Saturday, 28 November 2015

Caturday Wisdom #148

Live in Wellington and you'll never need your hairdryer. Mila and Mojo
It seems appropriate that these two are on the blog today as later Adrianne and I will be going to visit them!
Mila (left) is bigger than Ralph or Ivy and she still looks miniature next to the enormous Mojo. I'm sure Adrianne will take a pic or two so keep an eye on her Instagram account for that.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

How to make a Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat

I just realised that I wrote this tutorial for Leanne from shecanquilt but never shared it here.  So, here you go!

I came up with this idea after I got annoyed with my sewing machine sliding around on the table, especially when I was sewing quickly or free-motion quilting.  It makes such a difference to have a sewing machine that stays where you want it to!  It also adds a lovely personalised touch to your sewing space.

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial

What you will need:

- feature fabric
- low loft cotton batting
- backing fabric
- non-slip matting
- fabric for binding
- basting pins (curved safety pins)
- sewing machine with walking foot

- usual notions like thread, rotary cutter and ruler, scissors, etc.

Tips before you start:

It's a good idea to read the full tutorial all the way through before you start.

The thing that makes this mat non-slip is this non-slip matting.  It's the type of thing you might put in a cupboard or drawer to stop things sliding around.  These pictures are intended to give you a good idea of what it's like.

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial 

I bought mine at Spotlight (essentially the equivalent to Joann's), but you can also find it at hardware stores and big box homeware stores.  You can find the exact brand I bought here, and this is a version which looks pretty much the same which I found on amazon.  The colour doesn't really matter, because you won't see it once your mat is finished.

Step 1 - Create the top of your mat

First, measure your sewing machine to work out how big your mat should be.  I would recommend measuring the base of your sewing machine and then adding at least 2" on each side.  I have a fairly small sewing machine and I made mine 12" by 18".

Choose the fabric you will use for the top of your sewing mat.  I used a single cheater print fabric, but you could definitely piece something if you prefer.  Make a quilt sandwich with your feature fabric, the low loft cotton batting, and your backing fabric, using your preferred method.  Quilt as desired.  I simply followed the lines of my cheater print fabric.

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial

Step 2 - Mark your quilting lines

You are going to baste the non-slip matting to your quilt top, and stitch through all the layers to securely  attach it.  You don't need to quilt it densely, just enough to make sure it doesn't bubble or move around too much.  Once you have decided on your quilting lines, use your favourite method to mark them on the quilt top.

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat

You can see that I used a hera marker - it's absolutely my favourite way to mark quilting lines.  This is the one I have and I love it.

Step 3 - Baste on the non-slip matting

Use the curved safety pins to base the non-slip matting to your quilt top.  Place them not more than 4" apart, and if possible, avoid placing them on your quilting lines.

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial

Step 4 - Quilting

This part is a little tricky, and you will really need a walking foot, because the non-slip matting is going to want to stick to your sewing machine.  Get your quilt set up and ready to go, and drop the needle down.  You may need to lengthen the stitch length beyond what you would normally use for straight-line quilting - I set mine at about 3.75 (the maximum stitch length on my machine is 4).

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial

I would normally use a flat hand to gently guide the fabric through the machine.  This will not work, because putting any pressure on the quilt will cause it to stick to the sewing machine.  What you need to do is lift the quilt up around the presser foot, and let the feed dogs and your walking foot do their job.  It will feel really strange, but if you go slowly and carefully, it will work.

Step 5 - Binding

This project is a great candidate for machine stitching the binding.  I learned from Rita at Red Pepper Quilts, and I still think her tutorial is the best.  If you do decide to hand stitch the binding, I would recommend attaching it to the back first and hand stitching it to the front.

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial

Ta da - you're finished!  Now you just need to test drive your new sewing machine mat - a perfect excuse to sew something new!

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial

P.S. You will have a fair bit of the non-slip matting left over - try putting a piece under your sewing machine pedal.  It will stop creeping away from you as you sew!


Saturday, 21 November 2015

Caturday Wisdom #147

Why play hide and seek when you could play hide and sleep?! Ralph

Ralph did not want to participate in my photoshoot this day. He had fallen asleep in the sun and couldn't be bothered moving away from me so in classic sun-drunk style, just hid behind a paw. I'm hoping for some more weather like this but it's not looking good.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Fat Quarter Shop giveaway winner

Thanks everyone for your comments on my Firecrackers Quilt blog post.  It was really interesting reading about your favourite gadgets. There were a few themes running through the comments - Bloc-Loc HST rulers and clover clips were popular (these are both on my favourite gadgets lists too), as were easy angle and companion angle rulers, which I haven't tried.

Without further ado, I'm delighted to announce that the random number generator drew commenter 21, Allison, as the winner of the Creative Grids 30 degree triangle ruler,generously provided by Fat Quarter Shop.

Congratulations Allison, and thanks to everyone else who entered.


Saturday, 14 November 2015

Caturday Wisdom #146

You underestimate the power of the dark side. Mojo (Darth Vader)
The new Star Wars trailer has clearly affected me. Mojo's owner also happens to be a big Star Wars fan too so perhaps that explains the inspiration, although mostly I just think Mojo looks like he rules the world.
Happy Saturday!