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WIP Wednesday: Pre-Turkey

I’ve been on fire this week, you guys! In addition to getting ready to host a (small) Thanksgiving dinner, I made two quilt backs, basted two quilts, quilted and bound one, and prepped for a tips post that will be on Bernina’s blog. Woot!

Basically, this quilt needed to be done. Right now. No more messing around.

Also: I’ve already made the cranberry sauce and the sangria for Thursday. The stuffing is the next thing on my list. Because priorities.

Oh, one more thing! I’m having a Black Friday sale! Which goes until Sunday. : ) So come on back this weekend, because all my PDF patterns will be $4.99 in my pattern shop, Friday through Sunday, no coupon code needed.

What are you working on? Let’s see it! And happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. readers!

LINK-UP RULES:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the “Add Your Link” button below, then click on the Instagram icon at the bottom of the screen that pops up. You should then be able to select any of your recent Instagram photos. Where it says “Link,” use the URL of your Instagram feed (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag your IG post #wipwednesday.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.

4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!

 

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WIP Wednesday: Final Prep

T-minus one week and counting until I leave for Quilt Market, and my final prep is in full effect!

I got my second quilt back from Stephanie of Late Night Quilter, who did the gorgeous quilting for me. Eeek, love it so much!
But you know what that means—it’s binding time.

 

And yes, I’m still working on the embroidered sign for my booth. It’s been slow going, but I’m still hoping to get it done!

 

And I started doing a practice run of building the booth in my garage. This is as far as I got yesterday. Today: Walls!
What are you working on? Let’s see it!

LINK-UP RULES:

1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!

 

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WIP Wednesday: IG-ing It

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Since I’m in the middle of the mad rush to get ready for Spring Quilt Market, let’s do this week’s WIP Wednesday Instagram style

I’ve been finishing quilt tops ….

Quilting them and getting them ready for binding …

Shipping off patterns for Sample Spree …. (if you’ll be at Sample Spree, come pick up a sampler pack of all 7 of my patterns!)

And hand-stitching binding. Everywhere. Even in the preschool parking lot while waiting for pick-up. : )

Want to see lots of eye candy from Quilt Market over the next few days? Then follow me on Instagram—I will share and share and share some more!

This WIP Wednesday has been brought to you by Cuts of Cotton. Cuts of Cotton was closed for the past few weeks while owner Emily was on maternity leave (congratulations, Emily! She had a baby boy!). But Cuts of Cotton re-opened this week, and Emily is celebrating by offering all of you a discount!

Get 15% off anything in the shop now through Sunday, May 18, with the code “Wednesday”. Sounds like a great way to kick off your summer sewing, so go send Cuts of Cotton some love!

What are you working on this week? Here are the linky rules:
1. Link up any blog post from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog.
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!
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WIP Wednesday with guest blogger Liz from Shush – I’m Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Hellllooooo quilty friends! It’s Liz here from Shush – I’m Quilting.* I’m talking as loud as I can in the hope that you can hear me all the way from down here in New Zealand.

I’m coolly okay about hanging out here at Freshly Pieced today for WIP Wednesday—I didn’t get all skittish or anything when Lee emailed to let me know the exciting news. Nope, I did not run into lounge room squealing at hubby that – yay – I’m guest blogging at Freshly Pieced (response: *blank stare* “what’s guest blogging?” Me: humph off to email my best quilty friends, who were much more excited for me). Anyway, it’s very nice to meet all of you who haven’t popped down to Shush before.

What have you been up to this week? I have just finished my straight line quilting on my lattice quilt. The patchwork portions have been stippled. This quilt has been such a roller coaster ride, but I love it now—I just want it finished. I’m soooo close though and I have a chocolate and white striped fabric just waiting to be the binding. See, it’s all ready to go.

Yippee. Quilting: tick.
Binding: all ready to go. Do you do this? Pop it on your machine’s spare spool. It stops binding tangle, I tell you!

While doing this quilt, I discovered a cool, new-to-me way to do straight line quilting around blocks. Instead of having to manhandle my quilt through the sewing machine to sew around the squares, I hit on the genius idea of quilting backwards once I hit the bit where you have to turn the wide part of the quilt through the machine. See:

Yep – I quilted backwards to get there.  Yes I did.  And it worked just fine.

I discovered that going backwards I have to lengthen my stitch length from 3 to 3.3 because my machine stitches a bit shorter in reverse (I quilt on a Bernina 550 QE)—but other than that, it saved me heaps of turning agony. You just need to remember to put it back into forward stitching once you turn the corner again. Or you might have a whoopsie and go back in the wrong place.  I totally didn’t do that. Not at all.

Tell me I’m not the only person who does this. I’m not totally alone in my craziness, right? Right?Are you still there?

Anyway, fingers crossed it should be bound by Friday and then I’ll have a real, grown-up finish. We’ll see …

Other than that, I have done a little more on my EPP diamond blocks. I love these, which is pretty surprising given how much I hate hand piecing.

Little birds trapped in cages for my fabricky pleasure.
No I’m not unpicking the one I sewed in upside-down!

Here is Princess** photo-bombing my blocks to show me her favourite one. No surprise there—it’s the vintage dolls. I think it’s my favourite too!

Is this my quilt Mummy? It needs to be bigger. Me: No kidding honey.

Anyway, that’s enough gabbling from me. I’m sure you’ve got something fabulous to show us. Pop on over to Shush if you want to have a look in at my gorgeous little fabricky and chocolatey giveaway. I’d love to see you.

* Why Shush, you ask? Well, because my day job is being a meany-pants banking lawyer and so we keep shush on my lovely nighttime quilty alter ego. My work mates just don’t get it, anyway!
** My fashion conscious and stroppy three year old. She thinks I quilt solely for her pleasure. She’s not far wrong!

What are you working on this week? Here are the linky rules:
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab the WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!

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Sewing Machine Feet: What I Use and How I Use Them

A recent Instagram post about a new foot I picked up for my Janome Horizon 7700 and a resulting conversation at a guild meeting has me thinking that a post might be in order about what feet I use on my machine, and specifically how I use them. Because, like many things in life, I don’t always use them in the prescribed manner. : ) So let’s take a look, shall we?

My machine had the fabulous selling feature of coming with about a gajillion feet—so it should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that I spend 99% of my time using the same four feet. And two of them weren’t even included in the package that came with the machine. : ) Figures, right?

For piecing:

Acufeed 1/4-Inch Foot 
Works with Janome 6600 and 7700; a slightly different version is available for the 8900 and 12000
I use this foot more than any in the drawer. This is my machine’s version of a walking foot, but I don’t use it for quilting! I use it for piecing. Why? Because when you’re using a standard presser foot, it can push the top and bottom layers of fabric at different rates of speed, which of course can bump your seams out of alignment. This is especially true on long seams, such as those between sashing and rows of blocks—the longer the seam, the more out-of-whack it gets. By using your walking foot (or a dual-feed system if your machine has one), you don’t have that problem. In fact, you can even sometimes compensate for slight piecing problems by forcing seams to align when they wouldn’t on their own. It’s a beautiful thing. : )

Just be aware that on some machines your seams might get a little wavy, especially when you try to force seams to line up when they are just too mis-aligned. I’ve had slightly wavy seams in the past, but they always seem to quilt up just fine, so I don’t worry about it. Another problem you might run into is that some walking feet tend to be big and bulky, making it difficult to achieve a 1/4-inch seam, and many machines don’t have a compatible 1/4-inch walking foot (I don’t understand why more machines don’t have this option available). This is just one of many reasons I love my 7700—Janome’s Acufeed dual-feed system works like a charm, and there are a wide variety of feet available for it.

1/4-Inch Piecing (O2) Foot
Works with most Janome models and other brands with low-shank snap-on feet, such as Brother, Baby Lock, Elna, and Kenmore
This is my secondary piecing foot. For short seams or blocks that don’t require a lot of accuracy, I sometimes use this foot. But mostly I stick with the Acufeed 1/4-inch foot.

For straight-line quilting:

 

Basic Acufeed Foot
Works with Janome 6600 and 7700
This is the standard Acufeed foot that comes with the 7700 and 6600. Combined with the quilting guide bar, it does the job, but this is the one machine foot I’m not completely happy with. For one thing, the guide bar is way too loose when inserted into the Acufeed foot. It’s the only serious design flaw in the 7700, in my opinion. I actually have to tape the guide onto the foot with masking tape before I start quilting, or it can get bumped out of place much too easily.

Also, this foot doesn’t make it easy if you’re trying to quilt straight lines a certain distance away from a seam. There’s no perfect place on the foot with which to line up the seam. And the 1/4″ Acufeed foot that I use for piecing isn’t helpful here either—it’s just too difficult to quilt with that pointy 1/4″ metal guide on the foot. I’m thinking about trying the Acufeed Open Toe Foot for straight-line quilting—I’ll let you know what I think if I eventually pick that one up.

For free-motion quilting:

Darning foot
This little beauty works perfectly for me. This is a pretty standard foot as far as FMQ goes, and it’s the one that came with my machine. If you want to do free-motion quilting, this is what you need (or the equivalent for your machine). The spring-loaded ones are generally best, given the option.

For binding:

Acufeed 1/4-Inch Foot 
Works with Janome 6600 and 7700; a slightly different version is available for the 8900 and 12000
And my hardest working foot is back on duty when it’s time to bind. : ) In addition to piecing, this foot is indispensable for stitching the binding onto the front of your quilt. An accurate 1/4-inch seam on your binding is crucial, especially if you plan to machine-stitch the binding onto the other side of the quilt as well. (Although, once again, walking feet for most machines aren’t designed with 1/4-inch piecing in mind.)

Acufeed Ditch Quilting Foot
Works with Janome 6600 and 7700; a slightly different version is available for the 8900 and 12000
If you want to machine-bind your quilts, you must spring for this foot! This foot was the subject of the Instagram post that got this whole discussion rolling. I don’t do much ditch quilting, but I do stitch in the ditch when I’m machine-binding (I stitch in the ditch on the front of the quilt in order to catch the binding around the back). So it occurred to me that the Acufeed Ditch Quilting foot might be perfect for that purpose—and sure enough, it was.

Just position the metal guide in the ditch between the quilt and the binding, and your needle will follow along and stay nicely in the ditch. I was able to sew much faster than I have in the past with machine binding, and it was more accurate too. (Edited to add: I use Clover Wonder Clips
to clip my binding down for ditch-stitching. They work great!)

Bonus tip:

Are the snap-on feet on your Janome getting too loose? See that little screw on the front of the shank? You can adjust that screw to tighten things up again. Mine got so loose that the snap-on feet were literally falling off the shank before I finally looked closely and realized I could adjust the screw.

Of course, if tightening the screw a little bit helps, then tightening it more must be even better, right? Wrong! Ask me how I know. : ) Yep, I stripped that little bugger. And rather than go to the trouble of finding another tiny set-screw, I ended up just ordering a whole new shank. Lesson learned. A quarter-turn or half-turn is probably all you need to tighten up those feet.

I hope these tips help! Happy sewing.

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WIP Wednesday: Still Plugging Away

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I feel like a broken record lately, since I seem to be working on the same projects, week after week.But I’m nearing the finish line on two of them:

Binding Bloom Bloom Pow
I settled on this soft neutral Pearl Bracelet print for the binding on Bloom Bloom Pow, and am busy hand-stitching away right now! Bloom Bloom Pow is headed for Spring Quilt Market in Portland and needs to be shipped tomorrow, so I’ve got to wrap it up!

Quilting Diamond Tread quilt
And I’m still slowly chipping away at the quilting on my Diamond Tread quilt. I finished the angled lines going in one direction and marked the lines going in the opposite direction with painter’s tape. I’m hoping the end result will be kind of a plaid look. Can’t wait to get back to this when Bloom Bloom Pow is finished.

Flags for Boston
And I whipped up a couple of flags for Boston, which I’ll post about in the next few days. I was so thrilled to read that these flags will be displayed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts! What an amazing display that will be.

What are you working on this week? Share your WIPs! Here are the linky rules:
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab the WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links.

Have a great week!

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Locked and Loaded

Binding strips prepared: Check.DVR stocked with episodes of House Hunters, Top Chef Just Desserts, that Austin and Santino show, and other brainless television: Check.Bottle of pinot chilling in the fridge: Check.I am ready to hand-stitch some binding onto Three Generations. Just waiting on the call from the long-arm quilter that it’s ready to be picked up.P.S. Thanks to everybody who has already entered my giveaway! If you haven’t yet, don’t forget: There’s a custom blog header and some fab fat quarters on the line!