Thursday, 30 July 2015

Felting my knits

I have started playing around with my knitting machine and still have a very long way to go figuring out how to prevent wavy sides and ends with the pieces I have made.  I was getting random holes but have sorted that one out.  Now to work out how to cast of etc.

wavy sides but at least no holes
I visited DEA Yarns in Levin on a recent Quilting Retreat with friends where I bought a couple of end of line cones of 2 ply.
I intend to use my knitting machine to make fabric.  Once knitted it will be felted using my embellishing machine (so much easier on the hands).  The final outcome should be fabric made for a wool quilt that still is forming in my head.

I have noticed when felting the back becomes fluffy and the front matted.

Here's my progress so far.

The back of fabric showing area felted

Center front section felted

Back showing felting area

Felted sections giving this piece A
textured look

Back to playing around adding other fibres.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

My satchel made from old denim

I started cutting 4" squares from two pairs of old denim jeans.  One pair darker and than other to create a contrast.  I wanted to see how well denim would work using the stacking bowtie technique.  Initially I had considered making a skirt but decided that maybe I should try something smaller first.

I  quilted the interior fabric with needle punch and stitched trimex onto the back of my main fabric (stacking bowtie denim) since a satchel is usually a very firm bag.  The trimex made it very difficult to sew when assembling the bag.  In fact I had to upgrade my machine needle size to 110 (bent the 100). 

The sides of the bag are only supported by needle punch - maybe a double layer or a heavy Vilene should have been added to prevent them from collapsing a little.

The strap is made from jean legs.  I avoided using the knees as this part of the fabric was stretched.

It was meant to be a fun project but without a pattern I did a LOT of unpicking.  My Janome Horizon 7700 managed to sew through the thick layers but in some areas my stitching is a little rough - had trouble manipulating all the layers particularly where I had placed trimex.

Interior fabric

Rose jean buttons - found these at the Sewing Depot (Petone NZ)

The back. 
I'm still deciding how I will secure the flap of the satchel but have decided against magnets (they are either to weak or to strong), a zip (annoying - especially if it jams) and buckles. I am thinking of using two pieces of fine elastic (or something similar) which will be sewn behind the center diamond and can be stretched over the two rose jean buttons on the edge of the flap.  Will post a picture once I have figured this out.

4 Standard jean buttons have been placed at the bottom of the bag help protect the fabric from soiling when placed down on the floor etc.  I thought this was clever however this hasn't quite worked with this bag as I hadn't made a rectangle base so doesn't quite sit flat.

Still - I'm really happy with it and have learnt a lot making this satchel.  I won't be making a skirt using this technique out of denim as it will be to heavy.  My next plan is to try linen.

Happy sewing friends.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Stacking Bowtie Class

Had some technical fun today making stacking Bowtie panels with four lovely ladies.  Check out their results.

I must have turned of my flash - but this white on white is very elegant.

Next class is at Sawmillers 3rd October.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Easy Thread - Sewing Machine Needles

We have a Retirement Village close to my work and its great to see these wonderful ladies still actively knitting and sewing.  Unfortunately most are starting to have difficulty threading their sewing machine needles.  Of course they bought their machines prior to the invention of the fixed sewing machine needle threader.  For some though, its not just a vision issue, they have unsteady hands or suffer from arthritis.

So what options are available for them?

The traditional hand needle threaders can be frustrating because they are short.  Overlocking threaders are very long and require the user to still line up a bent wire with hook to the needle eye.

The "needle threader insertion tool applicator" works quite well.  Slip the thread into the front claw and line it up with your needle and push it against the needle.  A small thin piece of curved metal pops out and pushes the thread through the needle eye.

There is another alternative which I think is really helpful.  Self-Threading, Quick Threading or Easy Thread Sewing Machine needles (also known as Handicap needles - uggggh!).

We only sell Husqvarna size 100 needles which is ok for the denim weight fabrics.  But I notice that Schmetz offer sizes 80 and 90.

You insert the needle into your machine as per normal.  Then you run your thread down the right hand side of the needle.  The thread slips into a tiny slot next to the needle eye.

Notice the dark line next to the eye of this needle.

They are not recommended for sensitive fabrics like silks and microfibers as the slot may pull / damage the fabric.
I need to do more testing with this needle to answer questions like - will it snap the thread or will the thread come out while sewing through the slot.

Will let you know the outcome.

Happy Sewing

Sunday, 12 July 2015

spinning stripes show n tell

This week Lesley popped into the shop to discuss the quilting of and thread colour for her quilt.  She attended my class with Coastal Quilters earlier this year.
The blocks below will be the centre feature of her quilt.  Lesley has decided she will quilt this section and add more blocks and borders using the joining technique of the Quilt as you Go method.

When auditioning thread for your quilting - don't just rely on the colour of the thread on the spool.  Actually unwind it a little and lay the thread onto your fabric.  Quite often darker thread is actually much lighter when unwound.

Happy stitching.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Stacking Bowties - up coming new class

I have three Stacking Bowtie classes scheduled this year and for each shop I have made samples using their fabrics where I can.

This class is all about learning to assemble the bowtie block into each corner of a background fabric to form a panel which you can then turn into a cushion or bag etc.

These are the samples just completed for Krazy Cow Quilt shop in Levin.  This class is scheduled for the 21st of November on their premises.  Contact Trish to book

class samples

Side one - notice variety of fabrics in each colour way. 
This adds interest.

This is side two of the same cushion.  I have used covered buttons to break the pink areas.
Decorative quilting or other stitching could be used instead of these to add interest..

Sawmillers Quiltery Te Marua, Upper Hutt.  This class is scheduled for the 3rd of October to be held on their premises.  Contact Yvonne to book

With this cushion I have mixed the foreground and background fabrics/colours.
Wellington Sewing Services - class scheduled 18th July.  Two places still available.  Contact Lynette to book

I have made this cushion for a friend.  It is European size which is much larger
 than my other class samples.  My squares have been cut larger as well.  I have added buttons to break up the background fabric.

This is a one day class and not just aimed at quilters.  Anyone who knows how to sew and has a sewing machine can attend this class.

Come and join me for something a little different (if you are local - Lower North Island, New Zealand).