Thursday, February 27, 2014

Nothing exciting...or is there...

Nope, nothing exciting but don't leave! I have very little to share/report lately and that sucks. I've been teaching more at Urban Spools this month and subsequently sewing less at home. I did sneak in a quilt in the beginner quilt series and that helped a bit with my sewing itch. That's some fussy cut Amy Butler, guys!!!

I am also working on a charity quilt for Lala Salama -100 Quilts for Kenya. They requested a twin size quilt tranquil blues and greens. You can read more here on Alyce's post. I think I spent more deciding on fabrics and patterns than I did on making the top. I actually cut up a bunch of green and blues into triangles and then changed my mind. If anyone wants these, send me an email and I'll send them to you. I don't want them wasted but know I won't make them into anything. Maybe someone else can give it a shot. ;) my redo is basted and ready to be quilted so hopefully I'll get to share that soon and can send it on its merry way. They are due in April but I indicted January when I signed up and feel terrible. It's not like me to procrastinate this much. We move in two weeks so not sure if this will be completed before or after. I hope before! If you are interested in participating, you can sign up here.

Speaking of moving... man alive, this moving stuff is stressful! I can handle the packing and planning but dealing with all the other stuff is so draining. I'm glad we aren't pressured for time and know things will all work out accordingly, but if we can just get to that point I'll be better.

Lastly, I wanted to share a quick video the UCMQG had put together for QuiltBLISS. Check it out and next year it will be February 19th-22nd (I think) so mark your calendars!

Melissa
Oh, and here is a picture of my little kitty relishes in Rapunzel dresses...CHEEZE!
(Haha...you can see my Amy Butler class quilt waiting its turn to be quilted in the back)

 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hello World

Today I have some sweetness to share with y'all! My dear friend, Kat, just had her second little girl last week and all I can say is...ADORABLE!

I am now ready for number three (or maybe more like after we move). Kat decided to decorate her nursery in this adorable mod elephant fabric she found on Spoonflower and had a gal on Etsy make the crib set. I almost bought some of the same fabric to make the baby quilt, but then I came across a brand new collection out by Cori Dantini called Hello World. Isn't that name just perfect?!? Her fabrics are just so whimsical that I couldn't resist. I couldn't resist so much that I bought a half-yard bundle as well instead of the FQ bundle that would have sufficed. Oops.

Baby Elephant Quilt

I thought long and hard on what pattern I wanted to do but knew I wanted to highlight the elephant panel... so a giant log cabin it was going to be. All of Dantini's art has this mixed media feel with text and drawings with a few coffee/tea stains mixed in. I added some Madrona Road text fabric and a little bit of green, I cut a couple of strips of varying widths from the 1/2 yard cuts and then just pieced until I was all out. I also had enough to make a mini wall hanging or to give to the new babies big sister as a doll quilt.

Baby Elephant Quilt

I decided to mimic the bunting fabric on the back with the quilting but still not 100% happy with how that turned out. Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the back but its all in the bunting print you see on the front. So fun! I had a little fun FMQing the centers and outlined the elephant, flowers and bunting. I really enjoy that type of FMQing (on a small scale of course). On the wall hanging, it's just lines echoing around the elephant print.

Baby Elephant Quilt

I forgot to measure the mini quilt, but the baby quilt measures exactly the width of fabric at 42 inches.

I have some other Cori Dantini panel prints with fairies that I hope to FMQ all artsy fartsy to make some wall hangings for my girls. Someday.

On another positive note, looks like we are moving in a few weeks. Our new house won't be ready until the beginning of summer so we found a townhome that will be slightly more "cozy" but perfect for the time being. I will have to set up shop in the master bedroom though. I don't know if that is a good or bad thing...haha! Sorry Mr. Relish, you might want to get some ear plugs.

I also want to give Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts a big shout out & thank you hug for listing my blog as one of her "three loves". When I opened up her post from Bloglovin, I was itching to see the three she loves and when I saw my blog first, I just about died! It truly made my week! I know I have been quiet lately because of all the craziness and I am so sorry. If I have any free time, I would rather sew and if I am able to share what I sew, then that's even better. At least I will have a back log of projects to share in case something catastrophic happens like all my machines going in to get repaired at the same time....that would be a sewpocalypse! Anywho, make sure you go check out Alyce's post and introduction to her new series.

That's all I got and hope you are having a great week! The relishes and I have been enjoying the warm weather and sunshine in the backyard this week so hopefully it's nice where you are. :)

Melissa

Ok, one more baby picture...eek!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A story of two sewing machines...

Hey y'all! I've had my Juki for over a month now and feel it is time to give my review and pros/cons as promised. I also had the opportunity to use a brand new Bernina 580 this past weekend at QuiltBLISS and while I only used it for two days, I feel like I can give a little bit of my opinion. Please take all of this with a grain of salt. These are my opinions and I have no affiliation with either Juki or Bernina. I paid for my Juki and paid to rent the Bernina with my (or Mr. Relish's) money.* Also, if you have either one of these machines and would like to add to my list, please feel free to do so in the comments (even if you have a different model). I want this post to be as informative as possible, especially if someone is reading this and in the market to purchase a new machine.

I will start with the Juki. This will be more detailed since I have had more use with it.

my new bff

Juki TL2010Q

Pros
  •  Fast - Stiches are 1500 per minute! When you are doing straight stitching, it goes fast, smooth and creates beautiful stitches!
  • Sturdy - All metal and heavy, but not too heavy to take with you!
  • Thread cutter - Super fast thread cutter (1 second) and you can trim them using the foot control by just rolling your foot with your heal to cut.
  • Knee lift
  • Price - around $1000
  • Variable speed control
  • Feed dog lever in front and easy to switch.
  • Large extension table
Cons
  • Only has one stitch and that is straight.
  • No digital features or computer.
  • Needs to be oiled every day/use.
  • Bobbin case is hard to get to when the extension table is on.

All I can say is that I LOVE this machine! I have a Brother SE400 that has all the fancy stitches and embroidery capabilities so I don't need one that is more fancy than straight stitching. So for piecing and small sewing projects I will continue to use my Brother, but I will NEVER quilt or construct heavy duty items again on my Brother. I am 100% pleased with my decision.

Bernina 580

Photo Feb 1, 2014, 4:43 PM

Pros -
  • Separate motor for bobbin winder! I think this was my favorite feature!
  • Tons of stitches
  • Embroidery capabilities
  • Computer screen technology
  • Knee lift - although they didn't include this with the rental and would have been nice.
  • Strong motor and machine and creates beautiful stitches; however, I did not quilt on this machine to check out how well it quilts and if there were any tension issues.
  • Extension table
  • Ruler on machine. I find myself using the ruler located in front of my machines the most so having it on the machine is very helpful.
Cons -
  • Plastic casing outside
  • Thread cutter is slower than Christmas! It takes about 4-5 seconds for it to cut the thread. I would find myself pressing the cut thread button then do other things while I waited for the thread to cut. Seriously.
  • Threading issues - I really struggled with this the entire two days I used the machine. I was rethreading the top constantly because the trimmed threads were two short. Also, the thread (Aurifil) kept breading while I was sewing and could not figure out why. I basically gave up on using the machine by the end of the second day because I felt like I was getting more and more frustrated and my work was suffering.
  • Bobbin case is hard to get to when the extension table is on.
  • 9mm needle plate - fabric would get sucked into the plate when I would start a stitch. I was timid every time I used it. When I mentioned this to the Bernina lady, she said that she uses a different plate with that machine. I wish they had offered that to us for renting.
  • Also needs oiling every day/use.
  • Price - $6000
I decided to rent a machine at QuiltBLISS because I wanted to have a carefree and maintenance free sewing experience. I have a Brother 6000i I use specifically for travel and teaching and wish I had brought it with me and saved the $75. While I only experienced the 580, I do know that some of the other renters that sat near me had some of the same issues and some totally different issues. For example, the 560 model that is more geared towards quilting started having issues with tension on the second day and getting bobbin empty notifications over and over even though the bobbin was full. I think those issues were sorted out by the Bernina lady but I sure would have been pissed if I just purchased this approximately 5K machine to only have to take it right back to be serviced, even if it was a minor repair.

It's really hard to compare these two machines since they are very different in their capabilities and I've only used both for approximately 12-16 hours each, but I feel even more confidant about choosing Juki over Bernina. Sometimes the fancy machines aren't always the best. I know that Bernina has some fantastic sewing machines out there, especially since the sewing room at the retreat was 90% Bernina, but I doubt I would point anyone towards the Bernina 580/560 if asked.  Just keep it simple and save the money (even if that means getting a more simple Bernina). 

Like I mentioned before, please feel free to include your input below in comments. I would love to hear about what you love and hate about your sewing machine.

Melissa

ps - here is where I purchased my Juki from

*Just to reiterate, these are my opinions and I have no affiliation with either Juki or Bernina. I paid for my Juki and paid to rent the Bernina with my (or Mr. Relish's) money. I do not get any compensation for this post from any of the sewing machine companies listed above. Actually, I don't get any compensation what so ever for my blog...lol. Remember, a grain of salt! 

Edit 2/13/14 - What's a synonym for reiterate? -- Again, these are just my opinions and please don't take it personally if you have a Bernina. Seriously. I think Berninas are fantastic, but I did not enjoy this particular one and if that bothers you then I'm so sorry. 



Sunday, February 9, 2014

Heartwarming...

One of the most adorable things my 3 year old is saying right now is, "thanks mom, you're the best." I then follow with, "no, you're the best!" This goes back and forth for a while. I know one day she won't say these things as freely so for  now I am going to eat it up!

I had promised big relish a handmade when I went off to QuiltBLISS and dropped the ball. Luckily, the pink plastic miniature horse I won that was part of the Sarah Jane decororation pacified her that night I returned home. I was itching to finish something quick this week and decided to make a pixelated heart pillow. I had cut a bunch of solid 2 1/2 inch squares and 3 inch squares for another project; therefore, churning out this pillow was pretty quick. You need 10 hst's for the heart (3 x 3 inch blocks) and the rest are 2 1/2 inch squares. I then added a border using some more of the 2 1/2 inch squares and quilted diagonal lines. Finished size at 20 x 20 inches.

I must have been delirious while cutting because I was way off on one row where the seams don't match (pink square in middle). Yup, right there. SMH. Oh well...part of the charm and the benefit of gifting to a three year old.

And of course she loved it and declared, "you're the best!" -- It's the little things :) Hope you have a great Valentine's week! xoxo

Melissa

ps - big relish has also picked up a new word that isn't quite as adorable and starts with a big giant "F" --- oops!! We are working on that mommy (and daddy but mostly mommy) fail.

 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I'm back from QuiltBLISS....

And it was awesome! I left from Dallas on Thursday and landed in Salt Lake at 2:30. I met up with two fellow attendees and we set out to Heber (about an hour outside of Salt Lake). We got less than a mile from the lodge and discovered that we were not going to make it up the mountain without 4-wheel drive. So we went back down the mountain and waited as patiently as we could for a ride up.

Once we got up there, we were greeted by the sweet ladies hosting this wonderful retreat (UCMQG) and got settled. Go visit their blog for more pictures!

--my room--
-- at my machine --
-- yeah, this picture is real --
-- our beautiful sewing room --
-- Sherri's trunk show --
-- Sherri's trunk show --

-- Sarah Jane's trunk show --
-- Swap item I received from Heather at Quilt Barn -- awesome!!!
-- pin cushion made by Marion of My Quilt Diet --so cute!!!
-- my retreat schedule --
Once I settled in and collected my rented Bernina, my new friend, Tami, and I began exploring the lodge. Did I mention this lodge was the largest privately owned cabin? Seriously! Check out some pictures here to get an idea of how amazing it is. It was easy to get lost in its 26,000 square feet of lodge-y goodness!
The food was amazing and was prepared by Pam's mom, sister and aunt. I felt truly pampered. We had lots of giveaways, classes and lectures with some amazing and talented quilters/artists including Sherri McConnell, Amy Smart, and Sara Jane. Some moments I even thought how the heck was was in the same room with theses ladies sewing.
Other than my cancelled flight home, I would say this getaway was perfect. So excited to be a part of the wonderful quilting community!
I have a sweet baby quilt to share soon as I am hand delivering it tomorrow and also made big relish a valentines pillow...so be on the lookout!
ps - looks like my awesome juki cover helped sell my house! We are under contract (option period) and fingers crossed everything goes smoothly. It will be sad to leave, as I have made a lot of memories here with my girls and I love this house, but it is a change for the better. :)
pss - I owe you an official Juki TL2010 review AND I can give you my honest opinion of the Bernina machine I rented at QuiltBLISS. You might find my opinion surprising ;)
Thanks for stopping by!
Melissa

 

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