Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Stash #15 - A tale of two Brothers

So this isn't EXACTLY about an addition to my stash, but a new sewing machine must be shared with others who will appreciate it, right?!

For about two years now, I've been sewing on a Brother CS6000i.  It's a delightful machine for sewing quilt tops, bags and other small items, but I was getting more and more frustrated with trying to actually quilt on it.  It seemed like a battle to even do straight-line quilting with my walking foot, let alone try and free-motion quilt.  I never even gave this machine a name, although (spoiler alert) it's now been dubbed Little Brother.

So I started looking around for a machine that I could really quilt with, but that was within my budget (a tall order, for sure).  I honestly don't remember where I first read about the Brother Nouvelle 1500S (aka PQ1500S), but from reading the reviews on Amazon it seemed like a good fit for me, both with regard to capability and price.  Meet Big Brother:

Big Brother! (Slightly crooked and with NCIS's Agent Gibbs in the background.)

I have now been doing piecing with Big Brother for about a month, and I've quilted one (small) quilt on it so I feel like I can do a decent review.

Throat space!  I feel like pretty much anything can fit easily.
Larger bobbins
Needle-down stop button
Even feeding feed dogs
Auto-threading bobbin

Check out the difference in the throat space!

The threading is much more complicated (I still look at the cheat sheet)
Side-loading bobbin (awkward!)
Side-threading needle (again, awkward!)

Other considerations:
Big Brother is HEAVY.
Only straight stitch (not even zig zag)
Knee-lift for presser foot
Notched 1/4" foot instead of a flat edge
No more auto-tension adjustment/correction

Quarter inch foot on the left, walking foot on the right.

These are pretty much the only knobs on Big Brother!

All in all I'd say I'm pretty satisfied with my purchase.  I've had to learn about manual thread tension adjustment and like I mentioned above, the threading's not exactly intuitive, but I'll get there.  I'm also having to get used to using a pedal again, as Little Bother had a start button you could push instead of using the pedal.  (I know, I know, only weenies use a start button instead of a pedal.)  Both machines also came with a nice assortment of feet, extra bobbins and a few extra needles, as well as extension tables.  Little Brother came with a hard plastic case/cover, whereas Big Brother's cover is soft vinyl (not that I really use the cover anyway).

My plan moving forward is to keep both machines, using Big Brother for quilting and piecing, and keeping Little Brother for decorative stitches and the like (for napkins, etc), as well as maybe some piecing.  After all, you can never have too many sewing machines, right?!

Linking up with Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles!

Molli Sparkles

ALYOF - March goal complete!

Finishing my Ribbit quilt was my ALYOF goal for March and also my third and final goal for my Quarter 1 finishes for the 2014 Finish Along.  Looks like I'm squeaking (croaking?  ribbiting?) it in under the wire.

I actually put off finishing this one because it was going to be the first quilt to be quilted on my new sewing machine!

I bought a Brother Nouvelle 1500S as a belated Christmas/birthday present to myself, and so far we're getting along pretty darn well (post to come later today).  I have pieced my last two Swoon blocks on the new machine but was nervous about actually quilting something on it.

As is usually the case with this kind of thing, there wa
s nothing to be nervous about!  The quilting was a dream - it fed through so beautifully and the stitches were so uniform!  Ribbit is quilted in bright green thread, because that seemed fitting for a froggy quilt.

It's bound partly in Kona Turquoise and partly in the green/blue Denyse Schmidt plaid from JoAnn's that I had in the stash.  It was supposed to be all in turquoise, and I would have preferred that, but somewhere between my math and the cutting counter at JoAnn's I didn't have enough.  So you improvise, right?

 The actual binding process was not so smooth as the quilting and will take some work.  The walking foot for the machine isn't as wide as the one for my other Brother, and that took some getting used to.

Anyway, done is done!  I love how bright and cheery this quilt came out.  It's going to be donated to a charity group through the Hands2Help quilt drive sponsored by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Linking up with the other March finishers!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Stash #14 - Winter's Lane

I really liked Winter's Lane from the first time I saw it online.  And then I hemmed and hawed and almost waited too long to buy this line that I liked so much!  Fortunately, my sweet brother and sister-in-law got me an Etsy gift card for Christmas, which was just the push I needed to make the purchase.

This bundle has 11 half yard cuts in it, including most of the cuts that I liked best.
The reds are my favorite :)
Followed by the browns.
And ice blues.
I (think) I've decided to go with the Star Surround tutorial from Melissa at Happy Quilting for this bundle.  The only "problem" is that the pattern calls for NINE half yard cuts...which means I need to lose two of these.  Part of me wants to cut the blues, because there's only two and that'd be easy.  The other part of me says to cut the prints with birdies in trees (one in brown and one in cream) because there's a lot of negative space in those prints and the overall gestalt would get lost in the cutting.  Thoughts?

My other dilemma was what to use as a background color.  After much debate (and Pinterest searching/Googling) I decided to go with Kona Chocolate.
No idea why this is sideways.  But here's the picks minus the blues.

And then, a moment of serendipity!  At my first Louisville Modern Quilt Guild meeting I found a bolt of the cream poinsettias on clearance!  And a backing was born :)

I haven't yet decided what my next project will be after my Swoon, but this is sure tempting!  Plus if I start now, I'll surely be done by Christmas 2014!

Linking up with Sunday Stash, hosted this week by the lovely Kristel!

Molli Sparkles

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Swoon - (almost) halfway done

I've been working away on my Swoon blocks.  There are lots of subunits to these blocks, so it's taking me a while, but the end result is so big I think it's worth it.

I started off the weekend with three finished blocks.

And one block in process.
Add caption
I'm now up to four complete!
And nope, I still haven't fixed that one wrong triangle...

Only five more to go...

Linking up with the good folks over at Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Stash #13 - Quilters' Day Out goodies

Yesterday was a good day.  I started the day with yummy breakfast with my work buddies and ended it with dinner at the local German restaurant with family.  In between, I went to Quilters' Day Out!

Coinciding nicely with Worldwide Quilting Day, Quilters' Day Out is an event that brings together the Louisville area quilters, quilting guilds and quilting shops for an afternoon of, you guessed it, all things quilty!

Clearly I am a slacker blogger, because I didn't take my camera.  It's a real shame I forgot it, because there were some pretty awesome quilts on display as part of the Viewers' Choice Challenge.  My all-time favorite was one done with brightly colored yo-yos appliqued on a background of bright teal.  Classic yo-yos + bright colors = love!

The guilds in attendance were each doing a demonstration of some kind, which was neat.  One of the guilds also handed out this work/coloring sheet for tumbling blocks.

I also made a small purchase - an "essentials" pouch from one of the LQS (The Cozy Quilter).  It has a packet of 10 Clover clips (they're much smaller than I thought they'd be!), a Frixion pen, a seam ripper with a little thread grabber thingy on the cap, and a Creative Grids grippy ruler, all in a clear plastic pouch.  Not bad for $20.  I'm especially excited about the Clover clips, because one of the things on my "to do" list is the Sew Sweetness Aeroplane bag, and I hear the clips are especially helpful for bag making.

Linking up with Molli Sparkles!
Molli Sparkles

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Stash #13 - fun w/ Camille Roskelley

A couple weeks ago I finally overcame my indecision and spent some Amazon Christmas money.  There are just so many tempting quilting books out there that it was hard for me to decide which one to buy!  My main criteria was a book that had a MAJORITY of patterns that I was interested in making, as I think it's pretty impossible to like ALL the patterns.  But hey, I may be wrong.  Anyway, I decided to go with Camille Roskelley's newest book, Simply Retro.

I haven't made anything yet, but the pictures inside are sure tempting!  I was partly influenced to buy the book because a few months ago (I know, my indecision/procrastination borders on epic) I bought Camille's Craftsy class, Pre-Cut Piecing Made Simple, and have been enjoying it.  Admittedly, I bought the class when it was half off, and figured I wasn't going to get a cheaper opportunity to buy three Camille patterns at once, including the ever-popular Swoon!

Remember how I said I'm an epic procrastinator?  I bought the fabric for my Swoon way back in December.  But look, I'm two blocks in!  And yes, there's a slight little hiccup I haven't fixed yet (see bottom right of the purple flowers), but otherwise it's going along well.  I was slightly worried about getting my HSTs the right size because these aren't made large and then trimmed, but so far so good :)  Hopefully the next seven will go along smoothly!

Linking up with Sunday Stash at A Stitch in Between!

Molli Sparkles

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday Stash #12 and March ALYOF goal - a combo post

My Ribbit quilt hasn't seen much action lately, and that needed to be remedied because it's the last of my Quater 1 Finish Along goals.  Since this is the last month of the quarter, Ribbit's going to do double duty as my March ALYOF goal.  It needs basting, quilting and binding!

I bought some Kona Turquiose a few weeks ago to use as the binding.

Is this not the most wrinkled piece of fabric you've ever seen come off a bolt?
And the backing is all pieced (from my stash).

Guess I'd better get basting!

Linking up with Sunday Stash and the ALYOF March Goal linky party!

Molli Sparkles

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Crafty Traveler tote - finished!

I'm now two goals down and one to go for my Quarter 1 Finish-Along!  The second of my three goals was to complete the Crafty Traveler tote from Ellison Lane.

I didn't really have the exact fabric requirements (or interfacing requirements for that matter), so I fudged things a bit and I think it still came out well!

Ta da!
Above you can see evidence of my first change-up - I didn't have enough coordinating fabric in my stash to make the contrasting handles, so I just used the main fabric instead.  It think it works fine, although the contrast would have been nice and if I make the bag again I'll follow along with that instruction.  I also didn't do the few inches of contrasting fabric within the handle itself- a couple fewer cuts and seams and I don't think I'm missing out on anything.

I adore the way the side pockets are made!  The inside lining piece is a little taller than the outside pocket piece, so all you do is fold it down and top stitch - easy and great impact!  That said, the pockets are pretty tall (my fabric scissors are tall enough to fit well, but my rotary cutter completely disappears) and could probably be an inch shorter and just as functional.

And more evidence of my fabric fudging - I didn't have enough of the proper lining requirements, so one pocket has one lining and the other has a different lining.  No biggie, the more colors the better!

And (surprise, surprise) I fudged the lining too.  I ended up using the main exterior print as an "accent" on the sides of the lining - I think it adds a nice pop!  I tried really hard to measure and sew carefully, but I think the lining still came out a little big.  I probably should have increased the seam allowances a little bit more, but done is done.  Also note the two different pocket linings, although the green doesn't pop very well because it's the lining fabric.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with my tote!  Here's my final thoughts on things I like:
  • Inside and outside pocket construction
  • Long handles - the bag goes over the shoulder nicely
  • Big size!
  • The body of the bag is nice and sturdy thanks to the interfacing combos
  • Also FYI - I used Fusible Featherweight instead of Shape Flex and Craft Fuse instead of Decor Bond because I had those on hand and I think things turned out just fine.

And things I'd do differently:
  • The handles could be thicker/more sturdy - maybe use Craft Fuse/Decor Bond in addition to the Thermolam like the body of the bag?
  • Change up handle construction - I'd just fold the handle strap wrong sides together, tuck in the raw edge and top stitch on both sides.  None of this turn inside out business!
  • Putting the binding on the top of the bag was annoying to me (I don't like to hand stitch and my machine stitching didn't come out so well - notice no close-ups of that part!).  I wonder if you could construct the top band of the bag like the contrast band of the pockets - make the whole lining an inch taller and then fold down and top stitch!
Linking up with Can I get a Whoop Whoop and the linky party for Ellison's Lane Travel Handmade Series.