October 13, 2014

It’s just not me

A few years ago, I bought a Pfaff Hobby Grand Quilter and a Grace "Next Generation" frame so that I could machine quilt.  I had good intentions, but I discovered that I am definitely NOT a machine quilter.  I enjoy the peace that comes from sitting and slowly hand stitching.  It’s what I am good at, and I love it.  When I machine quilt, I become agitated and stressed. I love the sewing machine, just not on a frame.  It is wonderful for straight stitching and piecing! 

Soooo, I am selling my frame, the carriage that holds the machine, and the Quilter’s Cruise Control.   I need it out of my basement and into a home where it will be loved and used.  Located in the Flint, Michigan area, we will disassemble and help load it into your vehicle for the drive home.    If you are interested, please contact me via email at caron mosey at gmail dot com. 

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August 29, 2014

What is “Echo Quilting"?

Start with the word, “echo.”
An echo is:
  • a repetition of sound produced by the reflection of sound waves from a wall, mountain, or other obstructing surface.
  • a sound heard again near its source after being reflected.
  • any repetition or close imitation, as of the ideas or opinions of another.
  • a person who reflects or imitates another.
I think of echoes as being very similar to ripples in the water after you toss a pebble into it. 


Let’s translate that idea onto cloth or paper. Grab a piece of paper and draw a simple shape, like the blob shown here.
Next, take your pencil and go around it one time following the shape of the blog. Don’t worry about absolute accuracy in width, just do it. Now do it again. And again. Now imagine doing that with a needle and thread! That would be echo quilting!

The fun part of echo quilting for me is that I don’t have to mark my lines in advance. The freedom that provides is delightful! I am echo quilting the quilt that is currently in my hoop right now. I quilted around the edge of each applique shape once, approximately an eighth of an inch away from the edge of each shape. Once that was completed, I began the process of going around again, this time about a quarter-inch away from the first stitching line. And again. And around again. 


There will come a time in some projects where you will work yourself into an area and wonder how you are going to get out of it. Take a close look at the area in the photo below. Can you see where that happened?


There are no hard and fast rules about how to tackle a situation like this. You just do it as you think it would look best for you. I try to stick to echoes that are about the same width as I go around, but again, I don’t really worry about absolute accuracy. When this quilt is all finished, you won’t look at it with a ruler in your hand, and it won’t be noticeable.


What are you working on that could use some echo quilting?

The quilting above is stitched with Presencia 40 wt. thread, color #207, available at www.HandQuiltingSupplies.com .

August 04, 2014

Untangle Your Thread!

One of the most common complaints I hear from hand quilters has to do with thread knotting up as you are sewing.  Thread needs to be able to hold a knot, but it should hold a knot that YOU put there, not one that it creates all on its own.

So why DOES thread knot? There are several  reasons.

·         Static – remember static cling – walking around in the winter with a sock stuck to the back of your sweater?  Or, like my high school English teacher back in the day who was caught walking down the hall in January with her skirt hiked up in the back, exposing… things that shouldn’t be seen?  If the air is dry where you are sewing, the motion in and out of the fabric can cause thread to cling to itself, thus creating knots.  Try some beeswax or Thread Heaven on your thread and see if that helps.  It will provide added strength and conditioning that can help.

·         Dryness – same as above

·         Twisting – When thread is wound onto a spool by a machine at the manufacturer, it causes the thread to twist.  Some thread will twist more than others.  I have found that If I thread several needles at a time (perhaps a dozen) and stick the needles into a pincushion and let the thread tails relax, my thread will produce fewer knots.  Try it!

·         Age – The age of your thread DOES make a difference!  It can become brittle, rotted, and will easily knot, twist and bunch up.  It can also snap if you are sewing and give it a little tug, so be cautious using older thread!  Get yourself some new, high-quality thread.  See if that doesn't make a difference for you!

·         User error – I worked for a while as a technology director for a local school district, and “user error” was the most common problem that we saw.  That is, the problem is not caused by anything technical.  Rather, it is a problem created by the user him/herself.  User error is found in sewing as well.  As you are sewing by hand, the way that you stitch and pull, stitch and pull actually TWISTS the thread and eventually will create a knot.  The best way to prevent this is to 1) use beeswax or Thread Heaven on your thread to coat it, AND every 6 to 10 stitches, stop for a second, let your thread and needle dangle, and then start stitching.  As your thread dangles, it will unwind and reduce your chances for tangles.

Here are a few more tips found in an article from Thursday, 31 May 2012 at:

1.       Always thread the end you've actually cut from the spool into the eye of the needle. 
2.       As you hand sew, pull the thread in the direction you are sewing. 
3.       Hand quilters will roll the needle between their fingers as they stitch in the opposite direction of the twist of the thread.
4.       Cut you thread into lengths no longer than about 18" to 20".


Published by Caron Mosey of www.HandQuiltingSupplies.com 2014.
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