Sunday, 21 June 2015

Quilting and a winner


I've been chained to my sewing machine since my last blog post, desperately trying to finish quilting the fairy quilt (which is based on Sarah's Stained Quilt design) so that I stand a chance of having it finished by my niece's birthday (mid-July).  This is how it looked at the halfway point:
Halfway!!!

The straight lines (1" apart) are much faster to do than the not-quite-wonky-but-far-from-straight lines I pulled out but the quilting wasn't without its annoyances.  Every now and then (about every 600", I think), I'd get a loop of top thread on the top of the quilt, almost like the bobbin thread wasn't pulling it through properly.  I tried everything I could think of to fix it (new needle, rethreading the top and bobbin thread, altering the top tension, altering the bobbin tension, sewing really slowly, sewing a bit faster) but nothing seemed to work and, as it's such an intermittent fault, I can't replicate it!  It just meant that I had to keep a close eye on the stitches and, in the event of it happening, unpick a section and quilt it again.  If it happened close to the edge then I could take up the slack stitch by stitch but it had to be really close to the edge for it to be worth doing that, usually it was quicker to unpick!  Does anyone know what causes a machine to do this, other than sheer devilment?!

Tension woes


My next 'oh, I'm definitely getting there' moment was when I'd quilted lines 2" apart all across the second half of the quilt.  (I marked these using a hera marker, to ensure that the spacing was equal and the lines were parallel to each other.)

Making progress


I then went back and quilted a line between all those lines, using the quilting bar as a guide.  62 lines later (each just over 108" in length!), the quilting was finished:

Quilted!


The back is a little skewwhiff but I'm not letting it bother me as there's nothing I can do now, other than starting again and I'm not doing that!
Quilted - the back
The occasional 'close together' lines are where I've quilted in the ditch either side of the main sashing strips.

Yesterday I made about 400" of (yellow) binding and I'm hoping to trim/square the quilt and get the binding on the front this week.  Oh, and I have quite a few ends to tie in from those 'redoing the funny stitch' sections!  Then I need to sew the binding to the back and make a label before washing and drying it, and wrapping it ready for the birthday girl.


I think I mentioned that one of the few things I would change about my machine (apart from the tiny throat space) is the location of the reverse button - it's a 'tab' type affair just above the needle and is very easily caught when shoving the bulk of a quilt through the aforementioned tiny harp space; the result of this is that you can often find yourself going unexpectedly backwards which is most annoying!  To combat this, I went all Heath Robinson and got busy with half a cocktail stick, some paper and some sellotape (that 'magic' tape which doesn't leave a sticky residue), as well as a post-it note to remind me of the contraption(so I could remove it before doing any 'normal' sewing):

Getting a bit Heath Robinson...

I'm pleased to say that it worked a treat and I'll be doing this every time I need to quilt a big quilt!


Archie has deigned to choose a winner for the giveaway:

video

P1000535
Sorry about the hard to read print - I'm stingy and print on 'draft' wherever possible!!
Congratulations, Saira, I'll be in touch soon!


Archie really wasn't impressed when he realised that there was absolutely no food in the ball, only bits of paper (it was getting close to needing his teatime tablet, which needs to be taken on an empty tummy!) and he stared at me for ages after.  This was taken about twenty-five minutes after his realisation and he'd been stood there for at least twenty of those minutes!

I can't believe you didn't put any food in my treat ball!
 I can't believe you tricked me.

He then moved to the front room (I was on the computer which is just the other side of that door - I leant round it to take the photo) and continued his protest:

I'm still waiting for the treats you owe me.
I'm still waiting for the treats you owe me.
I made it up to him by giving him the ball (complete with treats - dried pasta, which is his favourite) after his tea and I think I'm forgiven!


I'm off for a cup of tea and a sit down with a book - thanks for popping in!

24 comments:

  1. Your quilt is looking lovely, I hope that you enjoy stitching on the binding.

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  2. Helen...you've done it again!

    That quilt is absolutely beautiful, she's a lucky girl.

    Lots of hugs and virtual biscuits to Archie and I hope you are well.
    xx

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  3. Such a pretty quilt. The only time my old machine did something similar it was a sign it needed a clean and a new needle. But as you've done that I have no idea. How frustrating!

    Oh and dried pasta? Really?

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  4. What a lot of quilting and so well done, despite your problems. Your niece will love it.

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  5. That quilt is beautiful! The quilting really adds a special quality to it. Well done. What type of needles do you use?

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  6. I think your niece should be thrilled with that quilt! It is looking amazing!

    and how mean can you get- make Archie do the work and then wait for his reward!!! Poor old Archie!

    xx

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  7. Vof Archie! Great job! Sorry to see that you had to wait with empty stomach. Your NEW quilt is really beautiful! Pink and yellow look so cute and full of sunshine! Hugs! Nero

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  8. Such a gorgeous quilt and your quilting lines look so straight! Sorry the experience was not without its issues. Can't offer any advice on the looping either, not knowledgeable enough I'm afraid. I hope you enjoy getting it finished. I foresee one very pleased little niece in a few weeks' time!

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  9. gorgeous quilt - the quilting is fab! And Archie is wonderful, as always :-)

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  10. The quilt looks fantastic Helen, sorry you still had problems with the quilting. Poor Archie! hopefully you are fully forgiven now xx

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  11. Wow there is a lot if work there in that quilt. Sorry to hear your machine is playing up, sounds like you've done everything and maybe it's just a timing issue? I can only suggest a service (gulp). It must be so hard to resist Archie pining ... the things we need to do to keep them healthy!

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  12. Think you deserved that cuppa Helen, that is a lot of quilting. Sorry about the frustrating little loops, no quick answer here either, sounds tension based. Do you have same thread on top & below?
    Another very common thing but not necessarily causing your problem is for folk to use the wrong bobbin especially if they have bought a new machine and still have old bobbins lying about.

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  13. That's a LOT of quilting coz I know what a big fella it is! It was worth it though - it looks brilliant!

    My rats loved dried pasta. And prawn crackers...

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  14. that is a lot of quilting!! Helen , it looks wonderful!!

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  15. That's a LOT of quilting coz I know what a big fella it is! It was worth it though - it looks brilliant!

    My rats loved dried pasta. And prawn crackers...

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  16. Wonderful quilt and quilting - you must be worn out now! I liked to see your fix to prevent reverse stitching - very ingenious!
    Good luck with all that binding!

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  17. Love your quilt! I got done quilting a tshirt quilt for nephew in May. I wish I had had the hera marker prior to quilting it. I'm buying one. At first, I used my quilt guide and it did not work too well on a larger quilt. I had wavy lines that I had to pick out (a lot of them)! I have this same fabric, Butterfly Dance, that I planned on sewing a quilt for my niece. So cute!

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    1. Thank you! I love my hera marker and use it lots when I'm quilting (and for marking grids for Sashiko) - I hope you find yours as useful! I'm afraid I can't reply to your comment by email as Google+ has you as a 'no-reply' blogger and I can't find an email address for you (or comment on your blog as I'm not on Google+) - I hope you find this reply!

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  18. Ooh yet nearly there! Could it be your needle isn't quite as sharp and that's why it's doing that? If there's a lot of quilting you may need to change it partway through...

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    1. Also even if you put a new needle in, they're not all created equal and it may also be slightly duff straight from the packet

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  19. no help in troubleshooting I'm afraid but the straight line quilting looks great and well worth it. Love the archie photos - he is so patient waiting (even grumpily waiting ) for his treat!

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  20. Love Archie's way to pick a winner! Congratulations to Saira! Could it be when a bit of thread jumps off the spool? And sort of gets ahead of itself before the tension thingy realises? If it's unspooling erratically maybe one of those thread hair net things might help? the quilt looks awsome though!

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  21. Excellent progress on the quilt - it just looks better and better and is 'bound to be' well received - teehee! Poor old Archie! Hoping he enjoyed his treat after the shock of just finding paper!

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  22. Oooo Yes .. the extra line of quilting through the middle was definitely needed. Love the texture it created. But so laborious. Dont know how you sit there for that long.
    Was there ever a photo of your niece receiving the quilt? It is so beautiful. Did you work out how to stop the longer slack stitches?

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