Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Moving Right Along...

Week three featured sandwiching and quilting.  Unfortunately, Gus took a header into the boards on Sunday, so before class even started, I had to head to school to collect him.  Gus quietly did his homework and then entertained the folks at Thimble Pleasures while I worked.

Our teacher paired us up to pin, and my table partner was able to quickly help me pin everything together.  I am using Pinmoors to pin instead of safety pins and I like them a lot.  But then, I've rarely met a gadget I didn't like.

Before we started quilting our projects, we practiced on a sandwich made from the batting and backing we trimmed off the quilt.  I intentionally overexposed the picture so that the various stitch lines might show up.  The first task was to check to make sure our tension was set correctly to accommodate the extra thickness of the batting. Definitely easier to test when you use different color threads on each size, which I didn't. However, with only a minor adjustment to stitch length, I found the tension to be appropriate.  Next was setting the width of the curve for the wiggle that I decided to use.  It was suggested that the wiggle is more forgiving than a straight stitch, however, me trying to line things up without drawing lines on the quilt, resulted in many missed intersections as I think I kept my eye on the needle more than the foot.  Once we reached a comfort level with the sandwich, we moved on to the quilt.

Another example of the inconsistency

The first four seams were on the long diagonals - first across the four patches and then across the large patches.  Above, on the left is the first seam.  My goal was the wiggle in the garnet square, however, I learned that maneuvering the quilt versus maneuvering the test sandwich resulted in different "wiggles" - as can be seen at the upper right and lower left.  The boarders were included in the long seams (and all of the other seams) so that we didn't have to come up with a separate design for the border.  While that worked for this first project, I probably will do it differently as I work through the Quilter's Academy projects.

Walking foot got hung up.
At one intersection, in both diagonals, the walking foot apparently hung up on a seam bump and my inexperience with maneuvering the quilt through my machine resulted in an interesting pattern (photo overexposed to show the hiccups).

Due to leaving class to collect Gus, I didn't get as much done in class as I would have liked. However, my partner did help me select fabric for the borders.  We auditioned several patterned fabrics and decided that with the heavy concentration of zebras in the borders that solid black is really the way to go.

However, not finishing the quilting in class forced me to evaluate my home setup and CLEAN off my sewing desk somewhat so that I didn't end up knocking anything off.  I do like quilting at the house versus in class better as at home, my machine is set into the table and maneuvering is easier without the added height.

One of the fabrics I auditioned a week earlier for the backing is a smaller zebra print in the same collection as the zebras in the large patches.  Our assessment was "a whole lotta zebras." So I went with predators for the backing.  Now, had I chosen the backing earlier, I might have chosen a less intense gold for the four patches on the front. But overall, I'm quite happy with the results.

Trimmed and squared and ready for binding
The final binding fabric - solid black works nicely with both patterns.


Dirt Road Quilter said...

I'm so impressed with your machine quilting! I have been terrified of it thus far, but I am also determined to learn how this year. I keep hearing that the secret to great machine quilting is practice, practice, practice. I think the black is the perfect choice for the binding - it'll make a great frame for your quilt.

Rocknquilts said...

Harriet has a set of several different bats you can purchase from her store (online or in Co.) Making the muslin practice pieces is what does the trick. Do you have access to Harriet Hargrave's "Heirloom Machine Quilting" book? It's a treasure trove of information on how to get started and dig in to the quilting of your tops.

Kirsten said...

Yes - I have both the set of bats sitting in a box and the fourth edition of Heirloom Machine quilting.

I'm considering attending her Boot Camp in Colorado this fall, if the budget will allow it.

Cheers, K