Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hello bloggers, I'm back!

Yep, I'm still here! Life has been pretty busy (read WORK) but this week is the beginning of my 3 day weeks and here I am at home on a Tuesday and loving it!
The trash man woke me at 4:30 and I have been up since 5. So I made coffee and caught up with all of you leaving comments here, there and everywhere! I took my walk, did two loads of laundry, cut flowers and weeded, had breakfast and here I am. After this brief post, I'm off to the sewing room to finish that darn baby quilt for Bella Grace and get ready for my quilt class on Friday. We have Karen Eckmeier of "Accidental Landscape" and "Happy Villages" fame coming to our guild to do a "Happy Villages" workshop. I'm looking forward to that.

My ALQS swap partner, Jovita, has received her quilt so I will leave you with a picture of what I sent her.. She is the lover of purples and greens. I don't particularly favor purple but this one struck my fancy so I made two. My quilt top is done but not yet quilted. This is just four blocks and about 23 inches x 23 inches. It's hard to see the border but it is a fabulous strip that I found years ago. The light purple in the center is a Liberty fabric which I received from a very generous blogger in England a year or two ago and I've been waiting for just the right project to cut into it.

Well off to see what can be accomplished today! and just a reminder for you "Project Runway" fans, Season 5 starts tomorrow night!!! I will definitely be tuning in! Well, I hope to be back on Friday with a completed baby quilt among other things! So until then, as Heidi Klum says "auf wedersen" !

Monday, July 07, 2008

Novice Machine Quilter seeks advice

Since the weather was quite uncooperative this weekend with rain off and on all weekend, I decided to load a baby quilt onto my Gracie frame for quilting. I have used this machine frame and my Janome 1600 for a few quilts over the last couple of years but have not used it extensively and I have only done a meander/stipple type stitch on the few quilts that I've done (mostly charity or kiddie quilts since they don't care about some uneven stitching) and this is part of the problem. Every time I decide to use it I have to reread the directions and/or watch the DVD for loading the quilt and threading the machine etc. and that is what I did Friday night when my DH was at a concert with an old college friend.

I finally got the quilt loaded and the machine threaded and decided to just do a meander/stipple on the body and then do a little something (yet to be determined) on the borders and four cornerstones. First problem I had was with the top thread breaking (this I anticipated as my Janome can be a bit finicky) so I changed it out to a different thread and fiddled with the tension and that seemed to work. Overall, it was not too frustrating and I have completed the meander. I have to say that my meander/stipple is pretty good. I think it is more a stipple as the quilting is pretty compact. I'll have to post a picture so you can see it. I think of a meander as more open. The stitches are pretty uniform, there are no crossovers, well maybe a couple, and no crazy angles. I want to use a panto for the borders and blocks. Not sure if I should have done this first or last!! I've never used a panto, well I have but not with the laser attachment for the machine which I got for Christmas and have yet to take out of the box and I'd like to give that a go this time around.

I have promised myself that once this quilt is done I will immediately load another so that I can get better at this and more comfortable. I do have another quilt with backing and batting all set to go!

So I thought that I would post a few questions to see if any of the more experienced machine/long arm/midarm quilters out there might have some advice or tips to share.

Here are just a few thoughts/questions.. but feel free to lay your wisdom and experience on me!

1. THREAD - Do you have a favorite?? I have some Superior which I have used but it's not as fine as I would like it to be. On this quilt, I used Metzler, since I had it and I was happy with it once the tension issue was ironed out.

2. Should I do the borders or the body first?? Do you start from the center and work out or go edge to edge?? I did edge to edge which seemed to work fine. Should I be basting my quilt first? The few times I have done it I haven't basted

3. Since my Janome only has a 9 inch (?) opening I am limited in the area I can quilt, I am planning on doing the top and bottom border and the corner stones then taking the quilt off and reloading so I can go the length of the side borders. Does that make sense? I'm not sure since I've never done it. My plan is to get more quilting under my belt and then decide on a possible upgrade on a machine, maybe a midarm with a larger opening like an HQ Sixteen.

4. PANTOS - any suggestions such as some easy ones out there for purchase. are straight lined easier than loopy??

I have to say I enjoyed doing the quilting on the frame and would like to become semi proficient at it. I certainly don't think I'd ever take in someone else's quilts since I have many tops that need to be quilted and would like to do them myself. I know that a big part of it is PRACTICE!

But any advice would be sewww appreciated.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


I know I'm a day late, but what else is new??? Actually, I took the photo yesterday and never got to the computer to post it. This is a quilt I made a few years ago. It was for a guild challenge. I was looking for something else in a bin of quilts and found this one! Forgot I had it so I put it up. Our 4th was a quiet and wet one. It has been raining off and on since Friday morning. I have been machine quilting a baby quilt and watching baseball most of the weekend. Alex went to Vermont for the weekend with friends and my DH has gone off to a concert with his college buddy. It's just me, Mr. B and Holly for the rest of the evening. Think I'll try to squeeze my walk in before it starts raining yet again!!

Hope everyone had a safe and relaxing 4th!!

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