Sunday, September 6, 2015

DIY: make a Free Motion Quilting Practice "Machine"

So, here is the FMQ practice machine. It's made up of a 1" diameter PVC pipe about 24 inches long, two right angles that go down to the feet and then two end caps. I didn't use any glue and got the wrong size end caps so I ended up taping them on instead of pushing them over the ends of the T-connectors. There is a very short piece of PVC between the right angle and the T-connector. Measure how tall you want your device and cut the size according to that height.

The pen holder is two hose clamps and a hose connector. Put the larger hose clamp around the horizontal pipe, and the smaller should be inside the larger as in the picture below. The hose connector then gets clamped inside the smaller hose clamp and you push the marker inside. I used a rubber band around the marker so I could get it inside but it would still be snug. Because the rubber band snugs the marker, but doesn't make it immobile I can adjust it up or down to just meet the surface I'm writing on. I tried a piece of paper, but it's not smooth enough. I had an extra 3-ring binder hanging around and the front of it with the extra plastic where you can slip in a piece of paper for the cover is perfect. I could print up designs and put them in there to practice on.

Here is a close-up of the pen holder in the center of the bar.
The hose clamps cost about $1.50 each and the gray connector was about $.70.
Below are pictures of the parts I used, except for the PVC pipe. The diameter you get determines the size of everything else. Hope this was clear. If it wasn't and you have questions, just comment and I'll try to answer them.


Hose clamps: choose sizes that will fit around
your horizontal pipe and the hose connector for the pen.

Hose connector. Make sure the interior
 is large enough for you marker.

Here is what the 90 degree piece looks like. It's used
to connect the long horizontal  bar to the legs.
End cap for the base. This makes'
the foot of the device a bit longer so more stable (I think.)
T-connector for the base

I've been sewing, just not quilts

I have been sitting at my sewing machine and doing stuff, just not piecing or quilting. Our church's feast day is coming up and my husband is the director of religious education. His signature clothing is a Hawaiian shirt (I counted last week and he has about 30 I've made.)

We decided it would be fun if I made him a shirt and in a different colorway made one for our pastor. He is rather conservative in his dress, so we found a Hawaiian print in black, white and grey with just a bit of blue that also came in bright blue.
My husband has an intern, and I offered to make her a blouse, she accepted. We also have an associate priest, so I also am making her a shirt in the same blue fabric. I've got the two women's shirts almost done. One just needs buttons and button holes. The other needs some alterations and buttons and button holes and it will be done. I've adjusted the pastor's shirt so it will have a neckband he can put his collar on. I was also going to do something about the sleeves and armholes to make them closer fitting, but changed my mind. This is supposed to be a casual clergy shirt :-).

I have also been working on my free motion quilting skills. Mostly watching videos and collecting various patterns folks use. While I searching the net I found a very cool device designed for practicing FMQ on a sit down machine. Unfortunately it is no longer for sale, but it looked simple enough to make. So I did. Just some PVE, tape and pipe clamps. A rubber band, dry erase marker and the white cover of a notebook that I can slip a printed page into.

I made a short video showing how I use it. You can check it out. I'll do another post to show how I made it later today or tomorrow.

I'm linking to Judy's blog. Go see what others are doing.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Another Finish

This one was so much faster than the last. It's quite a bit smaller and the quilting is much plainer. I just did a simple jigsaw puzzle design and then striped multicolored fabric for the binding. You can see a close up of the quilting below. Simple lines from top to bottom then side to side.

Feels good to have one less top hanging around.

Monday, August 17, 2015

More quilting Going On

After the dense quilting on the last quilt that took FOREVER, I decided to do something easy and fast for the next quilt. I was trying to figure out something clever that would fit in the hourglass shapes (tumbler blocks stacked on each other) and then came across the puzzle block quilting pattern. I didn't draw any lines so it's not perfect, but it works for me on this quilt. I just sewed all the lines the length of the quilt, and now I'm working on the crosswise lines. Simple but effective.

The backing is from Ikea; fabric I bought a couple of years ago at least. I'm actually almost done and I started yesterday. YAY.

I finished the top 4 1/2 years ago, yikes. I had no idea it had been that long. It's a pattern I downloaded (free at the time) from Elizabeth Hartman called New Wave. It can be purchased from her website now. If you're interested you can find it here.

I have no specific recipient in mind, but there are always babies, right?

I'm linking up to Blossom Heart Quilts and Freemotion by the River, go check them out.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Holy Macaroli! It's done (well almost)

It is done (except for the binding, but that will be done a bit later today). I had to get the picture while it was still light enough outside and not wet. Looks like it is going to rain in a bit. 

I ended up quilting it much more densely than I thought I would, but I like the way it looks. The border is very simply quilted, just straight lines that are right angles to each other.

Here is a close-up of the quilting of the swirly quilting and the border with the corner decoration. I don't know what color I'm going to use for the binding but I'll figure it out.

I really like it and am proud of the work I did. This is the first quilt I finished on my Bailey's Home Quilter and though the tension is a bit fiddly I know that once I have worked with it enough I'll know how to set the tension so I don't get those stinking skipped stitches.

I've linked to Judy's blog. Check out more blogs there.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

How to...Meander in a Block

I thought I'd share how I am figuring out what to do to fill in the green space on the edges of the quilt. I got a book by Suzanne Earley that's no longer in print, called Meandering Magic (I found it available as an ebook if you're interested). Her premise is that you draw a large meander line, then fill in shapes around it (the magic) to quilt the whole quilt. I've used it before on whole quilts and loved it, here I did it in the blocks I was filling in. I've darkened the line I first sewed on this block so you can see what I did.
Here is the finished quilting on the same block. I think if you look closely you can see where the original line was, but not too easily. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Almost Done

I went back to work on the 30th, so the whole schedule has changed, but I have been quilting, just in shorter bursts.
I've been doing a lot of this.

...on this.

I only have a few more sections of the light green border to quilt and I'll be done. Then I have to figure out what I'm going to do with the borders, but I don't think that will be as closely quilted. I don't know what I was thinking when I started this part, but each section is about 12 by 12 for the largest and it takes me about 30 minutes to quilt it. 

The good news is I finally figured out the skipped stitches problem...tension and I'm getting lots of quilting practice!


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