Monday, April 30, 2012

Quilters Academy Vol 1

I first saw  the Quilters Academy series back in mid jan uary i guess.... Immediately ordered Vol 1 and it was hand delivered to me where i work!!  I got it from an incredible place called the Vanderhoof Dept Store, which is in the small community of Vanderhoof about an hour west of where i live in Prince George B.C.  The book was delivered by the son of the owner who happended to be coming here that day anyways!  Nice service!
I started reading the book that evening when i got home and knew immediately it was something i wanted to delve further into and learn how to quilt! properly . previously everything i did was fudged here or there , my seams probably werent even close to being a quarter inch. 
I am going to try and blog my way through the book, like a few other ladies i have seen doing. but i just have to play catch up for a few posts and hope i don't forget things. 

during this time until about mid march my DIL and 2 granddaughters ( 5 and 18 mos) plus their new baby brother were here in town while my son was in Afghanistan. so we had the girls over a lot and i didnt have a lot of time for sewing until after he returned to Canada and they all went off home together... sad they left but happy he came home safe and that they are all together again. 

It took me about 3 weeks of reading and trying things out on my machine before i finally came up with a good foot and seam guide that worked for me. 
This is the Janome straight stitch foot and although its wider than a quarter inch foot i was able to make a mark on it where the 1/4 inch is. Its hard to see in the picture but i marked a auarter inch out from the needle on both sides of the foot (not sure why on the longer side)

I found a seam guide that is printed on a piece of paper that you stick to the machine in front of the foot...... of course my machine has a drop in bobbin so i cut out the seam guide to fit the size of the bobbin cover .  you can see the little white square on my needle bed in the next picture.

my test strips were coming out pretty good ( most of the time) using these two items so i moved on to getting fabric for the practice piece in the book.
Practice sampler from the book.

I finally found some floral in a light and dark pink that i like and thought would work well for the project. I washed and straightend the fabric and then set out to cut some practice strips to test out.  When i sewed the test strips together  i was getting perfect measurements on my strips.  My first set of three strips for the project were less than stellar and had to be ripped out and restitched. Not sure what i had done wrong but the center strip was a little too narrow the first try.  I couldnt figure it out because i thought i was doing everything exactly as i did on the test strips.
Decided to try a couple more test strips and they turned out okay , I think what i was doing with the longer strips was  watching the needle and not where the fabric was in relation to the seam guideline.

Fionally got around to cutting the blocks a few days later and prepared to sew them together.  I didnt quite GET the instructions in the book for laying the blocks out  to be chain pieced  ( i have since figured it out)  so just did them into rows of 3 and then sewed the 3 rows together.   The seams butted together pretty well , not perfect but better than anything else i had done previously. and i spent a fair bit of time admiring my little pink block !! 
my practice sampler!


 I think the thing i had the most problems with is my pressing, the number one issue is my iron is spitting and spurting and shuts off after what seems like a very short time, so i am always waiting for the darn thing to heat up!
I NEED a new one!!

the back

So some of things i learned from reading the book and doing the first exercise in the book are..
  • how to straighten my fabric
  • how to press properly
  • that i need non skid thingys on my rulers!
  • that i do NOT like the quarter inch foot that came with my machine, the one with the guide..... I tried it and when i sewed over a seam while joining something it veered off course on me. Really annoying!!
  • I really, really, really need a new iron and ironing board too for that matter.
I finished the sampler block probably in mid to late February i guess.

so on to lesson 7 the first quilt top!