January 28, 2010

Batting Scissors & Scissors

I've tried several types of scissors for cutting quilt batting. Once upon a time I had the rechargeable battery operated type. I liked them a lot, while they lasted. The built in battery wouldn't hold a charge after about a year, and that was that. No inexpensive way to revive them. The rechargeable sealed battery pack cost about as much as the scissors, which were not inexpensive.

So, it was back to the Fiskers spring loaded type scissors for cutting batting. They work very well, but your hands do get tired when you are cutting long lengths of batting.

And then I saw these "Handi Batting" scissors while browsing around on the net---and Whoa! Now those are big scissors! and they are specifically for cutting batting and no batteries!

I'm a sucker for scissors I gotta tell you. So, these were calling my name!

They run about $29.00 and with those super long sharp cutting blades and roomy angled finger grips---you can cut layers of batting with ease!

Here they are with all my other scissors. Each scissor has a purpose, and place to hang out. I can't explain why I have collected all these scissors! but I think it has something to do with my compulsive behavior of collecting fabric and thread! These are just a glimpse of the "sewing scissors". There are others around the house in desk drawers. Kitchen drawers and bathrooms too.

There are also the pretty scissors. See the last picture for the "pretty scissors"! Here is what I found just looking around the sewing room.

First in the circle are the Batting scissors, and down below is the very inexpensive red handled "Scotch" brand scissors. Since I love Scotch brand tape, I had to try their scissors. They are surprisingly good cutting scissors considering they cost a few dollars at the local hardware store. I found them hanging at one of those tempting cash register displays. I couldn't resist!

Below the Scotch are the two spring loaded Fiskers. (grey and blue). Still sharp after cutting yards of batting.

Next are my two favorite "cut everything" type scissors. I'm not sure "Mundial" make these nice comfortable padded grip scissors anymore. These are about 12 yrs. old and I've had them professionally sharpened once in all that time. They have stayed sharp after cutting for years. Never fail.

Next is a smaller green handled "Clover EX-135" scissor that I keep at the cutting table for clipping loose threads & such. The point on these pair of scissors is like a needle and great for getting around machine embroidery applique, or clipping seams.

The dark blue handled scissors with the lanyard are kept at the long arm. They have slight curved blade, and are good for clipping threads at the needle and not accidentally cutting the quilt top fabric. No brand.

Next, the orange large grip handle scissors with the short blade are Fiskers "chenille fringing scissors", except I don't think I've ever used them for that purpose, the blade depth seams short. So, they just hang out in a drawer in the sewing room. Not used much.

Then there is the beloved little "Stork Scissors". What good hand embroiderer would be without a pair of these in their scissor arsenol? Next to the Stork scissor is a small pair of "Mundial" embroidery type scissors that are more practical than the Stork scissors and get a lot more use when I'm doing hand work.

The next pair is a regular medium weight shiny silver metal dressmaker type "Mundial" scissor. They open and close so smooth. I've found that is an important feature when testing out scissors; that they not only cut well, but open and close with ease.

The next pair of scissors are a close favorite. Dark blue soft coated handle grips, with a shorter 2-1/4" sharp pointy blade. "Famore S-732". They are just a good pair of all around general purpose scissors.

Next are the pretty scissors. I found them at an estate sale. They must be the predecessor to the cute Stork scissors. They appear to be for handwork and embroidery thread clipping. Small short cutting blades with bakelite handles inlaid with yellow gem stones.

I'm sure at one time they were the envy of the ladies sewing bee. I like to think about who may have owned them, and how treasured they must have been.

January 26, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Design Wall Monday, only it's Tuesday---better late than never, right! This is what is totally on the wall this past week. More String Quilt blocks. I'm auditioning a border for the string quilt. I've finished 8 more paper pieced log cabin diamonds. It's been slow as I've been "stringing' more than paper piecing on the logs. Like I said, the string quilt blocks are very addictive.

I like this border fabric I found in my civil war print fabric stash! This may be the one!

It may not be very noticeable, but the log cabin diamond is expanding, slowly.

And--- Itsy-Bitsy sewing room is overflowing with fabric-strings!

This beautiful quilt top arrived in the mail a few days ago from a group of Quilt of Valor "toppers" in Florida. I'm hoping my Quilt Whispering 101 class experience will help me decide what to quilt on all those stars!

(click on pics. for a larger view)

January 18, 2010

Design Wall Monday

I didn't get much exercise this week as spent more time in my sewing room than I usually do getting ready for "Design Wall Monday". I did want to show I was sincere about participating and make some progress.

I'm one of "Jenny's Girls", and my counselor was not as impressed with my sewing as an excuse for inactivity as I was, considering I didn't lose even one ounce this week! I've been hitting the sewing room bright and early and then somehow never getting back to to my exercise routine. Excuses, excuses.( I know!)--- Normally I exercise before I do anything else. Not this past week! I can see that this part of my daily routine and Design Wall Monday has got to change already---no more sitting and sewing for hours, drinking coffee, listening to my favorite tunes and generally sludging-out before I break a sweat with those stretchy bands!

I have joined the Heartstrings, and considering how many strips of fabric I have cut and stored over the past year, this should work out perfectly. I have cut and collected bins of 1.5", 2", 2.5- stripes & strings since I became enamored with Bonnie Hunter's scrap storage system. But, honestly, I haven't made much using all these strips and strings I've been cutting up until now. I'm finally going to make use of it all! It's going to be fun seeing how many String Quilts I can make from all these strips! (These are just a few of the strip bins.)

This is what's on the design wall today:

24 String quilt blocks.

And more progress on the Lil Bits~ "Diamond Log Cabin" wallhanging.

I have both of my sewing machines set up. When I get tired of paper piecing on the wallhanging with my Babylock. I have the open toe foot installed on it----Then I switch over to the other side of the sewing table and sew string quilt blocks with the Janome 6600. I keep the Accufeed foot attached on it just for sewing on the strips of fabric to the muslin base fabric. Loving that Janome Accufeed system for this type of piecing. Normally this machine does not get such a work out. It is this week!

January 12, 2010

Design Wall Monday

I have decided against my better judgement---which at times can be very iffy! to join in with Judy Laquidara's group of bloggers/quilters and participate in "Design Wall Monday" in 2010---see how poorly I'm doing already. It's Tuesday!

I don't feel like it implies I have a deadline to finish anything on my design wall (I hope it doesn't)---it just means I'm showing you any progress I have made from Monday to Monday--right? It could be a lot, a little or zero progress.

I have a fairly large design wall considering my sewing room is about the size of a large shoe box!

If I could, the design wall would be the largest surface in the Itsy-Bitsy sewing room. It pretty much is now, but I mean even bigger would be better!

I don't think you can ever have too much design wall. Mine is approx. 8 feet wide x about 6.5 feet tall. It's some type of core board. (not foam) my husband got at Home Depot. All I know is you can stick straight pins into it fairly easily, and it's rigid and sort of a grey beige stuff. (if you go shopping for design wall board. Take a straight pin with you to test it out). You should be able to poke in whatever it is easily. You will use straight pins to hold some things onto a design wall. Just clingy felt or batting will not do it all the time. Especially if you pin your whole quilt top to the design wall. That's heavy and will fall to the floor sooner or later---

The design wall is covered with Warm n' Natural batting that has been rolled over the edges of the core board and stapled to the back edges, and with strategically placed screws (with washers behind the screw heads so they don't sink into the core board stuff), attached to the wall. It's been in place for at least 7 yrs. now. I occasionally vacuum it off or use a lint roller on it. I think it's one of the best things since sliced bread! Every quilter should have a design wall of some type if you can manage it. Laying out quilts on floors, tables, counters and beds is O.K., but if you have some type of design wall that is eye level, horizontally and vertically--- it's great!

This is what is on the design wall today:

These are some string quilt blocks Amanda and I started, but never finished. Now, that I've seen the beautiful String Quilts on Mary's blog---I want to finish these blocks for a donation quilt.

A paper piecing project.

And this wall hanging I finished several years ago that is my "Quilt Whisperer 101" class project. I am going to learn what to quilt on it hopefully by the time I finish the class. Carla Barrett's class I just started at MQResouces.

Over on the side edge of the design wall you can see some machine embroidery blocks I've never finished.

So, there you have it for Design Wall Monday! Thanks Judy for inspiring us!

January 02, 2010

Donation Quilting

I finished the quilting on these two beautiful donation quilt tops this past week. A lot of great Star blocks were made by this group of quilters!

I used some more of that 80/20 new Legacy batting (nice batting!)--- and Superior So-Fine thread in the bobbin with Superior LAVA on the top and a light blue Perma Core cotton on one of the quilt tops.

This is a new pantograph I wanted to try. I think I'm going to use it a lot! It's a larger motif than what I expected. A Traditional Baptist Fan by Kathie James. 13" double rows. I moved the back handles on "Polly" and angled them all the way down to the base of the carriage. Now I can rest my hands on the top of the handles and it seems much easier ergonomically to move the laser and carriage in this position than having my hands and arms slanted 'up'. The frame handles just move with exerted pressure so I can set them at any angle. Nice feature!

I did swirly-curly on this quilt top and wavy stitch in the ditch down the connecting seam lines. I tried to do stitch in the ditch around the main motif, but the sashing strips varied from 1-2/2" inches at one end of the strip on some blocks to 2" or more inches at the other end so it was frequently difficult to "hit the ditch" all the way along the seam. I should have "wiggled" all the seams instead.

I'm just finishing up the binding.