Friday, September 27, 2013

Finish It Up Friday & An Accuquilt Review

Finally feeling back in the groove, and even have a finish this week! 

Nothing big or fancy, just some simple, fun sewing.  Funnily enough, after 4 years of sewing/quilting I think this is my first simple patchwork quilt.  I made a patchwork quilt years ago, but it has two borders on it, so this one really is the only simple one.  Only I would take 4 years to make the easiest pattern (fun fact: the first quilt I ever attempted was a bargello pattern.  I like to skip the simple stuff and start with the intermediate :)

I used my Accuquilt to cut the squares for this quilt, but I must admit I am not impressed.  I have had my Accuquilt for about 2 years now, and to be honest I am still waiting to fall in love with it.  Years ago it seemed that all the "star bloggers" of the quilting world were being gifted with Accuquilts and then reviewing them "this is great!" "there's really not that much waste!"  "It's so easy, my kids can use it!"  Ummm... maybe I would say that too if I had gotten one for free and had access to someone at the company to answer all my questions (and if I was getting a kickback...), but I really don't see any of that.  Here are my thoughts-

1. Waste- yes, there is fabric waste.  And no, it is not always "the same as if I were to rotary cut".  I think it depends on the die being used.  I think for applecore or something that is an "odd" shape that is true, but for squares, strips, even triangle and tumblers, I find I would have way less waste if I were to rotary cut the fabric myself. 

2.  Preparing the fabric- it is not quite as simple as "fold the fabric and turn the crank".  You have to iron and starch the fabric very well, the slightest wrinkles tend to affect my cuts way more than I think they should.  You still have to cut the fabric down to size so it fits on the die (and only on the part of the die you want, some of the die have more than one shape/size on them).  And once the fabric is layered on the die, it can be hard to turn the crank to get it to go through the machine.  I was using 6 layers of fabric, which I did by folding one piece of fabric in half lengthwise and then folding it in thirds widthwise.  Those folds add a lot of thickness and can make turning the crank tricky- which I think also tends to make the fabric shift a bit and brings me to...


3. Fabric shifting/ fussy cutting- Fussy cutting isn't really an option, even some thing as simple as keeping your stripes straight can be hard.  Even if you lay the fabric out perfect, putting the cutting mat on top and running it through the machine tends to make my fabric shift a bit.  All of a sudden my stripes are off kilter. 

4. Cutting- My shapes rarely come right out of the Accuquilt.  Out of the 6 layers of fabric (so 6 shapes) I would get 3 maybe 4 that would come out perfectly.  The others were still stuck to the waste fabric and I had to cut them out.  One small slip of the scissors and the shape can be ruined. 

Basically, I haven't found the Accuquilt to be that accurate.  My issues this time could have been compounded with using a few different types/qualities of fabric, but many of my squares were not the same size- which seems awfully strange since they were cut with the same die!  I always expect my Accuquilt to save me time, but after I have prepped my fabric, cut it down to size to use in the machine, run it through the machine, etc... I could have rotary cut it faster. 

Does anyone else  have these troubles with the Accuquilt?  Any tips to change my mind on it? 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fabric Tuesday

Yippee!  It's Fabric Tuesday and I actually have something to share!  Sooo glad to have my sewing mojo (kinda, sorta, mostly) back.  I pulled out some scraps this past weekend and my Accuquilt and started cutting. 

Surprisingly, I really don't have much of a scrap selection.  I tend to buy fabric for a project and use it all up.  The scraps that I have are from a bunch of random projects and sometimes it is hard to get a color scheme that works from them.  This little set of fabrics took way longer to choose than it should have, but I think it is looking cute so far.  I am starting to get the appeal of scrappy quilts though- the fabrics in here all remind me of other fun, past projects.  It's like a trip (ok, a short one) down memory lane!

I was chain piecing these squares and finally, finally, found a way to make these easier on myself.  Once again it ended up being Clover Wonder Clips to the rescue!

Whenever I sew squares together in a chain, they always end up flipping around as I sew and by the time I go to cut them apart I have no idea which fabric I wanted on top and which on the bottom.  Not a big deal... until it comes to ironing and I want to alternate the direction of my seams.  This time I grabbed the Clover Wonder Clips and clipped the two squares together (opposite the side I was sewing).  Now I know that the red part of the clip is the top, so even if/when the fabrics flip around, I know which direction they should be.  Made thing so much easier! 
Linking up to QuiltStory's Fabric Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Welcoming Fall

Oops!  Didnt' mean to take a blog-y break!  I have a big project stealing all my time, but I can't share just quite yet ;)

I did get some of my crafting mojo back today though.  The change of seasons always means a change of front door decor, and big project or not I couldn't let Fall arrive with a Summer wreath on my door!

I went onto Pinterest and found this wreath which became my inspiration-  I love this wreath, but when I got to Joanns and was looking at the flowers the green and cream suddenly seemed to say Spring instead of Fall, so I changed it up a bit.
I started off with a wreath form from Walmart, and wrapped it with some burlap from Joanns.  Just a little hot glue on the backside of the wreath to (hopefully) make the burlap stick.  Those grapevine wreaths are tricky- so many holes between the twigs make attaching things hard.  Oh, and I trimmed all the little bits off the wreath.  What can I say, I like my natural twig wreaths to look nice and uniform :)

Next up was to trim the hydrangea blossoms off the long stalks so I could attach them to the wreath.  I just put a bunch of hot glue on the stem and shoved it down into the wreath.  So far it seems to be holding/working.

Ta-da!  The finished (I think) wreath!  Of course, it is too heavy and pulls the hook off my door, so I can't put it up until I buy a real wreath hook tomorrow (I have been getting away with using a command hook with magnets glued to the back for the last year).  I say I "think" I'm finished because I am very tempted to add our last name initial to personalize the wreath a bit.  On the one hand I like the flowers just on one side... but on the other I like things symmetrical (and the hubby definitely likes symmetry).  I think the letter on the other side would balance it out a bit.