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

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Homework!

Might not have mentioned it on the blog, but since I bought the new machine, I am attending a HQ Sweet 16 group in the city. The group consist of people with HQ Sweet 16 sit downs and longarm machines. Very informative group and certainly have been full of encouragement with my initial difficulties with the machine.
The group works on different techniques from month to month and is in general about sharing information about all things related to quilting on these machines. I attended in the middle of the shadow trapunto sessions that ran over two months. Initially I was not going to do it, but the peer pressure is a bit much, so I made a start
I am using bastiste for the shadow effect and puffy polyester batting for the trapunto. This does not look like much but was very work intensive...had to mark the motif, then stitch around it with water soluble thread, then spent a long time cutting the batting neatly away. Then came the layering of the reddish cotton fabric, another layer of cotton and the finally the backing.

I used a pink Aurifil 50/2wt thread to stitch the motif down and fill in the rest. I used this also as a practice piece for getting used to do some more detailed stitching with the Sweet 16. Funny...half way through the pebbles  I remembered that the machine came with an open toe foot...completely forgot about that, so put that on and stitched away. Much better visibility!

Progress
Had to stitch a grid, of course... then did all sorts of fillers


And here is the finished little piece. Quite pleased with it, turned out nice. Not sure that I will use this often (bit of a lazy quilter really) but good little exercise.

 Added a bit of contrast to the editing...this is probably the closest to what the colour looks like.

Now I need to get on to some piecing to complete a quilt top, so I have something to quilt on. Hassle!

Karin

Monday, 25 September 2017

Handiquilter Ruler Of The Month Club - The Skinny Ruler

Picked up the next ruler - the 2x10" Skinny Ruler

If you are wondering what this Ruler of the Month Club is all about, head over to the Handiquilter site and have a look. They have a video for the rulers as they come out each month. Over here in Australia we are a bit behind as we started about a month later.

So, I tried the skinny ruler
Did not find it that easy to use as it is a bit longer than other rulers I tried and if you do not hold it correctly, i.e. move your grip as you go along, it will slip.

The grid gave me the biggest issue...for the life of me I cannot do a grid with a ruler! Kept getting the spacing wrong and for a 1/2in grid any sloppiness in alignment shows severely after a while. So in the end I drew it in and followed the lines with the ruler.
Diamond in a square was easy to do...might just have to get the spacing a bit better.
Enjoyed this one! Just lines spaced 1/4in apart. That was quite manageable and after a while I also managed to stitch along the seam with some consistency with the ruler to get to the next space. So yes, it was getting easier.
More lines and a bit of filling in. That was quite fun to do.

And in the end I did the Paradox on a scrap fabric piece, as I could not get it together on the quilt square as I could not turn the quilt all the time. Definitely more practice needed
What you think of my stitching? I think I am getting more used to the machine...it is all getting a bit easier.

Next ruler is one with lots of little circles...that is going to be interesting.

Karin

Friday, 15 September 2017

Charity Quilt

Since buying the new machine I am attending a monthly HQ group in the city. Last time a lady attended from the Orange Tree Quilters, an affiliated group of the Quilter's Guild of South Australia who donate quilts to children in need in the community.
She brought a whole stack of quilt tops that needed quilting...perfect opportunity to just practice as I have no quilt tops at the moment, so I took a small log cabin quilt.
This is where the HQ Sweet 16 shines...after some joining of the batting and basting I finished this little quilt top in a day.
Given that the log cabins were made out of colourful scraps, I chose the 'Ikea 'design that adorned the little white fleece blanket that we once purchased at Ikea...a bit of a mix between meandering and quilting loops
This worked really well and my tension issues seem to have largely disappeared. I used a soft yellow Aurifil 50/2 on the top and a beige Aurifil 50/2 thread on the bottom for the centre of the quilt and a pink Aurifil thread for the pink border.
...and here is the back
This was really useful as practice... as you can imagine none of those fabric pieces were of the same quality and gave me a really good idea of how my tension was performing. Happy to report that I had no major issues with the tension. Still some adjustment issues in terms of how to place my quilt and how to move it around...still find it confusing that I don't have to scrunch it up as I have done for years, so some of my stitching is more clumsy than usual. 
The border was a bit of an adventure. I don't think that was 100% cotton and my tension was ever so slightly out, i.e. had little pokies here and there on top, but I just did not worry about that and just quilted a loop design in there to finish it off.
Looks great and does the job.

Was again surprised by the efficiency of the machine. Did the meander first, then quilted in-the-ditch with one of the rulers around the pink border, then basted the slightly uneven border in place and finished it off with the loop design. This took me about 5 - 6 hours and it was done. Impressed with that.

Will continue on my ruler quilt next as I will be getting the next monthly ruler from the HQ Ruler of the Month club this weekend.

Karin

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Handiquilter Ruler Club - The Slice Ruler

Practising ruler quilting on the Sweet 16

First ruler of the month - The Slice Ruler
My practice ruler quilt is made from charm squares so the finished square is 4 1/2in.


Perfect little ruler...lies well in your hand and is easy to flip around. Very handy for those 'easy' line designs which are just perfect for some quilts. The ruler gives you very precise and neat curves fitting neatly into the square. Still struggling with alignment somewhat but that is just a matter of practice.

Must say that I like the Handiquilter Rulers better than some other rulers. Maybe not on this one however on the other ruler I bought, the Versa Tool, the lines are very intuitive, i.e. just where you need them. Also like the Handigrip patches that you put on them...they are see through and feel a bit like sandpaper, gripping very well.

Karin