Week 40/2019: What’s on my design wall?

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Life is good when it has HSTs. Still need to make some more to get to the size I want and then the rearranging part can begin!

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Completed: Another ombre baby quilt

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I finally finished the baby quilt for which I showed a completed back in May and started quilting in July

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It’s a fairly simple design using squares cut from two ombre fabrics by V&Co and the Cookie cutters cinnamon Cotton + Steel print from Kim Kight’s Cookie book collection.  I chose the ombre fabrics because I thought they were a nice match for the colours the parents used for their wedding and the baby’s birth announcement.

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For the quilting I chose a much denser pattern than I usually do. My new sewing machine makes quilting so much more pleasurable that I didn’t mind sewing this many lines. The downside was that I ran out of thread halfway through and had to buy more which caused further delays. As I was doing the quilting I worried that it would be too much but now that it’s finished I am pleased with the result.

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For the back I used the leftovers from the front and the child’s initial was made from the fabric that was also used for the binding.

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I prefer to bind by hand as I find it a relaxing activity and love the look when it is finished. I must be getting quicker as I reached the end much sooner than anticipated! Which was probably the only thing that went fast in the creation of this quilt…

Now, onto the next one!

 

Completed: A cover for my Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 keyboard cover

Yes, you read that correctly, I made a cover for a cover. Which may perhaps at first seem like an odd thing to do but to me it made perfect sense.

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Sometimes I want to take something with me that I can use to easily make notes on and send e-mails. A phone is a bit too small and while a laptop would work, it is also a bit heavy and large, so I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. When I bought it I could also get the keyboard cover for free which sounded like a useful addition for what I want to use a tablet for. I also liked that this tablet comes with a stylus that you can use to simply write on the screen.

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Closed cover

 

However, I wasn’t entirely sold on the design of the keyboard cover when I received it. My main objections:

  1. It looks yawn-inducing boring, I am not sure I could make it look even more boring if I tried.
  2. I am not so sure that the keys won’t scratch the screen of the tablet when it is closed.
  3. There is no real closure, it just folds over and that’s it, nothing is holding it in the folded position which seems like a bit of a risk if you throw it in a bag with other stuff.
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Boring, right?

If you would want to use the tablet for taking pictures there is also no hole in the cover for the camera. Since I think it is a bit ridiculous to use a tablet for taking pictures I don’t really find this an issue but I suppose other people might.

Ever since laying eyes on this cover I have been thinking on how to improve and prettify it. One option I even considered was making a completely separate cover and only using the keyboard cover when I want to use the keyboard, but that would mean lugging two things with me which is also a bit stupid and would probably result in me leaving the keyboard at home.

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Open cover with flap still covering the keyboard.

As I was playing with fabric and the cover I realised I could also simply cover it up and add the features I was missing. I sort of made this project up as I went along and while it certainly didn’t turn out perfect I think it will do the job just fine.

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Outside and lining before they were sewn together.

The outside of the cover contains a very thin layer of polyester batting and is quilted but without a backing. The flap that folds to the inside to cover the keyboard has a single layer of iron on fabric interfacing. To the outside I also sewed a very subtly stretched piece of soft elastic that is used to keep the cover closed. It also contains two tubes of elastic that are used to hold the stylus in place when it is not in use. The keyboard cover came with a thingy to hold the stylus that can be glued to the cover but this sewn solution seemed more practical to me.

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From left to right, the empty fabric cover, the fabric cover with the keyboard inserted and the fabric cover with keyboard and tablet.

The cover lining has a pocket on one side that the keyboard covers slips into to hold it in place. The tablet attaches to the keyboard cover via magnets and this still seemed to work just fine when there was one layer of fabric in between the tablet and the cover. I used the selvedge of the fabric so I didn’t have to do a hem or double layer to have a finished edge. On the other side the keyboard is held in place via two pieces of elastic. At the centre there is also a piece of ribbon for extra security, this was attached after partially sewing the outside and lining pieces together so I could determine where exactly to put it. The lining part of the flap has no interfacing to keep the flap thin.

I am happy with my no longer boring cover. Do you still think it is crazy to make a cover for a cover?

Week 29/2018: What am I quilting?

I’ve finally started quilting the quilt for which I made this backing. Originally I had planned some simple lines, spaced quite far apart. I changed my mind though after buying a new sewing machine! Several weeks ago, I brought my sewing machine in for a repair job and since I was already in the shop I took the opportunity to test some fancy sewing machines as well. I decided to buy the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9400. It offers a lot more harp space, 28 versus 16.5 cm on my Janome 3160. It also has the walking foot option included and this works soooooo much better than the walking foot on the 3160. The stitches are much more even, things move much smoother (possibly also because of the extra harp space). Anyway, this much more enjoyable walking foot quilting experience made me decide to try a much denser quilting pattern for a change. The lines so far are only ½ and 1 inch apart.

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I do wonder whether it would have been better to use a more neutral thread for this denser quilting pattern. I picked the thread when I still had a lot less lines planned and perhaps I should have reconsidered this choice as well because it does stand out quite a bit.

Week 27/2018: What’s (almost) on my design wall?

I think we probably all have some fabrics in our stash that we’re reluctant to cut into because we want to save it for something special. Several years ago I bought two fat quarter bundles with Kaffe Fassett’s shot cottons and so far I’ve only enjoyed looking at them. That is going to change though! I bought some additional yardage in the eucalyptus colourway and am now in the process of deciding which of the fat quarters to combine it with.

The quilt this fabric will turn into is bound to bring me even more pleasure than the stacks of bundled up fabrics so it’s stupid not to use it.

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Week 25/2018: What’s on my design wall?

For my Cherrywood quilt I auditioned several background colours using Photoshop and decided on dark blue. I’ve now attached the fabric on all sides and I’m pretty happy with the result. It still needs some squaring up and I’m debating how much I am going to chop off the bottom. It currently measures about 130×230 cm. I know people make much larger quilts than this but to me this feels ginormous and I’m somewhat dreading the quilting stage…. Perhaps if I use a really thin and lightweight batting it will still be enjoyable?

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Curious what this top looked like without the border?

I am giving FMQ a second chance!

FMQ being free motion quilting, which is a quilting technique in which you use your hands to guide the fabric through your machine instead of letting the feed dogs do it for you. This gives you a lot more options for different quilting designs because you can stitch in every direction. It also requires a lot more practice than a walking foot because it’s not so easy to get a (somewhat) consistent stitch length as you are manoeuvring all over your quilt.

I tried FMQ when I was still quite new to quilting back in 2012 or 2013. I mostly remember being frustrated by the whole process which is why I gave up pretty soon and never tried again.

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This is one of my first practice sandwiches.

So, why am I trying it now? Over the past two years I have been making a lot more quilts so I am also doing a lot more quilting. It would be nice to occasionally use something different than straight lines for the quilting of my quilts. During the gettogether of the DMQG last weekend we also had a show and tell and I loved some of the FMQ designs that others had used, it made me a bit envious and willing to give it another go.

So, over the past couple of days I’ve been playing a bit with FMQ and, much to my surprise, I actually find it a quite pleasant activity. Even after only a couple of days I already feel that I am getting more control over where I am stitching and I don’t think the stitching looks all that bad for something I’m only just trying out.

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Today’s practice piece with (not so straight) lines.

I can think of several reasons why I now find the process a lot less frustrating. My expectations were pretty low this time, so perhaps I am more easily pleased by what I am creating? I think the back of my stitching looks a lot better now than it did all those years ago, perhaps the Aurifil 50 wt thread that I have used for these practice pieces works better with my machine than what I used before? I also have less physical issues right now than I did 5 years ago, possibly allowing me to move the sandwich through the machine a lot smoother and giving me a more pleasant looking result.

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The back of today’s practice piece.

Anyway, the only way I will eventually dare to use this technique on an actual quilt is to practice a lot more. So, my goal for the coming month is to attempt some FMQ every day. Today I have made several small quilt sandwiches to use in the coming week so I only need to grab one and start stitching. This way 10-15 minutes a day should be totally doable.

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Stack ready for some quilting fun this week! The squares on the sandwich were also free motion quilted to get some extra practice.