Thursday, August 30, 2012

Piecing curves without pins - a video!

Welcome to everyone taking part in the Totally Groovy Quilt Along, and anyone else curious about sewing curved seams without using pins. I've made my very first video for you today!

I love the look of curvy seams in quilts and quite enjoy sewing curved seams, but I'm not keen on pinning. Today I'm going to share with you the way I tackle curved seams. I have used this technique in quite a few of my quilts which use freehand curved cutting such as Sea Views and Sherbet Dreams, but also in my quilts with precise templates such as Grand Designs (although I only describe the method using pins in the pattern.) It can take a little bit of practice to get this down pat (especially on such a tight curve needing a high degree of accuracy), but it's worth giving it a go because it could save you a lot of time.

Some tips to remember are:
  • ensure you are sewing with an accurate 1/4" seam. In this video I used foot with a 1/4" guide (I'm using my old machine because my new one is in being serviced.)
  • if your sewing machine has a needle down setting, use it, otherwise just lower the needle into the fabric if you need to stop and adjust the fabric
  • reduce your stitch length to smaller than usual. This will give you a nice smooth curve (I used about a 2 on my sewing machine)
  • have tweezers handy for holding the fabric together at the end of the curve
  • go slowly
  • don't pull the fabric, just ease and guide it through the machine
  • if possible use fabric of similar weight and weave (especially when piecing such a tight curve and needing a high degree of accuracy). If you are using all kona cottons or prints from the same range you should be okay. However if you're mixing and matching prints from different ranges you may need to test different combinations. Some may stetch more than others.
  • Give it a try, and if it doesn't work easily, just unpick it and you may need to use pins for some fabric combinations.
  • make sure you cut your fabric so the grain is running the same direction on your inner and outer curve (otherwise it may warp when you sew them together) 
  • Be prepared to unpick. I still need to from time to time.
    So, here's my very first video. Please excuse the fumbling. I pretty much had five minutes to capture it before the baby escaped from nana's (and you would have heard very cute but rather distracting babbling). Hopefully it will give you the general idea and confidence to give this method a try. 

    And here's one I prepared earlier (note that the fabrics are swapped around.)

    Have fun, and let me know if you have any questions!

    Also, Alyssa's running a giveaway sponsored by Sew Fresh Fabrics that you'll want to check out!

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    Getting to know my Nikon D90

    I'm turning over a new leaf with photo taking. I've always just stuck my camera on auto and snapped a bazillion photos in different lights and locations until a few came out okay, but now that I have a new camera I'm really trying to learn how it use it properly. I love our new Nikon D90! It takes beautiful photos, particularly due to the 50mm 1.4f lens which lets in lots of light so you can take good photos in low light.  Todd's thrilled that I'm finally going beyond auto, so that I'm not so reliant on him to take photos of my quilts. I'd like to do a 'proper' course, but right now I've attended a beginners course put on by a couple of girls from church, and I've watched these online videos - which were brilliant for going through the basics step by step - specific to my camera. I now know about aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance. Now I just have to practice so I can think on my feet and get the right thing in focus. Some of these photos were taken by me and some by Todd.

    up early

    date night

    penny lane markets
    bike riding along the river torrens

    the beauty of sharing a bed

    Monday, August 13, 2012

    Baby Shower

    We had a blast at my little sister - Erin's, baby shower on the weekend. I made these soft little rattles to decorate her nappy cake. They're meant to be giraffes but I think they look more like sea horses. When I was looking for an online template I found some gorgeous rattles from Lotta Jansdotta's book "Simple Sewing for Baby". Unfortunately I had left it to the last minute and didn't have time to buy the book, so I had to make up my own template for these ones.

    I used some beautiful gender neutral fabrics from Umbrella Prints as we don't know the sex of the baby.

    Speaking of Umbrella Prints, they have a beautiful new range of organic quilting weight fabric called Elephants Love Water! I can't decide which is my favourite  - I love them all, and I also like the fact that they are 150cm wide.

    Amelia made this absolutely gorgeous, handquilted wallhanging. I wish I had a better photo.

    I'm so excited that I'm going to have a little niece or nephew just around the corner to huggle and snuggle...

    because my little one isn't a baby anymore.

    Friday, August 3, 2012

    Penny Lane Market

    I'm a bit late posting the winner of the Groove pattern for the Totally Groovy Quilt Along as I've been finishing off getting everything together for the Penny Lane Markets tomorrow (Saturday) up in the Adelaide Hills. I've also been enjoying a quilting night with my cousins and sister (I'm so lucky to have family that quilts). It will be lots of fun doing the market with my sister, Amelia. She has been very busy sewing up a whole pile of gorgeous quilts to sell. Hopefully I can show a few of them to you soon (the first one on the rack is my Baby Mobile pattern made with Sprout Design's and Laurie Wisbrun's fabrics.)


    So, the winner of the Groove pattern is...
    "This is such a cool quilt! I am having Cuban-spiced chicken breasts with black beans and yellow rice, YUM!"

    Congrats Melanie! If you can email me your address I'll organise for it to be sent right out to you. Good luck to everyone who has joined the QAL. I'll see you later in the month for my tutorial on how to sew curves without pins!

    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    Feelin' Groovy?

    Totally Groovy Quilt Along at Pile O' Fabric

    You've probably heard about the Totally Groovy Quilt Along. It's going to be great! The "Groove" quilt pattern (from Carolina Patchworks) is fabulous and there will be lots of totally groovy tutorials and prizes along the way. We will be learning the ins and outs of curve piecing from amazing quilters Emily Cier, Jacquie Gering, Amanda Woodruff, and me, along with some quilting tips from Angela Walters and Alyssa Lichner (the quilt along host). I'm looking forward to seeing their ideas and sharing a few of my own. 

    Groove Quilt Pattern

    The quilt along begins tomorrow, so this is your last chance to win the Groove paper pattern. Just leave a comment and I'll pick a winner in 48 hours so you can get your groove on with the rest of them! I'd love to know what you're having for dinner tonight (or your favourite mid-week meal.) I'm in desperate need for new ideas.

    Groove Pattern

    Make sure you check out all the details and tutorial schedule here!