Archive | July 2017

Applique, Stitch Artist, and Silhouette Cameo 3

I’m recently all about a new technology/skill/craft that is creating pre-cut fabric applique pieces with a cutting machine and adding them to a quilt block with an embroidery machine.  I’m not sure what that is (lazy?) but you just can’t pick this up and go unless you’re super savvy and have the right equipment and embroidery digitizing software.  At least I need to be super savvy.  🙂

About two years ago or so, I bought a Silhouette Cameo3 from Woot.com for $199.00 which apparently was a great deal.  Have you heard of Woot.com?  Awesome daily deals and shipping is always $5.  This company was started by 2 guys from Texas and was bought a couple of years ago by Amazon.  I digress, but check them out.  Anyhoo…  So I bought this thing with the idea that it could make latex logo labels for hubs to use in his custom fishing rod business.  It came with a starter pack with a bunch of blades and tools and an extra mat I think.

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It arrived, I told hubs what it was, set the box down on the floor in the game room, and that was that.  Forgotten.  Don’t have a heart attack!  My blog is Power Tools with Thread, not “power tools with paper”.  Lots of you paper craft and I applaud that.  It just isn’t me.  Maybe it goes back to a seriously bad paper cut as a kid, I’m not sure, but I have absolutely no desire in my LIFE to paper craft.

So one morning while we were at the coast and the house was quiet (hubs was still asleep) I was surfing YouTube and I came across a video of someone cutting fabric shapes with a cutting machine.  I had literally completely forgotten about the box in the game room and was like “Hey! I should get one of those machines because I HATE to trace and cut out applique shapes in fabric and I could use this for the Dinosaur Applique Quilt”.   The machine in the video was the Brother Scan-n-Cut so I watched all kinds of videos on that machine.   

When we got home I was putting things away and for no reason, glanced at the box on the floor in the game room and it struck me.  EUREKA! I have one of those machines!  I opened it up and it’s not a Scan-n-Cut, but the Silhouette Cameo 3.  Hmm.  More YouTube surfing for some OJT on that baby.  I finally got the thing working with my phone via Bluetooth, but had a disastrous outcome when I tried to cut the fabric.

Then on another day I was surfing YouTube (again) and I came across a video by Briton Leap featuring Lisa Shaw who’s a rock star in the machine embroidery world.  She was showing how to use an embroidery machine to create a placement line for pre-cut applique shapes and then sew a final tack-down stitch for the pieces.  Seriously???  I wouldn’t even have to sew them in place?  Wait…Let me get this right… If I can get the shapes to cut out with the Silhouette, and use embroidery software to create an applique file, then I wouldn’t have to trace/print, cut, or sew it down the old fashioned way?  REALLY??  SIGN ME UP!!  

My first thing was to order her recommended Heat & Bond Lite Stretch.  She showed in the video how it turns the fabric to almost paper-like so it cuts cleanly in a cutting machine.  In my previous attempts I had used Wonder Under on the back of the fabric and I tried it with the paper and without the paper on the back of the fabric and it didn’t work worth a crap either way.

After seeing the video with Lisa Shaw, I didn’t know if my Embrilliance software would work or if I needed a digitizing software like Stitch Artist?  I surfed all around the web and I guess I either didn’t ask the right question or whatever but I couldn’t find an answer.  Well, when Google fails there’s Facebook!  I became a member of a machine embroidery group and explained what I wanted to do and asked for advice.  Guess who responded to me?  LISA SHAW!  In the virtual flesh!  (I was tickled!) She said I would need to upgrade my Embrilliance Essentials to Stitch Artist Level 1 and then pointed me to the video in the link below where Sunbonnet Sue was digitized with Stitch Artist for applique. 

So that’s it!  I need time to play with all this and my initial fiddling with Stitch Artist is going well but I haven’t had time to try cutting fabric yet with the new H&B.  But this summer has been so crazy busy and I’m on a new compressed work schedule that keeps me in the office for an extra hour each day but gives me a day off every two week pay period. It’s on those off days I’ll be able to sit and think and play to get this process going.  Have you done this?  Success?  Failure?  Words of wisdom?

#2017FALQ3-PowerToolsWithThread

I have a lot of UFOs (Unfinished Objects) and I’m very happy I found the 2017 Finish-a-long even if the year is half over.  It will give me the motivation to finish a few of them.  These are NOT WIPs.  They have been put down and walked away from for months…years and still need to be completed.

UFO #1 – Dinosaur QAYG from ShinyHappyWorld.com.  I’ve got the blocks cut, background batiks applies, and some of the blocks are quilted.  Some of the applique pieces have been cut by hand but I’m no where near even halfway through.  It’s been sitting for months and I want it done for Christmas.  I have a Cameo Silhouette and what I REALLY want to do is some serious magic with this.  Not only do I want to cut out the dinosaurs in fabric on the Silhouette, but I want to load the image into my Embrilliance embroidery software and then machine embroider the applique onto the squares in the hoop.  I’ve seen it done on YouTube and I really want to figure that out because I HATE to applique on the sewing machine.  I’m seriously wondering why I took this project on.  Probably because it’s such an adorable quilt and I’d had too much wine when I ordered it.  Hey, don’t judge.

#2017fal

#2 A Starry Night Quilt.  I started this before Christmas in 2015 with the full intention of finishing it before the holiday.  It’s one of those where you punch out the stars and add a little light pack behind it so the wall hanging lights up.  I got the wild idea that I’d do a small meander all around the outside of the tree.  I got about half way finished before I got bored.  You can see where I outlined the tree shape to meander around.  I started the meander on my sit down.

#2017fal - Starry Night

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#3  Lap size pink quilt.  This is a Villa Rosa Designs pattern but I’m not sure which one.  I didn’t think it was going to be THIS pink but it will make a nice gift for a young girl.  I still need to get backing fabric.  I made this top in summer of 2016.

#2017fal - Pink Villa Rosa Quilt

#4  Another Villa Rosa Designs – lap size.  This was a kit and the backing for it is around here somewhere.  This one I put together in Spring of 17.  I thought it would look good in my living room.

#2017fal - Villa Rosa Living Room Quilt

That’s enough UFO’s for this quarter.  I hope to get just one done but I’m glad to have finally put thoughts-to-blog in this #2017FAL to get me going on them.

Link up your UFOs.  I’d love to see them!

 

Bag Making Tips, Arabesque by SewSweetness

Last weekend I made the Arabesque Bag from Sew Sweetness, by Sara Lawson.  You can get the free pattern here from Craftsy.  This is probably the 3rd bag I’ve made from one of her patterns and they never disappoint.  The instructions are always very clear with great photos and she takes you step-by-step to create a great bag.  The purpose of this bag was to have a special one to traipse around on quilt shop hops.  I changed up the pattern a tad to make it cross-body so I have my hands free to fondle all that pretty fabric.  🙂

I found this adorable fabric last week at my local quilt store.  I had a variegated teal thread I thought would be perfect and a bright blue zipper in my stash.

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Tip #1:  When you have to cut foam or interfacing that must match exactly in shape and size to form one piece when fused or sewn to another, cut the fabric to size and cut the other piece just a bit larger all around.  Then sew and trim.  You will save yourself a ton of wonky-seam frustration and the end result is a beautiful smooth perfectly sewn piece.  In the case of fusibles, I iron in the center first to within about an inch from the edges with the sticky side of the interfacing up and the wrong side of the fabric down.  Then I trim and go back afterwards with the iron to fuse the edges together.  This prevents sticky residue on my iron and ironing board.

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Tip #2:  When sewing the zipper, leave the pins in the pin cushion.  Sorry I didn’t capture photos of this but I NEVER use pins or clips on a zipper.  If you want to master zippers, 1/4″ Steam-a-Seam (Lite or Regular) is your best friend.  Put the SAS on the zipper, adhere the zipper to the fabric in perfect placement with your iron and then sew.  Easy and a perfect result every time.  I checked on YouTube for a video showing how to use SAS in zipper placement but couldn’t find one.  There’s a lot of SAS videos, but not one for zippers.  I guess I will have to do one myself!

Tip #3:  When sewing bulky fabrics, begin sewing in the middle of the stitch line somewhere to give yourself something to hang on to from the back to help the feed dogs do their job.  The box seam on a bag is the shortest sewn part of the bag.  If I had started on one end, no forward movement would occur because of the bulk.  I pin down the seam allowances on both sides so they don’t get all smushed up under the presser foot and begin a couple of stitches behind of center seam.  Pull the pins before sewing over them.

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Whatever the seam, either with foam or Soft-n-Stable, I begin the stitch a couple of inches down from where I would normally begin and sew to the bottom.  Then I flip it over and finish the seam from the other end.  It’s an extra step but I don’t need a leader and the seam is always straight and true from one end to the other.  Here I’ve done the first part and have flipped it over and starting  the finish.

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Here’s  the finished product.  I totally forgot to quilt the bag darn it.  Side #1.

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Side #2.  I fussy cut the center designs on both sides.

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See how straight that zipper is?  That’s Steam-a-Seam my friends.  It comes in sheets or rolls and you can get it everywhere from Walmart to Amazon.

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I cut the length of strap to fit me perfectly.  I’m ready for a Shop Hop!

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