Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Quiltathon Wrap Up

I really wanted to make the most of the last couple days of my Quiltathon, so I didn't take the time to post. Monday morning I was up bright and early and printed out another 300 raffle tickets for our quilt to be raffled off at the quilt show. For anyone who may be local, our quilt group, Backroad Quilters, is hosting a small quilt show at the West Gardiner Fire Station on Saturday, May 3 from 10 to 5 and Sunday, May 4 from 10 to 3. Please stop by and visit us.

By noontime I was ready to start quilting the Scrappy Bargello on my Lizzie; but when I dug out the backing for it I discovered I had never finished sewing the strips together. After I got that done, then I realized I'd have to piece some batting together to get a large enough piece.

I've tried some different ways of piecing batting, all tedious and not with the most satisfactory results; so I tried something new this time. After squaring up the smaller pieces of batting, I cut 2-inch wide strips of lightweight fusible interfacing (which has the fusible dots on one side only), butted up the edges of the batting, then fused strips of interfacing to both sides of the batting. Fusible interfacing is not so expensive; and if you have a coupon for JoAnn Fabrics, you can get it for a pretty good price. Piecing the batting this way worked well--no ridges, no separation, and it was faster than any other method I've tried. In fact, I'd do it this way next time too.

By the time I got done just getting the quilt ready to be quilted, it was time for supper and my quilt meeting. By 8:00 pm I was finally ready to start loading the quilt onto the frame. I had a little trouble with advancing my practice quilt on the frame before, so this time I decided to float the batting and top.

I learned a lot working on this small top. I knew I had a pre-existing problem with my tension, and I spent forever trying to get it adjusted correctly. It didn't help much that I was turning that little set screw on the bobbin case in the wrong direction. I had a small quilt sandwich I was using to adjust the tension, and I lost track of how many times I forgot to lower that darn presser foot. Wow, it really makes a big mess on the bottom of the quilt when you do that. I had no idea you could create a thread nest so big! Then I basted all the way across the top of the quilt and down one side without lowering the presser foot. Well, it'll all be covered by the binding, so no problem there. When I finally started actually quilting on the quilt, I stitched about 5 inches, realized the presser foot was still up, ripped it all out--and that was the last time I forgot!

I banged into the side clamps with the machine and had to come up with a fix for that, and I banged into the belly bar and came up with a fix for that! Haven't figured out yet what to do when you run out of bobbin thread, which happened twice. That would probably be because I used up quite a bit of it in thread nests on the back! I just stitched over the last half inch or so of the existing stitching where the bobbin ran out and called it good. Anyone have any advice on this?

It took me four hours to quilt a large meander on the quilt. It was so much fun, and when I finally finished it was midnight. I took it off the frame right away, and I was overjoyed to see it still looked pretty square, and the borders were nice and straight and flat.

Next day when I trimmed it up, it really was square! I cut and pieced the binding and sewed that on; and now all that's left is to hand sew the binding to the back. I left a 10-inch gap in the binding, which I'll use to demonstrate securing the ends of the binding at our quilt show. This will be my sixth quilt finished for the year.

I'm already chomping at the bit to get another quilt on the frame. Pat over at Bell Creek Quilts has been creating strippy tops to practice on. Mary over at Making Quilts from Stash created the pattern for these, and it will be a lovely quick quilt to create with lots of space to practice some quilting on. On the way home from work today, I stopped by Staples with my longarm machine quilting book by Linda V. Taylor and had them cut off the binding. I removed all the pattern pages from the back of the book and then had them spiral bind the rest of the book. I should have done this a long time ago, but I procrastinate with just about everything. Now it's done, and I can use the patterns to create some pantographs to practice with. Trying to trace them out of the book would have been a pain in the neck.

My stitch regulator hasn't been working quite right since I got it, and the new part to correct that problem arrived in my mail today; so hopefully that will be fixed on the next quilt.

I worked on Step 2 of the Orange Crush mystery some more and have about 60 of those split 4-patch units completed. I'm still hoping to finish these by the end of Sunday. I already have some blue fabrics I'll be using in future steps, and today I bought a couple yards of orange for the quilt. I still need the red and black fabrics, and I'll be shopping around for those soon.

I am entering four quilts in our show, which are shown below, and must get sleeves and labels sewn on before Friday. Nothing like waiting 'til the last minute, is there? These are the Blooming Nine Patch, which you've seen before; Cabin at Patch Mountain; Leaf Season, one of my favorite quilts; and the little Prairie Braid quilt, which measures 14" x 20" and contains 150 different fabrics in the braids. It is based on the palette quilts Jinny Beyer creates, but I found the foundations in my sewing room one day while I was rummaging around for something else, and thought they'd be great for this little quilt.

Credit where credit is due:
Blooming Nine Patch from Tradition With a Twist by Blanche Young and Dalene Young Stone
Cabin at Patch Mountain quilt design by Koleen Painchaud, The Quilted Cardinal
Leaf Season quilt design by Judy Laquidara
Prairie Braid quilt is my design.


Margo said...

Congratulations on the mastery of your lst quilting on tin lizzie...great job....your description was hilarious and sounded like me when I started...those 'birds nests'Ugh! I even put a notice on my machine to remind me and of course forgot it...I have all my entries ready for the quilt show...hooray!!See you Friday...

Pat said...

Your quilts are beautiful that you are putting in the show! I'm glad you got the Bargello quilt quilted! Sometimes it seems like forever to prep to go on the long-arm :) Everytime I made a star I had to remind myself, 'point, point' to get the star to look right. Have fun practising the pantos that's what I'm doing on my donation quilts!

Amanda said...

Wow, you have been busy. I shall remember the interfacing idea next time I need to join some wadding - I zig-zagged some today, but it's not ideal.

Kerri's Quilting said...

Hi Sue,

Thanks for posting on my new blog, and I'm so glad I found yours. What beautiful quilts, Wow! You sound like your getting used to a whole new frame set up. How fun! and yes full of learning all the things that can hang you up. Frogging is a favorite past time it seems for me some days. Its great to find kindred spirits way on the other side of our beautiful country!