Saturday, October 23, 2010

All done

Well I am pleased to report that I have finally finished my scrap quilt and I am pleased with the result. After spending last weekend trying to overcome my fear of FMQ which I did on the blue outside border the binding was finished off last night. It is a true scrap quilt in every sense of the word and I even scrapped the back with left over backings from other quilts. All the fabric used on the backing and the binding can also be found in the quilt top.

And here is a close up of my FMQ although I did use a colour to blend in so all mistakes will be hard to see.

It is another gorgeous day here so me and my sewing machine are going to go outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine while I make another bag for my giftie box.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday night sew-in

Now that the weather is warmer and the nights brighter I thought it was time that I resumed my Friday night sew-ins and last night being the 3rd Friday in the month I was ready to go.

I have been working on a scrappy quilt and up to the point where the borders needing to be quilted and as I have been practice, practice and practicing my free motion quilting (FMQ) I was feeling confident enough to give it a go on the real deal. It was my half day of work and as hubby and I had treated ourselves to a lovely lunch neither of us wanted any dinner so I sat down about 5 to make a start. I did my warm up practice piece and all was going well - feeling relaxed, mind in a gentle meandering mood, cotton and tension all checked.

Off I go and after about 6" of meandering the top stitches look great I do a quick check of the back - WHAT POODLES - and not miniatures. Quick stop the machine and unpick. During the half hour that it took to unpick the mess I was thinking what could have gone wrong. Then I think that the practice piece was a different thickness to the quilt so I do the necessary tension adjustments and get ready for take two.

By this time I am feeling rather tense in the neck, shoulders, arms and my hands are beginning to sweat and itch in my little quilt gloves. Take a deep breath and make a start and after about 6" I do a quick check on the back and all is good. I then go along about another 6" and do another back check and it is looking rather good so then I start to relax. As I edge my way along I begin to notice a "drag" on the quilt. Quick check the back - no problem. Stop the machine and pull another chair over to rest the quilt on to stop the drag and off I go only to being to feel the "drag" again.

Now by this time I have somehow positioned my knees up around my armpits to try and lift the quilt and eliminate the weight from pulling it down and me fighting against it. A check of the back now reveals another problem - not poodles but big stitches that are about to unravel before my eyes.

By this time it is now 7 oclock and I am feeling very discouraged. I have now decided that in the morning the feed dogs will be returned to their upright position with the walking foot firmly clamped on so I can do a zig zag pattern on the border which will fit in nicely with the scrappy quilt.

I spend the next two hours sitting in front of the TV unpicking the take two mess.

In the photo below you can see what I did in four hours for my Friday night sew-in

I went to bed feeling very unhappy and disappointed with my effort. I woke about 4 and began to think about my problem, Others can do FMQ why can't I. Then I remembered reading on the internet about someone else having the same drag problem and she turned her machine side on which solved her dilema. Up I get a day break and turn the machine on it side position books and magazines on either side of the quilt table to give me a large even surface, put my little quilt gloves on and off I go.

What a difference it made by turning the machine - I found that I was not fighting against the weight of the quilt and I could guide it much easier. Now my stitiching is not going to win any prizes and practice, practice is still needed but all in all I am happy with my first effort.

There were a couple of lessons learnt last night. Firstly the "sandwich practice pieces" do not prepare you for the weight of the quilt. I had been doing these for a couple of weeks and whizzing around them with no problem never giving a thought to the quilt pulling against me and causing stitch problems on the back. Secondly quilting should perhaps be done early in day so when you encounter a problem you can think it through and do some research while you are fresh and thirdly where there is a will there is a way. FMQ is something that I have been aiming to try for sometime and I am glad that I left the feed dogs down and gave it another bash.