Holy cow! It has been over 1 month since my last post and I don’t know where the time has gone. I’m still here, still kicking, and still quilting! Sorry for the absence but know that I’ve been working hard AND playing hard and all is well.
When you are testing out new quilt block designs in MEA, you end up generating lots of quilt blocks as you test. Sometimes this is because you are making small refinements as you go along and end up making many test blocks and sometimes the block is perfect right from the start but you didn’t have a specific use for the block right away or maybe it was made in colors that didn’t “ring true” to you at the time. However it happens, you just plain end up with lots of blocks! Eventually they all seem to make their way into a quilted project, but right now, I have a lot of them, so I’ve been using them up.
The blocks above are both versions of what I call the “water lily quartet” block. I was playing around last spring and threw the yellowy-green center design into the block on the right. I remember thinking at the time that the color was just too loud, but looking at it now in the dead of winter, that color strikes me as just perfect! I think all the bleak white and grey of winter makes me appreciate loud colors even more. So, I figured I’d throw that design into the center of this other matching block as well. It’s very easy to combine embroidery designs, especially when the empty space being filled is in the dead center of the block. Here’s how I did this. Step 1: Mark the center of the block using a temporary marker:
(In this case, those diagonal lines are leftover from when I did the original MEA. The soap lines that matter here are the lines that connect the midpoint of each side to the opposite side.) I keep a file on my embroidery machine that is simply a file to stitch a crosshair in the center of the hoop. So, in step#2, run that file onto a piece of hooped stabilizer and it will look like this:
Step #4-using a flat headed straight pin, align the lines on the stabilizer w/the temporary marked lines on your quilt block. Once you’ve placed foam pin anchors onto those pins to stabilize them, you can add some pins to hold the block in place during embroidery as shown below:
Step #5, after removing the pins and foam pin anchors, the machine will stitch placement outlines for all the applique shapes. Here’s what they will look like once fused in place:
Step#6-Once the hoop is returned o the machine, the edges are finished and the internal designs are stitched. Here’s a shot of it on the machine where some of the internal designs have been stitched:
The block is starting to look pretty good now! And here’s the last shot with these 2 blocks flanking another leftover test block. Don’t they look great together?
These are part of a large quilt I’m making that is largely made from leftover blocks. I sure do like how these guys look as a threesome!
And before I go…we just added a clearance section to our online store where we’re adding items that are being closed out. Once they’re gone, they’re gone, so get them now! Earlier today, we added several great instructional DVDs on various tops, mainly on machine quilting. These are all at 50% off so check them all out by clicking here.
Wow…when it rains, it pours! I got a nice email today from Debbie Wassenaar of thequiltjournal.com blog and she has been using yet another ruler foot on her Babylock Ellisimo! She is using an open toe ruler foot but the opening is on the left side. I’m going to assume that this foot was designed for use on a frame system (hence the odd positioning of the opening on the foot) but it will still work for the sit-down quilter. Again, we are all out there in the same boat, searching for ruler foot options until our sewing machine manufacturers catch up with us, so this is another option if you are still in search of a foot. You can find her blog post about the foot (with a photo so you can see it) by clicking here and you can purchase the same foot on ebay. Thanks for passing along this info, Debbie! (You should probably bookmark her blog url since she’s posting some great info about free motion quilting!)
One of the most important things about ruler work is having access to a reliable and safe ruler foot. Unfortunately, most home sewing machine manufacturers are behind on this, so most home sewers don’t have access yet to a ruler foot. Thanks to Amy Johnson of Amy’s Free Motion Quilting Adventures Blog, we’re learning about some ruler foot options that would not have otherwise occurred to us. I’ve now experimented with the Janome Convertible Foot and the ruler toe attachment on 5 models of Pfaff sewing machines as well as the Babylock Ellisimo and the Brother Quattro and had fabulous results! These 2 Janome parts may also work on your machine so we made a video that will show you each step I performed to use these parts on the aforementioned machines.
All of the aforementioned machines are low shank machines and I ordered the following 2 parts from Allbrands.com:
1. Janome Convertible Foot for Low Shank machines:
2. Janome Free Motion Quilting Foot Set:
(Remember, determine if your machine is low shank vs high shank before you order anything!) Now here’s the video that shows every single thing I did for all these machines: