Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Devastating Failure

I just want to start this post by saying GO WITH YOUR GUT!
My January UFO Challenge will probably not be done by the due date of January 31st.  I still might surprise myself.  We will see.
IMG_4216I developed a great design to quilt in the outer border.  It took a few days to get the lines the way I wanted them.  I busily worked.  I had 3 sides done.  It looked great.  I need to spray out the last 2 sides that I just finished.  I sprayed the first, then the second side.  To my amazement, the blue pen color was right on the stitching line.  I sprayed some more but it was not coming out of about 2” wide x 10” long section I had just quilted.  I folded back the quilt,  saw that the water had saturated to the back side, a solid deep green flannel (perfect for a Christmas quilt).  I let the quilt dry and decided I would come back to it later.  As days went on, I tried rubbing alcohol (this works great for grease and Sharpie pens) and Oxi-Clean carpet spray cleaner.  I finally did some research on-line about the blue pens.   I had never had a pen do this to me.  Let me say one more time, after using the pen on the whole quilt, only 2 x 10 section in the stitching line was blue.  I couldn’t understand how the other mirror image side of the quilting wasn’t blue.  Neither was the area to the right or left of the quilted section, or the entire center of the quilt.  The blue was only in THAT section.  After reading the internet and a little coaching from the family, I decided to soak the section.  Maybe I just hadn’t wet it enough.  I took a shoe box size plastic tote and filled it with water and put the section in.  I also had pulled out the dye catchers that I have earlier and put it in the water.  In the quilt went…oh how the water turned that same shade of blue.  Water soluble blue, you know the shade rather bright, almost iridescent.  I stuck a little more of the quilt in the water as the color moved farther across the quilt.  I finally decided to call it quits.  I pulled the quilt out of the water after sticking almost 1 side of the quilt into the small tote.  Let me tell you that I filled and emptied the tote about 4-5 times as the water kept turning THAT shade of blue.  I put the quilt in the tub and went to bed.  The next day, off to the store, bought a new box of color catchers.  I put the quilt in with the washer machine with half the box of color catchers.  I figured it was worth the trouble.  Now, the inner light border was all blue, especially around the stitching.IMG_4219
Then, I had an epiphany.  The blue is not from the pen.  It is from the green back.  Remember when I said “When I sprayed the first time, the blue didn’t come out so I sprayed some more.”  “The blue is exactly on the quilting line.”  “When I turned over the quilt, it (the water)  had saturated through to the back side.” I also realized…I pieced the back.  The great deep green color is only around the outside of the quilt, where I pieced the back.  The plaid fabric wasn’t big enough.  Here are some of the pics.
IMG_4212           IMG_4214
My plan at this point….RIP, RIP, RIP.  I will RIP out the quilting on the inner light border.  I will RIP off the outer borders, and I will RIP all the green off the back. 
This quilt fabric is from our family vacation in Alaska, with my mom and step dad and both girls.  How can I not RIP?  As much as I would like it to R.I.P., I must RIP.  I can say, I have not cried, been very close more than once.  I can say, it will be finished, just not by the end of the month.

Happy Quilting (or RIPPING),
Just Another Quilter,
on just another day.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

UFO Challenge

The inside motifs are now done!  I am so excited.  I have started trying to figure out how to quilt the inner background border.  I have 1 thing sketched out.  I don't like it.  I will have to keep trying.  I am taking some time off and will work on the socks.  I keep alternating between the two projects.  I will have UFO Challenge #9 done before they even draw the number if I keep it up!  I am ready to start the gusset of the socks--after that comes the leg and cast off.

Not wasting so much time,

Just Another Quilter

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Little Free motion Quilting

I really started my quilting career not knowing what I was or wasn’t suppose to do.  I didn’t know about 1/4” seams so at least 2 projects have mostly hidden points.  I didn’t know that free motion quilting was hard so I just did what I needed to do.  No one told me.  I started free motion quilting about 15 years ago with my mother’s old Singer machine I call the “Green Machine”.  You all know the type—steel frame, olive green, very heavy with a few extras.  This machine has “cams”.  It lets you sew decorative stitches way back in the 70’s.  It did not have the ability to lower feed dogs.  But it was mine—a gift from Mom. Now I have a Juki industrial machine with a larger arm that will go faster than anyone can handle.

A quilter at the LQS let me borrow a stencil.  She told me to take off all the feet, hoop the project and start practicing.  Away I went. 

I thought that I would show you how I make some of these better motifs today.  It is in the same fashion as 15 years ago.
I find that when working on a specific motif to be quilted, it always looks better in the end if I hoop it.  I don’t hoop things if I am just going to meander some pattern.  I  like an embroidery hoop.  Here is my favorite.IMG_4201
I like this one because it is easy to get under the foot of the machine and has enough space to get a decent size motif in it.   You do not want a thick quilting hoop, it is too tall. I like to use a stencil and blue pen to draw the motif onto my quilt.  I try to have a pen that is older, I don’t want so much pen that it will be forever getting it out.  I like a little older pen.  I will pull off the end and add a little water to it.  This will make it so it isn’t so much work to transfer the motif.  Sometimes I use a chalk pencil.  This pattern is to ornate to easily tell where I am going with the chalk. 
IMG_4206When I hoop a motif I keep in mind that only so much of the hoop will fit between the foot of the machine and the arm (the throat plate area).  I try to place the motif so that I do not have to rotate the hoop to reach all the areas of the motif.  Some larger motifs this is not an option.  This one is small and I could get to all the parts easily.  IMG_4207
  1. I use the hoop for 2 main reasons:
  2. I like how the hoop spreads out the motif.  This helps everything lay flat.  I do not have to worry about that while trying to maneuver around the motif.  The second reason is it gives me better control in moving the fabric.  I place the hoop with the flat side down, opposite of how you would hold the hoop for embroidery.  See how I am holding the hoop.  I have the hoop in both hands.  Usually I just go fast when I am meandering.  For this technique, I take my time.  I do not have to stay exactly on the line—but I want the consistency of both shape and size.  I will often draw many motifs on and sew them out so that I do not have to take the hoop out from under the machine.  I will just slide the next motif under the needle and hoop that part of the quilt. 
I also wanted to show you my practice piece.  I draw this motif on a small sandwich and run it around the machine a few times.  I like for the muscle memory to start kicking in.  I want to be able to know if I my hands keep wanting to make a concave curve vs. a convex curve.  If you click on this you will see that I sew this shape 3 or 4 times.  I have about 4 of these shapes on the sandwich.
I then spray the quilt when I am done.  I don’t soak it too heavily.  I often spray it 4-5 times.  I will let it dry, then spray again, until all of the blue is out.  Sometimes it will take awhile.  This is why you don’t want that brand new pen.  I will lay it over the back of the couch to dry at the end of a work session or between sprayings. IMG_4202
The key for me has always been practice.  Nothing nerve wracking.  I have 2-3 sandwiches that I often practice on.  When the kids are looking for something to do—Why not rip!  They love it.  Then I will use the same sandwich next time.
Just Quilting Away,
Just Another Quilter

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 3 of UFO Challenge

Decided to work on the Challenge Quilt today.  Finished now are all the red triangles.  I decided to go back and do a little extra quilting on the Christmas print.  I buried some threads and made binding yesterday.  I also decided on the quilt design for the background fabric.  This is a slight alteration from the original stencil.
  I think that it is going to turn out well.  This shape is found in the sashing between all 9 of the blocks.  That only leaves the inner border to figure out.  I started practicing with this shape.  It helps so much to take 5-6 trips around the shape prior to starting on the real thing. I started on the real thing—broke a thread right off the start.  Decided that I made enough progress and called it a night.  The girls were home from school and decided to hear all about lunch, teachers, study hall, etc.  It will be a few days before I can get back to it. 

Went to the local quilt shop today, after heading to the doctor.  I bought 4 fat quarters—needed a little fix after being told to loose weight, stop itching the eczema and to relax.  Blood pressure pills are now needed because of the inability to relax. 

I did exercise, change the bed, do dishes (big pans that I was avoiding) and actually called the doctor for the appointment today. 

Happy Quilting,
Just Another Quilter

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Hope all are finding 2011 Fun & Exciting

My goals this year:
  1. To Move More
  2. To Quilt More
  3. To Eat Better
  4. To Keep in Touch with Friends & Family More (that includes here)
  5. To not spend so much time doing unproductive things

Trying to Remember What is Really Important in Life.

Just Another Quilter

The UFO Project. January #6

Judy L. over at The Patchwork Times drew her number.  She drew the # 6.

Now I just want to explain something.  I have many quilts that are in process.  Some quilts are quilts that need to be finished.  Some quilts are so far from being done that I was going to have some big explaining to do when they suddenly showed up in my life.  I was laying in bed trying to imagine what project on the list was going to be picked.  How am I going to rationalize the putting away of quilts or projects (socks) that I have been putting a lot of time into?  How is the family going to take it?  Can you see the anxiety building?

Well the number that was drawn-6.  I put my quilts in no particular order.  Does one remember that order?  No.  The anxiety is building as I go to the blog.  What am I going to  be going working on? 

Let just say God is on my side.  I will be working on the “Alaskan Christmas Quilt”.  Last year this quilt was given to the family for Christmas.  I told them I would finish it in the next few months.  That was over 1 year ago.  It is made from fabric purchased in Alaska in 2008.  This trip included my mother and step-father accompanying us.  The hubby had to come get me from the quilt shop so that I did not miss the bus.  (I had plenty of time.)

This is probably the best and most appropriate quilt for me to be working on.  I worked on this quilt yesterday.  Where am I at right now?  The medallions are quilted, two more sets of triangles around the medallions still need to be quilted.  The quilt patterns are in the final stages for the cream background.
I look forward to accomplishing this goal. 

Just Another Quilter