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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blanket Stitch Made Easy

·         We use the blanket stitch to secure the appliqué pieces to the quilt top in most of our patterns. 
·         The reason we prefer the blanket stitch is because it secures the edges of the appliqué pieces and prevents the pieces from fraying. 
·         The blanket stitch that works best is the one that zigzags into the piece and then takes two stitches along the side of the piece. The stitches along the side create the flexibility needed to secure the edge in the turn.  Actually, it gives you two chances to secure the edge in the turn. 
·         This stitch works best with the needle in the down setting (available on some sewing machines).  Stopping with the needle down in the corner makes it easy to turn the quilt.  The foot lifts when needle down is set. If you don’t have this setting then manually put the needle down into the quilt, lift the foot and turn the quilt.
·         Moving from one piece to another without cutting the thread, makes it easier to start stitching again.
·         Fix and stop functions on a machine are great for starting the stitch (use fix) and ending the stitch (use stop). 
·         We use invisible thread in the bobbin which means you don’t have to change the bobbin thread to match the top thread.  When using invisible thread, lower the top tension by one setting.  This allows the top thread to fully cover the applique piece edge. 
 ·         When the pieces are very small, you may choose to use a straight stitch, either free motion or with your regular foot.  Another option is to make the blanket stitch smaller by reducing the width of the stitch.
·         We blanket stitch through the quilt top and batting only.  This keeps the back of the quilt clean, as the blanket stitch can create a messy back with lots of threads.  You also have less bulk to work through without the backing.

Your Camera is your most valuable quilting tool

  • When you take a picture of a quilt or block it removes your emotion from it and allows you see what need to be changed
  • Great tool for checking value, most cameras allow you to take pictures in grayscale you just need to find out how your camera does it.  Take a picture of the block or quilt in grayscale and see if you need to change the values
  • Your camera is also a great tool for checking values in fabrics before you even buy the fabric.  Take it with you shopping and stack your fabrics then take a picture in grayscale to check the value.
  • Value does all the work, color gets all the credit.
  • You can also use your camera to help design a quilt with blocks.  Arrange the block on a design wall, take a picture.  View the picture then make changes to your quilt. 
  • Keep taking pictures and re-arranging the blocks until you are happy or too tired to move the block around any more.
  • Take a final picture and print the picture.  Use this when sewing the blocks together to make sure that you sew the blocks in the correct order.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Accurately Sewing Strip Sets

·        In order to keep track of the end you started, leave the threads long on the start end and cut them short on the finished end.
·        This technique works well in our Riding the Waves Quilt Pattern

·        Alternate the starting end when sewing strips together to get straight strips.  The bottom teeth gobble up more of the fabric.  If you always start from the same end then the strips will start to curve.