Shop Hop

Quilt Shop Hop and Quilting Bug

The last 4-5 weeks I have taught a lot of quilting classes, and I have another 4 week long one starting this Tuesday.  After I finished my townhouse quilt I thought it would be fun to jump right into another project.  I have had my eye on this project for a while, but as with everything else I did not have the capability or experience to tackle it.  This project is called the Shop Hop Quilt and they are all adorable buildings for different aspects of quilting, sewing, knitting, yarn, and other fiber arts.

Initially, I was still in the mindset that it would be similar to the townhouse quilt with its details and designs done in one main color.  Each townhouse block averaged 20,000 stitches for 11×8 inches, and took about an hour to do the whole piece.  The shop hop is twice that amount at 40,000 stitches for 8×8 inches and takes an average of 2.5 hours.

The first step I took when deciding to even try this project was to chose a layer cake.  A layer cake is a pack of 10×10 inch squares from a fabric collection.  This made it so much easier for the applique sections, because I did not have to stress about coordinating fabrics.

The second step I took was to thoroughly read the instructions.  If you have followed my Townhouse Posts you will learn about how I am not the best at reading/following directions, and in doing that project I have grown fond of reading the directions for a quilt as you go block.  I can definitely tell you these blocks are adorable and will be so much easier to put together at a later date.

The third step was to choose thread.  My multi-spool holder will hold 8 different colors and so I limited my entire project to those colors.  I did not want to have to keep up with multiple threads laying around and 8 is the perfect combination.

So far I have finished 3 of these adorable blocks and I cannot wait for the next one. I think I will just tackle 4 for now. That way I can focus on some of my other irons I have in the fire.

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Townhouse Quilt

What I Learned From The Townhouse Quilt (Part 4)

Good Afternoon!  It has consistently been in the 20-40 range for the last week here in Washington and last night it snowed and stuck!  So with a beautiful snow day and some coffee here I am to finish up this four part series.

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#16 – How people either love or hate machine embroidery.

As I started finishing up this project I ended up taking it with me to a couple of places to see what people had to say about my progress.  Eight out of ten would usually say they loved it, were really interested in how it was coming together, or that they wanted to try it if they had an embroidery machine of their own.  The other two would be traditionalists who would say it was pretty but they thought I was cheating because my machine was doing most of the work.  I am not really sure which side of the fence I stand, but I have had my own doubts about this craft as well.  All of which has been smothered with practice and gaining more knowledge and skills.

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#17 – How to use sashing on a quilt as you go project.

As I talked about in Part 1 I am not great with reading directions.  So when I began this project I did not understand that I was supposed to leave half an inch around all sides of the fabric (not the batting).  This led me to an interesting predicament when it came time for me to decide on adding the sashing, the fabric between each block.  I decided that since my buildings were black I would use the coordinating fairy frost.  Each block had a quarter each seam around the edges that would be hidden underneath the sashing.  To keep the sashing from overpowering the quilt I cut one inch strips out of the fabric and began the assembly.  Once each piece of sashing was added the finished size amounted to half an inch and I did not need to add extra bating under the sashing pieces.  This made each square lay flat and beautiful.

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#18 – How many needles I needed for this project.

If there is anything in my sewing room I am OCD about it is 1)That my needles get changed regularly 2)That my machine gets cleaned after every single project 3)That my thread is all tucked away in their correct places 4)That I can quickly reach all of my must haves for embroidery.  That being said when it came down to trial and error the final number of needles I used for this project totalled around 10-12.  I do not have a firm number because I would do other small projects in between my blocks.  One needle would usually stay nice and sharp for two whole blocks.  If I kept it longer I would be able to immediately tell from the sound it made when passing through the fabric.

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#19 – How many bobbins I used

I used one bobbin per block which totalled 20 bobbins.  I can’t remember how much thread my bobbin will hold, but I did go through one and a half spools of bobbin thread.  So that is approximately 1,312 yards (1,199 metres) of thread.  That is a ton of thread….but it is so worth it.

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#20 – How much I really loved this project

I don’t think I can say enough how much I loved this project.  It was challenging, fun, stressful, rewarding, and I have learned so much from this project I am anxious to begin my next journey.  Please see the finished project below.

 

Thank you so much for following me through this list and I really hope everyone can learn something from my experiences.

If you have landed on this post and would like to read the whole list please start with Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3

Happy Sewing, Crocheting, Embroidery, Quilting or whatever craft you enjoy!

Townhouse Quilt

20 Things I Learned from the Townhouse Quilt (Part 2)

Welcome back!  I decided it would be better to break up the posts in order to make them easier to read.  I personally get fidgety if I have to sit and read something for a long period of time so I hope you are ready to read the next 5 things I have learned.

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#6 – How to not be afraid of my large hoops

With my first embroidery machine I could only embroider with a 4 inch by 4 inch hoop.  This hoop was small, but it did a great job for the year I used it.  In comparison the largest hoop I can embroider in at the moment is 14 inches long and 8 inches wide.  If we are comparing their sizes I could fit 7 of my original hoops into the largest one I can use now.  It will come as no surprise when I say I had to use my largest hoop for this project.  When I started it was VERY intimidating.  By the 6,7,8…blocks I was so comfortable I no longer had to think about if I was going to bump it and mess up the machine some how.

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#7 – How to Multi-Task During Stitchout

I am rather anxious about new things, and even by the 7th block I still faced a certain amount of dread that I would sit down to begin my task and the machine wouldn’t work.  To quell the desire to sit in front of my machine for hours on end, singing out my lungs to Hillary Duff, I decided I could watch, sing, and crochet another baby blanket for a friend.  Each stitch out takes about an hour and a half.  All together I have spent a whole day with this quilt, and countless other hours with pandora and my yarn.

P.S. – For anyone who is like me and likes to crochet, but does not know where to begin with a baby blanket.  I suggest Bernat Baby Yarn and a size N needle.  I personally did not follow a pattern.  I created a chain 101 across and then half-double crocheted my way through 5 balls of yarn.  

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#8 – How to know what fabric you like, and impulse buy it

My husband, Justin, will probably roll his eyes when he reads this number.  He really is wonderful and happily (begrudgingly) goes to fabric and quilt stores with me.  The day I bought the colors you are seeing in my quilt he sadly was not with me.  I walked into Quilted Strait (Port Gamble, WA) with my friend Nicole and I saw this beautiful display of colors by the front door.  The Hungry Caterpillar fabric line by Andover Fabrics is ultimate vibrant color wheel.  When I saw them I knew I would be taking a few of it’s solid fabrics home with me.  What I did not know was how soon I would be starting a project with them.  The moral of this lesson is: YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU WILL REALLY NEED THAT FABRIC.  SO BUY IT!!

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#9 – Why I buy cones of thread

As a quilter I learned a very important lesson about small spools of thread.  If you use the same color all the time for piecing, you will run out fast.  When I started going to The Quilted Rose, in San Diego, I discovered cones of thread.  These cones usually hold upwards of 3,000 yards of thread.  That is a lot of thread!  Nicole recently finished one of the cones after a solid year of piecing.  Knowing this, I bought a cone of thread (6000 yards wow!) before I began my townhouse blocks. I thought using the same color I would go through a lot of thread.  Boy did I.  I can’t accurately measure how much thead I used.  I did take a photo from two different view to display.  The darker thread is the one I used for the townhouse buildings.  The orange thread is a brand new cone.

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#10 – Design’s Look Better In Person

At the end of block 10 I had two rows of buildings I could line up one next to the other.  When I started this project I did have some hesitation about my color choices and also the background.  I did not use a solid white, but instead opted for my new go-to Michael Miller’s White Fairy Frost.  The original design also had different colors.  It had red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.  I did not care for the red or orange so they became pink and purple.  What I learned and what I always tell my friends is you don’t have to like the design colors.  Colors can be changed and should be to personalize it.

I hope everyone enjoyed today’s post.  I hope to see you next time in Part 3!

 

If you somehow ended up here and have not read Part 1 I would love for you to!

If you would like to keep reading please visit Part 2

Uncategorized

20 Things I learned from the Townhouse Quilt (Part 1)

I think learning is a key to every day life.  If you aren’t learning something that you thought you already knew you really are two steps behind.  To say that I thought or think I know everything about machine embroidery is about as farfetched as the idea that I could also be an engineer (way to much math…who really needs algorithms?)  That being said I hope by reading my list of lessons maybe you will not make the same mistakes I did, or if you do they become a comedic addition to your life.

Block 1

#1 How to follow directions

While this may seem obvious to everyone else, I am more of a ‘meh, I will get to that part later’  kind of person.  Truthfully this was my first experience stitching out an Anita Goodesign.  I own more of their collections that I would be willing to admit, but until recently I did not have the capability to stitch them out.  There I have a defence.  One of the directions I did not follow was the amount of fabric I should use for each block.  My thinking was that each block was about 12×7 and the only two items that mattered in that regard were the background and batting.  While not reading this step actually made the quilt look better at the end I know for their future quilts to leave 1/2 an inch on each side for assembly.

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#2  How to properly thread my machine

This may seem like another duh moment, and I will probably never learn to slow down when I do anything.  BUT I have learned that if I slow down for anything it is when I am threading my machine, and also when I put the bobbins in.  While most of these blocks were easy to finish, some of them gave me a few problems because I missed one of my tension disks.  This is a shout out to Diane at Viking Sewing Gallery, who I adore, and received cake pops for all of her loving patience and guidance.  Otherwise, I would be a pile of nerves trying to figure out these problems.

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#3 How to properly use the applique technique

If you have read my previous posts you will see that I recently jumped head-on into the world of machine embroidery.  That being said I had not really done much of applique with my machine.  Honestly I thought it was way harder.  The main lesson I learned is that not all tools are created equal.  Here you will see a image of my FAVORITE applique scissors.  The Inspira Double Curved Embroidery scissors are amazing to work with.

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I had previously worked with the traditional duck-bill applique scissors but I found them to bulky and hard on my hands.  So, if you have tried applique on your machine, or if you have never tried let me tell you to try and try again.  It will make your experience ten times better if the tool fits your style and hands.

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#4 How to use Instagram

Before I started this project I already had an Instagram, but I did not use it, and I did not know that it made posting to both Facebook and Twitter a one and done affair.  The last few months I have been on a Facebook fast, I was loosing so much time to boredom surfing, and so Instagram makes it really easy for me to just avoid that completely.  I also learned how to play around with hashtags.   This will date me when I say I remember when a hashtag was called pound.

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#5 How much batting quality matters

As a quilter I already knew how much batting could make or break the look of a finished quilt.  I also knew that I LOVE pure cotton batting.  What I did not realise was true differences in each cotton batting.  I recently finished a roll of batting that I had bought last christmas (2016) and it had a very plush feel to the cotton.  The next roll I chose was not as plush.  I started this quilt with the previous year’s batting, and while it was nice I kept getting loose pieces of batting pulled to to top of the blocks.  By changing to the flatter batting I definitely saw a change in the quality of my blocks.

Thank you for stopping by and continue reading in Part 2!