Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Smoke gets in your eyes

Other than the election, the news this week around here is the smoke that fills the atmosphere and my sinuses! There are a number of forest fires in progress in NE Tennessee, SW Virginia, and Kentucky. Yesterday, the skies were filled with an acrid smoky haze. There are actually mountains in the distance that should be visible, but as you can see - not so. I had to go out twice yesterday - and paid the high price of raging sinus and stinging eyes for it.

Today, the winds have changed and the smoke is not as bad as it has been for the last few days.

News from the studio

Brick Town

This is Kay's latest creation. I love the way she uses color and her free-spirit approach to design. We used the Bauhaus pantograph:

 Maple Leaf Quilt

Isn't this a wonderful celebration of Fall? It was created by Linda, from Catskill, NY. I love her joyful use of color. We used the Poplar pantograph.


New pantograph 

There is a new pantograph on the shelf just waiting for the right quilt. I sized it down, some, so it will be fairly dense for lots of leafy texture. It's called Greenhouse.

Tips and Techniques

Securing those seams for longarming

Both the backing and the top are placed under tension when loaded onto the frame for longarming. That's in order to keep the quilt stable and avoid accidental tucks and shifting.With all of the seams under some sort of tension, there is the possibility that unsecured seams can un-sew themselves. If the seams in the top have inadvertently missed the mark or are even slightly open, the machine can catch itself in the opening and cause damage to the top or backing.

Here are a few common methods of securing seams during the construction process:


Most of us have used this technique at sometime or other. It definitely will keep the seam secure at the ends.

Tiny stitches at the ends

This one is my go-to method of securing seams, especially when sewing longer seams and backing seams. Just change the stitch length to a 1.0 or 1.5 to stitch the beginning and ending 3/8" of each seam. None of the seams will separate themselves at the ends.

Reduce your piecing stitch length

This is the fastest method. It is a little less secure than the other two, but definitely reduces seam separation. Just shorten your stitch .5 or more from your usual stitch length and go for it. A little trial and testing will lead you to a stitch length that is fairly secure but doesn't slow you down to much.


Some of you may be wondering what the pink square of fabric is all about in the "backstitch" picture. Well, do you ever get a bird's nest of thread develop as you start a line of quilting? To avoid that, just start your seam using a thread "leader". A thread nest will show up on the leader and not your piecing. When you come to the end of the seam, keep sewing onto another thread leader and you'll be ready for the next seam! If you are chain-piecing, start with a thread leader, and end the last seam with a thread leader. No more thread nests!

Learning for the week

Before you call your cell phone to find out where it is, ... check your pocket.