Sunday, June 30, 2013

2013 Stokes County Humane Society Quilt "Cute Poochies"

Here is my 4th quilt for the Stokes County Humane Society:

Cute Pooches
83" by 58"

I used the Strip Tube Chevron pattern by Daniela Stout for Cozy Quilt Designs. It is a fun pattern, well-written and includes 5 sizes. (I have made other quilts from Daniela and Cozy Quilt Designs, they always have great directions.)
Once again, I have been collecting the fabrics over the past few months from a variety of shops. I have already started collecting for next year's quilt!

I nabbed a remnant of the blue Kaffe dots for the border. I love how that makes the quilt pop!

I FMQ-ed different patterns in each chevron section.

The back was pieced from left-over yardage from this quilt and last years quilt.

The SCHS will be raffling this quilt. It is a wonderful organization of volunteers who go above and beyond for the pets of our area.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A weekend in the life

Taking dogs to the dog park, they love it!
Sketching feathers during a conference call at work:
Making a charity quilt from our guild stash:
Free-motion quilting for fun and therapy!
Attending a quilt expo in Raleigh with a great group of friends!

Discovering a wonderful quilt shop (details to come)
Whew! We had fun!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer Mode

I am in summer mode. Still sewing, quilting, but also taking advantage of the longer days by being outside later each day.

I do have a finish. This is a sweet baby quilt for a new little cousin born into my husband's family:
35" by 43"
I used a new method to make the HSTs, more on it later.

Cute little dump trucks, contemporary colors, loving the turquoise!

For Harry.

I am FMQ-ing another, using an interesting basting method:

And I finished another triple-zip pouch:

I hope all of you are enjoying a wonderful June!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

DSM, Table-top LA, LA on Frame: a comparison

My dear friend Phyllis, asked me which I preferred for quilting: my domestic sewing machine (DSM), a sit-down long-arm (the HQ Sweet 16 I test-sewed) or a long-arm on a frame. I replied, in a perfect world, ALL 3!

So how about a comparison? I will start with the DSM.
PROS: Well, I already own 2 Viking Sapphires, which have a large throat for FMQ. They are portable (while really heavy) can be used anywhere, and stored away (as if I would do that!). Needles and threads can be easily purchased. The DSM can be used for a variety of sewing. I am very accustomed to these machines!
CONS: Even with a larger than normal throat, the area around the needle is short, and visibility is not great, I have a variety of tables arranged to hold my quilt as I work on it, but the quilts can still be heavy to move. Quilts need to be basted.
STILL: I like the ease of moving my fabric to create my stitch paths.

On to the Sit-Down long arm. These are the new "it" machines in the Quilting world. Gammill is bringing theirs out this year. Handi Quilter makes the Sweet 16, and Baby Lock has the Tiara (which are actually the same machines with different name badges). Bailey, Tin Lizzie and APQS have sit down machines as well. I have used both the HQSS and the Baby Lock versions. And WOW! I love the visibility!
PROS: The LED light ring around the needle, coupled with the height of the arm means you can see very well. That additional height and the width of the arm mean there is plenty of space for your quilts. These machines come with a custom table and do not take up a tremendous amount of space. For me, the quilting is the same as on my DSM: I move the fabric under the needle, so the learning curve of quilting on this is minimal.
CONS: table extensions (which are needed to hold your quilt) cost extra; these are specialized machines and the learning curve can be steep. You have to learn how to maintain the machine as well as learning how to operate it. Some can be adapted for use on a frame, others can not. Quilts need to be basted.
STILL: the movement of fabric is the same as with the DSM, so that is a plus!

The long arm on a frame. My line is: I will have a long arm when I grow up!
PROS: quilts are pinned to the frame, so any size quilt (depending on the length of frame rails) can be quilted easily, longer and higher throat to accommodate quilt bulk and enhanced viewing. Most come with optional stitch-regulator which can keep your stitches even as you learn. CAN use pantographs (pre-marked stitch paths)
Quilts can be basted on frame if needed.
CONS: Take up a lot of space, NOT cheap (although prices range from maker to maker and with or without bells and whistles), completely different from free-motion with a DSM or Sit-Down machine as you move the machine over the quilt. Learning curve for pinning on frame, tension, moving machine is steep, not impossible, but it does take practice. Needles, threads and supplies may not be easily and/or locally available.

The stitching on a long-arm on a frame vs. the stitching on a sit-down machine are distinctive, while they accomplish the same goal, the appearances are different. As a quilter, I really enjoy the quilting as well as the piecing, but it has taken years to feel confident with my FMQ. I know that going to a long-arm will frustrate me as I work to master the movement of the machine over the fabric, however, I still want one. We have a king-sized bed, and although I have FMQed king-sized quilts, they are heavy and basting on the floor is hard on my body.

I am planning on attending a quilt show in a few weeks to test drive as many as possible. Hope I will be adding a long-arm to my stable in the near future!

Please share your thoughts and experiences! I really appreciate the information!