Thursday, July 29, 2010

EQ Newsprint and...Bamboo Batting

A few weeks ago I won a package of the new EQ Newsprint from their blog! Thanks EQ! The packaging says it's for paper piecing and machine quilting. I thought I would test it out and show you my results!

The first thing I need to say is that I LOVE the packaging! It comes in a resealable bag. What a great idea!

I printed off some paper foundations and a couple of quilting designs right from EQ. The paper fed smoothly through my good printer and the persnickety printer as well. A good start!

Then I did the paper piecing. I tried 2 different stitch lengths- 1.5 and 2 on my machine. Both were excellent and tore very smoothly when I was done. This EQ newsprint worked much better than the paper I have been using ( I don't remember that brand now). I even had to tear out a seam and redo it. It held up well!

Next up on the test was to try machine quilting. I just pinned down the paper and followed the lines - well mostly followed the lines!

Then I just tore off the paper. I am really pleased with how smoothly this paper tears. There was minimal pulling of my stitches and hardly any shredding of the paper.

So the big question is would I keep this paper well stocked in my sewing room? A BIG yes! And now that I have tried it for machine quilting I can see me using a lot more of it!

So now that I have given a great review how about a bad one?

Do you remember that Redwork Santa? Well I started to hand quilt it using a new batting.

It is a cotton and bamboo mix and it feels so very soft to touch it. It is also thin enough to hand quilt BUT it is horrible to hand quilt. My quilting needle actually gets grabbed by that dastardly batting. I have never had that happen. At first I though maybe it was my needle, so I switched out the needle to not just a new needle but a different brand. Then I thought I might be crazy but I didn`t think so...

Finally I decided to stick it out and see if things got better. After all it is a Christmas project so it will only be out once a year. Well I finally gave up trying (and I mean trying with no success) to keep my stitches even so now they are what they are. If this had been any larger I would have torn it all out.

So I won`t be using bamboo again for hand quilting.

Hope you enjoyed my reviews!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fat Quarter Prewash Experiment!

To wash or not to wash is a question debated by quilters everywhere. I am a prewasher. I like how the fabric feels after washing and I have had fabrics run...not often but enough. I also like prewashed fabric more for handquilting and I almost never know what I'll use the fabric for when I buy it.

I recently bought a couple of fat quarter packs to make the Farmers Wife Quilt. It's a lot of fat quarters and more than I usually buy at one time.

Then I wondered about prewashing them all. I normally just throw them in with my yardage and I usually only have a couple fat quarters to wash at a time.

I divided them into lights, mediums and darks.

 I pinked the edges of the lights using my pinking rotary cutter.

The mediums I left as they were and for the darks I had read a tip somewhere to sew 2 edges together to form a tube. It was supposed to keep them from tangling.

To the washing machine I went. I used a shortened regular cycle with a warm wash and cool rinse.

And now for the results!

The lights...

The mediums...

The darks...

The strings of thread I cut off...

And the winner is the lights with the pinked edges. I was really surprised with the results. It was a very noticable difference. The lights didn't even tangle up while the mediums and darks both had to be cut apart.

From now on I'll be pinking those edges!

Now I can start that Farmers Wife quilt!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Charming Giddy Up!

I have finally finished my Charming Friends Quilt Along and it's name is Giddy Up! If I still lived in Calgary, AB I would think I had Stampede fever (It is Calgary Stampede time right now so maybe I do! Yee Haw!)

Because it looked so western, I looked for some western themed quilt stencils but nothing appealed to me. Finally I decided on a meadering line with the occasional 5 pointed star ( sherriff badge looking I hope!)

I keep wondering if I should tea dye it. Somedays I think yes- let's tone down that white print and sometimes I think no- I like the white! I guess until I can be sure it will remain as it is!

I was browsing at more of these Charming quilts and do I ever love them. Everyone`s quilt is so different! I can`t wait to see more!

And now I wanted to show and tell a little bit. These are fountain pens my brother has made me over the years. Most are regular fountain pens with an ink cartridge but 3 of them are dip pens. Good thing I have lots of ink!

They write most beautifully! Thanks brother!

Happy Stitching!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Oh where, oh where can they be?

Why is it that the safe place disappears just when you need it?

When I first saw 'The Quilt Show'- Episode 202 with Cindy Needham I knew I wanted to try this technique of quilting old linens. To start with I wanted to use linens that I just picked up at the thrift store or a yard sale. I had two tucked away in a safe place and do you think I can find them? Nope! I've been searching for a week now and still haven't found them. Where in the world did I put them?

I'll be keeping my eyes open at yard sales in the next little while so for now this challenge is on hold.

And speaking of things I had to go back for... I finally finished making my own stamp! (From 'The Quilt Show'- Episode 108) This was fun. I'm not sure I would do it again for fabric (you never know though!) but for paper I would! After designing it, doing the carving  and a sample pressing on paper I decided it needed a few revisions.

I tested it with block printing ink ( way thicker than I thought it would be) and rubber stamping ink. I really preferred the stamping ink.

I also stamped it on paper, muslin and then a dark blue batik. The muslin worked great and so did the paper.

 I wasn't pleased with the dark fabric. I am a 'little' particular and I found that my coverage was not the same from one pressing to the next. On the dark fabric this really shows.


I used the Speedball Speedy Carve block. It was easy to carve and I got smooth lines. It was a little more difficult to get small areas 'crisp' because this is a very flexible carving block. I'll try a different type of block next time so I can get more intricate designs.

What a wonderful creative exercise! I can't wait to get more blocks and maybe I'll upgrade to the 'bigger' carving set.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Little Stitching in Red

I am loving Series 2 of 'The Quilt Show'! These upcoming projects are going to be so much fun. Episode 201 was all about stitching- redwork and silk ribbon.

I have always enjoyed stitching but had never done the stem stitch so it was a first. I spent a lot of time on line looking for a pattern that inspired me and didn't find anything until I realized I could take any quilting pattern and use that! How perfect! I almost did a feathered wreath but I really wanted something simple for my first project.

After I finished this I got started right away on a bigger project...(I really was not supposed to add another handwork project to my pile but I could not resist!)Luckily it doesn't have to be done until Christmas.

Isn't he going to be lovely. This is from BHG American Patchwork and Quilting Issue Dec 1999.

Next was silk ribbon embroidery with Judith Baker Montano. If I liked this type of look I would hop to her studio for a class. She just seemed like such a wonderful and patient teacher. I enjoyed the silk ribbon in small quantities! So a small embellishment project perhaps would be fun.
Maybe I would feel differently if I had
 a) a proper needle
b) non cheap silk ribbon
c) proper size of silk ribbon

But I enjoyed the lesson nonetheless.

Next on the project list was watercoloring a background to use with silk ribbon or crazy quilting. Let's just say that not ALL of us should take up watercoloring on paper or fabric. As my paint was either clumping on my fabric ( not enough water) or running in a stream through my fabric (too much water perhaps?) I remembered that I was never good at watercolors at any time in my life. So my sample will get tucked away never to see the light again.

This was great fun! Happy stitching!