Friday, 21 April 2017

More on the Clarity Ruler foot

So, I am seriously 'playing' with the new Clarity Ruler foot by Accent in Design. I am in the midst of stitching out my wholecloth, having changed the choice of fabric at least 3 times. In the end I settled on some lovely shot cotton in a blueish/yellow colour which allowed me to use my favourite blue Aurifil colour (#2975)
Clarity Ruler foot
I posted a few photos on Instagram after I had stitched out my motifs. Mental note to self: next time when you design a motif, make sure it can be stitched out without breaking thread...this was a bit of a hassle, to say the least. While a bit apprehensive, I decided to stitch the surrounding lines with the new ruler foot...after all, what did I get it for!

The foot is just a dream...there was no fiddling, just attach it, set your machine to springfeet freemotion mode, shift your needle to the +1 position and off you go. A little bit of fine tuning in terms of getting it to the right position height wise, but that was it. I tried different waddings on this  sample...in the end I decided to use one layer of cotton and a thin wool batting on top of it to give it more definition.
All set, off I went to stitch my surrounding lines...only problem was that my marked on lines (the second big square in the project), while straight, were distorted in the corners, hence did not give me a perfect square. This was not due to the quilting but must have occurred when marking the fabric...just sloppy marking as usual. This caused me several headaches...the rulers that I was using were no longer than 6in, hence this left a lot of room for additional error in terms of them slightly shifting while I went along. I cannot tell you how many times I re-stitched those lines! In the end, after several unsuccessful attempts it occurred to me that I needed a bigger ruler that went down the length of my line if I had to have any chance at getting it to come out square. In addition, I found that those little stable tape blobs for those rulers did not do the trick in terms of holding your ruler in place.

So, I used my normal ruler (yep, gasp!). After inspection, I determined that my normal ruler was really only a smidgen higher than the Westalee rulers...as I was not going to do anything else but stitch a straight line, I thought that this would be alright...next thing I tackled the movement. The stable tape that is sold through Westalee is adhesive on one side so that you can stick it on your ruler, but apart from that is exactly what I have in my kitchen draws from keeping the cutlery from sliding all over. So, this is what I did...I cut a piece the length of the ruler and put it on my quilt...the stuff is pretty sticky even without the adhesive. I then placed my ruler onto it, adjusting the way I placed it until I was sure everything was aligned and straight (which in itself was a nightmare).
This is what this looked like. Clumsy...time consuming...yes, absolutely! But I was getting desperate, as there was no way to re-mark the lines on the quilted piece and the only way to achieve a square was with a ruler. I spent most of my time aligning, the stitching was no issue...the foot produces a very straight and tidy stitch (not one skipped stitch!). In the end, I got there and was able to stitch the 1/4in echo with a bit more ease once I had the first line down.
This was such a relief. Then I tackled the next section. In my initial enthusiasm I had decided to do an orange peel design using the Westalee clamshell template to speed up the process. After the lines I was dreading this a bit, but stuck with it as there is no other way to learn than to do it! Well, first issue was that my piece was shrinking from the quilting, hence my nicely worked out measurements of how many clamshells I would fit into that section obviously no longer worked out exactly. Oh, wow, you have to laugh...so, fudging was the name of the game! This was an interesting experience...ruler in one hand, sticky material on the quilt, going snail pace with the stitching, I went around the border. As you are stitching on the outside of a curve, I had to really concentrate not to stitch away from the template while at the same time observing the markings of the center of the template and where the clamshells meet. To my huge surprise, the fudging was easy...I made myself a mark on each high point of the clamshell and then shifted the template ever so slightly to reduce its width on a few selected ones and this worked out fine. In fact, it looks really good

You just cannot achieve that level of evenness in the curves by doing this freehand. I forgot to take a photo of the completed orange peel design...obviously I went around it another time in the reverse which produced the design and this turned out to be super easy by aligning the stitched clamshells to the template. So, overall the clamshell experience was much easier than the lines.

Will show you a photo of the progress the next time because no doubt there is going to be another major issue to be tackled...I have got more lines coming up and I am not sure how straight they are...we shall see.


Karin

Thursday, 6 April 2017

2017 Finish Along Second Quarter Goal List


Finish-A-Long 2017


My list for the second quarter is very small and includes the following:

#1 Wholecloth
Ready to start, the design process took forever
Starting the marking only to decide that I needed to re-draw some aspects of my design...just was not happy with it and another one of those times when I thought that you should never rush this process. Starting from scratch...

#2 Thousand Pyramids quilt
Absolutely no progress made on that one in the first quarter, so hoping to at least complete a few more units in the 3 months period


Well, I actually doubt that I will be able to finish any of this, but here is hoping that I will have done most of the Wholecloth and maybe some more of those triangle units.

Linking up to Eleven Garden Quilts with my list. The linky will be open until the 8/4/17 and the Finishes linky opens on 25/6/17.


Karin

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Wholecloth Quilting Preparation

I thought I do a post on preparing for Wholecloth quilting to give a bit of an idea of the work that is involved in actually producing a Whole cloth. I take an extraordinary long time with this but I think it does pay off in the end with having no issues while quilting and finishing off the quilt.

For my latest Whole cloth I chose blue fabric and yes, I was able to mark the entire design with my trusted blue water erasable markers. I highlighted the next picture a bit so that you can see the marking better.

I am happy to say that I am learning from past mistakes...as you can see I have put a wavy line in one of the borders...just very loosely and not entirely exact. This is not the design that goes in there, rather it is a bit of a helping line to keep me on track with a dense type 'onion' design. While I could 'wing' it, I thought it made a bit of sense to follow the lines loosely so that it looks somewhat even. Also, I drew in the swirls...again, unlikely that I follow that exactly, however those swirls gave me a lot of trouble last time. Somehow my brain tends to get confused with direction, so these swirls should keep me me the straight and narrow. I did also draw in the grid. While you could do this after you basted and just put it on with a chalk pounce, I prefer to have straight lines drawn in for accuracy. Once basted and half quilted it is extraordinarily difficult to draw on a straight line.

Here are some of the things that I am using to make life a bit easier:

Lightbox
Very lucky...my husband got me this for Christams the year before last...

While I use other shapes as well, the leaf shapes from June Taylor are probably the ones that I use most for all sorts of things.
Curvable Ruler: if you see it, buy it! I am a somewhat lazy quilter and when it comes to putting a spineline in a border for feathers, this is the tool! I spent a lot of time getting my wavy lines 100% correct and once satisfied with the look and aligned with my space in each border side, just whack it on and draw around it. Love this...makes the job so much easier.

Several days later...and after all of that...I am re-doing my drawing!!! 😅 Looking closer I was not happy with the arches (and some of my lines)  in my drawing and I did give it a bit of a trial stitch-out and decided that they were too sloppy which would have been too noticeable. This has brought me to a complete standstill for the time being, however I am used to this...just not worth it to hurry the process along as this will be months of stitching and the worst thing would be if you are not entirely happy with your design. So back to the drawing board again for me.

Karin

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 machine...it 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

Karin

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!

Linking up to the Finish Along 2017 over at Eleven Gardens Quilts for the Quarter 1 Link Up

Karin

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...

Linking up to the Finish Along 2017 over at Eleven Garden Quilts for the Quarter 1 Link Up

Karin

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 level...in 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!

Karin