Thursday, 23 March 2017

Tension Question

Dear Dee

You are a No Reply blogger so I cannot answer your email direct.  Hoping that you read this. You describe in your email how you are trying to adjust your tension and nothing seems to work. The issue is that the bobbin thread comes to the top no matter what the adjustment is.

My machine has just come back from a 'major' service and the technician seems to have spend a lot of care and attention on the runs like a dream. Let's start with some basic things.

- you should run the same colour thread in the bobbin and on the top of the machine, so that minor irregularities from differences in speed when FMQ will not be seen so easily;
- you do not say what thread you use; I run Aurifil thread 50/2 in both the bobbin and top with a 70/10 or 80/12 needle (depending on what sort of project I am doing)
- if your bobbin thread shows through too much that means that the upper tension is too high pulling your bobbin thread to the top, so you would go and reduce the top tension and that usually fixes the problem
- my tension usually sits on 3.8 for the above thread/needle arrangement; if you need to go lower and lower to try to fix the problem that indicates to me that the bobbin tension might not be right.

Looking at the bobbin case of the newly serviced machine:
The closed section faces your palm and you will see the little screw...the technician who services the machine will check the tension on the decorative and general sewing stitches and this is where it should sit. If you imagine a clock, the slant of the screw indicates that it is about 3 min past 12 o'clock.
I am FMQ with that most of the time, but some time ago I have come up with a similar issue than yours which I have talked about in a previous post. I felt that the bobbin tension needed to be a little bit tighter.

I have got a second bobbin case, so I adjusted that one
My screw now sits at about 10 past 12 o'clock (which actually might be a tad too much and I might go and put that back a bit). This fixed the issue of the bobbin thread coming through on the particular project that I was working on.

You do not need to buy a second bobbin case...all it needs is for you to adjust your tension screw a little bit. Make a mental note (or draw a picture of where the screw sits, so you know where you started off) and turn the screw to the right slightly...go in small incremental steps until the tension is right. Given that it is the same machine, I would think that you only need to shift it a tiny bit if your tension screw looks like in the first picture.

Hope this helps


Monday, 20 March 2017

Second Finish for the FAL 2017 First Quarter

My second finish for the Finish Along 2017 is done.  My original goal list can be found HERE.  You can read all about the FAL2017 by clicking on the button below

I am so pleased with my progress. Did not think I would finish another quilt before the deadline was up!

This wall hanging was started last year following a class with Bethanne Nemesh called 'Feather Faster'. I really enjoyed this class even though it was just basically drawing out feathers, but we were left with 'homework' in the form of this cute little wall hanging to try out some of the feathers. This was great fun but took a while to complete as I had started to densely fill in the background. Underestimated this a bit.

But here it is 'Birds On a Wire', designed by Bethanne Nemesh

Close up

Texture Galore

Yes, went a bit overboard with the background fillers but the texture is amazing! Also discovered that by outlining the bottom feathers with the lighter orange thread, it really made it pop...should have done this also in the  feathers above with some white thread...that would have been good.  Well, live and learn...😺

The wall hanging measures 32" x 28" and is exclusively quilted with Aurifil 50/2 thread. Needless to say this was a lot of fun!


Sunday, 5 March 2017

First Finish for the FAL 2017 First Quarter

My first finish for the Finish Along 2017 is ready.  My original goal list can be found HERE. I probably should have called the heading 'my first and probably only finish ' for the first quarter. You can read all about the FAL2017 by clicking on the button below

I took the completed quilt for a walk. There is an old wooden picnic set up in our surrounds which is ideal for quilt photography.
The quilt is lap size using Moda charm squares (A Field Guide) which are set around a smaller darkbrown/green square which in turn is framed by some beige rectangles.

This quilt took a very long time to complete (I think I constructed this in 2015 some time)...I underestimated the time it would take to FMQ this and got sick of it fairly quickly as there was a lot of marking involved for the continuous line design in the squares.
For readers who follow my blog you would remember that I got the new Clarity Ruler foot by Accents by Design in the beginning of the year...what a Godsend...this new foot worked brilliantly for me and I was able to finish the line design with just 5 little marks to align my ruler. This was great and I was able to finish the line designs off in a relatively short period of time and then proceed to quilt the narrow lines in the surrounding rectangles. The tight lines were a hassle (what was I thinking!) and I must admit they nearly finished me off, but here it is...finally done!

Very happy with the end result
Onto the next project...


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

What a drag!

I have been missing in action largely due to my Field Guide Quilt. As I have listed it with the FAL 2017 I felt that I needed to continue on this UFO.

Let me tell you...this was the most un-enjoyable exercise. I do not know what possessed me but I had decided to adorn this quilt with some more intense quilting, i.e. lines in every beige rectangle. While that seemed all very do-able, it nearly finished me off.

Here are the little rectangles...looking pretty harmless...
Some lines quilted...the problem was that I had gazillions of those rectangles! While persevering I must say...this was not enjoyable nor did it increase my skill fact I started to become fairly sloppy in doing the lines because I just had enough. Nearly put the quilt away again because it was severely putting me behind in some of my other endeavours. Finally realised that I actually do not like quilting pieced quilts at all. Maybe a bit of a motif here and there or some allover design, but not this somewhat brainless repetition. For me, that just about killed all inspiration or enjoyment in finishing this quilt.

While I love FMQ, I love the blank canvass of a Wholecloth. Even though you also do a fair bit of repetition in a Wholecloth, it somehow feels different, as you are building a picture. This is missing for me in a pieced quilt, or maybe it was just this quilt. Nevertheless I forced myself to keep going, doing a few rectangles every night...looking at the quilt, I did not feel that I was making any progress at all! I started counting the rectangles in order to assure myself that I actually was making progress, but even that did not help as it appeared to be endless. In the end I gave up and just blindly stitched these rectangles at night...what a pain this was...
but, here it is, FINISHED!! ...only the binding left!
It is just a lap quilt and the work involved was obviously deceiving.

This will be my only finish for the FAL2017 First Quarter as I am now seriously behind in everything else. Washed some fabric today though, itching to get going on another Wholecloth!


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A Finish!

Finished my little baby quilt
Absolute pleasure to finish. There is something so satisfying about throwing a quilt together out of 'nothing'. I found this fabric in my stash recently and thought it was a pity to let it go to waste. You probably cannot see this, but it has basket balls in the red and green squares - I even forgot why I bought this. I also had some pre-cut squares leftover from a different project, so I did not need to go looking for additional fabric. And the binding...I have used the blue dotty binding fabric for some years by now...sets it off nicely and now I only have a little bit left. Can't believe how long some of this fabric has lasted. Backing was also sourced from the stash...just some white fabric with some pale stars on it. Perfect.
Even the wadding is bitses. Used the tape to put two pieces together and presto...done! This quilt has a lovely feel to it, as I used wool wadding which made it just the right amount of puffiness.

The quilting was done with an Aurifil 50/2 variegated pale yellow thread. Unfortunately you cannot see the colour differentiation, but I think it looks nice and just lifts the whole thing up a bit as every square is slightly different. For the quilting I went with straight lines just using the edge of my sewing foot as a guide...approx. 3/8" away from the seam. Did not go for the 1/4" echo as this would have highlighted the shadow from some of the darker fabric underneath.
I have a recipient in mind, however do not know yet whether they are having a boy or a girl, so just need to wait for a moment.

Now back to what I was actually working on...need to finish off some FMQ on another quilt.


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

A little baby quilt

The other day I finally cleaned up a bit and went through my stash...OMG...found a lot of things that I had already forgotten about...amongst lots of other things, some baby quilt fabric. Looking at it, I thought that this was a pity to just let go to waste or worse still, use it up for some of my practice runs in FMQ (which I had already done with one part of the fabric). Also found a whole stack of white pre-cut squares that must have been left over from a previous quilt. Perfect opportunity to use my new gadget
If you love chain-piecing as much as I do, you need to get one! This is the thread cutter I got from the Fatquartershop the other day...I got the one where you can exchange the blade once it dulls. Relatively inexpensive, this makes the job of cutting the stack of completed units in a matter of seconds. Really useful gadget.

Anyway, here is the completed quilt top
How cute is this...literally thrown together out of of a few pieces of fabric (should come out at 36"x 42"). Nice little quilt for a boy (the darker fabric has little baseballs on it). Not sure how to quilt it yet...maybe just some lines 1/4" away from the seams to accentuate the squares.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social over at Lorna's Sew Fresh Quilts


Sunday, 29 January 2017

Progress Notes

I finished my ruler work on the Field Guide quilt. If you are following my blog you would have seen that I recently purchased the Clarity Ruler foot from Accents In Design

I will not go on about it in this post...Please see earlier posts HERE and HERE for some information about the Ruler foot. Suffice to say that I LOVE it! It is easy to attach and most importantly stays on, easy to adjust and best of all, it is 'see through', so you can see very clearly where you are going.

My quilt had laid dormant for a good year and while it was not the easiest to practice on I did muddle my way through the gazillions of squares that needed to be filled in. Some look great and others, well, not so great! The important thing for me was to get a grip on eyeballing the 1/4" distance and aligning the ruler correctly and practising quilting with a ruler. I very early figured out that going behind the ruler foot with the ruler is not my thing and followed a particular path that I then did over and over again...with time and more squares, this got easier and I also became a lot faster at completing them. Put a few safety steps for myself into place;
- foot off the pedal when aligning the ruler to prevent accidentally coming down on the ruler; once aligned, lower your foot and move against the ruler
- ruler out of the way when bringing up the bobbin thread to start quilting, and
- not pressing too hard against the ruler foot when following the curves.

As mentioned before, had no issues with thread breakage or tension issues, in fact the stitching quality is really good.
Now I only have to finish the lines in the light-brownish rectangles
Who's brilliant idea was this?? I continued on this the other day and am going through the lines with some speed. This quilt just needs to be finished. Not one of my better works, but too nice to just have lying around as a UFO.

I did do a lot more playing around with the Ruler foot...definitely like it and can highly recommend it. Last year when playing around with rulers I was definitely less sure about quilting with rulers, but I must say this new foot has definitely given me confidence in terms of including some ruler work in my projects.