a skein of beige so I can make my stripe scarf at some point. When they process the yarn they don’t mix the fleeces from different alpacas, each ones fleece is process separately. One of the things I really liked is that on the label you can see the name of the alpaca it came off. On the website you can look at each animal. The beige is from Bacardi and the brown from Merlot. That is pretty awesome. They are lovely looking animals.

My mum was a big fan of alpaca yarn and she would’ve loved this. Not just the yarn but the local concept as well. Its a little more expensive than alpaca yarn you get elsewhere but your supporting local industries who are struggling to compete with prices from overseas. Once I make this scarf I’m going to have it for years and it will be worth the price I paid for the yarn. I know I’m guilty of buying acrylic yarn from overseas but I can get really nice locally produced yarn over here I try to support local.