Saturday, March 19, 2011

March FSNI project and Quilty Saturday plans!

100th Post Give-Away!
(Drawing Sunday, March 27th at 9:00 p.m. Central Time.)
Please click on the direct link here:

Carrie's Cowboy Corral Quilt top is now complete!
This is one of my nine goals for March, for all of them, please click here.

I've now completed two of my goals and plan to work on the pillow cases Saturday;
one for charity, one for my daughter and one for my son.

AND...SEW much FUN!!!
A quilty friend is coming over for a sew-along!!
It will be a Happy National Quilting Day :-)
She's bringing Starbuck's and I'm making chicken salad in cantalope for lunch, plus she's providing a veggie tray for snacks and I baked a cheesecake and plan to serve it with fresh raspberries and strawberries.  I'm really looking forward to our sew-in and hope to post about our fun here!
If you'd like to "join" us in our Quilty Saturday, just leave a comment below - we'd be happy to see the results of your day on your blog!
 Here's a bit of a tutorial from what I've learned by completing Carrie's Cowboy Corral Quilt from Harriet and Carrie Hargrave's "Quilter's Academy Vol. 1 Freshman Year"...I just began quilting in Nov. 2010 by taking Harriet's free motion quilting class and am working my way through their series, Freshman Year through Master's Class.  Here is part of my journey:

Harriet recommends Clover pins, so even though they were $11.00 USD, I did purchase them.  They are super-sharp and I am using a magnetic pin holder in the hopes that they won't fall on the floor as often.  Here I am pinning the seams by "butting the seams" together, as described in QA Vol. 1:
 This is a close-up of the glass-head Clover pin.  Another advantage is that you can run the iron over it and it won't melt.
 Here I am using the Janome 1/4" foot.  If you look closely to the right, you will see a guard.  This helps keep the quilter from moving too far left and helps keep the fabric in the right place as you sew along.  One disadvantage is that when sewing flying geese overtop other fabrics, it can be a little problematic by shifting the fabric.  I find it's a love/hate relationship with this foot!  I love it for outside edges like these, though!
Here's a close-up of the needle I'm using a 70/10 needle with the 60 weight three-ply Presencia thread.  Harriet says that 50 weight three-ply thread isn't fine enough to give you a 1/4" seam and that a 60 weight three-ply thread will be both strong enough and fine enough to give you a better 1/4" seam so that your quilt blocks will square up more accurately and the three-ply is strong enough to hold large bed quilts without falling apart as quickly.  If you also use a Perkins Dry Goods ruler, Harriet says you will have a 98% success rate for perfect seam allowance when all three of these are used together.  If only I had known all this earlier!  :-)

Prescencia USA is a company from Italy that Harriet has worked closely with in developing the 60/3 weight for us quilters and is also the person who encouraged the company to provide more than just basic colors, as she was certain quilters would fall in love with this thread and want to piece with it in many different colors.  Harriet's on top of her game.  She is absolutely right!

When Carrie and Harriet were here in my town giving the quilting class and trunk show in November 2010, they had items for sale from their quilt shop in Colorado.  I purchased this Presencia thread cone for $25.00 USD locally, but ordered the cone thread holder from Carrie and Harriet, who sent it to me with free shipping since I was in the class - very nice of them!  
Here's their online store so you can get these items, too:

The following seams need to be "set", so...
Here I am with my T.J. Maxx Rowenta iron find...$40.00 USD instead of $120.00.  This iron is awesome, but Harriet highly recommends the Reliable Digital Velocity iron

(Harriet recommends the newest Reliable Digital Velocity iron called the V100 which is an 1800 watt iron!)

 I will look for sales because I do want to make this purchase, but all in good time...I'm pretty happy using the Rowenta (without steam) along with "Best Press" starch, even though Harriet swears by "Faultless" starch.
Mary Ellen's "Best Press" comes in lovely scents and doesn't leave flakes like the heavier "Faultless".

 Did all that "seam butting" pay off with the expensive Clover glass-head pins?  Here's the proof in the pudding:

This quilt top was chain-pieced and I chose to leave the lead threads hanging, so each row was ready to sew made the work quite a bit faster and more accurate.  Thanks for the tips, Carrie and Harriet!  My quilting has improved SO MUCH already - and I'm only on the second quilt top!!

Here's a better picture to show you how the quilt top is hanging together by the "threads" of their "chinny-chin-chins"!  I really like the Madeira thread clips I picked up.  Part of the QA Vol. 1 book is advice about what to get when you first start quilting, so I appreciate those tips so that I can produce the best results possible for my skill level.  Having the right products are more than half the battle!

Here's the Alphasew quilting extension table I'm using with my computerless Janome Jem Gold 3.  

I also have a clear slippery surface across the top of the Alphasew extension.

EBay has them for around $65.00 USD:

When you click on the link for the extension table, you'll be able to see all the storage available built into the table.  It's really nice that it's clear so you can see everything it's in its place, and it's handy for thread, needles, Machingers gloves for free motion quilting (love them!!), pins, etc.

The extension table handles the entire quilt top nicely and the material slides along smoothly.  If yours does not, there's also a spray that you can purchase so that it will be slick.  

Ta-dah!  Here's the completed top!
Thank you for following rocknquilts.  
I appreciate all of your comments - the good, the bad and the ugly!!
I do appreciate both encouragement and critique because I want to become a better quilter.
Thanks again, all!

(Horsebackriding, anyone?)

I found something new (to me)!  
Have you ever seen this before?
Looks really cool - I'm going to check it out soon!


  1. WOW... what a day... and night and Saturday! BiG weekend of sewing....! Way to go girls! I'm tired just reading about it! :)

  2. Your quilt top turned out great! I'm going to check out some of those links. It's always helpful to learn what works for others. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wow and double wow! Love your quilt top and THANK YOU for all this very helpful info you shared! A quilt class first thing this morning. I think I need to check out this quilting book series....

    Have a wonderful day!

    (I'll post a photo of my FNSI results as soon as it gets a bit brighter out... I'm hoping for better results with natural light... *fingers crossed* )

  4. Thank you for your wonderful comments, gals! I hope you had a very productive weekend, too!

  5. Thanks for all the links! Your quilt top looks very good!

  6. I make 9-patch blocks leaving the chain piecing threads connected - that way I can stack a bunch of them up and press at the same time, then sew the rows together. Saves a lot of time! Thanks for sharing all this great stuff! Whoop whoop!


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