About Me

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Great Falls, Montana, United States
I love creating art. I love the Creator! And through that love, I find a little slice of heaven on earth and I give Him all the glory! It's a great adventure and I'm excited to see what's around the bend! Come join me, won't you?
Showing posts with label free motion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label free motion. Show all posts

Thursday, April 17, 2014

HINTS & TIPS Threading n' Needles ~ a repost

hello ~

i dearly love teaching my students in the bernina "mastery" classes... and because quite a few of my students have asked, i am posting again, just for y'all! 

i have found that the most overlooked feature of sewing machines, is the lack of knowing the basics! 

with that being said, here are some of the most common basics that are either overlooked, forgotten, underused, and unapplied!  although these tips and hints are focused particularly on bernina ownership... they are still great tips for any sewing enthusiast!

❤    Use the correct size end caps based on the size of your thread spool.  There are usually three sizes included with your Bernina machine; small, medium and large.
In the picture below, they are shown as they should be placed onto your thread, once the spool is loaded onto your machine...  these spools are shown with the flat side of the end cap fitting flush with the end of the thread spool.  The reason they should be placed like this is to prevent threads from wrapping around the end of the spool, and if that happens, your thread will CERTAINLY break very soon, or will pull so violently tight, it will break your needle; especially at higher speeds. 
An Iscacord spool of thread is pictured below, with the smallest end cap in place, and the spool has been loaded onto the machine.  Notice in this pic there is also a gray sponge-like foam pad on the back side of the spool; placed so that the thread spool is held tight.  This is commonly overlooked by many Bernina owners.  and if you place your spool on the vertical spool holder, your thread spool should sit on top of this 'spongee' and the spool of threads spins easily, thread flows much... much... smoother through your machine.
a "cross-wound" spool of thread, placed on the horizontal spindle of the sewing machine
❤    Choose either horizontal or vertical thread spindles based on the way your thread is wound.  Cross wound thread spools (like Isacord thread in the picture above) are wound like a figure 8, are (normally) placed on the horizontal position. (Laying down). A stacked spool has the threads wound one thread on top of the other vertically, and should be placed on the vertical position (standing straight up). If the thread spool is stacked, no end cap is needed as the spool sits upright on the vertical spindle.
    Note: (generally) you can place a cross wound thread on either vertical or horizontal spools... the key is that these types of spools are wound so that the thread comes off the spool from the top of the thread cone.  Stacked threads are wound so the thread releases from the side of the spool.  From the front side or the back side of the spool, it does not matter how a stacked thread releases.  If you have a thread stand, then you can use either type of cone in the vertical position (standing up).



❤    Always begin the threading of your machine with tension disks open! THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! This means your presser foot is in the ‘up’ position, which enables the thread to be placed inside the tension disk area.  If it isn't... you will know very quickly (within 2-3 stitches) that something... isn't... right!!

❤    Ensuring the ‘take-up’ lever is in it’s highest position makes it easier  for most needle threaders to secure the thread through the eye of the needle.

❤    Have your needle at it’s highest point to help ensure success with the needle threader

❤    Once your machine is threaded, and before using the needle threader, put your presser foot in the ‘down’ position. This will allow the tension disks to close, and “clamp” your top thread in place, making it a bit easier to use the needle threader.

❤    Be sure to completely press down on the needle threader until the threader is able to completely surround the needle.  There are two little “snaggers” that must come through the eye of the needle in order to snag the thread and pull it through the eye of the needle.

❤    While letting go of the needle threader, remember not to hang onto the thread so tight that you end up pulling the thread back through the eye of the needle! I see many students who think they  should let it go quickly too, and that's not true either.  You can successfully thread the needle 'slow-motion' too!

❤    90% of all stitching issues are needle related!  THIS IS SO TRUE!
    ❀ Change your needle often!  This is the single most important and least expensive thing you can do!  Change it approximately every 2-3 bobbins, (really!) or every hour, depending on the type of sewing, fabric and thread play you're doing!  Fusings...free motion couching, & sewing through thick fabrics  will dull a needle much more quickly... I promise!
  • Learn to check your needle and its tip... it's easy to see the difference when you hold up a new needle to the older one against the lights... if that tip is even slightly flat, or has a burr on it, you can either FEEL  it... or SEE it!  AND... get rid of it!  The question I ask my students is simply this: "do you want to have fun... or do you want to struggle?" 
  • {knowledge=fun!}  it's as simple as that!
    ❀ Use the correct size of needle based on the thread you are using, and the type of fabric in your project. An 80/12 is good for piecing; a 90/14 is a must for free motion or decorative stitching {when you are using 40 wt threads}! otherwise, a smaller needle{s} like 80/10 and 70/12, will work fine if you have a smaller weight thread {like a 50 or 60 wt thread, respectively} 
    
❀ If you experience stitching issues, re-thread your machine from the top first.  If the problem persists, re-thread your bobbin case. If that doesn’t help... change your needle!  Try one thing at a time... that way you GAIN KNOWLEDGE in ... TROUBLESHOOTING!  That's a good thing!

    ❀ a size 90/14 needle in ***top stitch, metallic, denim/jeans, as well as the Bernina “Cordonnet” styled needle are nearly  identical in that they have a sharp tip, elongated eye, and deeper groove which work best with 40 weight cottons, 40 weight tri-lobal polyester threads and metallic threads; AND... especially in free motion!

***these days, I am completely sold on Superior's Titanium coated, Topstitch needles in sizes 70,80,90. and 100. they last twice as long as regular needles, and they are so worth it!

use your machine's potential to it's fullest... and then sew and enJOY!

and... i'm working at gettings pics for the "kitchen towel tutorial" ... so i hope you'll "stay tuned" and come on back, ya hear?!

blessings!
xo
les

Thursday, July 4, 2013

the red, white n' blue and a log cabin ~

happy fourth of july!  

more than just red, white and blue, pink, yellow, and green also make themselves known in this vintage-style quilt.  made from reproduction prints, designed and pieced into this log cabin quilt by my friend annette.  she gave it to me to quilt, at least a year ago.  {maybe two?!}  lol

it was fun to quilt, even though it was a little tough to see with white thread on white fabric.  always makes it more of a challenge for me, especially with my eyes.  

i chose king tut 40 wt 100% cotton for the top thread, matched with masterpiece 50 wt 100% cotton in the bobbin, and a 90/14 topstitch needle, lowering my tension to 2.25. it's a great combo! i also love my bernina #24 open toe "c" foot

image courtesy of the berninausa.com website}

awesome for the free motion work, especially feathers, where there needs to be precision, but more importantly, an open area so i can see where i'm going.





these are the corner blocks, below.  i did a 'fan-shape' {to the best of my ability}.  and i loved making the cute hearts in the red blocks, too.



kept the quilting pretty open and simplified in the busy prints.  it was also a bit of a challenge for me to work with so many seams.  this took about five hours to quilt.  i had kind of forgotten how much i need to move such a bulk of fabric, and keep it free flowing under my needle.  but it was all good ~ {i only had to rip a couple two or three times!}
simple loops and swirls for the patterned fabric.  love the feathers {big surprise huh}. 

 "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
There are several phrases associated with the Statue of Liberty, but the most recognizable is “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” This quote comes from Emma Lazarus' sonnet, New Colossus, which she wrote for a fundraiser auction to raise money for the pedestal upon which the Statue of Liberty now sits. The poem did not receive much recognition and was quite forgotten after the auction.
In the early 1900s and after Lazarus' death, one of her friends began a campaign to memorialize Lazarus and her New Colossus sonnet. The effort was a success, and a plaque with the poem's text was mounted inside the pedestal of the statute.

isn't it interesting that her name was 'Lazarus?"  no coincidence, thank God!!  and thank God for our country, and may we as americans, get on our knees, in repentance, and in gratitude, know the beauty and fullness of His grace, hearing what God has called us to be as One Nation Under God...  that we might not just live in freedom casually, but live it out, as the priceless gift it is.
soli deo gloria

Friday, May 18, 2012

SUNSHINE n' SATIN

I love to quilt with unusual fabrics - make that more 'unexpected' than anything.  In the last few years, these beautifully smooth and satiny cotton sateens have come into the quilt shops, and I LOVE Them!  This beautiful fabric really just showcases quilting, as well as looking like silk ~ dreamy beautiful! I wish you could feel the hand of it once it's quilted...

And I for one, love-love-love to mix up fabrics and textures and try something unexpected!  Who doesn't love batik fabrics? And speaking of mixing it up, multiple thread use is a favorite way for me to kick things up a notch on my quilting.  It keeps me focused, challenged, and more interested in what I'm working on. Same goes for pretty trims, too.  The flower in the picture below could use a bit more detail, right...
And let's not forget a little "fuzzy wuzzy" in a soft, textured cotton velvet.  One of the unexpected results of adding my free motion applique stitching around the edges of the brown velvet, is the surprising textural look it gives to the outside edge.  Makes it look a bit more complicated, and more depth... and well, 'edginess' to it.  I LIKE that.
I named this piece "SUNSHINE and SATIN"  as that is the feeling it evokes for me!  And... I believe that says alot about how, why and when we quilt... 
Flower above without stitching on the petals.  Flower below WITH stitching on the petals. 

Ahhh... that is much better! But I do have to say I wish I had not 'travelled' with the yellow thread around the flower center.  Pure laziness, I guess, as I did not want to tie off each time, and now I find it's distracting...
It's easy to make any pattern or design in a book very special and unique to your own sense of style and color.  This is one of my favorites; from Sunflower Hill Designs by Julie Popa:

And it's even better when you know your feet, tension, needles and threads! Check out the  TNT Post on December 28, 2010.  I just love this pearl crown rayon thread in creamy white, by YLI Thread Company.  Beautiful results on this cotton sateen!




Tension issues?  Check out my blog post here regarding stitching and "homework!" I tighten my UPPER tension, usually at least two whole settings (from a 4 to a 6 for example), when those thick threads are in my bobbin.




Bobbin Play anyone? It's easy with a just a little practice.  The leaves were first FUSED on (with steam a seam fusible web).  A 90/14 microtex is absolutely essential when working with any fusible product, in my humble opinion.
Hints and Tips on Bobbin Play are posted.  That lovely YLI pearl crown rayon in a beautiful soft white has such an attractive texture in the swirls... and they don't steal the show from the design and the flowers since they blend in with the background - just kind of add a 'wow' factor (in my world, that is!) 

I chose to do a little meandering, add a few pebbles, quilt in a few smooth, soft undulating lines... all in white.  I love the changing shapes; it's rather magical on a sateen fabric.  I also added little buttons of thread color using a Rainbow tri-lobal polyester for a little pop of color and texture on the white surface.   
Joining one of my so very favorite artists - Jennifer of Studio JRU today!

Happy Friday Everyone!!! 
Here's to creating with some wonderful textures!  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rawhide!

Last evening's 'test run' with a new fabric!  Faux LEATHER!
I taught a free motion class at Bernina here in Great Falls, on Saturday, and Deb, the store owner of Bernina Silver Thimble, made sure to bring to my attention some new fabrics. 
Faux leather fabrics! So of course, I have to get a cut and try it and last evening I did just that!  It is priced at $15.00 a yard.  I bought a 1/2 yard.
I also purchased a leather needle, 90/14, which is the first time I've ever used one, actually.  It worked great!  I used Rainbows tri-lobal polyester, and Masterpiece in my bobbin.  The leathery fabric is really COOL!
I used a  Hobbs 80/20 batting (which is what I currently have on hand), and a batik fabric for the backing.  The leather is quite soft and supple, and really alot of fun to quilt.  I am told it's washable, so I'm going to wash it after I'm through and see how it holds up. 
This is just the beginning of a small table runner, that I thought I would use a prototype and where I'm practicing some feathers and other designs as I go around those feathers.  I bought another color of this fabric, too... a more rusty-colored tone.  I can't wait to try it, too!  It would be a wonderful jacket... oh boy! Thanks Deb!

Has anyone out there tried any of these type of faux leather fabrics? If so, I'd love to hear how you liked them, and where you purchased the fabric!

Blessings ~
XO 
Leslie


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Grow

Grow. In every single moment... there is significance.
I started with a hand-stamped "g" and stitched around it, free motion with white thread.  Then turned it to the back, and did the bobbin play around the same path.
The bobbin quilted flowers were placed randomly. And I then switched to a polyester tri-lobal, and went around them again, adding details, or more build-up of thread around the petals as I liked.

 It's a small paper-fabric art quilt.   6" x 8"
 I added some black thread in King Tut, for the letters 'row' and some more quilted flower motifs in a smaller size.
 A little bit of this... and little bit of that.  Leftover candy wrapper... paint on a leftover paper towel... tissue paper, and a couple of stickers.
  All you have to do is add the fun... and then ...

LAugh
****
'till the Mascara 
RUnS!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A New Sketchbook

I've always loved to doodle, color and play with designs.  
 This is a page from my new sketchbook.  I have some very basic 'elementary' watercolor interest ( I won't call them skills at this point), and I practiced them on my new flower design, drawn and based on this tutorial via Youtube by Sakura with Joanne Fink. Below are a couple of my interpretations:
 I didn't realize I was a "fan" of Joanne Fink and have been for the past twenty+ years as I didn't pay attention or remember her name. After an internet search, I saw her name was on one of her instructional books I own, and used to teach calligraphy to elementary students back in the late 80's!  Cool.  And now, I love her style even more.
And again, I found that I owned her digitized art, featured in this embroidery collection I bought last fall!  Immediately I was drawn to it in the Bernina store, and now I know why.  It's a style that really speaks to me creatively... and of course, it's by Joanne Fink.
In an older post, I wrote about a tea towel I made using that embroidery. (Post: Freely Give In Bloom).  I embroidered it first, and then added the flowers with black thread, taking my cue from the embroidery. It's a very fun free motion motif, zenspiration style!
I'm excited---and challenged, to try and figure out more ways to see how I can transfer this intricate style to my free motion repetoire! 
 You may have noticed some of those new, dainty little quilting motifs in the borders on my hand-stamped, daisy piece - the one 'not-so-wonky' with the sunflowers pieced, that I posted on Monday.  Those designs came from practicing in my sketchbook drawings. 

And that's how it starts.  The Video is really great.  And they are really just simple doodles.  Anyone can do this!   

Doodles! 

Lots and lots... 

and lots... leads to more!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ribbon and Thread Scarf: Part 1!

These are the supplies I began with to make my latest scarf.  You will need Aqua Bond; a water-soluble paper sticky back stabilizer.  And Aqua Film topping.  And lots of pretty threads, ribbons, yarns, lace... fabric strips and cordings can all be draped, laid on, and mixed up. 505 Spray comes in handy to secure the threads, before you lay on the Aqua Film in the last step.  See some students in the last class here!

The Aqua Bond package has been opened, and cut in half, lengthwise on a 36" length, and the ends joined together.  (Sorry - I forgot to take a picture of that!) So here's how it looks after I''ve applied my threads and covered it with the aqua film - another water-soluble stabilizer. This piece is now ready for the free motion fun to begin!  You can see the pink swirly circles I've begun in the triangular shape.
And more quilting... around and around we go... a great way to begin - to get free -- with free motion!  I'm teaching a spring-time "Beyond Free Motion" class beginning May 5th at Bernina Silver Thimble; 5:30-8:30 pm. It's a three-week class, held on Thursday evenings.  
 I will share lots of hints, tips, samplers, special free motion quilting embellishments and "free motion applique" for y'all to explore with me! A mini trunk show, educational materials and lecture on threads, needles, tension are also on the agenda! CMON and HAVE FUN with the FREEDOM of FREE MOTION!


I've finished my pink and green triangles.  Now moving on to the blue triangles, with blue thread.  I'll have a post for you on what happens using the YLI thread...

Check the backside of the scarf, to see where you might need to add more quilting... making sure those circles all join and co-join, like a web, to form a surface that is entirely linked, one with the another... whether it be fiber, cord, thread or ribbon... join them with lots and lots... lots and lots... of circles!  And then there's a bit of an 'ooops' I want to share with you, but it'll have to wait for another post. More to learn and show you how I fixed this baby up!

HINT:  Set your machine speed to 1/2 speed or 3/4 speed, and put 'your pedal to the metal' and keep your movement of the scarf fabric at an even pace.

And then WASH, WASH and WASH the glue of the stabilizers out!  Use lukewarm water... and gently swirl, squish, and rinse.  You can let it soak for 20 minutes or so... and then make sure you refresh your water, and go after it again... and several more times, until you no longer feel the slick surface of the glue on your fibers.  Let it air-dry.  Press it flat if needed, using a low to medium heat on iron, and using a pressing cloth... just in case!  (Ask me how I know this one!)  But look at the beautiful yarns that made this "Santa Fe" scarf!  I love how this turned out... and it's made mostly with just the yarn... more on it at class!

WEAR... and enJOY.  No one... no one... will have one just like yours, I guarantee you!  Look at the all-white scarf... with silver and gold metallic threads.  Beautiful!  Great for summer-time wearing, and just as fabulous at the Holidays.
 I've made over 100 of these over the last couple years.  Let me tell you that they will take approximately 3-4 hours from start to finish.  A 'quick' project, really.  If you want to add beads to the edges... expect that to take you another hour ... or two, depending on your skills with the needle and beading.  I share some tips and hints about my beading technique at the class, too.
 I sell mine at GALLERY 16 here in Great Falls.  They retail there for $95.00.  The materials alone will cost you close to $20.00 or more, depending on what you have on hand. I'm TEACHING THIS CLASS on MAY 7th, 2011 - 10:00 am to 1:00 pm a SATURDAY at BERNINA SILVER THIMBLE here in GREAT FALLS!  It's a super fun class!  JOIN US!  I will share all my best hints and tips with directions and a hand-out.  You can get one made before Mother's Day even!  OR graduation gifts?  Or just because... it's a very cool and fun thing to make for you!
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