#veryminiquiltswap Woven Bias Tape Mini Quilts

#veryminiquiltswap Woven Bias Tape Mini Quilts

I joined up with an Instragram quilt swap, #veryminiquiltswap hosted by @alissaknits. The challenge was to make two mini quilts smaller than 5″ square. I’ve wanted to try weaving for a while and this seemed like a good time to give it a go! Earth and Fire All three mini quilts were made with 1/4″ bias tape. I made mine with starch and a bias tape maker. There are a million tutorials on how to make bias tape so I won’t beat that horse other than to mention it is useful to use more starch than you may expect. I made Earth first and it was a total experiment. It is probably my favorite pattern, but certainly the messiest of the three. I thought I was going to make an 1/8″ binding. Turns out, there is a reason people don’t do that! For Fire, I took some photos along the way. Earth and Fire are both straight weaves. To keep my pieces straight, I used an embroidery stabilizer, Sulky Sticky+. This stabilizer has a sticky side and stabilizer side. I used a blue marking pen to draw a 5″ square grid with 1/2″ marks all the way through on the stabilizer side. I hooped the stabilizer sticky side up and removed the paper from the square area + about 1/2″ all around. Since the stabilizer is translucent, I could see my drawn grid through it. I laid out roughly 19 black strips with the bias opening on the sticky side. They vary in length, but are roughly 7″ each. I then tucked the hoop under my foot and sewed...
My Design Process for custom Embroidery Digitizing

My Design Process for custom Embroidery Digitizing

So many of you have been so kind and had so many wonderful things to say about my Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt. I’m so appreciative and humbled by them all. No matter how many times I hear it,  I always find myself a bit surprised at one of them. It goes something like this –  “you’re so creative, I could never think of these things”.  Here’s a truth – I don’t “think of these things”. I WORK at it. I think about it, try things, look for inspiration, learn from my mistakes as well as my successes, and I quit when project or direction ceases to have value. I trust in the process and have patience when the answer isn’t immediately obvious. When I’m not happy or completely satisfied with a project, I take the time to objectively examine it and figure out what I’m responding to, both positive and negative. Then – I Let It Go – right in the trash most times. I honestly, deep in my soul believe that with a effort and perseverance all us can be “so creative”, it is just part of the human condition. While making the Harry Potter quilt, I’ve started to develop a bit of a process for designing and digitizing my embroidery files.  While I’m still a long way from being a technical genius, I get better at it every time I do it and refine the process a little bit more. I’m going to share with you how I worked through the designing, digitizing, and stitching of the potion cauldron from TBZ’s Harry Potter Bookcase quilt. Maybe you’ll...
Susan’s Ultimate Guide to Pixel Piecing tutorial thing (with free bag pattern!)

Susan’s Ultimate Guide to Pixel Piecing tutorial thing (with free bag pattern!)

I wrote a tutorial (ok, it is huge, maybe an EBOOK) on my process for designing, preparing, and piecing pixel quilts. You’ll get my suggestions for choosing a design, the name and link of my favorite software for laying out and counting pixels, an inexpensive pixel paper piecing process guaranteed to create perfect points, and a free bonus pattern for this 8-bit Luigi and Shy Guy quilt bag. DOWNLOAD THE FREE TUTORIAL IN .PDF FORMAT! I won’t claim my way is the “best way ever”, but I will claim it is pretty darn good! I’ve pieced 15K – 20K pixels in all sizes with all sorts of techniques. Some have been OK, some barely passable, and some total disasters. Don’t believe me – check out all of the iterations of Shy Guy – Crazy combination of hand piecing (yes, hand!) and machine chain stitching. I don’t know why I thought hand piecing was the way to correct my issues with mismatch points. I guess inexperience – I had no idea HOW LONG hand work takes! Needless to say, I quickly figured out that hand piecing was not only slow, but not that much more accurate than the chain stitching by machine. A popular, but expensive method with water soluble sticky stabilizer. OMG. I so HATED this. It is a good idea until you actually try it. First, the stabilizer is really expensive. If I remember correctly, it was around $8/yard. Second, I found it nearly impossible to correct mistakes. Once I had missed a stitch or two, it was nearly impossible to remove the stitches and reset the pieces....
My Brother Embroidery Machine has been HEALED!

My Brother Embroidery Machine has been HEALED!

Bobbin not pulling up thread embroidery. Behold! The power of the Internet! Sometimes, the conglomerate of all things we know and all of our shared experiences being accessible around the clock is incredibly useful. On Tuesday I cried a bit about my embroidery machine’s mostly deadness. On Tuesday evening he was fixed by the grace of a fellow POD’ers in the POD Facebook Group. I say big big thank yous to Jeff and Annette. To pay if forward, here’s the problem and fix with lots of search engine text strings I used when I tried to find the answer myself. Maybe, just maybe, someone having the same problem will find the answer right here. Top Thread Looping to the back on Brother Embroidery machine. Here’s the back of my embroidery projects – I had noticed that the small fonts were looking pretty crappy, but wasn’t too surprised since they have been wonky in the past with the little tiny letters. When it stitched out some of the bigger letters and there was no bobbin thread to be seen, I knew I had a problem. First, I reset everything. I turned the machine off, replaced the needle, replaced the bobbin, rethreaded the top thread, and cleaned out any lint hanging around in the bobbin case. When all of that made no difference, I tried adjusting my top thread tension from the machine settings as described in the manual with no change to the poor quality of stitching. I then tried to adjust the bobbin tension with the tension screw as described in the manual (note, I marked where it started...
Stabilizers 101, the series: See all of the posts!

Stabilizers 101, the series: See all of the posts!

Stabilizers 101, The Series Index of All Posts Since I’ve purchased my new embroidery machine, I’ve learned lots about stabilizers. If you’ve been around the blog for any length of time, you know I’m a big fan of KISS (keep It Simple Stupid). When I started researching which stabilizers to buy for which projects I immediately was overwhelmed. It seemed like there were a million to choose from with price ranges all over the map. Finding out when to use what was equally as painful. I soon realized there aren’t that many choices. There’s many manufacturers of the same purpose stabilizers with slightly different names, it looks like there are many more than there actually are. After a deep breath and counting back from 10, I mentally categorized the stabilizers into three types: water soluble, the aways (tear away, wash away, cut away), and specialties (sticky stabilizer, etc). In this series I’ll tell you everything I know about various stabilizers including how and when I use them. Stabilizers 101, the series: RinsAway I’ve been learning lots about stabilizers with my new embroidery machine. A little bit ago, I told you about the inspiration for this series of posts as well as everything I’d learned about Sulky Solvy Water Soluble Stabilizers (WSS). RinsAway (not a spelling error!) is another type of WSS with a few differences from the Sulky style stabilizers. The key difference The biggest difference between the Solvy style WSS and RinsAway is that RinsAway doesn’t completely dissolve. Right out of the package, RinsAway feels a bit like a heavy weight paper. It has a slight texture to...