I Broke the (Quilting) RULES! And I like It.

Quilting on my domestic sewing machine using standard only the standard foot. No freemotion quilting. No walking foot.

Using my domestic sewing machine (it’s an older Juki TL98E straight stitch only machine) and it’s regular foot, I quilted my Twister Pillows with an orange slice design in each blade of the pinwheel.

Why did I choose to use my regular foot instead of freemotion quilting or walking foot?

Because I could and I wanted to see how they would turn out.

Be sure to scroll all the way down to view all pictures as the 4th pic shows the quilting from the back side. Surprisingly, it turned out pretty great. At least I think think it is and since it’s my quilt (pillows), my opinion is the only one that matters on this project!

ALSO…while I was doing quilting, I started thinking all this might be good to share publicly. Especially for new quilters, very young quilters or those who can’t afford or don’t want to spend big bucks on fancy machines or even purchasing a walking foot or an old machine. You see, I remember having absolutely NO budget for these things when I first started machine quilting and had little babies at home. That didn’t mean I couldn’t make nice things. It just meant I needed to be a little more aware and take my time if I wanted things to turn out right. For example, I needed to have the quilt sandwich basted really well (another blog article will be coming shortly on that). I decreased the pressure of my presser foot so there was less drag. I realize not all machines offer that option and you can still do this even if your machine doesn’t have that feature, but if yours does you may want to play with that a bit.

Pillow #4 quilted!

This design was very easy to stitch continuously. By that I mean I had no need to stop, cut threads and tie off anywhere unless a thread broke or the bobbin ran out. Simple stop/pivots were the only slowdowns.

Sew…how did I actually DO it? By the numbers, of course.

Quilting By The Numbers!

Using the picture above, imagine sewing toward the next ascending number, as follows: #1. Start at center of the pillow’s center most pinwheel secure a few stitches. From there stitch a gentle arc up the long edge of one blade of the pinwheel. #2. Stop. Needle down, lift presser foot, turn quilt, lower presser foot, stitch a deeper arc returning back to the center stopping at #3. Needle down. Lift presser foot, turn quilt, lower presser foot, stitch a gentle arc to #4. Stop. Needle down, lift presser foot, turn quilt, lower presser foot, stitch a deeper arc returning back to the center at #5. Repeat this on the remaining two blades of the pinwheel (i.e., follow the quilting lines to #6, #7, #8 and return to very center for the last time #9).

Once each blade of the pinwheel has been stitched, put needle down in the very center again. Lift presser foot, turn quilt to aim for the next pinwheel block and #10 carefully stitch in the ditch to the center of the next pinwheel. If you do this correctly, you will be able to travel to the next pinwheel without needing to remove the quilt from your machine.

After I finished quilting each of the pinwheels, I simply did a wonky echo spiraling around the outside of the pinwheel design until the entire quilt was quilted (relatively) evenly.

Are you wondering how the back turned out?

The back side of quilted Twister Pillow #4

I was pleasantly shocked at how nice the back of the quilt top looks! In the end it doesn’t matter at all for this project because this is a pillow top and this back will be inside of the pillow and completely unseen.

You know, I never seem to be able to follow a pattern’s instructions 100%. I always end up having to add my own twist. This project is no exception when it came to finishing. I chose the zippered pillow back option. The pattern instructions are well written and the results are really professional looking. So I did follow the instructions on that part, but I decided to take it a step further this time. Instead of turning, I decided to apply a scrappy binding. I pieced random fabrics from the top to make the binding. Yes, it took more time. But I just LOVE the results!

Any why not?! It is MY quilt (my quilted Twister Pillow), after all!

What do you think? Have you ever quilted using just your regular foot? How did it turn out? I genuinely welcome all related, constructive thoughts, ideas and comments below.

Swim~Shower~Stuff Bag – Pattern Coming Soon!

It’s been a very productive week. As hoped, I completed my prototype bag earlier this week.  Remember last week I mentioned that I thought the giant carabiner clip I found at Home Depot would help me solve a problem?

Background on the problem I was having:

For the last several months I have been re-focusing on my personal/physical goals.  I have a personal goal to complete my first century bicycle ride this year.  A century ride is usually an organized/group ride of 100+ miles in one day.  In order to reach my goal, I started taking spin bike classes, swimming, biking outside when the weather permits and walk/running.  So far, so good…except when I go swimming at our indoor aquatic center.  It’s a new facility and very nice, but there is a problem in the showers.  There are no hooks within reach of the inside of the shower stalls.  The closest hooks approximately 6 feet away.  Those are fine to hang your towel…but where are you supposed to hang the suit when you take it off inside the shower?  And where are you supposed to put your shampoo and conditioner bottles?  There are literally no hooks, shelves,  handles or nobs inside these showers.  No faucet/hot/cold controls that could be used to hang something on — the only thing there is a time controlled push button to activate the water stream.

Now please understand… I served active duty Army once upon a time and I have given birth to 4 children, so I am not hyper modest, but it just seemed so awkward, not to mention NOT safe to walk back and forth–naked–to hang up wet suit after it was removed and rinsed.  Also, I really disliked having to put my shampoo & conditioner bottles on the floor inside the shower stall.

Here’s my prototype of the concept:

Swim-Shower-Stuff Bag with Clip
Swim-Shower-Stuff Bag with Clip

For obvious reasons, I can’t take a camera inside the shower area at the aquatic center.  So, I am showing it here hanging on a hook. How I use it with no hook: The shower stalls have wall brackets holding them in place.  The carabiner clips perfectly over the bracket.  Or, if I wanted, I could simply hook/hang it over the side wall of the shower stall wall.

Once I rinse & squeeze out my suit I can drop it in my mesh bag where any excess water can continue to drip out while I wash my hair.  AND…I can have my shampoo and conditioner in the bag, up off the floor inside the shower with me.  Using this bag is so much safer and WAY more sanitary…it also provides much more modesty/privacy.

More great applications:

I can make the bag a bit larger/different dimensions to store templates, tools or gadgets in it and hook it at the end of my longarm.

I can use it in the car to store maps, snacks, kids toys, hats & gloves or other items and clip it on to the door handle, an unused seatbelt or other hooking spot to keep things neat and organized.

I can remove the carabiner and simply hang it anywhere I have a hook.  It’s a great way to keep cosmetics or hair products handy and off your vanity.  Then when you need to travel, your cosmetics and/or hair products bag is already packed…just stick it in your suitcase and go.

Carabiner clip removed - just hang it on any hook

Now that my prototype is finished, I am writing the pattern.  It should be ready to go within the next two weeks (possibly more or less).  But I will make it available as a FREE project for a limited period of time.

Be sure to subscribe to the SewThankful eNews to receive notice and a link to the project when the pattern is released. Click here to subscribe.