New Bed Mate

New Bed Mate

It’s not what you think!!!!!

I love my husband dearly.

It’s about my new diagonal stitch guide set up!

How many HSTs do you supose you make in a year?
When you consider every snoballball [aka “stitch and flip”], plus every binding you do is the same corner to corner technique, it adds up to alot.

Now, I realise many people have only one [gasp] sewing machine, but I have been blessed to find quite a few. Which is great because having a Butterfly brain, I often flit from project to project. Mostly because some projects get moved up into the que due to some event – like babies. Yeah, lets blame other people!

With my last project, I decided I needed a better diagonal seam sewing set up.

Baby_Kisses_NotReallyWorking

I tried to “finger press” a fold to follow, [unsucessfully] but I ended up just drawing the line corner to corner. Then I decided I didn’t want to waste all those corners, so I sewed a 1/2″ away. You can see where I had to draw another line 1/2″ away from the first line of stitches. I use dissapearing ink, so I have to sew quickly. This is probably why so many people toss these corners after clipping them.

Since my Rocketeer was handy, and I’d been doing my binding on it for awhile now, I decided to use that.  It’s really too awesome of a machine to completely dedicate it to such a menial task, plus having a top loading bobbin, I needed a way to make it removable, that wouldn’t take a bunch of time to set back up.
I already had “The Angler II” but it hangs over the bed of the machine, and you need to use the “key” to align the needle every time you place it on the bed. The bobbin lies under it, so we know what’s going to happen, right?
If I had the kind of patience required to line up the needle every time I changed the bobbin, I could just draw lines on every single piece I wanted to sew like everybody else.
but I am not like everybody else. When I get bored, I start thinking about ways to make my tasks simpler, or at least easier.

I got some cardboard, and traced around the bed. I included the back for more space for the pieces to land, and to make it a tight fit, so I wouldn’t have to line the needle up each time I used it. I then placed The Angler on the bed, and measured how far I wanted my Bed-Mate to extend, and gave that template to my wonderful husband. I can make stuff with wood, and have for years, but in my experience, men like to feel useful and loved, so I “let” him make me stuff.

Rocketeer_BedMate_NeedleSetting_02

After he made it, I used the key to line up the needle, and taped The Angler down with painters tape.

Rocketeer_BedMate_Setup

and you know what?

It’s as wonderful as I thought it would be!

Rocketeer_Binding_SetUp_03

Even sewing binding is easier.

Rocketeer_Binding_SetUp_01

When I ran out of bobbin thread, I simply removed the Bed-Mate by sliding it out, filled the bobbin, slid the Bed-Mate back into place, and alakazam! Back to sewing! Just like magic!

Rocketeer_BedMate

Not only does The Angler have diagonal stitch lines, it has 1/4 stitch lines on each side of the needle!
I added pink glo tape to get a half inch mark, for sewing the other side of Snoballs, and get some FREE HST’s.

Rocketeer_Snoballs_TinyHSTs

The first project, and inspiration for this, was a lot of snoballs, and even though these were only made from 2.5 squares, I had to test it, I stitched another line a half inch away, and made tiny HST’s!

Rocketeer_Snoballs_TinyHSTs_02

Really tiny HST’s

Baby_Kisses_Tiny_HST

So tiny that I bought the 1.5 Bloc-Loc for them.

Cuz if you think I’m gonna try to line up the seams to trim all those tiny squares, . . . then it’s like you don’t know me at all!

Tiny_HSTs

Now what am I gonna do with all those tiny HST’s?

Well . . . another problem I seam to have is that I go to these all-day-sew events every couple of months. I love looking at other peoples projects, machines, fabrics, all of it.
but . . . I never know what to bring with me to sew. I often think as I go, sewing a bit, standing back and looking at it, stopping to do some figuring, having a look-see at my stash, check out my quilty friends on facebook, ect. All of which, I secretly fear would make me look like a lunatic to the other ladies at the sew-in. I need a project that is portable, and planned out, or at least that doesn’t require thinking.

I may have just the thing!

 

#Bedmate #TinyHSTs #WhatToDoWithTinyTriangles

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Pieced Borders & That 1 /4″ stitch

Pieced Borders & That 1 /4″ stitch

I’d love to tell you that my head did not explode [yet] while doing the pieced border on my exploding Block Quilt.

and I could tell you that I’m a genius, who mathamagically  calculated the length of the quilt sides, divided it by the number of blocks, added 1/4″ to each,  cut all those tiny pieces precisely, and sewed them to end exactly on the corners, but that would be a lie.

I used EQ7 to do my math, and a Dritz Quilters Gauge for my almost perfect 1/4 stitch.

Many ask how to get that perfect quarter inch stitch, so here is how I do it.
I use a quilters gauge by Dritz, but there are probably other brands. I tried using a ruler, and measuring from the needle to the edge of the foot, and moving the needle over, but that wasn’t as quick or effective, and some machines don’t let you adjust your needle, so for about $6, this tool make life easier.

needle_space_guage

This works best without the needle threaded, but I was in a hurry to take the pictures, and I was resetting my guide to 1/2 inch to piece the backing, so acuracy didn’t matter in my case. I will remove the thread when I reset it to a 1/4 stitch, or that thread could cause me to be off.
Step 1 Turn hand wheel until feed dogs are down, and the needle is still up.

feeddogs_down

Step 2 Place the quilters gauge under the foot and slowly lower the needle into the hole at 1/4 inch mark. [reading glasses may be helpful]

lower_needle_through_hole01

Step 3 lower your presser foot to hold it in place, then slide your stitch guide over to meet the edge.

slide_guide_plate

  • You can use an expired gift card if you do not have a guide that attatches to your bed. Do not use other kinds of tape or they may damage the finish on your machine. Besides painters tape is also handy to use for straight line quilting when you don’t want to risk other types of markings on your quilt.

Finally, tighten down the guide screws, or tape the expired gift card down, raise needle, and presser foot, then remove the dritz quilters gauge.
Then go ahead and test it. Sew 2 pieces of 2 1/2 wide fabric together, and the result should be 4″ wide after pressing.
If your sewn pieces are not 4″ wide after pressing, scoot your guide over a teensy bit. I got it on the first try, I don’t always get stuff on the first try, so some practice may be in order.

exploding_block_pieced_border

Now one thing I learned about oddly shaped pieced borders is 1 you must press each piece before sewing on the next piece, and 2 it does matter how you press it. The image with the scissors shows a gap, which will disappear when pressed correctly. This is when “Press to the dark side” won’t work. You have to let the fabric tell you where it wants to go.

Pressed correctly will result in a quarter inch of leftover so you can sew your next piece on and not cut off your points.

exploding_block_borders02

Also if your last border is pieced, you may want to add a small border the same color as your outside edge so you have something to trim after quilting. That quarter inch left over leaves you with nothing to trim. If your quilting is perfect and you don’t have to trim, adding the binding to that tiny 1/4″ will be tricky. but hey if you quilted it perfectly, maybe you’ll get lucky with the binding too.

The second reason to add a trimmable border is, if your pieced border has bias pieces, you want to stablise those for quilting. That, or if you want to remain in good standing with your long arm quilter.

I am quilting it myself, and not wanting to waste any prefectly good luck on this, I added a  white border that I can trim later.

The hardest part of making this quilt has been chosing the backing! With only 3 main colors, and everything I liked clashing with one of those colors, it has taken me longer to find the fabric than it did to sew all those pieces together. I know if you can’t match, you contrast, but any contrasting fabric I found included a shade that was just ‘off’ for the rest of the quilt. I lost count of how many fabrics I auditioned, and by that I mean bought. I now have enough backings to do a dozen more quilts!

I finally found fabric that actually matched. Of course it came in 2 pieces, so I had to get creative on the back. Fortunately it’s busy enough to hide both the number of pieces, and any imperfect quilting.

I thought I’d take a “ready to quilt” picture.

exploding_block_readyforquilting

It’s only halfway quilted now, so that’s all you get.

#QuarterInchStitch  #ExplodingBlock #FancyBorders