Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nostalgia & Falling Through the Hourglass

Here are some closeups of my first attempts at quilting on this new HQ-16. The video that came with it is basic, but helpful. I used a size 16 needle (recommended by my salesperson), but think it is too big. The batting for the first one is Hobbs Heirloom (80/20) and the second one is just Warm 'n White.

This rather homely little one is about 30" square, from scraps made into a split nine patch and great for the first practice quilt. My tension was bad (shows on the back). I tried several patterns, all free motion, and am binding it just to have another UFO finished. The quilt is NOT curved, just hanging on the back of my sofa. LOL.

This one is a top that I make many moons ago and seemed like a good one to try next. I can do leaves, so just covered this simple hourglass with them to get the feel of the machine. I adjusted tension as I went and finally got it right. As you can see, I'm a doodle quilter. I can do regular patterns from templates, but have a plaque in my studio that say, "It is more fun to color outside the lines."

The thread is variegated 50 wt. with a pre-wound bobbin in Superior's Easybobs. It took less than 1/4 of the bobbin, which surprised me. I thought I'd be changing bobbins all the time.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Long arm fun

Thanks for your comments. I am having a great time with this machine. I worried about the arm being only 16" instead of huge like the machine I had a lesson on, but no problems so far. I am also a doodler, so the hours go by without me noticing the time... I need to start setting a buzzer. Otherwise I have to stop because my throat is dry and my back is sore! LOL.

I'm also chuckling because my hubby, who goes to bed early because he gets up early for work, now drops by before retiring to watch me quilt. He's never done that before! Any bets on how long it takes for him to ask if he can try it?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ready to go - finally

This is my Christmas present to myself. We finally got the machine on the rails on Christmas Day with our son's help to lift it, level the table, etc. Last night I threaded it and loaded this small quilt.

It felt weird as as I turned it on. I actually was worried that it might not work. But the needle went down as I pushed the button, then up again with another push. Then I pulled the bobbin thread to the top, used a thick ruler as a guide, and quilted in the ditch around one of the blocks. Since a longarm owner told me that quilting in the ditch is one of the more difficult things to do on a longarm, I am pleased that this turned out okay.

I'm slow, but it has a stitch regulator so all the stitches are even and not piled up on themselves. It looks okay. Practice will help... but I am of Scottish descent and hate to "waste" fabric on practice. I'll likely do all my least liked quilts as practice. Sigh.

This is set-up full length. That is, I've used all the rails. My tables are from IKEA and very sturdy. I can raise or lower them, but right now it is just right for standing. There is room behind the table to use the laser stylus to copy patterns, or do free motion on the front.

My eventual goal is a king-size for our son (the one who helped set it up, and who also thought using it could be lots of fun) and one for ourselves. A shorter goal is to finish all my UFOs.

However, my husband is worried that he might never, ever get supper on time again, so I'd better set another goal to not get too carried away!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Collaborative I-Spy Quilt

This quilt is another collaborative effort. Several people cut 6" squares that would work for a girl's I-Spy quilt. One person bought the flannelette backing and sashing, and another person pieced it. I did the quilting on my domestic machine (this one was sandwiched and basted before I bought the long arm) and put on the label and binding.

It goes to a youngster about eight months old whose mother died as she was born. The young father is raising her by himself. We figured this would be a good home for a colorful playtime quilt.

I'm not a pink/magenta person, however the colors do look better "in person." I quilted it with loops large and small, fun to do. The label says it is not only for I-spy, but also learning colors, numbers, etc. Hopefully this sad young father will have some happy moments with his little girl.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pattern suggestions please! (and Saint Andy's Square

My daughter-in-law would like a "landscape, country-look" quilt to hang in a stairwall. It needs to be fairly large, like 48" x 60-70" and complicated is okay. Can anyone direct me to an idea or a pattern? I've been looking, and am not having much success.

This picture is a quilt that I made using the ideas from Bella Bella Quilts by Norah McMeeking. These designs based on floor tile work always draw my attention. I'd like to try a few more with photos we have taken in various parts of the world. This one was small, but fun to make. I wound up donating it as a door prize and it went to a good home.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tree Skirt and HQ-16

My, oh my, it has been far too long between posts. I've not been idle though. Our church group made an I-Spy quilt which I've basted and will quilt today. It will be my last quilt of that size done on my domestic machine, for I am buying a longarm today!

It is not one of those that cost the same as a nice car. This is the HQ Sixteen. I tried a Porsche (APQS Millennium) a few weeks ago and liked the huge sewing space, but found it very hard on my back and hard to maneuver. Free motion and trying to follow templates was humiliating.

So I tried the HQ, first for maneuverability, then following a template. It was much easier, in fact the results were much better. Also, since it sets closer to the edge of the table, I could stand erect and my back was fine.

The biggest problem is space. I have a studio room about 10.6 x 24, windows on three sides, with a huge U-shaped computer desk in the middle, 6 IKEA cupboards, 3 IKEA tables, a craft table, 3 bookcases, and other assorted stuff like rolling drawer units and a serger table. Don't ask me how, but they fit and I can work in this. So the big question... where do I put a 8-12 foot quilting machine? My GH thinks I've lost it! He is probably right, but that is another post. LOL!

Amazingly, it will work. I took out a couple things that fit elsewhere, consolidated two large tables to hold the quilter, moved the craft table out since I don't need it for basting any longer, and rearranged a few things. The room actually looks bigger now. It is still messy with thread, iron, machines, etc. all in the wrong spots, and the longarm is not here yet, but I will post a photo when it is done.

In the meantime, here is a photo of one of my first quilts. It was supposed to be a tree skirt, but I didn't have the heart to cut it, so it now adorns a table during the Christmas season.

And speaking of that, the tree is up and I'm thinking of ways to enjoy this celebration. We love the turkey and gifts, but also love the Reason for the season. May every one of you experience a restful holiday and great joy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Garden Path - Finished

This quilt is finished! One down --- nineteen to go --- unless I get some bright ideas that interfere with good intentions!

Find out more about the origin of this idea at my PhD (Projects half Done) site, which also has a larger photo. The link is on the right.