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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! (This pattern is now available here!)
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/lee.a.heinrich). 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: Christmas In September

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
I feel like I’m juggling about a hundred balls in the air right now, so let’s get right to it, shall we? : )

By the time you read this, my Nordic Christmas quilt will be D-O-N-E. (You can now buy the pattern here!)

And I really love how my Quilter’s Mixology quilt is coming together. A certain member of my family is going to freak when she sees this.

 

What are you working on this week? Here’s how to link up:
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 and mention me, @lee.a.heinrich.
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: Guest-Hosted by Laura of Quokka Quilts

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
WIP Wednesday comes to you today from the most remote city on earth – Perth, Western Australia, where we are closer to Indonesia than we are to Sydney and the only land-based animal between us and Africa is the quokka. Hi, I’m Laura and I blog over at Quokka Quilts.

Now I know you want to rush to the linky party, but just so you don’t spend all day wondering what on earth a quokka (pronounced kwokka) is, it’s a marsupial found only in Western Australia, is possibly linguistically related to a wookie, and it looks like a kangaroo got friendly with a rat and… well, now you have an idea. You can kinda see it in my old blog button. Add a long ratty tail and that’s it. (I made up the wookie bit but the rest is true).

These creatures below are not quokkas. These are highly trained quiltdogs. Also known as Melody and Scarlett.
JimmybagScarlettMel
They take their work very seriously as you can see. (The tutorial/pattern for that bag is on my blog but be warned, it’s NOT a normal pattern). When I’m not being disrupted by the Quiltdogs, I sew on a Bernina 820 and a HandiQuilter Sweet 16. I love extreme free-motion quilting, appliqué, making bags, and all things modern quilt related. I am President of the Perth Modern Quilt Guild and I run Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday (which Lee inspired) with MR from QuiltMatters.

Works in Progress

On the design wall

I’ve been slightly obsessed with the Quick Curve Ruler lately, so this is on the design wall in pieces. I’ve fallen in love with Kaufman printed quilter’s linen, which is the grey background. The other bits in there are some Simply Color, Kate Spain, Tula Pink and Birch organics, which is a fairly good indication of my fabric loves.
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 On the quilting table

I have two dinosaur pillows in progress for an old school-mate’s children who drew the dinosaurs themselves. This pillow is now finished, the other (in the inverse colour scheme) is just waiting for me to finish the quilting before being turned into a pillow .

Neeve's dinosaurs
I also have a quick little charm quilt (Sunnyside by Kate Spain) pinned and ready to be quilted. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by green recently so looking forward to quilting something warmer!
scarlett on the Sunnyside
I’ve also got a monster-sized Mondrian-inspired quilt which I am bashing away at bit by bit using templates and the S16.

avalonMondrian

I cannot wait until this one is finished!

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Thanks to Lee for having me here! I’m looking forward to seeing what you link up!
And of course, don’t forget to link up! 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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Spiced Chai Quilt

 I guess it’s a good sign that I want to make a whole bunch of quilts from my own book, right? Here’s another recent finish—my version of Katie’s Spiced Chai quilt from Vintage Quilt Revival.
This might be my favorite quilt in Vintage Quilt Revival. It’s simple, it’s quick and fun to make, and I think it should be a poster quilt for modern-traditionalism, because it’s got it all going on. A beautiful traditional block, plus so much of what I love about modern quilts—asymmetry, unexpected block flips and rotations, strategic color placement that emphasizes the design, use of negative space. The list goes on.
So I knew I needed my own Spiced Chai. And this was one of those rare instances where I didn’t feel the need to make a lot of design tweaks, because Katie’s quilt is kind of perfect just the way it is.
The colors in my quilt are similar to those in Katie’s version, just a little more subdued. I even used Katie’s quilting methods—except that I swapped them by putting the squiggly lines into the leaves, while the swirlies were the background. The only significant change I made was to use woodgrain prints instead of solids for the neutral blocks. Because I do love me some woodgrains. (These are from Erin McMorris’s Lush Uptown line.)
And look: more swirly quilting! After stubbornly refusing to do any FMQ other than stippling for about three years, I’m kinda proud of myself for branching out recently, can you tell? : ) Remember what I said in my last post about burying knots? This quilt totally helped me get over my fear of knots. All the more reason to love it.
Definitely one of my new favorites.
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A Safari Moon Quilt

Welcome to my stop on the Safari Moon blog hop! I’ve got a quilt to show you, using Frances Newcombe’s Safari Moon line, of course.

This quilt has been a bear to work on. It went through more design changes than I care to mention—I made changes literally right up until I sewed the last seam! But I think the beautiful colors of the Safari Moon line positively shine when paired with this background color, which is Kona Cotton in Regal (another one of my new favorites, I think!).

But notice anything missing in the photo above? Like, say, half the quilting? I was FMQing along this weekend, all in a groove, and then, bam! My bobbin case somehow unseated itself and went all crooked inside my machine. Broke my needle and everything. Like so:

See those red arrows? They’re supposed to be lined up. How does something like that even happen? Nothing I did would get it back on track and working again. Every time I put the bobbin case back in straight, it would get all whacked again after about every third stitch. So, my machine is headed to my repair guy at the earliest convenience. The whole thing is making me very unhappy.


But hey, check out what I did get done! One of the reasons I don’t use more dark background colors in my quilts is because of the challenge this leads to in quilting. I like my quilting thread to blend, but there’s no single color you can choose that will blend in all the areas of a high-contrast quilt like this. And you guys, I hate burying knots. Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent my entire quilting career thinking of ways to avoid burying knots. Fortunately, Katie convinced me to get over myself and quilt with two colors, knots and all. And I’m so glad she did! It was definitely the best choice for this quilt. I’m stippling in the dark blue areas, and I did wavy lines in all the other areas.

I’ll be finishing this one up as soon as my Janome dealer nurses my machine back to health. And I’m definitely writing a pattern for this quilt! I’m cautiously optimistic that I can have it out and available in the next two weeks. (Though that’s dependent on my machine, of course!)

And in the meantime, my back-up machine, the Hulk (ironic nickname courtesy of my guild friends) is back. Oh, Hulk. No offense, but I didn’t want to see you this week.

Thank you, Frances, for having me on your blog hop and asking me to play with your lovely fabric line!

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Meet the “Vintage Quilt Revival” Quilts: Sugar Snow

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Good morning! Let’s take a look at another one of my quilts from Vintage Quilt Revival, shall we? And it might just be my personal favorite from the book.
“Sugar Snow” is a sentimental quilt for me. For the past five years, my girls have gone to a wonderful preschool at a nature center. Every winter, the whole class traipses out to a stand of maple trees on the grounds to collect the sap and eventually make it into syrup. This quilt was inspired by my visit to the maple trees with my older daughter’s class. In the time that has passed since I designed it, my older daughter finished preschool and went on to all-day grade school, and my younger daughter not only started preschool there, but is already only months away from becoming a pre-K graduate herself. Time flies like snowflakes on a gust off of Lake Michigan—which, not coincidentally, is exactly what this quilt is designed to evoke.

There’s more in the book about how I found my inspiration for this quilt and how I interpreted it into the design you see here. Inspiration is such an important part of the process for myself and many other quilters (both modern and traditional alike). So I thought it was only right to include some details about that in the book.

One of the best things about this quilt, hands-down, is the quilting, done by the super-talented and delightful Krista Withers. One of Krista’s signature quilting styles is quilting “ghost blocks” into the negative space of a quilt, and I knew that was just the thing for Sugar Snow.

Thanks for checking out Sugar Snow! Katie is up next, on Wednesday, with another one of her quilts from Vintage Quilt Revival, and you can check out my Stardust quilt right here.

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Bow Tie Required Quilt

Bow Tie Required - a free pattern!

My Bow Tie Required quilt is complete! This was such a fun collaboration with my fellow Milwaukeean, fabric designer Allison Beilke. And now you all can enjoy the fruits of that collaboration with my new free pattern!

Yep, a complete pattern to make this quilt is now available on Craftsy, free of charge. Click here to download the pattern. It’s a fun and very beginner-friendly pattern! And to bring mid-century modern cool to your pad, click here to check out Allison’s fabric line, Business and Leisure, available in four colorways and multiple scales from Modern Yardage.

Bow Tie Required - a free pattern!

If you’ve been hanging around this corner of the blogosphere for any length of time, you know I’m not much of an improv girl. Wonkiness doesn’t come easily or naturally for me. But when Allison asked me to design a pattern for her Business and Leisure line, I took one look and just knew some wonkiness had to be involved somehow. I mean, it would have been borderline tragic to create a pattern for this line that had all straight lines and right angles.

So I took a deep breath and jumped in with both feet. But of course I didn’t want to go too crazy-improvvy on this thing, since that is definitely not my thing. In the end, I think I came up with a good compromise. This design is wonky and improvisational, but within a definite structure, which I love.

Bow Tie Required - a free pattern!

The bow tie blocks were inspired by Allison’s amazing Mad-Men-esque prints. And you guys, these blocks are genuinely fun to piece, even for a wonky-phobe like myself. In fact, they’re kind of addicting. The pattern includes complete instructions for making the bow-tie blocks, of course, and you can also come back on Thursday when I’ll be posting a full Bow-Tie Block tutorial right here.

I complimented the bow-tie blocks with some wonky squares and wonky frame blocks. They’re made in a bit of an odd way in order to give them that floating appearance without too many seams, but again, it’s all 100% beginner-friendly.

Bow Tie Required - a free pattern!
For the quilting, you might remember that I was attempting something new: Boxy, straight-line free-motion quilting. Wow, I found this quilting style very difficult to pull off. It’s challenging to get sharp corners with a free-motion-quilting foot—you have to pause for just a beat or two, or you won’t get a corner at all, and pausing is not something you normally want to do during FMQ! It’s usually all smooth and flowy, while this style was all herky-jerky and kind of robotic. Then there was the matter of keeping the lines from curving, another difficult task. Last but not least, I was trying to keep the lines either perfectly vertical or horizontal—no angled lines allowed. Yeah, right! That last part proved to be the hardest to master. By the time I quilted this entire quilt, I had the sharp corners down pat, and my lines weren’t curving anymore—but they sure weren’t straight 90-degree angles either. LOL. Oh well—again, I think the wonkiness suits the quilt, so I’m calling this quilting style a success and moving on.

Bow Tie Required - the back

You’ll have some pieced scraps leftover from making the bow tie blocks, so I incorporated those as one long strip of wonky diamonds on the quilt back. This pattern gives you such an easy way to make a pieced back, since you have those scraps ready to go, whether you use them in this project or not!

Bow Tie Required - the binding

The final touch was the binding—the Limbo print might become one of my favorite binding prints ever! It’s perfection. I cut this binding on the straight-grain, but Limbo would be a great bias-binding print as well, since the stripes would end up angled. So many fun possibilities!

I want to thank Allison for giving me the chance to work with this fabulous line, and hope you all will check out her work, as she is an incredibly talented designer. She’s got plenty of other collections available at Modern Yardage as well, including her gorgeous new “Autumn Harvest” line. And when you’re done with that, head over to Craftsy to download Bow Tie Required!

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WIP Wednesday: Better Late Than Never …

WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedYeah, so last night I braved the 9,000-degree heat to go out with the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild ladies, had two margaritas and some gelato (because those things go together, right?), and then went to bed early, exhausted … and in the process, I forgot all about WIP Wednesday! So why not roll it out at around noon instead? It’s the last week of summer, after all.

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I spent my time this week working on my retro Modern Yardage quilt, which fabric designer Allison and I have decided to call “Bow Tie Required.” The top is finished and I’m so happy with how it turned out. One of those rare instances where it came out looking exactly like the image I had in my head beforehand. (The fabric is available here.)

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I asked Allison if she had any thoughts about quilting, and she did—she loved the idea of free-motion boxy straight lines. Of course, I’ve never done anything like that before. But I also knew that she was absolutely right, that was a fantastic quilting choice for this design. So I’m giving it a try. I was super nervous on my first block—as you can see, some of those lines aren’t exactly straight! But I noticed definite improvement on the second block, so I’m keeping at it. I think I’ll be proficient at it by the end of the quilt.

And speaking of Modern Yardage, they are nominees in Martha Stewart’s American Made contest. Throw some love their way and go vote for them. The grand prize winner gets $10,000 to further their business and a feature on marthastewart.com, which would be a nice break for a small start-up business like Modern Yardage.

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!

Stay cool out there!

 

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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.

WIP Wednesday: In High Gear

It’s been an action-packed week around here. Easter, baseball opening day, spring break for the kids—there was something for everybody this week. The dog even went in to have her teeth cleaned (that’s about as exciting as it gets for her these days). But I managed to sneak in a little sewing time as well.

 
Ongoing Projects: 
 
Back of Going Coastal quilt
Going Coastal – on the sewing front, this project right here was basically my entire week. And I can’t show it to you just yet. But I’m almost done quilting it, and I’m eager to finish it off. I should be able to post it within a few days of finishing it up.

Back-Burner:
• New York Beauty QA
• Gen X Quilters’ Charmed Prints QA
• Halloween quilt
• Farmer’s Wife QA
• Figgy Pudding quilt

This week’s stats:
Completed projects – 0
New projects – 0
Currently in progressSo, you know the drill: Link up any post from the past week featuring a work in progress. Then comment, comment, comment. Have a wonderful week!

P.S. The winners of Monday’s pay-it-forward giveaway are Patti of Retired to Quilt and Taryn of From Pixels to Patchwork. I’m looking forward to making something for you ladies! Thank you to everyone who expressed an interest! : )