Archive for the ‘FMQ’ Category

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43.8 More Ruler Work Observations from Beginner – MAL 2019

March 9, 2019

I am staying as true as possible to the quilt for 15 minutes challenge for the month of March – aka March A Long. The only date that might have been missed was Friday. Even on Thursday when I was feeling a little under the weather, I looked through some designs in books that have been sitting on the shelf for years.

I have been staying on my free motion / ruler work for quilting working on my practice project.

Last week I did some cross hatching, this week, I tried out the football curved ruler.

A little bit of practice every day. One day was the outline of two footballs offset on the same row, the next day was the pebbles.

I filled in the corners with this weird gap thing set aside for something and the swirls that I almost see as my default traveling pattern.

I have found that instead of a generic meander, I tend to go with swirls as a “I don’t know what filler to go next with” filler to get from place to place and to speed up.

As you may notice I have a strange red thread design in the center of these white patches.

I did this with the marking pen around the ruler for the center of the design. This was to practice using my marking pen. I am not known to do a ton of marking or registration marks on my quilting. The pen took a while to get used to being used again, but seemed to do decent with the initial design.

This was before tackling any of the “rulers on the machine” work. Then I echoed it. Three times. Uhhh… two echoes, three lines.

Anyway, I am mostly happy with the work I did on the first pass, but my echoing skills leave a lot to be desired.

I am wondering what about this is hard for me to do correctly. Is it that I go too fast, or I can’t see well enough or I just “lose where I am” a little, or am a little careless, or I try to “make up for previous passes” by making a change the next echo and then actually make it worse.

Granted, this would be better if the thread color actually matched the background.

This is a small issue I have to work out on my own. This quilt has both light and dark patches, and for some reason, I have decided to make it all symmetrical. Same shapes in each corner, same threads. Sometimes it means that the thread color contrasts, the other times it blends. More or less.

I am finding myself feeling moments of “rush” with this quilt. It is practice, I did not piece it. I do not see it hanging in my house, or given to someone else. I don’t know if it would be “good enough” to donate to the local hospital or not (for a lap quilt), I am mostly going through the motions on this quilt to really use as practice.

So I am periodically “speeding up” through some of the quilting.

When I first started, I was having lots of shredding thread issues. Because of that, I lowered the tension “way down”. So what did that cause? Eyelashes.

I went through the entire corner blue section with this rushed, low tension top which caused the back to eyelash incredibly badly throughout.

I am finding it hard to make myself stop and figure out what I am doing wrong, just getting through the section of practice without doing as much learning as I “could be.”

Since I was needing more practice echoing, I decided to use the curved rulers to help me out on echoing this.

And then finding a fill that works too. This worked well. I am amazed at how much I get confused or frustrated when turning the quilt around to the the other side of the design. Somehow now doing the same shape, in the same way, on the same kind of quilting background, I feel more frustrated on the 2nd half than the first half. Almost every time.

I am finding myself hitting the ruler on the machine, or getting it stuck behind where the foot gets in the way.

At least I figured out that the more I can do on the machine in one direction, the better off I seem to be. The first few circles/loops, I was turning all the way around instead of working “just the tops,” or “just the bottoms”.

I think if this machine was a higher shank machine with more throat space, this task would seem way easier at the moment.

Which I have to use what I have at the moment. I need to start a fund for getting either a Juki or something bigger like a sit down 16 HQ. But that, being down the road a bit, will have to wait. It’s hard to say, because I do really like piecing a LOT, and designing a LOT, and for those activities I only need the machine I have now.

I hate to come away from this post feeling negative about the whole experience. I am not feeling that way necessarily.

This is fun, I might need to figure out how to move on to my real projects pretty soon though. Keep my tension in check. Watch for my foot slipping off the screw and falling down – something that happened this morning and caused issues trying to get through some of the tough seams on the underside in particular.

This is really nice, and I am glad I am working on this, and I know in a few short weeks I will be piecing again.

This is my stopping point at the moment. I need to get on and do a few other things this weekend. I have a plan for the other four corners in this section, and I have three of them to do still. I really hope this practice quilt doesn’t take the entire month of March to quilt, but as long as I March-A-Long and keep at it, I will eventually be done! And I will have a nice reference too!

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43.7 First Weekend of MAL 2019 Free Motion Ruler Work – Beginner’s Perspective and Setup

March 3, 2019

I love March for many reasons, none of which is the snow that fell last night. March provides a good jump to get me in the blogging mood, in addition to the quilting mood.

For the uninitiated or new who lost/missed my last two posts, today, March 3rd, is the third day of March-A-Long. A monthly sewing celebration of working on quilting for 15 minutes a day during the month of March to see how much we can get done with a tiny bit of discipline.

Some years, I focus on a specific project, some years I just work to further along all my projects.

This year, I have decided to focus on Free Motion Quilting, and finally learn some quilting ruler work.

To start, last week was basting a bunch of small quilts with the goal of getting the stained glass quilt quilted by the end of the month.

Then I purchased from Amazon a roll of Oven Liner.

Wait?! What? What does that have to do with quilting or ruler work?

A comment from a FB group by someone I don’t know said the word Oven Liner, and since I didn’t already own a supreme slier, seemed to be a cheap way to experiment to see if I would like to try smoothing down my surface for free motion quilting. I could cut it to length I needed, I could make cutouts on it.

So the roll of oven liner is now on top of my sew-ezi table and “heirloom (aka inherited)” table next to it.

I cut a 2nd piece of the oven liner to serve as a “bridge piece” behind my sew ezi table. Behind, I have a machine in a cabinet (Aquata) that hasn’t seen the light of day since I got my magnolia machine. MMMMMM

I set my tv on top of the aquata cabinet, and it sits (higher, sadly) behind my table. And then proceed to watch Craftsy/Bluprint videos from the tv while quilting.

The oven liner is really helping to bridge my quilts up to the higher level without fuss or problem. I do think I am putting a tiny kink in the oven liner. Oh well.

I cut a small hole for the needle and used the oven liner all day. Used blue painter’s tape to keep it secured to each surface needed.

This DOES HELP the quilt slide fairly well! I was impressed with how well it worked! Cost me half as much as a supreme slider, was versatile and helpful.

What I did not realize that to change the bobbin, I was making things worse.

No one has ever accidentally sewed up their supreme slider to the back of their quilt and then ripped out the stitches, have they?

I would lift up the right side of my tape to get all up underneath to change the bobbin.

I started having bobbin tension issues. First, I had different thread in top and bottom. Then I kept having the issue where the bobbin thread wraps around the wrong way (though I thought I did it the right way every time). Lots of different times. Changed tensions, tension on the top seemed super tight even just threading and re-threading the machine.

Tension on the top is now down super low, which seems to be “on par” for this machine specifically.

Cleaned up inside the machine as much as I was able to dare without hurting the machine or doing anything too rash like taking it apart.

I realized I really need to get this professionally cleaned. Ugg. Not this month.

The cleaning and tension and changing the bobbin threads seemed to help.

I have been watching Free Motion quilting videos (already said that). By virtue of the idea that I could lower my feed dogs, which I only discovered in January of this year because I was supposed to have a workshop that got cancelled due to weather, I was able to get the ruler foot on the machine – correctly and without hassle – and place the ruler in front, or to the side of my foot.

My ruler foot is one of those aftermarket ones instead of one of the Janome ones. Some time ago, I bought a ruler foot, had problems with the ruler hitting the back when trying to use the ruler, had a poor ruler with very low markings on it, and frustrated with the entire idea of ruler work and put the whole thing away for a year or so.

I am realizing now that this low shank machine is why I was frustrated. And my aftermarket foot is why. And my feed dogs.

I had always gone by Leah Day’s idea that “it’s ok to keep your feed dogs up” and just worked around that idea in the past. I couldn’t predict the height of the feed dogs with the non-hopping ruler foot, I was used to my hopping free motion foot.

In the past, I really didn’t spend a ton of time working on this problem.

Watching the videos now, I realize that a common problem of these aftermarket feet is the space between the foot and the “foot holder post thing”.

Angela Walters said that you try to use rulers on the front or left for some machines, and Amy Johnson said some rulers have different thicknesses and that the low shanks like what I have is just going to give problems getting the ruler to go around back.

Here are my (now growing) list of rulers for quilting.

The ruler on the farthest left is probably an ok ruler, but it has only one marking vertically, and one marking horizontally. I do believe this ruler, I was trying to use in a way that wasn’t going to be successful (in the past), and even after I had done some practice, at the end of the day yesterday, I was still trying to use the ruler just to see, and getting frustrated. So I think this ruler is not for me.

Next to it, is an “s curve” ruler, also with minimal markings.

And the spiral, which is either going to be really long from now when I figure out how to use, or just going to be available as a “marking-type” ruler instead of a “quilting-up-next-to-the-foot” ruler

I also put onto the backs of these rulers just this morning were these dots.

You might be able to see on the s type ruler two purple blotches. This is a cheap version of “invisigrip” in the form of purple colored Hugo’s Amazing Tape, which I got for board games and use to keep my board game cards together in a group. Not really feeling the groove of this ruler either, maybe it is the gripping, maybe the size, maybe the lack of markings, maybe it is something else.

When I did put the Tight Grips product onto the backs of my other rulers, I could tell a distinct difference, these rulers stay put. Or seem to.

Anyway, the other thing I worked on this morning was fixing the main problem of loading my bobbin from the top underneath the oven liner. I cut out, again with exacto-knife, the area around the bobbin area. Because I happened to look up when Amy was showing off her supreme slider and by golly there was a hole in hers around the bobbin area.

I hit my head with a “do-ooohhh-innng” kind of realization that I could do that too.

Only took an entire day of stitching and messing with and being slightly upset about having to change the bobbin.

I keep thinking I am going to actually stitch this morning/afternoon, but I might not. I have been working on this blog post, fixing my area around my machine, fixing my oven liner solution, moving some of the furniture in the back around slightly differently, going out to scoop the snow for tomorrow.

I have found it easier to get started quilting when I have a plan, and right now the parts I have on this practice quilt, I don’t have a plan for. Yet.

Anyway, that was the very tinsey itsy bit of my March-A-Long. Join in, tag #marchalong or #sqmarchalong or something similar, reply here or FB. Let me know you’re up and doing this! We can all get more quilting done together if we work at it, little by little.

I didn’t get to show off my crosshatching, which was done with the curved westalee ruler I got with my foot. The half feathers at the top of this picture was done some time ago.

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43.6 Let’s Get Ready for March A Long 2019

February 26, 2019

Hey! End of the week this week leads us smack dab into March!

I decided to make a video to commemorate the beginning of March, because that is the month I try to “rally the troops” (ants) into sewing every day for 15 minutes a day!

So, we try to encourage each other to do a very mild discipline in our quilting! Just 15 minutes a day! It is usually one of the more productive or creative times of the year for me, it can, at times be hard to get me out of the sewing room in March!

Anyway, whatever it means to you to work on quilting, be it planning, cleaning, organizing, cutting, pinning, quilting, stitching, ripping, applique, embroidery, binding, retreating, blog-hopping, buying, auditioning, dreaming, designing, writing quilt patterns, doodling quilting designs, playing with color combos, swapping, meeting other quilters, quilt meetings, round-robbining, rug-mugging, bag making, DVD watching, craftsy watching, ….

You get the idea.

Here are my inspiration to start on March A Long for free motion quilting.

This top and backing need basted, marked and quilted

In searching for batting, I found two black batting pieces I could make into a larger batting piece to get this quilt free motioned, and so I made an appropriate back for it (on top).

And I watched classes on Ruler quilting and free motion quilting to get me ready with this stack of mostly practice sandwiches first. My free motion quilting ruler collection is small, and several are not quite as recommended because the lack of lines and markings.

Currently I might try the applique sheet on the gap between my sew ezi table and my grandma’s old living room table. I have yet to buy a supreme slider.  But I read online that you could use an oven liner too instead, and am considering that.

Just by stitching down the stained glass bias tape on this quilt was enough to remind me that the corner I have behind my sew ezi table is a little wonky. But it got me into the free motion mood.

I did also buy a dog grooming station, to hold all the bulk but I haven’t set it up yet. I want to see how easy it is to quilt the black Star Struck quilt first. And possibly move around furniture behind the sewing machine to run it into the wall?

These are currently my goals and plans for sewing this coming month. What are yours? Going to want to play along with us?

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39.7 March-A-Long 2016 end of second week

March 13, 2016

20160309_183917.jpgSo, it’s the end of week 2 and I personally have been successful at sewing / quilting for at least 15 minutes a day each day this week except for one when I was a little sick.

I have been quilting on a small quilt project, preparing the next quilt, taking apart even another quilt, and getting a lot of projects lined up with batting and/or backing.

20160313_134943.jpg

You all seem to have been busy as well!

Good job guys sewing for 15 minutes a day in March. If you haven’t done so, you can start NOW. Keep on keeping on!

 

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38.3 Scrap Sewing more of the same

September 13, 2015

Hey all! I have been trying a few things, but today during my day off I have gotten more done of the same quilts I have been working on.

First I am working on adding more corners to the Winslow Corners quilt. I have 5 more blocks of pieces done of the corner pieces, but not trimmed up & sewn together yet.

wpid-20150913_123337.jpg

Trying to decide on this quilt size. Most likely this will be another throw quilt. Looking forward to trying something cool in the light grey section for the actual quilting of these blocks!

I also have to go back to EQ and print/create the border blocks which finish up the corner pattern.

I am finding it a nice way to use my scraps.

I may look at other patterns that have 16 patch blocks in them. I have been thinking about sashing them in colors or black and setting a different alternating block with them.

I have also been doing more of the same scrap quilting with Shoo Fly blocks.

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I have one more block hanging out on the sewing machine, and i have pieces for many more blocks, maybe another 15 – 20 blocks already done.

It makes it easier to get started sewing when I know the decision has been made and the prepwork has been done on these blocks.

I do want to do a disappearing Shoo Fly block quilt. I am now not certain THIS is the quilt to do that to, considering each of these 9 patch blocks are only 3″. To cut them down and resew them I would lose several inches and it might not be big enough to appreciate the design. Or the time it will take to cut apart and resew these blocks.

I haven’t decided yes or no on that yet. Still making the pre-made shoo fly blocks.

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I did sort all my pieces of scraps by color for 1.5″ blocks in anticipation of a potential swap in the future. I also have sorta swapped with someone some of these 1.5″ blocks.

And I may have signed up for a hashtag swap for the secret Facebook group “Twilters!” Due in October. I have a lot of random strings that may make nice hashtag pieces.

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I am leaning towards taking apart my quilting on the Samurai Sudoku quilt that is so off kilter on the quilting. I currently only have 3 hours of quilting into the top and its about a 1/4 way quilted.

I have to set up an appointment to go back to the long arm quilting place in October and I have been hemming & hawing trying to decide to take out stitches or not. The thing is pretty wonky, which causes me to be uncertain I would like it if I continued quilting as I have been.

Knowing me, I would worry & about it if I didn’t fix it. I have told myself it is practice. But I want it to be better practice than this.

But it is so much work to do and then I have to go redo all the quilting on it already.

upclose picture of samurai sudoku quilt on longarm

So mostly more of the same quilting as the last month. I someday will go back to other UFO’s I think.

Debating on weather or not to do Scrapitude this year. I don’t really like the timing of it (early in the year or maybe it’s late near the holiday season). I haven’t decided. Seems like a few things going on now. And then I have been doing these “new projects” such as Winslow Corners quilt.

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As I was cleaning my sewing room, I found Winding Ways small scrappy quilt blocks that I swapped with the swap group I was in. We used the Accuquilt cutter to cut random batiks, and I don’t mind sewing the blocks together yet.

For yet another donation/extra scrappy quilt.

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Jack’s Chain

I have decided I would like to attempt a Jack’s chain quilt for the next big Regional quilt Festival here, in 2017. Might be more than I can chew in just under 2 years. But these 1.5 inch pieces could be useful for that.

First I need to figure out how to make EQ7 do what I want. I posted on an EQ7 FB group and got some good advice, but still am stuck, since the copy paste instructions I got somehow aren’t pasting correctly doing it the way that it was suggested to me. I don’t think the instructions are wrong, but I do know it’s not doing what I want it to do, so maybe a different route will be necessary. Or maybe I have to click somewhere else first. EQ7 is picky like that.

I have a vision or actually several ideas for the quilt. But need an EQ7 color guide for me to be successful at it!

We will see if I change my mind before the event. I have had a few months of batting the idea around already and so I know it will be one I will like to try to put into that show. Very time consuming quilt, depending on size.

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35.6 Golden Card Trick Quilt

June 22, 2014

In my “year of FMQ” I have sat down and finally quilted this card trick quilt that I have had in the works since April of 2009. Making it my oldest UFO.

I do realize that there still needs to be one small line I missed on the card trick block itself and the corners aren’t tacked down – said I would get to them later & forgot that I never finished them until after I put my FMQ foot away for the day.

card trick showing the quilting full

The card trick & square in square blocks are quilted on the top with a golden/orange contrasting thread.

card trick straight quilting in orange brown thread

But the threads on the straight lines in the ditch around the blocks are much lighter – a light taupe for some of the straight lines.  For the swirly details I decided to pick a color in between the lighter taupe and the golden/orange, and use a golden yellow color thread for quilting.

card trick quilting ring around diamond in square fmq

Quilting is swirls and long feathers in a box around this section.

And circles and a pinched block for the middle of the blocks.

card trick quilting in between the tricks quilting

This quilting went rather well, and is the largest thing I have pushed through my Janome Magnolia machine. Not too hard to do, but too much bigger would be harder than this.

A small amount of success for finishing the quilting. I have been weary of “overquilting” this quilt, but I think this one plays nicely with some curves and some straight line free motion quilting. I have basic straight lines in the borders.

straight line border quilting

I could alternate with fills, but currently they are left plain, which is fine with me at this time.

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35.4 Requilting the Dancing Ribbons Quilt

June 15, 2014

This quilt has had a LOT of ‘redos’ on it, and now I am redoing the”final” quilting as well. This project was considered finished in January of 2013, I put down the 20th to be exact. It has been hanging on the back of my front door in the time since the quilt has been finished – the sleeve went on long ago.

The recent talk of some of my online quilting friends of Round Robins has lead me to look at many different Round Robin pictures on Pinterest & other places, which has caused me to think of how delightful this Dancing Ribbons would look as an on-point center of a larger quilt.

I have been subscribed to Ann Peterson’s Craftsy class “Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine”, and I was watching it recently, and I think I can take her medallion quilt techniques and put corners on this quilt and set the already quilted quilt on point.

The original design.

Dancing Ribbons at the Show

This quilt has always been special, but it has been missing the “fantastic-ness” I usually love in quilting. That AND I LOVE changing things up, adding a little bit more, and a little bit more.

All this talk about Round Robins and turning a quilt on point reminds me of my favorite picture of my small dancing ribbons quilt.

Dancing Ribbons Quilt

I have also recently been watching Cindy Needham’s Craftsy class on Wholecloth Quilting and between two two classes, I have been brave enough last weekend to rip off the binding, rip out the piping and rip out the adequate but not spectacular FMQ done on the outer edge (which ripping took way too long considering there wasn’t all that much of it really).

So this went from a finished project to an unfinished project that I have renewed excitement about.

I decided a variation of the last post what I want to do with this quilt, posting an EQ7 picture of what I (currently) envision the finished quilt to look like.

dancing ribbons medallion choice5

Over two different days this past week, I have tried to purchase the brighter versions of blue for the outside. I have yet to decide exactly which blues will go. The first batch all the blues were exactly the same shade.

dancing ribbons corner colors

 

 

Now I have a more varied number of blues and a different in between color. Freshly washed.

dancing ribbon fabric choices 2

 

Still living with the colors & values right now to see what I like.

On Tuesday, I spent a generous amount of time creating ‘sunshine & shadows’ (Cindy’s term) by adding crosshatch lines as background filler to the currently finished quilting project.

And a few stitches in the middle of the quilt for the yellow portions.

crosshatch quilting on negative space

Then I found this really great picture of quilting online which inspired my own version of the spade/heart shape, modifying the design of Gerri Smit to put in the corners of my original quilt to give the quilt some light pizzaz.

drawing inspired by a quilt on pintrest

I have improved some on my FMQ this past year, and 2014 is the year of FMQ, so this is very exciting to me right now!

And if you didn’t notice earlier, here are my attempts at adding pizzaz. Didn’t take many different takes at getting this right, this design I didn’t have to practice too much, and it adds so much detail to this quilt.

Dancing Ribbons Freshly quilted with Details

Today was another sewing day, but even though I have momentum on this idea, because I am still hashing out the colors in my head for the right fabric, I changed direction and did some straight line stitching all over my card trick quilt (now my oldest UFO).

Card Trick has been basted for a month or two. I chose an orange/brown color thread over the top of the card trick pieces which I think ties together the colors nicely even though none of that color even shows up on the quilt.

card trick straight quilting in orange brown thread