Peanuts Quilt … or is it a Marilyn Quilt?

This is the quilt I’ve been working on for the last several months, ever since I got George in March. I finished it last week, and it was presented to Sarah by her husband Erik for her birthday. She knew there was a quilt coming her way, she knew I was making it, but the theme was a total surprise. To be honest, the quilt took so many twists and turns, it was a bit of a surprise to me as well!

I found this adorable Peanuts fabric last year and immediately thought of Sarah, because she’s a big Peanuts fan. I was telling my husband about it and I said I’d like to make a quilt using the fabric but I was short on funds. Erik is his best friend, so Chris called him and told him about the fabric. Erik thought it would make a great birthday gift for Sarah, so he funded the quilt. And I was off … Originally, I was going to make all the pieced blocks pinwheels but I quickly found out that I’m not a big fan of pinwheel construction, so I changed it to making half of them pinwheels and half nine patch. Then I had to get an embroidery machine to do the characters (OK, I had planned to buy the embroidery machine anyway, but doesn’t it sound cool to say that you bought a machine for a particular project? 😀 ).

Peanuts

As I neared completion of the top, Erik requested that I incorporate camouflage fabric into the quilt. I wondered how the heck I was going to do that, then decided to use it as the backing. But when the “camo quilt fabric” showed up at my door, it was anything but quilt fabric. I knew as soon as I touched it that it would never work. So Chris called Erik and explained the problem. I told them, “Leave this to me; I will take care of it. Trust me to get this right.”

Around that time, I had found some Marilyn Monroe fabric and thought it was really pretty, but I had no idea what to do with it. I mentioned it to Chris and he said, “Sarah is a HUGE Marilyn fan, you know.” Well, no, I didn’t know that but the idea was born …

Marilyn back of Peanuts

 

I added some stars for quilting, and bound the whole thing by machine.

Quilting Detail of Peanuts Quilt Detail of Marilyn

In the end, I think it turned out pretty well, and I think Sarah likes it, too. And that’s one more for the history books, folks. 😀

My next project is a quilt for my daughter and son in law for Christmas (they already know about it, so I’m not giving anything away here) and a throw quilt for … I don’t know who it will go to, but I’m sure it will make a great gift for someone!

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Sewing Machine Review: Brother DreamCreator VM5100

Brother VM 5100 Dream Creator

Brother VM 5100 Dream Creator – AKA George

I’ve been sewing on George, my new Brother DreamCreator VM5100 for almost three months now, and I’m ready to talk about my initial impressions. Keep in mind I still have some things I want to try out with the machine, but I’ve done a fair amount of piecing on it already (I’ve pieced two 70″-ish square top on it in the twelve weeks or so since I’ve had it). What I haven’t really done much of is free motion quilting, though I’ve done a good deal of embroidery on it. So with those disclaimers … here we go.

This is my fourth Brother sewing machine. The first one was my PC-8500 which was purchased used, the second was a Brother SQ-9050 I bought at Walmart and the third one was a “refurbished” 2500D. I still have all but the 2500D, and I’m still kicking myself for selling it in 2012. I would love to have that machine back, but that’s not going to happen. As a matter of disclosure and if you’re uaware, I also have a Janome 8900 that I purchased in February 2013. Up until I purchased George, the Janome (Ricco, by name) was my primary machine. Since I bought George, however, Ricco has seen almost NO sewing time. More on this in another post.

I brought George home and unpacked him almost immediately. Since it had been nearly two years since I’ve had an embroidery machine, I decided to give embroidery a go first. Of course, I first had to buy embroidery thread (I’d let all mine go with the 2500D), and then I found a design to use on the Green Eggs and Ham quilt I’m working on for my friend Julie. This embroidery design is meant to be the quilting. This is actually one design, stacked to be embroidered twice.

Star Overload

 

So far, the embroidery I’ve done with this machine has been wonderful!

But what I’m REALLY thrilled with is the stitching this machine does. It is so nice and pretty! I mentioned earlier that I’ve put together an entire quilt top on the machine in the weeks since I got it, and the machine really sung through the whole thing. I did run into a small problem, as one of the blocks in the quilt was a pinwheel, and George sort of bogged down where all the seams intersect, but I did a little reading, made a few adjustments to the automatic height adjustment (the machine’s default from the factory is to have that feature turned off), and voila! No more problems. In my research, I found that the little black button on the side of the J foot is actually there to be pressed in to help you get over those tougher seams. In more than 10 years of sewing, I never knew that. When I told my mom about it, who’s been sewing for more than 40 years, she didn’t know it either, so I didn’t feel so bad. LOL

The machine comes with a good variety of feet, including a 1/4″ foot with a guide. However, I’ve found that I much prefer the J foot and the use of the 1-29 stitch, which makes the perfect quarter inch seam. The reason why I like the J foot over the 1/4″ foot is that the feed dogs don’t make enough contact with the sole of the 1/4″, whereas the J foot’s sole is making full contact with the feed dogs. It really makes for a much more even feed and a lot fewer problems with fabric shifting.

In the three months I’ve had George, he and I have made a quilt top, made a pair of elastic waist dress pants, a couple of t-shirts, and repairs to a pair of my husband’s jeans. In every case, George has really done a fabulous job. I couldn’t be more happy about his performance.

The only thing I was not really happy about – and this is totally my fault – is that I didn’t do enough research before I bought this machine. If I had been more thorough, I would have chosen the Brother DreamWeaver VM6200D instead of the VM5100 for two reasons. First, when I bought my machine, the difference in price between the two at my particular dealer was about $1100. I thought I didn’t need the laser seam guide nor the V-Sonic pen, which seemed to me to be the primary differences

between the two machines. There were also two other feet included with the 6200D – the MuVit digital dual feed foot, and a droplight embroidery positioning marking foot. I was told the cost of each of these feet were about $150 each. To be clear, this information did NOT come from the dealer where I purchased my machine, but when I actually got my machine home and decided I wanted the MuVit foot, I found the cost is actually $400. The droplight foot is about $250. If I’d known that two features I did want would cost me $650, I would have just paid the extra $1100 and gotten ALL the extra features at once. But overall I am very happy with my machine – so happy, in fact, that I’m considering adding another one next year.

Really, three months isn’t long enough to give a full review, so I’ll post another review in a year or so, once George and I have been able to get even more familiar with each other. But I want to spread the word that this machine is FABULOUS, and if there’s anyone on the fence about buying it, DO IT. You will NOT regret it!