Saturday, 16 December 2017

More Rulerwork

I have been bitten by the ruler bug! After reading a number of blog posts over at Patsy Thompson's blog the other day, I went and finally got myself an arc ruler and a set of circle rulers. This was not cheap, however I did research this quite intensely and concluded that I was not going to get around spending a fair amount of money. I looked at all sorts of options, some of them in the US but also over here. I have tried the Westalee circles ruler before and while it did the job I thought that the circle rings that Handiquilter produces would be a better option for me in terms of holding the ruler and stitching around it, particularly for the bigger circles.
Circles Ruler - Gold Set 2" - 11"

Arc C Ruler
As you may know, my passion is wholecloth quilting and in the past I stitched out all my designs from a traced drawing on the DSM. That was fine, but very time consuming and particularly with circles and arcs very difficult to do. Stitching freehand is fine but as soon as you hit long curved lines you are bound to get little wobbles here and there. While this usually does not matter, in a wholecloth design this is usually the center design and becomes quite obvious and a bit annoying, particularly when you are on your last arc and messed it up. It's all possible but it just takes so much longer.

Part of the reason for the HQ Sweet 16 for me was to use rulers more and make my quilting a bit easier and faster, hence my intense practice with rulers at the moment. The motif that you see on the top of the blogpost is not traced or drawn but done after dinner in a couple of hours just using the arc and circle rulers. I began with Cindy Needham's Ultimate Round Stencil (best thing ever!) and marked this quickly on my fabric which gave me a skeleton to work from and then just went around using the lines to align my rulers.
This worked really well once I had figured out how to align the arc ruler to give me accurate echo lines (it does take me a while to figure out all the lines on rulers). Even managed to put it a 1/2" echo and then realized that the little circle ruler I have is 3/4" so I had to fill this in freehand. Obviously I would make my pebbles smaller usually so it would look a bit neater. The possibilities are endless in terms of shapes, size and how you fill this in and the prospect of laying this down in a couple of hours  is very exciting, particularly when coupled with background fillers and grids. So, don't regret my purchase, in fact should have done this a long time ago...such a time saver and relatively easy to do, just as always...practice, practice and more practice.

Already mentioned in my last post...Patsy Thompson is running a ruler workshop on her blog in January. If you are interested in ruler quilting have a look. She is a fabulous teacher and all of her videos are so informative...this is bound to be great. Can't wait.


Thursday, 14 December 2017

UFO Sampler

I thought that I had posted about my UFO sampler quilt but now have realized that I put most of the photos on IG!
Anyway, I have been using this as yet another practice ruler quilt and tried just about every ruler that I have on this. The center is finished and I have arrived at the borders. For this, I tried out the Handiquilter Wave ruler.
I have got the 8" wave with a 0.75" and 1.5" depth. Most of my borders end up around 4 -5" and I thought that this would just fit nicely. After a minor struggle to work out the middle of the border (I am so spatially challenged!) putting the wave in was a breeze. Does not really matter if you are slightly off in holding the ruler as it is wavy. This was a bonus. After having stitched the wave, I then shifted the ruler and roughly marked the boundary for the feathers in.
This was easy as and the end result is very neat

Bit hard to see as the batting is not particularly puffy and I used the Aurifil 50/2 thread that just seems to blend in but this is only for practice and to have a bit of a trial to see how this ruler works. I only did the feathers from corner to corner and put a bit of a corner design in as I initially could not work out how to get around the corner, but when I had finished the first feather I saw that I could have taken the feathers into the corner lifting up towards the corner of the quilt and meeting the corresponding feather from the other side. Well, next time...

The real advantage with the ruler is that I only had to think about placement in the beginning. After the first border I could take the ruler and align it on the line that corresponded with the inside of the border (took a note of this!) and off I went. This saved a huge amount of time if I compare it with how I usually would have done it, i.e. used my curvable ruler and drawn it in for every border. Was pretty pleased with this.

Almost done now, so I will post a photo of the entire quilt once it is done.  Some of my handiwork

Actually getting better with the rulers and their fact, I am getting a bit addicted to this (as you will see in my next post...). Got so many ideas!

Also, if you have not seen it ...Patsy Thompson will run a Ruler Workshop on her blog in January. Patsy is one of my favourite quilters and visiting her blog the other day I stumbled across this. This sounds like good fun and I will definitely participate. In fact, going over a number of her blog posts about ruler work in general my head was buzzing with inspiration.


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Almost there!

I finished the quilting on my baby quilt
This took me a while as I have developed a good dose of Bursitis in one shoulder. As I decided against a cortisone injection, I had to take it a bit easy with the FMQ. Also had to re-evaluate my set up with the machine. Initially I thought the machine sat too low, hence one day we took the machine off, turned the table around and put the legs higher...what a hoot!...only to realise a bit later that you could quite easily adjust it by one person just lifting the machine with the table on one side and the other person adjusting the legs. Took 5 seconds!
Once I had done this, I realized that the problem most likely was not the height of the machine, but the way my chair was not adjusted properly at all. When we set the machine higher I then also had to set my chair higher, actually right to the top, so that left me no room for finer adjustments and my legs were not at a right angle. So, we put the machine down again and I inspected my chair...had to lift my lumbar support as this was just flopping around at the bottom and also tried to get the height right. Good posture when FMQ is so important...although I am not sure my shoulder issue was caused by the quilting alone. Might just be one of those things that come with age.
Anyway, so this went very slowly but without any trouble. As I previously mentioned, it is a bit time consuming as I used the Golden Threads paper method to get the E2E design on the quilt but it was much easier than I thought. The design remained straight across the quilt top...the beginnings and endings (as I did it in 3 sections across the quilt) were hardly noticeable and I was able to keep distances more or less consistent. A slight miscalculation occurred at the bottom as I had decided to follow the distances in the pattern as closely as I could, so it did not end up exactly where I wanted it to end, but that was fine. Really enjoyed doing this for a change.
Now I only have the binding left. I used spray basting for the first time and now wonder whether I should wash the quilt...probably should, I reckon.

Also did a bit of a play with my HQ Versa Tool ruler in between
Must say that I am getting better with my continued ruler practice...did not once trail off to the side and was quite impressed with this. This is a 2in clamshell. Initially I had marked a 2in line across the piece but then I just build on that. Even though the clamshell is not huge, this would look lovely on a smallish baby quilt. It gives a really nice soft feel to the quilt, so this could be another option for an overall design. Stitching this out on a quilt I would probably mark the whole quilt with 2in lines though just to make sure that it is kept straight.
I am getting quite enthused about different overall designs, but after this I will have continue on my other ruler quilt...have too many UFOs at the present.