Sunday, July 31, 2011

Big Old Bernie and the Quilted Wine tote project

So while Sally rests on her laurels at the machine shop - I needed to get a move on and try something! Not just anything really - but something quick and easy that entailed cutting, sewing, and quilting. I was itching to try out the old mechanical Bernina (730 Record) I had rescued earlier last year.

Bernina 730 Record (aka Big Old Bernie)

 This has turned out to be a super machine. It came with lots of attachments, loads of metal bobbins, a suitcase (which could be sturdier) and the all important MANUAL...

I think I've mentioned this before, but I do indeed like to fiddle "under the hood" so to speak, and one of the big bonuses about mechanical machines is that they actually encourage you to do that!

Red dots indicate where to add oil

lots of gears and moving parts to admire
Okay - enough Big Old Bernina Love and back to making wine totes. I googled "quilt pattern wine bag" and voila! this pattern by Needle and Spatula appeared. It has a very good tutorial, which includes links to other tutorials (as in how to making your own binding)..

Below is my pictorial progress through the pattern.
Gathering supplies
Cutting templates

I have to admit - I'm a bit rusty on reading (and following instructions). This is the type of pattern that is best to read through before you start. I found that I really didn't get the drift about a few things until I read further into the pattern. I only used a single layer of batting because I was using some very heavy stuff I had "on hand" from my Christmas stocking project (which I hope to complete in the near future).

Darning foot

 I switched to the Darning foot as I had read this was suitable for "free motion quilting" which as the whole reason for trying this project. I've never done "free form" before and if I screwed up I didn't want it to be a "devastating" blow - after all I'd rather screw up a tote than a whole quilt.

Excess fabric sandwich rolled into throat of machine
It appears there are advocates  for and against lowering the feed dogs to quilt. Since I haven't a clue and the wee bit that I've read talked about lowering them - I did just that. I'll do more experimentation with the whole up/down thing later.

Freeform quilting on the bottom of sandwich
Free form quilting on the top
So overall I'm very pleased with my results. However the stitches are pretty irregular in length - so I need to figure that out. I know there are machines that have some type of stitch length regulators - but that takes me back into "modern machine land" and I'm a bit scared off of that at present.  I used regular thread - and I see at the store there is such a thing a "machine quilting thread".

Inside view
Outside view with custom binding by moi

"Ladies who Lunch" wine tote by sheepless

So overall I'm in love with "Big Old Bernie" (Sally be very afraid) and I really liked the "freeform quilting" technique. Happy with my tote too!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy Tuesday...

Well - another tour has drawn to a close. Both of the Schleck boys were on the podium - and if Andy couldn't be first - at least Cadel was a worthy opponent. I was going great guns til the weekend - but the tour finale conflicted with my 60 km Weekend to End Women's Cancers. By the time I got home each evening I could barely waddle much less treadle. It was a beautiful weekend for walking and for a great cause, so it was a contented fatigue. There were 1250 participants and 2.6 million dollars was raised.

The Old Guy was on his fishing weekend (in which he returned triumphant with 50 pounds of fish for the freezer). Youngman 1 & 2 made supper and cleaned up ... I must say I marvel at how far families can evolve given enough time... life is good!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

tour de sheepless

Not sure if I mentioned it in my last post - but I have a new bike! I had it on layaway for awhile and finally broke her out of the bike shop on July 2nd - the first day of the tour. That was important. My goal? To ride every day of the tour. Thus far I'm about 99% - (I had to bring a "Good luck on your ride" cake to a colleague who is doing a charity ride this weekend (see below) and couldn't figure out how to attach it to the bike). Also had to buy groceries and go out for dinner -so I'll have to ride on a rest day.

Call me weird (don't you dare!) but I have a tendency to name inanimate objects - such as spinning wheels and weaving looms. My first wheel was Eva Luna and my first loom was Oma. My old bike (which is now sitting neglected in the shed) was alternately "the Grey Goose" vs the "Silver Fox" depending on my mood and how it was performing. I spent a good deal of time trying to think of a suitable name for my new bike. She's very fast - and sleek - and lovely. I finally settled on "Ultraviolet". After a quick Google check, I determined it was the name of a science fiction super heroine type - so that seemed fitting. However within moments of announcing her chosen name - the Old Guy promptly nicknamed her "Schlecky."  After the Schleck brothers. Andy and Frank. And since I happen to love the the brothers - the name has stuck - Schlecky it is.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Le Tour -Day 7

Le Chateau de Chenonceau (France)

One of the best parts of the Tour de France is the ongoing travelogue around the French countryside. As the riders spin on their bikes (and I spin on my spinning wheel) we are treated to nonstop breathtaking scenery, castles, chateaus, villages, and gardens. The above picture is a case in point. This unique garden and chateau has a turbulent history which reads like a piece historical fiction. The chateau has been torched, seized for debt repayment, destroyed again, rebuilt and given as a gift to a mistress. And all of this was before Catherine de Medici arrived on the scene ...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tour de Fleece 2011

 Today I start my third Tour de Fleece. I'm spinning for Team Canada on the Ravelry TDF forum which has a record 4221 spinners and over 200 wild card teams. I had planned on spinning singles using my Kromski Sonata and plying on my Lendrum - but I have just discovered that my flyer is still sitting up in a classroom in Olds! (Now how's that for absent minded?) So I'm spinning on my minstrel instead. (Note to self: you can never have too many spinning wheels). The original Tour de Fleece actually started on Keep Knitting In the Free World. I finally found it right when Ravelry was taking off - so I joined up there. I knew nothing about the actual Tour de France - but started watching as "something to do" while I was spinning. I bought a couple of magazines the first year just to get the drift of things. Year Two I bought Tour de France for Dummies - it's helped immensely. And this year? The big news is full coverage on ESPN and it's all in HD! July is just lookin' wonderful!

 So what am I spinning for my 2011 tour?

Merino Superwash - from Knitopia

Let the spinning begin!

Fibre Week 2011 - here I come!

(This was to be posted on June 24 - but I just finished it now)

Well my much sought after annual sojourn into all things fibre-y has arrived. Fibre Week! Although I know I'm going and I have loads of time to pack ... I always seem to leave things to the last minute. And this time I'm not sure it has paid off... (Update: Brought a reading lamp sans light bulb - and a flashlight that was missing it's batteries. Forgot my toothbrush again.  I now have 5 pink toothbrushes at home - why pink? because in a house full of men if it's pink - it doesn't get touched.  On the upside I did not forget my bottle opener - though my plug-in cooler blew a fuse.)

 I decided to finally read my class supply list - only to discover the yarn I planned on using for my Sivia Harding "Harmonia's Rings" Cowl was definitely suboptimal. And a size 8 crochet hook doesn't act in lieu of a 0.6 one (I guess I'm using seed beads!)... and yes... seed beads? Hmmm - not a one in my stash. So I did end up making a few last minute stops along the way.

Although I left early - traffic was ghastly and it took longer to reach the city limits (over an hour) than it took to arrive at the college (just less than an hour). If I had known this was going to be the case, I wouldn't have treated myself to a Grande Iced Skinny Mocha Latte. I would have treated myself to one last pit stop at the gas station (if you know what I mean). As always - woulda - coulda - shoulda - didn't.

Homework to be done. Watch Cat Bordhi's Moebius cast on for class prep. Now - how great is that?

What type of quilter are you? And opening the box ...

Recently I've become a dedicated "Sewcialite" at my LQS. We meet every Monday and work on our projects. Some of us are prolifi...