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1  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Free motion quilting on: May 02, 2008 09:58:16 AM
I think you did a great job for a beginner.  Those big stitches we call "toe catchers". Uneven stitch lengths in your quilting is a result of uneven feeding the fabric under the needle. You tend to go faster on the straightways and so get bigger stitches, you go slower on the curves so get the smaller ones. Free motion is like trying pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time. Your machine needs to go fast as can be but your hands need to go slow and steady. If you have a machine that can go to slower speed it might help you in learning to machine quilt. If not work on setting your sewing speed with your foot peddle. One other reason you stitching is uneven may be that you are too tense when you sew, this leads to jerky movement, you will get spikeys rather than curvies, and your needle will "Jump". You will get better as you do more, it is a matter of practice, practice, practice. Be sure your quilt sandwich is even and well basted to avoid tucks on the back side. I use quilt safety pins and take them out as  I go.  but spray adhesive might be more to your taste.  Big projects are more difficult to learn on as you have to deal with the bulk of the quilt, the drag off the machine arm and getting that fat sausage of a quilt through the little space between the needle and harp of the machine. I practice this way, before starting a project I make up a few sample squares out of scrap material. I stitch them up into about a fat quarter size piece and pin baste them into a quilt sandwich. I practice my machine quilting, try out a new technique etc. Set them aside so later when you need a fast gift you can turn them into quilted tote bags easily.  When you feel like you are ready for a bigger project consider baby or lap quilts. Us up your scraps on these and if they turn out less than perfect can be donated to foster kids or nursing homes.As for the gloves it is to give you extra traction, I find them cumbersome. I bought some close fitting latexed gloves in the gardening department and cut the tips off, I need to feel the fabric but my palms stick to the sandwich...I don't always wear them though. I found a silicon mat that I can tape down to the machine bed, it has a hole for the needle, it makes the bed very very slick so the quilt slides easily which makes things easier. There is also a spray called Quilt Glide that will do the same thing. It does help. Also reduce the pressure on you presser foot to zero, make sure your feed dogs are completely dropped down, anything that helps the sandwich move easily helps. You don't say but if your quilt is dropping off the machine on the side or the back or front it will drag and make stitching harder. Look at your sewing area, maybe you are sewing at a table, see if there is a way you can make the machine level at least in the back. I used to put the machine on an adjustable hight table in front of the kitchen table and then make the machine and table level with each other. Now I have one of the spendier cabinets with a lift, but I know there are some much less costly sewing tables with a drop down center available.  Look in the back of quilting mags for some ads.
 Now breath deep, exhale and say after me....it is only a blankie, it is only a blankie. it is only a blankie.  Someday you might make the perfect art quilt that will end war, cure cancer and make you rich and beautiful but for to day relax, enjoy the learning process, go as slow as you need to, stop when you are tired and repeat your mantra...[see above].
2  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Re: Post your photography in here :D on: May 01, 2008 11:08:34 AM
Thanks for all the positive comments.  I do love my stash, I know mostly every piece and what ever the color or theme  I can lay hands on it.  It took me a long time of sewing at table in the kitchen to be able to have a sewing room. What you can't see is the beautiful trees outside the windows. In the summer it is open and the fragrant breeze blows through, even a deer or two will wander by to see what is going on. Good radio, summer air, and me working on a project...there is no other place I want to be. This morning I was up about the same time as the sun came up over the ridge, the birds were singing and the air smelled like apple blossoms, I am truly blessed.
3  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Re: Post your photography in here :D on: April 30, 2008 03:55:16 PM
Oh yeah and you don't even know the half of it....I have no will power, just lack of storage space...this is only a part of it. Then there is all the other craft supplies for all the other craft stuff  I do....and no you can't shop.... sorry but I am weak and greedy.  Really every slice of fabric is known and loved.  Sometimes I have to buy fabric to finish a project since I cannot cut the fabric I have.  My resolution is to make two quilts from the stash for every yard I buy....so far, well ....OK....but in my defence it was on sale.  Sigh

4  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Re: Post your photography in here :D on: April 30, 2008 09:46:27 AM
another photo from around the house...this one is from my sewing room, with a UFO or two waiting for completion.

5  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / Re: button earrings, rings, and more on: April 30, 2008 09:02:25 AM
Well you are right on every count.  It may be that you are too far ahead of your customer base, trendwise. That happens all the time.  I have seen it and experienced as well. No interest in what you do and then bamm a year or two later it is the new hot trend in all the media and you are so been there done that. It could be your location, as in real estate and restaurants where you sell can be as important as what you sell.  Also, you don't say what you are charging but you may have under priced  your stuff.  There is nothing like paying through the nose to make some folks value what you have to sell, sort of a snob appeal type of thing. Do keep positive, do keep trying, do keep working at your craft. There is a place where you will be successful because you are innovative and talented, it just might take a while for you to become an overnight sensation.  I think if you want to stand out, etsy or otherwise you need to take some real smashing picture of your stuff. Just imagine how you would picture your customers wearing your jewelry, create some mystery around it so folks can build up some anticipation and then go looking for you at the next sale. I am just spit balling some idea's here.  There is nothing like some ubber thin model wearing some ubber stupid accessory in some ubber chic magazine to make every ubber fool run to Rodeo Drive to buy it. Sort of like those gawd awful ugly designer bags that sell for mucho mucho $ but if it did not have a famous name stitched all over it no one would want one.  Steal a little of their thunder and create a mystic of your own.  Sort of go where your target market is and figuratively say.....See how glam I am, no you can't have my supper glam accessories...no no no well maybe!  Do you see where I am going with this?  How about this, a poster with a fake newspaper story...a pic of you wearing your creations along with a categorical denial that your designs are a knock off [insert famous designer name here]. " my designs are entirely my own if any one should be suing for copyright infringement it would be me."
Tongue in cheek, a bit satirical but it would make anyone who gets the humor want to to come over and meet you, buy a button pin as a souvenir and tell the story of their encounter to friends...
I don't know if you have submitted your designs to magazines but that is worth a try as well. You won't make a lot of money from it but it will get your name and your ideas out there to lots of people who may never have the opportunity to meet you otherwise. I have one last idea for you, there is an internet site that sells e-patterns for lots of crafty stuff, it is called You-can-make it.  I know they have designers who sell to them and then they sell the patterns on their site....you might find some business there.  Good Luck and keep trying! Grin
6  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / Re: button earrings, rings, and more on: April 29, 2008 11:57:49 AM
I like doing button crafts too.  I think your stuff is terrific. The market must have been weird if you did not sell much. keep up the good work!
7  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Re: Post your photography in here :D on: April 28, 2008 12:32:44 PM
I just got a digital camera and I am still learning how to use it. I decided to do a series of photographs that illustrate small moments from my life.  This first one is called second cup of coffee taken after a leisurely breakfast on a sunny Saturday morning. I took the time to read a new book on button crafting.  I liked it so much I turned it into a desktop wallpaper.  All feedback is more than welcome.
8  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Re: Finally... a good book! (4 images) on: April 22, 2008 11:51:16 AM
These are beautiful! Makes me want to get back into book binding myself. Great job.
9  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: A project to turn thrifted belts into purse handles on: April 22, 2008 11:34:55 AM
For those who asked...I got the rivits from Tandy Leather.  Any craft shop should carry them or alternately ask in a shoe repair shop, if you can find one anymore. I bought mine on-line and since I don't like to do a small order, {makes the postage and handling fee too  intimidating} I bought a lot and got a bunch of screw posts for album making. I actually made a lot more handles than you see in the picture, too much in never enough.  Now I have a lifetime supply of purse handles in a bin, stored in my sewing room. If someone had an Etsy store this might make a good item to sell for "purse makins"  Also check the hardware store they might have rivits. I am also working on attaching handles with the kind of buttons you find on blue jeans....for really thick stuff...oh well off to sew.  Cool
10  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Re: Summer Tote Bag (Reminds me of Rainbow Sherbet!) on: April 21, 2008 07:56:35 PM
Wow what a great bag.  I love big bags that let me carry all my junk along.  I found a great free lunch bag pattern at http://sewing.about.com/library/weekly/aa072100a.htm. I made mine with flannel backed vinyl table cloth material to make it wipeable and moisture resistant.  I used insulbrite instead of batting to keep hot hot and cold cold.....It works great! Happy Stitching.
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