MAY 21, 2013
Oh have I been busy … with lots of little pieces of course!
Which means I am spending lots of time at my sewing machine stitching and that can lead to some physical complaints if I am not careful about posture and healthy body mechanics. In my early teenage years my ballet teacher taught me about imagining a string coming out from the top of my head that is gently stretching my spine upwards, making me taller. That helps alot.
A quiet culprit for back pain for me is the foot pedal of my sewing machine. My right foot does not appear to be raised very much off of the floor when it is on it, but I have learned that the small deviation in height translates into an imbalance in my hips. So I went to the office supply store a number of years ago and bought an adjustable foot rest for the other foot. Using it, both feet are at the same height and my hips are level and my lower back is much happier!
Do you have any trick or tips for keeping your body happy during marathon sewing sessions?
Have a great week
MAY 14, 2013
Pumpkin Peel uses a very large paper foundation. One of the challenges was that commercial paper foundation sheets are 8 1/2″ x 11″ … too small for what we needed. Doctor’s examine table paper was our solution because it could be cut to size and it tore easily and smoothly, not leaving lots of half moon bits embedded in the seams. However, it is not always easy to get your hands on and not everyone wants to buy a 100 foot roll, so I have been noodling around alternative ideas.
I had been stuck on the issue that taping together two pieces of 8 1/2″ x 11″ foundation paper wouldn’t work because it would be difficult if not impossible to tear through the taped portion when removing the paper, and if the template was pressed with an iron, the heat would melt the tape and shrink that area of the paper.
Then I had a BFOO! A BFOO? That’s a “Blinding Flash Of the Obvious” (demonstrated by moving the heel of the palm of your hand to your forehead).
What did I figure out? Tape was not the only solution to join two pieces of paper … I could stitch them!
I printed off the templates (from my eBook!) being sure to print at 100% scale. You can photocopy the templates from the book too, just be sure the page is really flat on the copier glass to avoid distortion, and photocopy at 100%. When photocopying, copy a test template first and compare it to the template in the book to ensure it is copying to scale. Martingale’s “Papers For Foundation Piecing” were great for the job. The ink absorbs and doesn’t smear when pressing, even inkjet ink, so I had no concerns about transfer onto my fabric. And my printer was very happy printing on it … no jams.
Next I trimmed the edge of one of the templates that I wanted to join to another.
I flipped the template, overlapped the trimmed edge on top of the other half of the template, matching the “seam”, and seam allowances and cutting edges. Then I “basted” the papers in place by placing tape outside of the template area.
I did the same thing for the small sections that have to be added to the large arcs.
Next I took the paper pieces to my machine and using a “2″ setting for stitch length on my machine, I stitched the papers together about 3/16th of an inch from the overlap line.
Finally, I cut out the template along the cutting lines and trimmed the excess from the “overlap” seam.
It’s true. There is more than one way into a castle!
Have a great week
APRIL 30, 2013
I have been exploring ebooks more, as it dawned on me that I might like to print a template for something like, say, Pumpkin Peel. Printing the templates to scale is so important for the final outcome. I discovered a lot!
Printing straight from the pdf copy of my eBook on my computer, making sure to set the scale to 100%, the printed template when overlaid on the template in the book was perfect.
Be sure to put the scale setting to 100%!
Next printing from my iPad. This was not so successful. From what has been explained to me, because some of the pages in the book are “full bleed” (images go right to the edge of the “page” as if it were paper), the built in Apple print option scales the pages down slightly for compatibility with the maximum number of printer types out there. Very convenient for general printing. Not great for things like templates. Once printed, the template was scaled down and too small. What to do?
After some more exploration, I discovered most printer companies have free apps that allow more functions. My printer is an Epson, so I downloaded the app. I couldn’t access the functionalities I needed. No success in my case.
Moving on to other eReading devices, if you have a Kindle or a Nook that you are loading your ebook onto, and you want to print, it looks like you are also out of luck. My preliminary investigations found that it is not possible to print from these devices.
So where does that leave us? On a positive note! My experience is limited to my publisher, but I can tell you that when you purchase an ebook from Martingale, a link is sent to you in an email and you download the book onto your computer and then onto your eReader. The good news is you can just print from the ebook on your computer. I did open the link in the email on my iPad and loaded it directly onto it, but it was easy to put the ebook onto my computer and I was off and running!
Also, Martingale is including in their ebooks, going forward, a scale page at the beginning of the book. This will allow you to check the printing accuracy of your templates.
Spring is finally here! It is revitalizing to see the scilla, some of the first plants to bloom here, bursting through the grass.
Scilla Siberica (blue) and Scilla Alba (white)
Blue swaths can be seen all around the city where they have naturalized over the years.
It’s a sight that delights!
Have a great week
APRIL 23, 2013
As progress is being made on current projects, I have not given up on getting some UFO’s finished and moved into the completed projects category.
I decided to tackle two UFO’s this past month. One was a project from a workshop I took with Freida Anderson. It was languishing with the machine quilting half done (I needed to buy some variegated thread). And I was foreseeing a binding issue as I did not have anymore of the fabric I was thinking of for the binding. Over tea with my friend Judy, she suggested the backing fabric would work for the binding too. Ummm … hadn’t considered a print. Searching through my stash, I couldn’t find any more of the backing material, but I did find another Kaffe Fassett print that was a good candidate. I was off and running! By now, you know I like to stretch creatively from time to time on fabrics, colour or style that is not my usual focus and this fused appliqué project fit the bill.
I also want to share a bit of knotty naughtiness! Instead of neatly pulling through the ends of the machine quilting and hiding them between the layers, I pulled them through to the back and knotted them! The front was neat, the back won’t be seen and done was more important than fussing about the ends. Phew!
As for the second project … my official line is “that quilt top, what quilt top”. Technically speaking it wasn’t an entire top yet, measuring 45″ x 45″ of what was supposed to be a double bed size quilt (notice the past tense!). It had seen two design incarnations during it’s long, loooonngg life as I worked with the variety of blocks to get something to “work”. I had inherited the blocks … they had once been part of a block exchange. And no matter how much I told myself that I could work with them, I realized this project was causing angst and not joy at the thought of finishing it. I decided to employ a theory I learned in pottery class: if you have wrecked it and messed it up and you keep playing with stuff that is wrecked, the less chance you have of successfully learning. I declared it wrecked. I stopped the misery. I removed the four blocks from it that I loved. – That quilt top? What quilt top? Double phew!
Have a great week
APRIL 16, 2013
… of fun!
… of insanity!
… of eye candy for you!
My pinterest “virtual quilting” last week, lead to me pulling out these little squares …
To make this …
It finished at just a little bigger than a sheet of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper.
I tried my hand at hoopless quilting for this project (although until I learned a little trick, it felt like “hopeless” quilting). Way too much fun!
And have a great week!