Sunday, August 13, 2017

Kitty Quilt inspection and approval

Three new kitty quilts were dropped off at The Cat Clinic of Chattanooga yesterday. Of course, before they are put to use in the cubbies for the recovering kitties, Jesse the Wonder Cat, the Cat Clinic's king, chief inspector and ruler of the office had to inspect them. "Just doin' my job, ma'am," says Jesse. 
Jesse the Wonder Cat inspects the kitty quilts at The Cat Clinic.
 "Helloooo... anything in here?"
Checking inside and out.
"Let's see about this one over here."
Jesse inspects the three new kitty quilts.
"Gotta check under here, too."
Jesse doesn't miss a thing. He's very thorough.
"This one's got cute animal fabrics..."
Improvisational patchwork with novelty fabric prints.
"I like the flannel. It's soft and warm."
The kitty quilts are backed with flannel fabric.
"Ok. Job complete! What's next?"
Kitty quilts are kitty approved!
The associates reward a job well done with some kitty scratching and food!
Petting time for a job well done.
After inspection, the associates fold up the kitty quilts and take them to the back.
Food time.
"Oh, here comes Cassandra. She's gotta get into the action."
Cassandra joins in after the work is done.
There's always something going on at the Cat Clinic. Jesse, Cassandra and Willie the Super Scooter welcome cat and human visitors alike. The Clinic also has kittens and cats for adoption. Jesse would love for his feline friends to find forever homes!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Built-in zigzag stitches for machine sewn bindings

Built-in zigzag stitches.
How often do you use those built-in stitches that come with your sewing machine? Probably not often.

The vast majority of the time we use the straight stitch for piecing, quilting and sewing seams on garments, accessories and other items. I also use the straight stitch for machine sewn bindings—especially for bindings on charity quilts and sometimes on shop samples. In using up random scraps (my theme for this year it seems) for a few kitty quilts, I decided to use a different built-in stitch on the bindings this time—the built-in zigzag.

Stitch #05 is the "normal" zigzag stitch on my portable sewing machine. I have a Janome. For the first machine sewn binding, I thought I'd give #07 a go. This is a multi-step stitch that incorporates a zigzag and straight stitches.

Working from the front of the quilt, I aligned the straight stitch part of this stitch to drop to the left of the binding—in the ditch. The "zig" (right swing of the needle) went into the binding, and the "zag" (left swing of the needle) went back into the ditch or body of the quilt.

This multi-step zigzag stitch was quite successful. Being a charity quilt that gets washed frequently, I think it will be a bit more secure and longer-lasting (although machine binding holds up quite well anyway).
Machine sewn bindings using built-in zigzag stitches.
It takes longer for the machine to do this stitch because of the back-and-forth straight stitches between each zigzag. The stitch length and width can also be adjusted to suit the application. Consider making a test sample to determine the look you want and to get familiar with the anatomy of the stitch. Learning the anatomy of the stitch will also help when you work the corners of the binding. [Thread Note: 50 wt. cotton (by WonderFil) top thread; 60 wt. poly (Bottom Line by Superior) in the bobbin.]

For the second quilt's binding, I used the basic #05 zigzag and reduced the stitch width. The zigzag straddled the edge of the binding.
Two kitty cuddle quilts.
Left: 26.5" x 29"   Right: 25" x 31.5"
The quilt backings are flannel with a design that looks like paw prints... cute, soft and fuzzy like the kitties.
Kitty cuddle quilts have flannel backing fabrics.
My guild's Cuddle Quilt workshop is in two weeks. I'll have to try other built-in stitches on a few of these quilts. My machine—and probably yours, too—comes with a variety of them!
Decorative built-in stitches that come with sewing machines.
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