Archive for the ‘Quilting Tools’ Category

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42.1 Fabric Refolding During Watching Dr Who and Sewing Room Organization

November 17, 2017

I started watching Doctor Who when it was on BBC America during the episode “The Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Stone.” What was this that the woman in the series kept counting down, and she couldn’t open her eyes, and these scary creatures who only moved when you weren’t looking?

Anyway, since then, I have been pretty hooked! We watched the episodes of Eccleston and Tennant, and I even said, “hey, isn’t that the guy from Harry Potter? as the bad guy from one of the middle books.” These were watched haphazardly, back and forth, and one at a time. I was loving the energy of Smith, and catching up as I was getting along.

After this last series with Peter Capaldi leaving us fairly soon, and a very long, dry year (<9 months, I hope) before regular, steady episodes to be coming out, I decided this was the fall to rewatch the television series in order from when they came out in 2005.

Why talk about this with a quilting blog? Well, it was a constant background this late summer/early fall to my fabric refolding project.

Earlier this year, I took a picture of my cutting station. You can see on the right side a lot of fabric on the wire shelves where I used to store ALL my fabric. And under my cutting station, I have stacked two shoe racks found at either the container store or home depot that I had purchased over the years. The top is just an ikea tabletop and the whole thing just sits there, behind which is my batting that is not designated into various projects yet.

On the left side of my picture, you may be able to see, or not, that I have scraps of various sizes cut up and ready to use.

Right now my 5 inch squares of cool colors are bulging and ready to use. I can usually pull out easily a 5″ square for anything I wish. I think I may decide to do a quick scrap quilt with 5 ” squares and white borders.

I was looking at the other parts of this setup and figuring out how likely it could be to refold my fabric so it wasn’t so tight and narrow and slide it into the various sections of my shoe dividers.

So I took my fabric out, section by section, put on Doctor Who in the background, mainly going from the beginning of “new Who” – starting in 2005 episodes, and background binge watch 134 episodes once I figured out some of the timing of some of the specials. Thank goodness to Amazon Prime that has this available to watch!

I unfolded fabrics and refolded fabrics. Ironing most, straightening up edges that needed straightened up, cutting up and creating more 5″ squares. Here’s my neutrals side that I have built up over the years.

And here is my fabric color side. Bottom so purples and multicolors, and ombre colors, and black and whites, and blues and blue-greens.

I still have a place to stash my fabric scissors, my blue tape (magic), my extra 1 gallon and 2 gallon baggies. Also reds and pinks and yellows.

Surprisingly this is most of my fabrics. Now my wires can house my finished tops and basted tops & bottoms.

I am thinking of relocating my fat quarters into a different area, but that would require removing them from the sections. OF COURSE, I decided this AFTER I got about everything put back into place.

I do have some repurposed DVD shelves that we weren’t using, so they found their way into the sewing room as well. I am thinking as I get out fabrics to use, as I put them away, I will sort them into fat quarter size or less, and half yards and higher. The half yards work well here in the shoe racks, and the fat quarters should work on the DVD rack once they are folded again to the right size.

Back a year ago, I decided not to move my thread rack. I had bought several of these tubs with the locking tops and they work well in my closet, and so for my large thread spools I have kept them in place.

Maybe I will pull them back out later, but if so, they will go somewhere else other than a thread rack.

My little spools I keep getting extra gifts from my aunt and a few times it has been small spools of thread.

I found a littler version of my other bins for the small spool storage.

Here are the bins that have now replaced what I used to use gallon bags for.

My UFO’s live here on the side of my closet and I even found some larger ones at Menards that fit perfectly with the other bins. There is plenty of fabric found here on the side as well. The other side of my closet is almost the same. I was going to try to get the larger sized boxes that fit a 12×12 block and perhaps I still will, but I keep missing the sale on these boxes that I saw one time.

Also this year, I lost the zipper pull on my main small vinyl bag that housed my most used supplies for traveling. This would be things like my glue stick, seam ripper, hand sewing needle, and so on and so forth.

So I purchased this in a set of makeup bags on amazon, and I am liking it so far, seems to be a good substitute that hopefully will be able to survive some abuse.

I haven’t still felt after a year of getting everything exactly the way I want it in my sewing room. I still use a rickety laptop table for my machine proper, which the benefit of is that it can wheel up next to my computer desk to make sewing more accessible from my computer.

This will eventually either be replaced with a handmade sewing table or a Sew-Ezi table. This works and works well until I start sewing fast and then if the machine isn’t sitting exactly right, it wobbles.

I have been thinking of reorganizing my sewing room. My cutting table is just a half an inch too narrow for my full cutting mat. If I can give up the large amount of space in the middle of the room that is (mostly) untouched, then I could upsize my cutting table, switch my current cutting table to my sewing machine.

But I am not ready for this as of yet. So a nice start is Doctor Who  and folding fabric that I have already done. I am not a quick one to make quick decisions. Quick decisions don’t normally work very well for me, but eventually I may reorganize more and differently. I don’t currently find I use my portable mini design wall. And when I do put something there, I look right past it for a couple of weeks trying to find it.

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40.4 Pictures of my blank wall

December 30, 2016

First off, let me say that yes, my camera has been compromised several months ago. I know that. The white balance is off now and the camera doesn’t get clear pictures anymore with the right amount of light let in. And I just haven’t fixed it.

But I am not going to let that stop me in posting pictures of my (blank) wall(s).

So bear with me.

So this past fall, was a change from one house to another, leaving me with more contained but larger overall space.

And it’s finally getting to the point where my quilts can be put up on the wall, getting to the point where every spare moment doesn’t have to be in relation to the best new thing for the house. Leading me to finally start to feel some enjoyment in my spare time.

Although I can’t say I’ve spent a TON of quilting time, I also can’t say that I find my sewing space actually “complete” either.

Anyway, I realized that you might want to see some pictures of my blank walls.

I really should title this post: My new-found-love-affair-with-3M-Command-products

I finally organized all the extra strips I have been getting with my 3M strips and put all the kinds of things into baggies.

I have used 3M large hooks and those “fancy” dowel rods to hang quilts up on the wall in the past. Below is a picture of a quilt in my previous residence.

little star with beads

See up on the top of the picture, the rod going through the back, and the large 3M hooks.

This particular hook setup actually stayed on the wall until I physically took it down, but some of the quilts just this past January that I had rearranged on the walls had fallen down by July using the sleeve and rod technique.

And guess what else I don’t like about the technique? Making the sleeve! Maybe for large quilts hung in shows, but I don’t really want to do sleeves again if I can help it. Let’s 3M and binder clip it!

OK. So I have found several different ways to use 3M products.

Strategies for using 3M Command strips in quilting.

1. The fridge clips. These come in a package of 6 clips. Which means for my small quilts, I can use them to hang 3 small quilts. Or if I wanted to hang 2 larger quilts instead, that’s an option.

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Even my somewhat heavy “Don’t Panic” quilt can be held by these clear plastic clips. It takes a tiny bit of snugging up into the binding, but there is a larger top portion on these clips that the binding can jam up inside, and once it’s up there, it really feels held by the clips.

But I didn’t already have a ton of these clips, so using what else I had.

2. Mini clips (+ mini binder clips)

Clear plastic clips and mini binder clips.

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I had purchased these 3M mini clips about a year ago or longer, and the mini binder clips that are all sorts of colors I already had them as well. Lots of them. For which I had no other known purpose.

These mini binder clips also happen to have a nice rubber, color-coded coating on the thin wire portion. The 3M Mini clips are just barely narrow enough to let the mini binder clip slip past. The mini binder clips aren’t terribly noticeable and can color coordinate a little bit with the quilts themselves. And I have seen many different colors and decorations for the binder clips themselves.

How strong is this setup? Well a quilt that’s about a yard on each side seems to be holding up ok so far if i spread it out between 4 small binder clips. This has really only been up for one week though.

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For some reason, I have more luck searching amazon for “Mini Hooks”, and I get a similar looking product that is more prevalent, but I don’t know exactly how they work that says “Decorating Clips”. “Mini Hooks” is what I have tested, but “Decorating Clips” seem to be a horizontal version of the same thing, but I don’t know that the binder clips fit on them for sure.

3. Wire hooks

I also had bought a lot of the wire clips that are a little more unruly, but also are narrower and more forgiving. The wire clips I had set up to hold my main design wall at my old place. I have been using these wires to hold many things other than quilts. Wire hooks hold patterns, rulers, my towels in my kitchen.

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As you can see, some binder clips are also employed in keeping rulers without holes punched out together on my stand.

In the background of the next picture, you can see some FMQ patterns and stencils held in my closet. And also you can see I am starting to store projects in bins instead of 1 gallon ziploc type baggies.

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And above you can see I am using mini hooks for my shape cut and long ruler, and large rotary cutter (had to have some other extenders here). Mini hooks I can find like everywhere, they seem to be easier to locate anywhere these products are being sold. More so than the other clips.

Oh, and large binder clips can be used as well, but they just don’t look quite as cute as the minis.

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Here’s a close up of the mini binder clip, with a comparison regular binder clip to the right. And the size and shape of the mini hooks. And 4 clear plastic tabs that fit with most of what’s shown above.

And it looks like if you don’t have mini binder clips, you can always use those wonder clips. There is a small slit in the back.

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This hasn’t been field tested yet, but initial examination looks promising.

Anyway here’s another use for the 3M products.

4. Medium clear plastic hooks

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This picture is of my blank wall, but you can hopefully be able to see the outline of the clear plastic hooks.

This is for my smaller portable portion of my design wall, my “design board” if you will that I am placing right behind where my sewing machine is, and not far from my iron.

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I made a design board out of a bit of foam board I already had from Hobby Lobby. Last weekend, I used some Aleene’s Original Tacky glue in the gold bottle, and glued down some batting to a portable board. I see this being really useful as a smaller board, or for a transferring board.

Here it is resting on the 3M medium hooks. There are currently only 2 hooks on bottom, and two on the side horizontally to keep the board in place. So far it hasn’t toppled over. Yet.

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I actually hope that this mini board experiment works well so I can duplicate it onto my larger wall that I am waiting to put a full “design wall” up. I have the flannel already, but not the 4′ X 8′ insulation foam. I am planning to use the very large white hooks and place them all around the design wall board. I am really hoping to not have to add any holes on these walls. I have done that too much in the past.

I know I have the option of taping 2 large insulation boards together so I can have a really large 8 X 8 design wall, or maybe even 3 boards. But that is just put off for a while. Hopefully soon! But in the meantime, I can use a nice design floor instead. Lots of options there.

Other non-wall, non-3M hacks?

My wire rack that used to have fabric now also stores quilts in progress.

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On the side are 2 re-purposed DVD racks that have jelly rolls on them.

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My cutting surface is a tabletop (new) on top of 4 shoe rack storage bins huddled in the corner. Now a lot of fabric is sitting in those small shoe rack bins. Luckily I had 3 of these already, this is rather expensive to put together from scratch.

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Currently these are not secured, but there is talk and thought about securing the table on top with two of the 3 M wire hooks facing each other with a rubber band in between. So far, I haven’t cut so much on this mat, and what I HAVE done, I haven’t had a problem with shifting much. I also currently am about out of 3M hooks and strips.

These past few weeks have been fun, made me feel like an engineer a little bit. Trying to problem solve and use ready-purchased items to help me do so.

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32.1 New Vintage “Singer 15 clone” machine – Sewcraft

August 25, 2013

Hey!

Seems like the only time I get to sew now is on the weekends. Crazy busy other times. Trying to keep up with everyone is hard when a lot of my time is at work.

But last week I went shopping! Craigslist style.

*** The problem ***

You see, last Saturday, with the inherited Bernina, I got some bad news.  The machine was going to be too expensive to fix and the parts were going to be hard to find.

The Bernina place was recommending that I not get it fixed.

The Necchi still worked(works), but not well, and not consistently, and not for FMQ without massive fights with bobbin breakage (possibly techinque or thread type??)

Saturday I kept talking on FB about what to do – what to do. Saturday night I was a wreck with possibilities.

Sunday, I did talk to my friend who works in the Bernina shop when I picked up my machine. And my price range is going to be in the “Bernette” style of Bernina machines (it appears that Baby Lock are pricier than Bernettes are from the brief time I saw them).

Sunday a week ago, I came up with a plan, trying to figure out how to save for a ‘new’ machine. Trying to figure out what to do, what events to go to, what to sacrifice.

I was offered two different sewing machines by two different guild members to borrow. And I love the idea, but I am nervous about borrowing. Nervous about a lot of things, but borrowing, I always wonder what to do if it breaks down in my care, if I am treating the machine right… It was an option. A good option, not a great one.

*** The plan for now ***

But then I got a message or two from a podcast friend.  Who looked up craisglist for this area (no she does not live in this area) and pointed me to one of two vintage machines that it’d be worth taking a look at.

The first one was an older blue machine, name I’d never heard of, couldn’t find anything on the internet about. But it was “just like a singer 15” AKA Singer 15 clone.

And the other one was a smaller looking actual singer. With a larger cabinet, three drawers down the side.

Well I wasn’t “looking” for a cabinet, but in my small car was only going to be able to pick up the smaller (and closer) of the two machines.

I was nervous to talk to the seller. I contacted him and he got back to me over 24 hours later.  I was nervous right up until we rang the doorbell (didn’t seem too kooky on the phone).

I had asked my friend what to look for in one of these vintage machines, started to look up info on ‘singer 15 clones’ and found a bunch of info.

*** A few things I learned about Singer 15 clones & vintage singer machines ***

Apparently, there was a lot of machines made in Japan (and some in China I believe) after WWII that are modeled after the Singer 15 machine or maybe it’s the Singer 15-91 machine. This website told me a lot of this info.

And looking around there are A LOT. Many in many different colors (blue is a favorite, so is black). Many different brands are out there, but mostly that was kind of like putting a label on something that was ‘generic’. A generic machine that is every bit as good as the original. Many of them even have larger motors than the original.

There were a few websites with pictures of all sorts of pretty colored Singer 15 clones. With all sorts of names on the front. And this one thread just kept talking about how good the machines really are, and how well they stitched and how easy it was to work with them.

*** The visit ***

There was no belt with this machine, or there was, but it was broken.  I was able to turn the handwheel, and I was able to turn the motor on, even though it didn’t connect with the fabric, it sounded like a good motor.

Flipping to the machine bottom, I could see the bars that turned the bobbin area and the feed dogs were adjustable.  When I turned the handwheel everything seemed in pretty good moving order, minimal rust anywhere that I could see.

Except, there was a rusty old light on it which was probably the grossest part of the whole machine, with a falling off rusty clamp, but that meant – removable!

Everything turned well, I was able to adjust the stitch size plate once I figured out how, threaded the machine (used the diagram in the manual to reference how to do it).

Stitched a line, changing the stitch distance half way through. Was able to get the machine to stay in place by dropping the feed dogs.

All with moving the handwheel back and forth.

I impressed the seller with my ‘new knowledge’ about singer 15 clones.  And the price was right in the range that people suggested in the ‘singer 15 clone’ thread I found.  $20. For the whole thing.

Worth the risk.  Spent the next 10 minutes trying to figure out how it was going in the car.  Tilted it sideways which wasn’t ideal for the hinges as the weight was now not normal, but it was going to fit in the car with the cabinet.

*** Getting it home ***

old blue sewcraft sewing machine

So this is her after I removed the light.  The headlamp on the left site, a keeper. and may be my light for this machine for now.

I didn’t know that “oil removes oil” until my podcast friend Tina told me. This actually was taken after I cleaned it up unguided. I got down into a lot of the outside crevices, removed the visible dirt on the outside of the machine, anything I didn’t need to remove pieces to clean.

Sewing machine oil cleaned this machine up pretty well. And a toothbrush, and a toothpick, and a microfiber cloth.

I did have a belt from the bernina that I did steal for this machine, but I proceeded to break that belt right away.  Motor must have been setting too low.

A couple of days later I did get a chance to get a new belt. I bought two, Just in case.

But didn’t set down with the machine to give it its’ ‘take apart’ cleaning & oiling until I saw the video that was made with me in mind that will be a great reference to me and others in the future.

I now know how to take apart the machine enough to oil it.

*** Trying it out ***

It took until this morning to try to sew with it. Now I’m getting a wobble.

I am posting a video about my machine so you can see the issues I am having with the wobble. I don’t know much about video except that it makes me about 10-90 times more nervous than creating audio files. I am putting my first you tube video up with this post.

Please comment here instead of at the youtube channel if you have any advice. I am considering the idea that the cabinet may be the issue rather than the machine itself.

This video reminded me of why I liked podcasting however. Although my stomach is now churning a little bit. Here’s hoping for a good reception. If there is no video about the sewcraft in this post, I took down the youtube video.  Thanks for understanding if that is the case.

🙂

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30.6 SQ Ep Post March A Long 2013 and Foundation Paper Piecing general tips

May 4, 2013

podcast feed

It’s finally out, the post March A long Report, plus some discussion of my projects, a tiny bit of paper piecing advice in addition to the project.

*quick warning, I play with the mic stand in this episode – not terribly loud, but occasionally distracting. whoops. not taking this out of the audio.*

During the month of March, we try to quilt for 15 minutes, building our ‘quilting muscles’.

If you listen to the podcast, the first 20 minutes or so I recap some of the achievements we accomplished in the month of March. Here are the links to the past March A Long posts where people reported their progress.

You did it!  So did I! Congrats to everyone who worked toward this wonderful hobby.

AJ Dub of Harriet Homemaker Strikes Again wins the giveaway for the March A Long as decided by random.org

I am currently listening to the Ender’s Series on Audible by Orson Scott Card through audible. There are many books to listen to, the story is science fiction, also somewhat political (one story arc), some are older books, some are newer –  great audio drama due to multiple people reading the story!

I am working on my Quilters Healthy Choices #QHC by doing more exercise in the last 5 months than the previous number of years combined.

I recently went to a local arboretum. Beauty for ‘early spring’.

arboretum april 2013

Then I discuss about how I work on paper piecing. I really mean foundation piecing. Some tips below:

  • I glue the first piece down.
  • I cut my strips into sizes that I may try to use later, such as 5″ by width of fabric, 3.5″ inch strips by width of fabric. Especially when I am deciding the size needed for the rest of the pattern.
  • I don’t trim off the quarter inch or eighth of an inch in between seams. Unless there is a seam ending in the middle somewhere. Or unless you plan ultra bulky amount of quilting on the piece.
  • I prefold my paper before sewing. And I prefold all the way down the length of the paper.
  • After I fold the pattern, the piece that I am going to fill up next has to match up with the fabric behind or it won’t fit very well. This eliminates the need to have an “extra large” piece of fabric that all gets cut off and discarded. (see picture below)
  • Make decisions that make sense for you to help you stay organized. Do things that may help you out in the long run. Always put the dark fabric in a specific place if it doesn’t matter to the design.
  • Make one copy of one block before moving on to chain piecing or cutting all of them, you may save on fabric if you try out something first.
  • I pin down the other side of longer seams to help it stay in place, but I don’t pin the whole seam unless I fear it shifting around too much.
  • Carol Doak’s paper piecing is wonderful, use it for times when you have either intricate or small patterns when pulling out paper will be a pain in the bu*t later.  Regular paper also works okay.

how to measure for paper piecing

pin one long seam

Incompotec.com graph paper of all kinds, shapes, & sizes. You print off what you need in handy 8.5 X 11 pieces, downloads to PDF files.

Craftsy paper piece design for Hexadaisy.

The love it / hate it / love it / hate it block for the hexadaisy with stripes.

outer rings purple

I bugged about everyone I knew online to see what they liked better, but shows my decision in making the design. I picked the 5th option not shown below – combines the left half with the right half of the mosaic below – which was always intended (some people didn’t know that).

hexadaisy choice mosaic

I ultimately decided (finally) to use grey swirls instead. I love the stripes and striped pattern will work on it’s own in a different quilt. But NOW the stripes are gone for this project as they were TOO DEMANDING of my attention.

swirly grey centers

The version is going to the quilt guild auction in July. When it’s quilted.

small hexadaisy top for auction

A completely random couple of notes tacked on.

Be careful at a quilt show in case of emergency. See if your quilt guild has insurance in case expensive sewing machines become damaged.  A guild close to mine had a problem at a local show recently.

Also don’t forget to finish making blocks for other quilters if you signed up to do them.

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29.0 Update – at least I didn’t fall into a hole

December 27, 2012

I have been starting to research and gather and organize my thoughts on a 50th episode of the podcast, but nothing I have done so far stands out as “right” yet. Things still seem rather disorganized and I have to settle down to figure out how I want to say what I want to say.

So I have been waiting to blog until that’s ready. Silly me.

And so I have news.

1st, the winner of the silly giveaway for the men without shirts and with quilts and burrito calendar was Engineer Sandi! One of the regular podcast listeners and blog readers and twitterers and stuff.

Seriously, this thing wasn’t rigged. Random.org picked the 2nd entry, and hers was 2nd.

randomcalendargiveawaynumber2Sandi wanted this for her friend. I contacted her, sent her the calendar, and she said she received it just before her friend came over, and they all had some good laughs over it, including some “you’re embarassing” type of comments from a daughter.

So that’s really good.

And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I hosted a giveaway for a 2013 calendar for quilters, put together by Megan of the Bitchy Stitcher.  For those of you that did not win (that’s all 76 of you actually), you can go order one and help support Megan in her cause for her brother’s cancer.

And what was also nice is that Megan posted on facebook about the whole thing, well she commented on my post anyway, which is just as good!

And I’m ready and waiting for January! Coming soon!

qsmasbc 2013 January

*** other news ***

And the holidays are good. I am trying to get better fit right now (started during a week I had off work earlier December) and so some of my ‘bumming around time on the internets’ has turned into, ‘how many games of solitaire can I finish while excercising on my ‘stationary-bike-like thing”.

Which is good and bad. Any motivation you can send my way would be helpful. Myfitnesspal as scientificquilter if you haven’t already seen it.

I’m not super confident on this, but maybe one day after walking I won’t be feeling short of breath.  Maybe. I also have to teach myself how to do hand weights exercises and body movements like lunges, jumping jacks and other things.

*** other news ***

Anyhow, I finally after 3 weeks got the binding done on my exothermic quilt, for the temperatures have plummeted again (hey it’s winter, so that’s okay).

lotsa binding

Which incidentally I finished on the boxing day sew in yesterday, that luckily I had off of work and talked to my long ago twitter friends.

*** other news ***

And then I shared a picture of what followed me home yesterday.

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Which is a Bernina that I think I want to call hotlips due to it’s army greenness.  It’s a Bernina 540 Favorit and I spent some time yesterday cleaning out some places and trying out a few of the multitude of feet for her.

She is a flywheel belt driven system and I think this means that the girl takes a while to get going. The bobbin is loaded on the back.  And took me 6 tries to bring up the bobbin thread without getting her stuck.

So I don’t know if that’s a ‘new to Darla thing,’ a bernina thing, a ‘oops you threaded it wrong thing’, and so once I change to a thread we shall see.

But the tension works WAY better than my necchi which I also like, (I told all you Carlotta was a bit of a drama queen, just after her namesake).

I have only done a few actual stitching samples with this machine, but so far, I love the sound/feel of this machine once it does get going.

Cabinet stayed with the family. Oh and this is my machine, but if I don’t want it, it goes back to the family, not mine to sell.  I had offered to give up $ for a bernina if that was important, but in the end, as long as I was taking care of her, I think it’s okay to think about me keeping the bernina with me.

To come and live with me for a while.

This machine started out 3 generations up from me (great grandparents age). And that’s ultra special about it as well!

Anyway, I have to go. Time goes rather quickly these days, and I’m rather glad I’m not using my afternoons still making christmas goodies. Good idea, but bad if they’re left over ready to munch munch away.

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27.5 SQ Ep 047 – Tardis Travels And Quilting Tips

October 6, 2012

Podcast Feed

Journey back in time with me over the last two months to hear what I’ve been working on, and get a few tips of things I’ve discovered along the way.

To learn any of the tips, I’ll have them only in my podcast episode. There will be a little drum beat before each one. Quiet but hopefully helpful in organizing when something new is coming your way.

First Stop

Hand embroidery project BOM (version 4 out of 4). Previous posts for other versions of embroidery blocks for the guild.

As you may be able to see the edges are serged. You may also notice it isn’t finished.

Why didn’t I work on it this afternoon? Why? Why? Due Tuesday and this takes me a long time to do. Plus the knot in the blue thread.  Ack!

Second Stop

Mystery Quilt for Gemini Sky

All the tons of pieces I had to cut out and sew together!

There’s 72 + 72 + 72 HST’s here. There’s 13 + 13 + 13 strips of four fabrics here.  There’s 36 squares here of each fabric (in baggies), and two long borders of focus fabric.

This presewing is done!

The workshop is later in October during a Saturday afternoon where we get to see what this looks like.

Here’s a possible arrangement of HST’s showing the fabrics (please excuse the poorness of the darkest blue fabric below)

So they work together I think. Phew!

And here’s the TA – DA Triangles I referenced in the episode.

I cut the interfacing into manageable strips so I could cut the fabric better and sew it cleaner and easier.  The strips are three squares wide by 4 across.

Third Stop

Don’t Panic – Reference Episode – Life the Universe and Everything

And here you can see the Kicker border, in addition to the invisible (can’t you see it?) aurifil monofilament thread – LOVE IT!

And see, I really did quilt the letters all the way through. Two steps in one!

Fourth Stop

Black Baltimore Beauty!

And here’s a close up of the quilting!

Last Stop

Card Trick

The alternate blocks of the square in the square is great for setting with the card trick.

Here’s a close up of the convex / concaveness of the two blocks together – meant to see the quilting designs, but does not show up well.

Some of the items referenced in the episode.

Lint brush, light with parabola cover, aurifil monofilament thread, and frixion pen.

Music and sounds

freesound.org

QuintoOFLam.aif by ramjac

lazery thing variants.wav by Timbre (modified for the tardis sound)

Original Japanese Version of Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto

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25.2A SQ Ep 042 – The Long Arm Experience Blog Post Part 1

April 29, 2012

Podcast Feed

*editors note* due to the high number of pictures for this episode, I’m going to break down the blog posts relating to the episode into two posts.

To find Part 2 of my renting a long arm episode go here. Part 2 directly relates my personal experience with my own personal quilt. The post below is more about the class and certification stuff you will find when you rent and to give you a guide through the experience.

*end of note*

Have you ever wanted anyone to talk you through a long arm renting experience from beginning of the class to the end?

Do you want to know what types of things to expect when renting a long arm, how to work the long arm anyway?

Particularly how to load a backing and quilt top and batting in a “half float” method of loading?

The episode I go into details about the things I learned in class, and if you scroll down, you should be able to find my pictures I took during the long arm certification class at Quilted Memories in Overland Park, KS.

The shop carries batting, sells Nolting long arm machines, and provides time renting the long arm provided you took the class.

The podcast and pictures are not meant to represent everyone’s long arm experience and are not meant to ‘side step’ any certification class by any means, but are to provide you with a very good idea of what to expect when renting, the steps involved with loading a quilt (there are many), and I think I even threw in some tips the owner provided us with for starting out (the ones I remembered or wrote down).

First in the podcast though, I talk about quilting and socialization and how I meat Jackie from Sew Excited Quilts.

I sure would have loved to have gotten to spend even more time with her!  She mentioned to me how interesting it is that ‘all these introverts’ are getting together and publicly putting themselves out there on twitter and podcasts.

Completely right.

So the class:

First the overview of the quilting frame, parts and quilt loaded

This is the turbo bobbin winder to make tight bobbins (easier for long arm quilting).

Before loading, the back and top have to be pinned to the zippers. The quilt should be squared before pinning. Fold the quilt in the center, mark with a pin, and then line up the center of the quilt with the center of the zippers. If you have your own zippers, mark your own center for the future.

And the machine has to be threaded. There is some tension disks that should not be missed, but for Noltings, the one bar that has the most impact on machine tension is the silly bar that goes downwards on the bottom of the machine.  Also no automatic needle threaders here.

The display on the front (and back) of the machine shows on, stitch regulation, the “on mode” (didn’t catch the name), the needle down feature, and turning the laser on and off.

Speaking of the buttons you press, here they are on the front side of the machine (close to the needle). Both the front and the back buttons put the red button on the left. as you’re facing the machine. Red means single stitch and black means ‘turn it on or turn on stitch regulation).

Stitch regulation won’t start sewing until the machine moves. Then the faster the machine is moved (by you) the faster the machine stitches – matching your speed!

When you want to stitch vertically or horizontally you can ‘channel lock’ the machine so it only moves one direction at a time.

You have three sets of zippers, two for the back and then you roll the back onto the bottom front bar (1st picture), then you zip and roll the top to the top bar (belly bar). Then you place the batting in the middle (loose, but droopy).

Then you baste the batting to the back (using channel lock). And then you baste the top to the back and along the sides.

Once all the basting is completed, you take the clamps from the side of the long arm and clamp it to the backing fabric only.  The white section is all a velcro so that you can adjust this correctly. This should be tight but not stretching out of shape.

Then you can set up the pantograph on the back of the quilt. You can move the frame around and set up sticky notes to help you figure out where to start and where to stop quilting.

A view of the laser set up next to the thread spool.

And here’s a fuzzy picture of the laser engaged.

Once one pass through of the panto, you need to find your starting point on the pantograph again, move the machine down to the end again, and secure the threads, locking them in place.

Then you have to move the laser again back to the same point over the pantograph. For some reason this is hard to wrap my head around just a little bit still. Probably because the laser wouldn’t behave all that well. Next time I’ll put the spool on the other side away from the laser and that may help a bit.

As far as what we did in the class itself

Lyn was helpful in letting us see the batting choices with sample Hobbs battings. We felt the bobbin, and several different weights of thread during the class. We discussed tension issues and how much threading the machine matters to help the tension in the machine.

Thread recommendation to start if you want to quilt a lot of different quilts with minimal thread purchase (at first) 1) off white, 2) grey 3) dusty rose

We took the zippers and pinned them to the ‘beautiful nine patch that a customer did’ (ie the whole cloth muslin that was squared up prior to coming to class).

To square it up, she said to fold it lengthwise, then keep folding it carefully with one edge always to the outside to get it on your cutting mat, then use the rotary cutter. Then unfold it, refold it shortwise (the other way) and then keep folding it until the uncut edge can fit on the cutting mat, and keeping everything square with the previously cut edge, rotary cutter the new edge.

The zippers were marked in the center and the squared up quilt top was marked in the center and we pinned from the center outwards.

We wound a bobbin with the turbo bobbin winder.

We each threaded the machine, even though she encourages us to leave an end for the next person to tie up to (similar for leaving thread in sergers).

We helped zip up the quilt back to the leaders on the machine. We each rolled up sections of the back and pushed out from the center, smoothing the quilt to each edge so that it was square on the machine.

We zipped up and rolled up the top in the same way as the back. Lyn inserted the batting up next to the backing.

We each helped baste the batting to the backing using the horizontal channel lock (moves sideways only).

We pinned the top to the batting and backing.

We freehand basted the top horizontally (no channel lock) and Lyn said that to help get waves out sometimes she zig zags when she bastes the top to help get the fullness in, zigging up and down, while the direction we basted was still to the right.

We basted the sides down over the section we could see unrolled.

We put the clamps on the quilt backing on both sides.

We put the ratchet down and belly bar moved to be in line with the bottom bar.

We repositioned the laser on the panto, marked the beginning and end of the quilt with sticky notes.

Each of us got a turn at moving the quilt with the pantograph, quilting on the back side. We would stop and see how we were doing on each section. We rotated a few times for this part.

We discussed how to move to the next pantograph, but did not get to practice it due to time (we were late getting started).

Then we went to the front of the machine, and our group was having issues remembering the sequence we used for starting and stopping the stitching, so we each practiced four times (using two long arm machines) pulling up the bobbin thread, then locking the stitches, then moving an inch or so, then locking the stitches and then pulling up the bobbin and cutting off at the end.

While we were practicing this, she was drawing on the other side of the ‘quilt’ with frixion marker (not pen, but same difference) some ‘free hand designs to try.

One was an ‘l’s and e’s’ design a cursive l followed by a cursive e, then repeated.

The next design was a circle looping clockwise next to a circle looping counter clockwise.

I think the last design was ocean waves.

(And I wish I had gotten a picture at this point – but no)

We had discussed but did not get a chance to practice moving the quilt on the bar to reposition it. But by this time, I wasn’t taking it in. The ratchet system still seemed unfamiliar to me, and part of it may have been the late start and the fact that the family of one of the ladies was there to pick her up during the last 20 minutes or so we were out on the floor. And the rest of it may have been it was near the end of my normal day and I typically stop paying as much attention the later it gets, and the fact that there was so much to think about during the class too.

So this was the one area that I wish I had gotten to practice myself, the moving of the quilt after a section is quilted, and how to handle and practice moving the pantograph to the next section of the quilt.

Otherwise this class prepared me for actually renting the long arm. I bought my zippers and two generic threads – off white and black (for me this seemed more useful than grey) and signed up for 4 days after the class (which I changed to 6 days).

This is all the pictures taken from the long arm class itself, to see what I did on my own quilt during the first rental time, go to part 2 of this post.