Sunday, January 30, 2011

OMG....Just One Hour

Tonight I peeled out one hour and did something really fun.  I have two alphabet quilts that I pulled out of my "to be fi
nished" stack.  I loved applique-ing the quilts.  I knew that quilting
 these would mean lots of fill
stitches around all those letters.  Then an AHA moment happened.

At home, we had an ugly throw.  Two very large pieces of Minkee, a rabbit embroidered on one side of the pink Minkee.  Then the piece got backed with a white bubble Minkee and then serged the edges of the piece with a variagated pink thread.  While very large and very cuddly, it was kinda ugly.

I carefully clipped off the serged edge.  I was careful because I have an idea for this piece.  I just want to leave my options open.

When I dismantled the two pieces of Minkee, I pulled the pink piece first.  Laying out my quilt top, I first pin basted it.  But then I discovered a secret.  Minkee has a back to it that has a bit of nap to it.  Installing my dual feed on my Bernina 830, I was able to sew the front to the back WITHOUT pinning the whole thing.  If you do this and your work shifts, I would probably tell you that you should pin baste the whole thing.  I was anxious to try it without and have to say I love the results.  Although, I think a couple of things lent well to my success.  That the Minkee had been washed and didn't have any finish on the back gave it a bit more "grab."  I also think the fact that my quilt top is very square and has pretty straight forward seaming with the large rectangles and no angle piecing helped to keep the lines straight.  Most of all was that I was utilizing the dual feed feature on my machine was likely the greatest factor for my success.  If you don't have dual feed, you must use a good walking foot.  Having personally owned a lot of different brands of machines in my sewing life, I assure you the walking foot that you paid less than $20 for on your machine may be labeled a walking foot but it is nothing to the metal geared walking foot that is designed for some finer machines.  It is a totally different cat.  You will still be able to achieve good results, but the more fine your tools, the more time you will save.  If you have doubts, pin baste a LOT.    Plucking stitching out of Minkee with errored stitching would not be high on my list of "fun things to do."

I selected the #4 stitch on my machine (the serpentine stitch), elongated and widened it.  I like this stitch because it leaves a great etching on the Minkee and it has stretch to it.  I also like the way it walks and eases the fullness of the Minkee with the cotton fabric.

When I added my binding to this piece, I stitched it to the back and brought the binding around to the front and top stitched it in place, using my #20 foot to be able to guide the stitching along the edge.  While there is a temptation to use an edge stitching foot, I find the polyester in the backing can make this a lively fabric that needs a bit more coaching with the access I get with an open toe foot.

At our next VIP (Feb 24-25-26) we are going to be showing our visitors how to cut these letters out with the cutwork tool.  I will be showing all of the pieces that I have sewn with the one hour Minkee technique.  And, we will be featuring both standard machine applique with satin stitch as well as how to make these pieces super speedy with machine embroidery.   Hope to see you there.
All the Best to You, jill

P.S.  I just showed my daughter Johanna the new quilt, told her where it had started.  Johanna looked startled.  "That's Therese's blanket.   Dad hid it on her because she left it sitting out."      Well.  I guess I will be buying Therese some new Minkee!

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