Wednesday, 22 November 2017

E2E on HQ Sweet 16

Overcome my stage fright and finally went onto the quilt. See my previous post on my preparation for quilting E2E on the Sweet 16.

First section completed...I used my EQ program to guide me in the placement of the motif. As you can see I brought the design right up to the edge of the quilt with some of it going to be taken up by the binding. I did a lot of shifting the design to and fro in the program and this was the best way to align it so that I get a similar look of the motif at the bottom as well.


Action shot with the paper attached

Could you do this on a DSM...you probably could for a smallish quilt, however I do think the space around the HQ Sweet 16 makes this a lot easier. What you see here is me quilting from the top down going across from left to right, so as I am approaching the end of the edge I have got the bulk of the quilt to my right. This would be somewhat difficult under the DSM. I was also glad that I could have the paper lying nice and straight. Even though I attached it with masking tape where I could there is the potential of movement if you are not careful. As I went along I quilted sideways at times and then often turned the quilt to have the design facing me lengthwise as I approached the end. The space around the machine makes this very easy. Not so easy was to follow a line...I am totally out of practice and had to go really slow. So there are some minor variations in the design but that will not be noticeable at all.

Not exactly a fast process. For this quilt I have to trace and quilt the design in 3 sections. This is ok for this baby quilt but I doubt I would do this on a Queensize quilt...that would take ages. At the moment I am tracing one evening and then the next evening I quilt the design across, taking the paper out after each section.
Very happy how this is turning out. This is a welcome relief from the allover designs I usually do (meander, swirling, loops etc). Not sure I will do this all the time but once in a while this could be quite interesting. The only thing to remember is to keep the design a bit simple and somewhat free flowing, otherwise you will sit there ripping out the paper for ages. In my little design the paper comes away fairly easy, the time consuming factor is more the tracing of the design. Looking at it though...well worth it, really suits this little quilt.

Linking up to Esther's blog for her WOW=WIPs on Wednesdays

Karin

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

New baby quilt

I have been steadily working away on 3 different quilts. Yes, why do one if you can do several at once!

Finished my baby quilt. This one is made out of charm squares and gave me a bit of a headache as I also had obtained a packet of 2 1/2in squares in the same range, somehow thinking that they would make up 4 1/2in squares. Well, they obviously don't and after a lot of internet surfing I finally came up with a combination of designs.
I found the idea with the stars in the center on Pinterest...Vanessa Christensen from the V and Co blog. She had the charm squares and stars arranged this way in a small quilt in some greenish tones. Very pretty. I added some additional borders to use up my 2 1/2in squares...EQ7 came again very handy as the math just did not add up and I needed to do some tweaking. To my big surprise this worked out very well. 
The quilt is by now spray basted and ready to go! Spray basting was definitely a first for me...not sure I like it...got it all over my feet and then spread it all over the floor...bit messy. But I have got something special in mind for this one and spray basting was the better option.

I am planning to do an edge to edge design on it on my HQ Sweet 16. We learned about this in the group I am attending and given that I am really bored with my allover designs this seemed a great option. I selected a design from the EQ Quilting Designs Add-on Program Volume 8 called 'Mini Moonflower Design'. Got very enthused about this and tried it out on a piece of white cotton
While not the most exciting design I thought that this was simple enough to trial on this quilt. I think it suits this little quilt.
In between of course, EQ8 came out and I had to shift my baby quilt from EQ7 to EQ8...today I spent some time on it trying to work out the size of the design and most importantly the placement. While this is all do-able, a bit of planning is a must, particularly as this design is straight across in very definite rows, so I had to make sure it does not sit on every seam line and looks well spread out while still appearing as a consistent overall E2E pattern. The motif consists of 2 rows of flowers and I ended up making this eventually 10in high. The next issue was to pay some attention to the edges and the spacing. EQ 8 was enormously helpful with this...
I worked in Zoom mode and placed my motif where I could effortlessly start...also used that little ruler in EQ8 to measure the approx. distance at points so I have an approximate for placement. I then exported the image using the 'Export Marquee Selection' and pasted it into a Word document, so I can have a look at it when placing the motif on the quilt.

So now I have got a picture of the top left corner and the top right as well as the bottom. Also took an image of the approximate spacing which will be about 1/2in.

Now it is just a matter of doing it! The motif will be stitched out using Golden Threads paper and I will most likely do this in sections. My only fear is that this might not end up straight across for some reason. Well, we shall see...


If this works out I might get some simple pantographs to expand my options a bit in terms of overall designs. Found some really nice ones on the Golden Threads web site. Lots of possibilities!

Karin

Friday, 27 October 2017

Handiquilter Ruler of the Month Club - the Swiss Cheese Ruler

Another month has gone by...

This month we were introduced to the Swiss Cheese Ruler
The ruler has three different sizes of circles, i.e. 1/4in, 3/4in and 1 1/4in.

This was a bit of fun playing around with this.
First tried just fitting the circles within lines...not that easy if you have trouble being exact in putting your lines down, but again, I think this is only practice. The circles are easy to do. If you look at the ruler you will notice the opening...in the Westalee rulers they insert a little piece to close that gap. With the HQ rulers that gap can be distracting as the foot sinks slightly into it and creates a bit of a notch. However, if you slow down a bit at that point and concentrate this is not much of an issue and even if you get a bit of a notch it is hardly noticeable.
I did try the 1/4in circles which are tiny, tiny...while they do create beautiful little pearls on a practice piece, I had problems fitting them nicely into my lined up 1/4in space. Personally  I think it is easier to do them freehand. The other two sizes are great though as you will not be able to keep it nice and straight if you were to do them freehand.
The square next to it has the orange peel design done with the 3/4in circle. For that I drew a grid in the square first and put my circles neatly into each square and then completed the overlapping circles. That worked really well and is a good way of doing this design at that size.
Next I did just lines with alternate circles, again at the 3/4in size. 
Really like this design...I used the straight edge of the Slice Ruler to give me a straight line and then just switched to the circles in between. I think I did draw a loose grid in the background first to keep my orientation straight.
And another one
Filled in some of the 1 1/4in circles as this is what they showed on the Handiquilter website. Thought initially that this was quite boring but actually looks really interesting. If you have them all lined up in a border and fill every alternative one, this could look quite good.

Overall really like this ruler as the circles are small enough to be used in blocks, sashings and borders in a variety of ways. While small I know from experience that no matter how careful you are to follow a drawn line, you will not achieve a tidy round circle freehand even at the 3/4in size. The 1/4in circle however is just a tad too small for me and unless I figure out how to align it precisely I probably prefer to do those little pebbles freehand.

Karin

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

EQ8

I upgraded my EQ7 to the new EQ8 program and have been looking around the new program a bit. It does look quite different but is very intuitive. This is important to me as I do not like reading manuals.

So I drew my favourite block...bit rusty on this so just used the easy draw facility and drew 'An Arrangement of Small Pieces' as a 9in block, then coloured it, saved a copy and went on to explore the export options. Same as before, you can copy to Windows clipboard or export as a Windows Metafile. I had issues with that in the last program, particularly when trying to use this as a piecing diagram where you draw individual units out of the block.

Happy to say, this worked very well (could just be that I finally figured out how to do this properly!)


So I exported the block using the Clipboard option, then opened my Serif Drawing program and pasted the block in there, then ungrouped the block, so I could pick the individual units up. As I copied this with outline and fill, I then had to click on the units, and grouped the fill and outline together before moving the piece. This allows you to create a nice little piecing diagram. As I am in my drawing program I could now have added text or arrows etc. to demonstrate the piecing of the block.

Looked at the Rotary Cutting Chart (rounding to 1/8in or 1/16in)
Here is a snapshot
...and also looked at the Foundation Piecing option which now comes out coloured (if you want)

All very interesting...lots of little changes. The navigation around the program will take me a while to get used to, but overall a much more user friendly experience.

Curious to see what else I find. There are a lot of new features to explore, like you can now take pictures of your fabric to use in your quilt...need to get on to that as I find it very useful to use the fabric that I am actually using when designing a quilt. This could be much easier than the scanning that I have done before.
Head over to the Electric Company website if you want to know more about this upgrade.

Karin

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Useful resources

Had a book voucher that needed to be spent and got myself a very useful little book
The book is aptly titled 'FreemotionQuilting Idea Book' by Amanda Murphy and goes through a variety of commonly used blocks illustrating different quilting designs that one could use on them. I often struggle with blocks and what to do in them so I think this will be very useful.

Also treated myself to yet another Craftsy class 'Freemotion Motifs for Classic Blocks' with Natalie Bonner in one of their recent sales . In the class Natalie goes through quilting ideas for common shapes as well as borders, sashing and Applique and demonstrates the quilting on her longarm machine. I have started watching the class and already used some of her little designs in my ruler quilt.
Simple, but very effective designs which can be done on the domestic as well as longarm machines.

Can highly recommend this class if you are like me and stand in front of a pieced quilt with that absolute blank look.

Karin

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Progress Report on HQSweet 16

If you have been following my blog you might be aware of my initial struggles with the new machine. Happy to report that we have arrived at a place where we seem to be on the same wavelength. After having spent a month or so trying to figure out the tension issues I must say that I now got a pretty good sense of the tension, at least for the Aurifil thread that I use most.
I did buy a Towa tension guide at a recent quilt show though...not so much to figure out the tension but to have a definitive number that I can use. This is important when you want to continue quilting with half-empty bobbins. As the tension is set on a full bobbin I have found that a bit fiddly as the drop test is no longer that reliable. While you could go with setting the screw where you know the tension roundabout sits, I do like the Towa guide in that it gives me a number, so all I have to do is set the bobbin to that number (which I determined with a full bobbin). This makes this very quick. And of course, I like the security of numbers over you just get a feeling of where that tension should sit. Over time that will probably change in that you do get that sense/feeling on where your tension should sit, but for a 'newbie' this is a great help.

I have quilted a baby quilt and a charity quilt on the machine and have had no problems. The other day then I tackled a shadow trapunto piece, now moving forward to the more detailed quilting that I am used to.  Yes, definitely getting used to it...the sound of the little tension spring was initially irritating but over time I have realized that I need to listen to the motor instead...that gives me my rhythm. Speed is amazing on the machine, but for the time being I will continue with my snail pace as this is what I am used to. Enjoying the ruler work, even though I am not that good at it, but that was one of the reasons I got the machine...to extend myself so that I have that option of using different rulers in my quilting.

I am in the midst of a piecing marathon at the moment trying to complete several quilts at once as I have ne new quilt ops to quilt on...getting bored already! However, one is finished and ready to be basted
Made out of UFO blocks! Not sure what I will use it for, but I like it. Probably will try my rulers out on this one. My 1000Pyramids quilt top is painful...have done 5 rows and am starting to struggle.

Speaking of rulers...got a Wave ruler at the recent show
Two lots of waves, ideal for feather borders.
Did a bit of doodling today ...felt a bit confident and used the Towa guide to try Superior Fantastico thread (40 wt). On the Superior website you can look up what the Towa number is when using different threads in the top coupled with a Deco Bob Prewound. That was very handy and worked really well for me after relatively little mucking around. Initially tried my Aurifil 50/2 in the bobbin, but the Prewound which is a Bottomline thread was the better choice. Was happy with my quilting...stitches looked fine and some of the wobbliness is gone and I feel that I am getting back to normal.
More ruler practice coming up shortly when I pick up the next ruler from the Handiquilter Ruler Of The Month club.

Overall, having fun

Karin

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Multitasking

I am out of quilt tops to quilt on...hence I am continuing on my 1000 Pyramid quilt. Wow, what was I thinking...there are so many points to match! Given my tendency for sloppiness in piecing this is going to be very painful.

Have done 2 rows so far, aiming for a King Single size. We shall see...

You would think that a scrappy quilt like this would make a bit of a dent in the stash, but I have to say I have hardly noticed the difference. What I did notice though was that I have an extraordinary amount of red fabric in the pyramids...just about every pyramid has some sort of red tone in there. Constructing the pyramids is good fun as you can chain piece along. Particularly love my new gadget...the Cutting Gizmo
Makes separating the chain pieced units very fast.

While I was doing this and looking at my stash in general (I really need to do something about this!), I found a stack of orphan blocks...I think they were from an EQ7 quilt along some years ago of which I dropped out after a few months. The blocks were very intricate and many were paper pieced. You would think that they were all nice and straight, but 'no' they were anything but straight...found some nice grey fabric to go with it (the fabric was from a Jelly Roll from Moda which I think was called 30s Playtime) and put some sashing around it, fudging a fair bit to get some straightness happening.
Love those blocks. This will not be exact and the piecing is somewhat wonky in parts but it will be great to practice some more intense ruler quilting on. I am planning to put a 4 in border around it in the grey fabric and also try out my new Waves ruler on that to put some feathers in. This should be fun.

Apart from that I have been searching the internet for a bit of an interesting pattern for Charm squares. I got a packet of Charm squares (Meadow Bloom by April Rosenthal) from the Fat Quarter shop last year to make into a baby quilt...as they had a special going at the time I also got a packet of 2 1/2in squares of the same range to go with it, not thinking much about how to combine this...
Found some simple ideas on the Internet and after a lot of math was able to combine some ideas on the EQ 7 program and come up with a way to use both the 5in squares and the 2 1/2in squares. Nothing spectacular...just squares to keep it simple. Currently waiting for my order of an 4 1/2in finished Accuquilt die to cut out some additional fabric to go with it. Figured that I often use this size and while I could cut it, I do like the efficiency of the cutter. Takes no time to cut out a whole stack of squares and you are ready to go.

So, hopefully in a couple of weeks I will have 3 new quilt tops to play with.

I am dropping in to Esther's Quilt Blog  who hosts WIPs on Wednesday

Karin