Fiber Folio – How to Make Serger Braid

There are many beautiful cords and braids on the market, but sometimes I just like making my own. Creating serger braid is easy once you find the correct settings for your particular machine.
Here are the settings that I use on my serger:

Needle – right position – Tension 6
Stitch length – 1.5
Upper looper – 5
Lower looper – 7
Roll hem
Differential – N

You can use any decorative threads that will fit through the holes in your loopers. I used Crown Rayon in the loopers and a #40 embroidery thread in the needle for the braids pictured.

Once you test your settings and find them satisfactory, simply serge on air, holding the tail taut in one hand as the cord flows towards the back. Try to keep a steady speed so that your braid is consistent.

It’s fun to mix colors and experiment with various threads and fibers. However, expect a few problems along the way. Below is the amount of thread I used this morning before getting my machine to behave, and I can tell you I wasn’t a happy camper.

But then I looked at the mass of rayon and thought it would make a beautiful sandwiched thread scarf, so you’ll probably see it again soon in another life form.

So what do you do with yards and yards of braid? Couch it, of course!

Many of us have wonderful sewing machines with hundreds of decorative stitches that we seldom use. These stitches take on a totally different look when used to couch decorative cords and braids. Again, experiment with various threads in the needle, such as variegated embroidery thread. Here are pictures of some samples I did today. Many of them would make nice frames for ATCs, don’t you think?

When couching braid, remember to stabilize well. Use an embroidery needle and loosen the top tension. I find it helpful to test stitches and threads, mark the stitch number on the sample, and file it in a reference notebook with pertinent details for future reference.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

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Tool Trove (5) – Tri-Flow Superior Lubricant with Teflon

Tri-Flow

I learned about Tri-Flow years ago on an embroidery forum, and I’ve been using it ever since. If you suffer from skipped stitches when using fusibles or sprays, you will welcome this product to your studio. I always apply it to my needle when using the BSR attachment since this little gadget is very fussy when it comes to “stickies.”

The lubricant is also a great aide when doing free motion work at high speeds since it eliminates friction. Simply put a few drops on a Q-tip and coat your sewing machine needle. With fusibles, you may need to recoat the needle several times throughout the sewing session.

Although Tri-Flow is advertised for bicycles, bearings, and the movable parts on machinery, many sewing machine technicians use this product in their workshops. At home, you can clean your bobbin area (metal parts) with Tri-Flow and remove dirt and dust from the surrounding surfaces. It displaces moisture and prevents corrosion. If you use metal bobbins, you can coat the interior before winding them with thread.

However, Tri-Flow is NOT a replacement for your sewing machine oil. If your machine requires oiling, follow your manufacturer’s instructions and only use the sewing machine oil recommended in your manual.

You can find this product in bike shops, online, and at some sewing centers. For studio use, purchase the 2 ounce fluid (not the spray).

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Quilting – Celtic Moon (part two)

Felted Quilt

The next stage of Celtic Moon involved felting the land piece. After backing it with stabilizer, I followed the lines of the print and felted wool roving here and there, using three different shades of green. I then positioned the piece on the background and prepared my sewing machine for free motion quilting.

Felting Shapes

There are several items that I find helpful for machine quilting. Of course, good quality quilting needles are important. I also attach a straight stitch plate to my machine, which results in nice stitches on the back of the quilt. Sometimes I use quilting gloves (usually in the winter) and other times I prefer the banker’s tips sold in office supply stores. A newer item that I really like is the free motion slider, a Teflon sheet that allows the quilt to move freely under the needle.

Quilting Supplies

I chose a 35 wt. variegated cotton thread and quilted the land piece, following the general shapes on the print. Next, I picked out another variegated thread for the water and quilted it quite densely. The marble design made the quilting quite easy since it already resembled the flow of water. When the quilting was complete, I stitched around the Celtic garnet stitch design, which gave it the look of trapunto.

The final stage of the quilt made me a little nervous. I had thought of several ways I could put a moon on the surface, but finally decided to use chiffon and a heat gun since it allowed for the background to show through and also rendered the look of the moon’s craters.

Since chiffon shifts easily, I pinned my pattern on top of it and then cut around it, leaving plenty of fabric around the edges. I then sewed around the moon pattern.

Moon Pattern

Next, I repeated the method had I used for the Celtic design, only this time I made my circles much larger. When I completed the garnet stitches, I trimmed off the excess fabric.

Large Garnet Stitches
I took the quilt outside and used a heat gun to melt the holes in the chiffon. As soon as the holes would begin forming, I would move the heat gun to the next area. This is a technique that takes practice and demands careful attention. You can easily burn your fabric if you’re not careful. If you try this method, do a test sample first so that you know how close to position your heat gun to your fabric.

To complete the moon, I painted outlines with Lumiere metallic bronze around the burned out holes.

Lumiere Metallic Paint

This certainly isn’t the most colorful quilt I’ve every made, but the techniques used to construct it made it a very interesting project. I hope you will try some of the methods and incorporate them into your projects.
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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Tool Trove (4) – Bernina Needle Punch Accessory Set (also called Decorative Punch Tool)

Bernina Needle Punch Attachment

I debated whether to make this purchase for about a year, but finally decided that it would be good to have a backup for the Babylock Embellisher. Also, since I write so many machine needle felting tutorials, I thought it would be helpful to know how well they work when using different equipment.

Bernina packs the accessory set with a helpful CD that walks you through the steps necessary to set up the attachment (along with some basic tutorials). There are quite a few steps involved, but all of them are easy to perform. For example, you must remove the bobbin, bobbin case, and shuttle hook from the lower part of your machine. Then you remove the presser foot, needle, needle holder thumb screw, and stitch plate. I would suggest that you have a special container handy in which you can place these items. If your studio or sewing area looks anything like mine, you’ll understand the wisdom in this.

Next, you insert the special stitch plate with the large hole, mount the needle punch needle holder with its large screw, attach the Needle Punch presser foot, and drop the feed dogs. The bobbin case door remains open while using this attachment.

Bernina Parts

Bernina Needle Punch Attachment Parts

Much of what I say from this point on will be framed as comparisons and contrasts with the Babylock Embellisher. As I began experimenting with the Bernina Decorative Punch Tool, I immediately noticed some differences.

The Bernina Needle Punch reminds me more of hand needle punching for several reasons. First, the five needles enter the fabric directly and go through an open hole. There is no resistance in the downward or upward motion so the fabric has more force on it in both directions, much like hand felting. The Babylock Embellisher has seven needles, seven small holes in its needle plate, and seven small holes in its cloth presser (which can be adjusted up and down). The individual holes of the needle plate and cloth presser provide resistance, keeping your fabric in a more stationary position.

Babylock Needle Plate and Cloth Presser

Babylock Embellisher Needle Plate and Cloth Presser

If you do free motion quilting, you’ve probably encountered the difference a straight stitch needle plate makes on your stitches since the fabric isn’t forced down into the larger hole of the zig zag needle plate. Although stitches are not the issue here, I found some fabrics ( such as organza) a little more difficult to work with using the Bernina attachment. Hooping proved to be an adequate solution.

Of course, I tend to use fabrics that aren’t traditionally thought of as felting prospects. Bernina clearly states in the “application” section of its instruction sheet that its Needle Punch attachment is designed for wool fibers, wool yarn, felt, and boiled wool (the CD also mentions denim). The attachment does a beautiful job on all of these fibers.

In regard to the resistance/nonresistance issue, there is another consideration. The small individual holes in the Babylock needle plate give little room for error. If you twist your fabric or your needle gets bent, you’re more likely to experience needle breakage with the Babylock. As I stated previously in my review of the Embellisher, felting needles are expensive.

Second, owing to its large, open presser foot, the Bernina Needle Punch provides clear visibility of the needle action just as you would have with hand needle felting. The Embellisher’s cloth presser is opaque, so you don’t see the needles enter the fabric. I really enjoyed watching the interaction of needles with fiber. Do exercise caution on the open right side of the Bernina presser foot. It’s possible for your fingers to get dangerously close to the needles.

As you can see from the graphic below, there is a big difference in the size of the needle holders. Additionally, there is a larger separation between the Babylock’s seven needles than the Bernina’s five needles. The Babylock has an individual screw for each needle. The Bernina has one screw that tightens or loosens all of its needles. The Bernina needle holder is simple to install; the Babylock takes a little more adjusting in the line up of needles with the needle plate holes.

Needle Holders

Babylock Needle Holder (left) – Bernina Needle Holder (right)

I like both of the needle placements for different reasons. The Babylock’s larger size means your work goes faster. The Bernina’s smaller size makes couching and detail work a simple task. I change the number of needles I use on the Babylock frequently, something I won’t have to do as often with the Bernina. As an added benefit, the Bernina and Babylock needles are interchangeable although not identical (the Babylock needles are a little thinner).

Since the Bernina is also a sewing machine, lint buildup is a concern. I would recommend using the vacuum attachment made for computers after every felting session. If you practice good bobbin case hygiene, this shouldn’t be a problem. On the plus side, the features of the Bernina sewing machine such as needle up/down position and speed control are also available while felting. I really like having the needle holder stop in the up position so that I don’t accidentally bend my needles.

For day to day use, having a stand alone machine facilitates in a projects flow since you don’t have to stop and reconfigure your machine. The downside of a stand alone machine is the price. Needle felting attachments cost much less than a dedicated felting machine. Also, in some circumstances having one machine that does it all can be a great convenience. Classes, group projects, travel, and space immediately come to mind. The decision really comes down to personal preference and what works best for each individual.

After about five minutes of using the Bernina attachment, I noticed that I was no longer thinking of the differences between the two machines but rather enjoying the felting itself. I’m thankful that Bernina offers this optional attachment to its customers (on CB hook models) so that more people can enjoy this wonderful craft.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Tool Trove (3) – Twenty Things I Love About the Bernina Aurora 440 QE

Bernina Aurora 440 QE

There’s been a lot of interest in the Bernina Aurora 440 QE (Quilter’s Edition) from the time it entered the market place. The focus of all the attention rests on the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) attachment. The 440 QE is not the only computerized free arm sewing machine that Bernina offers with this attachment, but it is a midrange Bernina machine, making it more widely available to those who can’t swallow the price of the 730 model or simply don’t need all the features that a top-of-the-line machine offers. (A friend of mine describes the price tags this way: “These are machines you drive home.”)

Although the BSR attachment is deserving of the attention it has received, the 440 QE offers sewers, quilters, fiber artists, and other artisans a host of other features worth noting. I can’t promise that this post will cover every single bell and whistle, but I will give you a list of my favorite things about this wonderful sewing and embroidery machine.

1. The Manual – Bernina writes a great manual that is detailed and easy to understand.

2. Reinforced Soft Cover – Bernina includes a carrying case with compartments for accessories.

3. Accessory Box – I love this thing. It attaches to the back of the machine for easy transport. It detaches for desk top use. There are compartments for bobbins, presser feet, sewing machine needles, and two drawers for other small parts.

4. Walking Foot – A two sole walking foot with seam guide comes standard with the machine.

5. Needle Threader – It works; what more can you ask for. (There are also three thread cutters on the machine.)

6. Clear Slide On Table – There are seam allowance markings on the table as well as a ruler in inches and centimeters. Although listed as optional, my machine came with a slide on seam guide that is fully adjustable the entire length of the table.

7. Bobbin Winder – Bernina makes a great bobbin winder with a separate motor. This one even has a little thread cutter on the on/off switch. A collapsible vertical spool pin on the right side of the machine makes winding bobbins while sewing or embroidering quite easy.

8. Cool Fluorescent Light – What a difference this makes. I’ve actually burned my hand from the heat buildup on other machines.

9. Manual Presser Foot Pressure Dial – This dial is on the head frame, making it easily accessible.

10. Free Hand System – My Bernina 1230 has this feature as well. With a little push from your right knee, the presser foot raises and lowers.

11. Horizontal and Vertical Spool Pins – Sewers need both and Bernina provides them.

12. Thread Tension Adjustment Wheel – I like having the ability to adjust the upper thread tension manually. I use many different threads and make adjustments frequently. I also like having the dial in constant visual range rather than having to open a menu to see what my tension is set at.

13. Push Button Feed Dog – The feed dog button is easily accessible from the lower right hand side of the machine.

14. Slide Speed Control – I use this feature constantly. It also works when winding bobbins and with the BSR attachment.

15. LCD Screen – The LCD screen displays a lot of important information while you’re sewing, such as needle position (there are eleven to choose from), stitch width and length, needle up/down position, recommended presser foot, presser foot pressure, stitch selection (there are 379), mirror image, pattern begin/end, BSR, memory display, service notifications, and more. It’s a lot to take in at first, but after a little use your eyes become trained and it all becomes second nature.

16. Memory – Up to 90 stitches, letters, or numbers can be saved in memory along with stitch length, stitch width, and needle position alterations.

17. Multiple Brand Sewing Machine Needles – You can use various brands of sewing machine needles. I mention this because it’s not true of all machines. I have a top-of-the-line machine manufactured by another company that can only use Schmetz needles.

18. Quick Reverse Button – Bernina has conveniently located this button in the lowest position on the front of the machine (above the needle), making a few quick reverse stitches super easy. A continuous reverse function is also available.

19. Stitch Selection Card with Holder – Sometimes the stitches displayed on the LCD screen don’t match up well with the actual stitch, so Bernina has included a double sided stitch card with a picture of each stitch and its corresponding number. The machine handle has a clamp that holds the card.

20. Versatility – This is the thing that I find most endearing about the 440 QE. For general sewing, the machine has all the features you need, along with a powerful motor. For quilting, the machine has 32 built in quilting stitches and comes with a walking foot, a real bonus. Of course, the star of the show is the BSR attachment.

Additionally, the 440 QE is an embroidery machine when purchased with the optional embroidery unit. You will often find that midrange sewing/embroidery machines come with smaller embroidery fields. Not this machine. The large (145 x 255 mm) oval embroidery hoop is standard.

One more optional feature is the Bernina Needle Punch Accessory Set. I just purchased this attachment a few days ago as a backup to my Babylock Embellisher and will do a review once I’ve had time to work with it.

There you have my twenty favorite things about this sewing machine. I believe it only fair to mention a few things that I wish were different. The extent of the stitch width is 5.5 mm. It would have been nice to have at least 6 mm if not 7 mm. Also, since this machine is named “Quilter’s Edition,” patchwork foot #57 with the side guide should be standard. Instead, Bernina packs it with the patchwork foot #37.

So much goes into the decision making process when shopping for a new sewing machine. Give a lot of thought to the features you really need and test different brands and models. Also, visit online groups that focus on the machines in which you are interested. Here are the addresses for the Bernina Aurora 440 QE Yahoo groups:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Bernina_Aurora/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BSRfunction/

And now a little about the BSR. Whenever you try something new, it’s going to be a little awkward at first. If you’ve done any amount of free motion quilting, you know that a certain feel and rhythm develops over time. The BSR has its own feel and rhythm. The more you use it, the more accustom you become to it. At first, I considered it akin to training wheels on a bike. However, I now find myself using it more and more.

If you’ve been given the impression that it always makes perfectly even stitches, let me disabuse you of that idea. The human factor remains. If you jerk your hands you will have jerky looking stitches. However, if you keep a nice even flow to your movements, you will be rewarded with some of the nicest looking quilting stitches around.

The BSR does have a few quirks. It hates basting sprays, some more than others. I can get away with a light touch of 505, but anything else and I’ll have skipped stitches. Some have found that the BSR works best with top stitching needles. Others think it works best with silk thread. I have used Organ sharps with cotton quilting threads of different weights quite successfully, making tension adjustments along the way (it helps to make a chart of needles, threads, and tension adjustments).

The BSR that comes with the Aurora 440 QE only does straight stitches. The BSR included with the 730 also does free motion zig zag stitches. Personally, I don’t think I would use it for zig zag stitches even if had that capability, but it’s something to consider. There are two modes of operation to choose from and three free motion feet included with the attachment.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you’re interested in this machine, please visit your local Bernina dealership and give this fine machine a trial run.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Tool Trove (2) – The Happy Union of Needle and Thread

Needle Threaders

Quilters and fiber artists love their tools. They love buying them, talking about them, and most of all using them. Even those little tools that most of us take for granted can be pretty exciting for someone who didn’t know such a thing was available. Also, we’ve all made purchases that we regretted later. So when a friend or acquaintance recommends something, we feel a little safer parting with our money.

I realize that needle threaders don’t conjure up the same interest as the Babylock Embellisher, but they play a very important role in the studio. My favorite two are pictured above, and I don’t know what I’d do without them.

The first is manufactured by Clover. You place your hand sewing needle head first into the needle slot provided on the top. Next, you drape your thread through the thread slot. To the right you will see a little spring handle that you push down, resulting in a threaded needle. There’s even a thread cutter to the left of the needle slot. All parts are clearly marked. Occasionally, there’s a needle with too small an eye, but for the most part the Clover does a great job. You can find this tool online or at most fabric and quilting stores.

An even more versatile little tool is the Universal Needle Threader and Needle Inserter. Manufactured in Australia by Perfect Sew, this needle threader works on hand needles, sewing machine needles, and serger needles. Even though many of us have high tech machinery in our studios, there are times when built in needle threaders do not work owing to the interference of a particular presser foot or to the wire bending and missing the hole. (I have one machine that this happens to frequently.) This tool comes to the rescue every time. Eventually, the little wire on this tool does break, but all is not lost; you still have a needle inserter. I purchase this tool at Nancy’s Notions.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

How To Make Ribbon Trim to Match Your Projects

Hairpin Lace Maker

Do you know what this is? To be perfectly honest, I had to go by the craft store where I originally purchased it to find out myself. I often shop with an eye as to how something can be used rather than what the manufacturer intended. In this case, the picture above is of a hairpin lace maker. I’ve never made hairpin lace and I doubt I ever will, but I have found a great use for this simple little tool.

Notice the holes on the red side pieces. The metal tubes can be adjusted, creating several different widths. When I saw this tool hanging next to the crochet hooks, I knew I had found the perfect trim maker!

Here is how I make special ribbon trims to coordinate with my designs. First, I decide how wide I want my ribbon and adjust the metal tubes on the hairpin lace frame. Next, I tape the end of the ribbon to one of the metal tubes near the red tube holder but not so close that it will interfere with the presser foot.

Secured Ribbon

With ribbon end secure, I now wind the ribbon around the tubes, overlapping each ribbon about 1/4″. When I reach the end, I tape the ribbon tail to the red holder.

Wrapped Ribbon

Secured Ribbon End

After checking the ribbon to make sure there are no gaps, I then tape twill tape along the entire length of the wrapped ribbon. Do not cut the twill unless you only need your trim one length of the tubes. Just let it hang over the edge.

Twill Tape

I set my sewing machine on a straight stitch at 2.5 mm and use a bobbin thread that matches my ribbon. With presser foot raised, I carefully position the ribbon so that the twill tape is centered under the needle. With my left hand, I pull gently pull the ribbon towards me (just a little) so that the needle comes down right before the ribbon starts. It’s a good idea to take a few securing stitches.

I then sew all the way to the other end of the ribbon and take a few more securing stitches.

Sew End to End

I now remove the red tube holder from the end where I began and slip the sewn ribbon off of the tubes.

Remove Red Tube Holder

When I come to the end, I replace the red tube holder and start the process all over again, securing the loose ribbon with a small piece of tape. (Do not cut the ribbon from the previous length; just tape it.)

Slide Ribbon Off Tubes

When I have completed wrapping the ribbon, I take the twill tape that is hanging from the previous length and tape it end to end and sew down the middle once again.

Rewind Ribbon

Begin Second Length

I do this over and over again until I have the length that I desire. I then locate all the gaps, fold them right sides together, pin, and sew a seam close to the ribbon. After the gaps are taken care of, I dab a little fabric glue on each seam extension (the little loops I just sewed) to flatten the twill tape.

Sew Gaps

I now have a beautiful piece of ribbon trim that perfectly matches my project design!

Completed Trim

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Tool Trove (1) – The Babylock Embellisher

BabyLock Embellisher

Several companies produce needle felting or embellishing machines and the list is slowly growing. I use the Babylock Embellisher in my studio along with a hand felting needle tool that holds up to six felting needles. The hand tool is useful for detail work as well as preparation work on a piece that will be finished with the Embellisher.

When the Babylock first hit the market, my local quilt shop put one on the floor for demonstrations. The samples produced consisted of fabric with a few yarns and ribbons. I must confess, I watched the demonstration and thought, “Why would anyone pay over $1000 to needle couch a few decorative yarns to some fabric?” Well, as it turned out, this machine was capable of doing a whole lot more than that.

Months later, I ran into a fiber artist friend of mine who had recently purchased the Embellisher and was producing beautiful art-to-wear and wall hangings using this incredible machine. I stood mesmerized before her work and knew that I had to have one. Within twenty-four hours I visited my local dealership and made an offer on a new machine. At the time, these machines weren’t exactly flying off the shelves so the dealer accepted my offer.

The Babylock, a stand-alone machine, uses 7 barbed needles that enter seven small holes in the throat plate. The needles catch fiber from the top layer and pull it down to the bottom layer, eventually creating a meshed double-sided fabric. The Embellisher allows you to use anywhere from one to seven needles at a time. Replacement needles are available through dealerships at about $3 a pop, something to think about during the decision making process. Necessity being the mother of invention, some clever owners have cut hand felting needles to size and used them in the Embellisher quite successfully. You can even order cut needles online at substantial savings.

Since its entry into the market, the Babylock Embellisher has dropped in price. If you are interested in this machine, visit a Babylock dealer and don’t be afraid to negotiate the price. Do give some consideration to the importance of warranties and dealerships. Dealers often offer free classes with the purchase of a new machine. Additionally, they offer support when you have a problem (and this is no small thing).

The rising interest in needle felting has not gone unnoticed by Babylock’s competitors. Bernina sells a Decorative Needlepunch Attachment for some of their CB Hook sewing machines. I’m considering purchasing the attachment as a backup to my Embellisher. Brother also sells an attachment for some of their machines Janome offers a stand-alone felting machine, and in the latest Nancy’s Notions catalog, Nancy Zieman lists a Sewing With Nancy Fab Felter for $299.00. Another company listed below sells a battery operated machine as well as a universal attachment (I have no familiarity with these products).

Here is a list of online sites that provide helpful information regarding felting machines and felting attachments. The list is neither complete nor comprehensive. I simply offer it as a starting point for those who have written me requesting information on this subject.

http://www.babylock.com/sewing-embroidery/product.asp?Product_ID=EMB7

http://www.babylock.com/embellisher/

http://www.berninausa.com

http://www.janome.com (Xpression Needle Punch Felting Machine)

http://fiberella.com/

http://nancysnotions.com

http://www.tryourdesigns.com/felting_machines.htm

http://www.feltcrafts.com/index.htm

There is also a yahoo group dedicated entirely to the Babylock Embellisher. You can join the group at this address:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BabyLockEmbellisher/

A great way to do research before purchasing any machine is to join a yahoo group whose members already own the particular machine in which you are interested. By doing this, you will gather a wealth of information and reduce your frustration level when you actually make the purchase. You’ll also make some new friends who share your interests.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Furry little meanderings

One of my favorite Bernina feet is the Freemotion Couching Foot (#43). Various yarns and fibers can be threaded through the small opening on one side of the foot and then couched with any thread that can go through the eye of a sewing machine needle. This foot is a virtual playground for embellishers.

Meandering

For this example, I cut a piece of fabric and layered it with stabilizer that I attached using a basting spray. I chose a Fun Fur eyelash fiber with long variegations of about 160 inches. Beginning in one corner, I simply meandered my way around until the whole piece was covered with the furry fiber.

Threading the foot

Next, I changed to a metallic needle and threaded my machine with red Superior Halo. I attached my walking foot along with the seam guide and worked across the surface in a crosshatch pattern. This resulted in a unique and colorful piece of embellished fabric ready for another project.

Needles and Halo thread

If you have this attachment and haven’t used it, you’re in store for a whole new world of creativity.

Crosshatch

Crosshatch pattern with Halo thread

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Quilts – Like the Stars (part 2)

Since fabrics were chosen individually for color placement, cutting proved to be a long, timely process. I just took a deep breath and tried my best to keep all the pieces in order. Following the cutting phase, I began gathering my supplies for photo transfer work.

Twelve verses from various chapters of Daniel were to be printed on the twelve main squares of the quilt. I’ve done lots of photo transfer work before, but this was the first time I worked with fabric that wasn’t white. I simply followed the same process I always. First, I prewashed the twelve fabrics to remove any sizing or chemicals used in their production. Next, I soaked the fabric pieces in Bubble Jet Set according to the directions on the bottle. (I use a large, rectangular stainless steel pan that I purchased from a kitchen supply company.)

Buble Jet and tools

Once the fabrics were dry, I cut them to size using a ruler made just for this purpose and sprayed the wrong side with a quilt adhesive spray. I then attached them to light 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock. I know many people use freezer paper for a backing, but I find card stock works much better. The key is to smooth the fabric until there are no air bubbles or loose threads on the surface.

Many printer inks work well for this process, but some do not so always check first. It’s best to do a test print and then if satisfied, change your printer’s setting to the highest quality printout offered. I printed the squares on an Epson Stylus with DuraBrite inks.

Owing to a time conflict, I let the squares dry for about five days. What a difference that made! Previously, I had rinsed my work in Bubble Jet Set within twenty-four hours. By waiting days rather than hours, I found that virtually no fading took place. Each piece received a good pressing with a dry iron and the process was complete.

Photo Transfer

When I continue, I’ll share a little about the piecing process and my “secret” to matching all those points.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured