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1  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: why didn't someone warn me invisible thread was evil? on: August 31, 2009 08:23:01 PM
Not all invisible threads are created equal. Most of it is made out of nylon and is very difficult to work with. Sulky makes an invisible thread that is made out of polyester. It is maybe a bit troublesome put not any more than rayon or trilobal (shiny) polyester.

One tip is to place the spool in a coffee cup and set the cup right at the back-right-corner of the machine. Bring the thread up and over the thread holder/spindle and thread as usual. The spool can sort of bounce around in the cup and it really won't matter if some of the thread "slips" off the spool. This works even better if you have a thread stand (google or search craftster for DIY models).
2  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Re: Advice please... on: August 12, 2009 07:31:30 AM
Two spindles for twin needles,
You do not need two spindles for twin needles. There are at least two other options.

1 - wind some of the thread onto a spare bobbin. Put the bobbin on the thread spindle - then put the spool of thread on the spindle on top of the bobbin. Works great, costs nothing, and saves buying two spools of thread.

2 - you can purchase a thread stand that sits to the side of the machine for not very much money. They is one pictured here. You could make your own like this instructables tute. Just set the stand near the right-back corner of the machine so the top of the thread stand is leading the thread at about the same angle as if it wher coming off the thread spindle.
3  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Adding a built-in 1/2 slip? on: August 12, 2009 07:18:12 AM
If you don't want the extra bulk at the waist (I totally understand because often an elastic waist has enough bulk on it's own) you could cut the lining to fit just above where the seam for the casing will fall. So if you use the example in the pattern you linked to - they allowed 1 1/2" for the waist - I'd allow just 1/2" for the waist. Baste the lining to the skirt 1" down from the top. Fold over the 1/4" then the 1 1/4" at the waist and sew. You should end up with the lining 1/4" inside that seam. Remove the basting and you are left with just one seam.
4  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: my fusible interface won't fuse on: August 11, 2009 06:45:03 AM
How do I figure out of it's me or the fleece that has the problem, and if it's the fleece, then what? I have several yards of it and am hoping the whole thing isn't defective. Can I use spray adhesive as a work-around? I have no idea whether it's washable or not.

Not really sure how you can figure out if it is you or the fleece other than taking it back to the store you purchased it. Ask them to check it - while they try it you can also see if you were doing it the same way. A real common error is ironing too hot or too long - it is actually possible to melt the "glue" so much that it evaporates (I'm sure that should be a different technical term but hopefully you get what I'm trying to say).

You can use spray adhesive to hold the fleece. Most spray adhesives designed for fabric such quilt baste spray and Sulky 505 are temporary and wash out. Most likely the seams in the bag will hold the fleece after your done sewing.
5  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: First time quilting - specific foot? on: August 07, 2009 09:24:34 AM
This is probably totally unhelpful, but I'll throw it out there anyway.  My grandmother never even heard of a 1/4" foot and she's sewn about a million quilts.  She used the right edge of the needle plate as a guide.  Her seams were much wider than a 1/4", but she was consistent with the width of her seams, and didn't have any problem aligning the pieces.  So pretty much you can use ANYTHING as a guide--for example, I used my walking foot to piece an entire quilt; I just used the right edge of the foot as a guide.

The side of the foot works great for some things - like sewing squares or rectangles that are all the same size together into one big piece of fabric/quilt. If you are sewing different size things together you will run into problems. For example if you wanted a simple 4 patch alternated with one larger 4" (finished) square. If your using 1/4" seam allowance you would know to cut your smaller squares 2 1/2". If your using the side of the presser foot your 4 patch is probably going to end up too small for the larger square (even more so with a walking foot which is generally wider than a "normal" foot). There are ways around this of course - like make the four patch then cut the larger square to match. The more pieces you have to fit together the more difficult it becomes. Something like the block in your avatar would be a nightmare.
6  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: What does "fat quarter" mean? on: August 07, 2009 08:54:52 AM
The JoAnn's around here (KS) don't "cut" fat quarters. They do sll some but they are precut and shipped to the store. I'd be really surprised if Walmart would cut them - but I've never asked.

Another thing to keep in mind is that fat quarters cost more then a regular "long & skinny" quarter yard. Quilt shops are where they originated and there is a bit of extra work in cutting them (2 cuts instead of 1). Also, you have to figure out how to fold them, display them, price them, etc. Even if you only cut them "on demand" you still have a leftover fat each time. Of course if you only need on piece of fabric and it needs to be more then 9" wide/tall - it might be worth it to pay the extra 25 cents but if you need two fats of the same fabric just save money and buy a half yard.
7  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Machine Washable? on: August 05, 2009 11:21:01 AM
First off - I'm not really sure what made the quilts you made "not condusive to washing" so it is hard to answer your question directly. If you want to give more info we could probably help out with more specifics.

So here are my thoughts in general.

I love, love, love Warm & Natural (or Warm & White) cotton batting. You can quilt up to 10" apart and it still washes nicely. Some of the oldest grandson's nap quilts (he's 11) are still being used by his babysister (she's 1) and they have held up to almost weekly or at least every other week washing. I'm gonna bet my daughter takes no special care in washing them - just in the washer with Tide/Gain then into the dryer with Bounce.

Polyester batting seems to hold up as well however I find it more difficult to work with (slippery) and I don't like to sleep under it. I don't think "bearding" is as much of a problem as it used to be but is something to think about particulary if you are doing a black/dark quilt.

Fleece - I wondered about this as well. My second grandson was gifted a nap quilt that is basically a solid piece of cotton fabric on front with fleece on the back. There is not quilting. The fleece was wrapped to the front to create a border and binding all in one step. I thought that would get all funky and mis-shaped after one washing. Nope - it has held up wonderfully. Washed/dried the same as the quilts I've made. It is about 5 years old and has been washed many, many times. An added bonus is that he really likes the softness of the fleece. I have since then had a few "special ed." students use fleece for the back of nap quilts made from printed panels. Instead of wrapping the fleece to the front we used the "pillowcase/birthing" method of sewing around the edges with right sides together then turning right side out and top stitch around the edge. The also tied the quilt - mostly to give them more to do and add decoration to the quilt top. Now if I pieced the top I would probably want to do actual quilting or maybe tying - I think the pieced top would be more inclined to get messed up with all the loose threads and slight fraying that could happen.
8  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Time to buy my first longarm machine - HELP!!! on: August 05, 2009 11:04:37 AM
I know how excited you probably are and waiting isn't likely something you want to do put I would suggest holding off until you can try all or at least most of the ones in your price range.

I have an old industrial machine that was converted to a "short/mid arm". It is annoying and problematic but it works for stippling on "non-heirloom" quilts. I have also had the opportunity to use a very close to top level long arm. I would really love to get something better that is inbetween the two. So - while at the AQS show in IA last year I tried every machine at the show. My friends also tried them all. While we all agreed we'd love to have one we did not necessarily agree on which was "the best". We all had different things that stood out to each of use.

I think you will find the same thing to be true. So I can imagine purchasing one without trying it.
9  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Handsewing project for Middle Schoolers? on: August 04, 2009 08:36:56 AM
Sew, Mama, Sew! has just announced that August is going to be "A Month of Hand Sewing" with projects, tutes, tips, and such. You might want to check them out occasionally to see if there is anything that will work for you.

Just curious - does your school not have machines?

I teach high school FACS in KS.
10  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: fat quarter help on: August 04, 2009 06:53:58 AM
anaximander's math was great however if you are planning to use fat quarters you will only get 12 5.5" squares out of each fat quarter if you are really lucky. The fat quarter should be approximately 22"x18" and 22" is exactly what you need to get 4 blocks across. In reality some of that 22" might not be usable because of the printing or lack of printing on the selvage edge or because the fabric wasn't quite 44" wide or was cut slightly crooked.

Unfortunately that means you will probably need to purchase 12 fat quarters for each quilt top. Also you will have a lot of "waste". If you cut rectangles instead of squares you would get better use of your fat quarters. 5"x4" cut (4.5"x3.5 sewn) you could get 16 rectangles out of each fat. You would still need 10 fats for each quilt: 4.5"x10=45" wide and 3.5"x16=56" long. Incidentally - this same rectangle thing could be done with regular quarter yards and unless the fats are on sale the regular quarter yards will be less expensive.

There are some very good patterns/books that are specifically for fat quarters. You might look around while at the store. Make sure you look at the cutting diagram though - some "fat quarter" quilt patterns are labeled that just because they can be made using fat quarter but they don't really make good use of the fat.

No affiliation but two of my favorites are Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs (or any of her booklets) and Turning Twenty - they are both quick, easy, and use just about as much of the fat quarter as you can. Yellow Brick road has smaller "pieces" while the Turning Twenty has "big pieces" so depending on the fabric one might be better than the other. While the Turning Twenty is bigger than you need (70"x86") you could probably make blocks for 1 TT quilt then use half the blocks in one quilt and the other half for the second. Add borders and you could easily get them to the size you need. Using different borders and backing would let each brother know which one was theirs. The Yellow Brick Road "twin size" uses 12 fats and is bigger than you want but if you leave off the boarder it would make about the size you want.

I've not actually seen the pattern but it looks like Cheaper by the Dozen and Cheaper by the Half Dozen look like they use the fat quarter efficiently. It is based on simple rectangles that are sewn together to make squares. It does have borders but to make it without borders you could change the dimensions of the rectangles I mentioned above. Cut them 5"x3.5" (It looks likethe actual rectangles in that pattern are larger - maybe 6"x9" but then if your fat quarter isn't cut perfect you could have a problem) you would get 20 from each fat. Sew them into "blocks/squares" by sewing 3 together along the log side then sew two of these together along the short ends and you would end up with 9.5" blocks. The advantage of this is you could then rotate the blocks. Google "Cheaper by the Dozen" to see what I mean. Of course for a couple of boys maybe the "design" aspect of the quilt isn't as important  Smiley

Sorry this is so long. Hope it helps. It has certainly helped me avoid doing something I ought to be doing and instead doing something I love doing  Cheesy
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