Monday, June 4, 2018

The more I learn...................

Yesterday was a bit of a lazy day. Technically I had nothing urgent - well that's not true, but in my mind, the stuff wasn't urgent. I really have to get to the point where I can "take the weekend off" and do whatever I want. I'm very close to that point. There are only a couple more commitments at this point to get done and all of them can be done during the week.

I felt guilty to take the entire day off on Saturday, but why? I've no idea - I have to stop feeling that way. It's OK to do other things than sew. So when I did have the chance to sew for an entire day (yesterday) - did I do that? No, I did not!  I'll tell you about that tomorrow. It was a fun day.

Today, I'm sharing what I did this past week. And of course, there was a lot of learning happening in that week.

Last week, I was busy with the long arm. Getting more and more comfortable with the computer and I'm loving it. I can now download a pattern from the internet (after paying for it), and within minutes can have it working on the long arm. Still loads to learn, but I got the basics down pat. I can download, import, size the rows, nest the pattern and whatever other little things need to be done to get started!

This is a customer quilt that I finished last week.

Customer quilt - DONE
 You can't see the quilting on the front (which is perfect for this style of quilt/quilting), but the quilting pattern is very cute and I thought I'd share it with you.

Detail of the quilting
 That picture of the quilt does NOT do justice to the fabric.  This is a better shot of the fabrics. As much as I do NOT need more fabric, I couldn't resist these. I even know what I'm going to do with them. The collection is He-Di-Ho by Maywood. You can buy it at The Hobby Horse.

Hi-De-Ho fabrics by Maywood
The next quilt that I quilted last week was my own. This was a kit that I bought last year on my cycle trip. That would have been in August. YES - what a shocker - the kit is done within ONE year of buying it. Just needs to be trimmed and have the binding put on.  My quilt - quilted!!!!

My quilt - done!!!!

There's a story here and a wee bit of a learning curve. You see, I wasn't sure what to use for the backing. Then I found this plaid (woven) fabric at The Hobby Horse and I thought it would be great to use for the backing of this quilt. I purchased what I needed and brought it home. Whacked it in half and sewed it together. Only to realize that the fabric was WIDE. I know - don't ask how that happened. It's 60 inches wide and woven so a wee bit stretchy. The darn quilt is 57" wide. But I didn't piece it that way, but when I pieced it, I probably had 63" wide which was OK for a 57" wide quilt. ACK!!!! I wasn't sure if this fabric would shrink or not and I was afraid to put it on my quilt without prewashing it. I ended up serging the raw edges of the backing and threw it in the washing machine.

Serging the raw edges of the backing
 I love my serger. It took seconds (well a few minutes) to serge that edge and I was done!!!!  NO messing with tension. It's a Babylock - enlighten. The best serger investment ever!!!

After a quick pressing, I measured the backing against the top. Oh boy - it's going to be tight. It was tight to start with but now a wee bit tighter. And yes - if you're going to use this woven type fabric (the plaid is woven into the fabric, not printed), I would wash BEFORE you cut it up for your backing.

It's going to be tight

Look at how much room there was on the left side of the quilt - barely an inch.

Barely an inch to spare on the left

Barely an inch to spare on the right

There's a button on the long arm called Pattern Repair. It's become my new best friend. You see with so little space on the edges to hold the clamps (which support the backing), at one point, the edge of the long arm bumped up against the clamp and made an ugly stitch on one of the snowflakes. Crap - we can't have that. So I stopped the computer and figured out how to backtrack and fix that problem.  OK - I needed to babysit those edges for future rows to keep the clamps away from the computer. This is why it's HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you have at LEAST 3 inches on all sides. Then there's room for the clamps.

I had the same issue on the other side so in my infinite wisdom, I'm messing around with the other side and I must have hit a button on the handle with my arm and all of a sudden the computer went into manual mode and no thread was stitching but the computer was still following the pattern. ACK!!!!  STOP!!!!  Pattern repair and I was able to fix that problem as well.

Lesson learned?  Make sure there is enough backing or you're going to have to babysit the computer. The second lesson - don't TOUCH those buttons!!!!

One of the patterns is written! After much back and forth with the designer, it's done. The first one is always the hardest. There was quite a heavy learning curve involved as I had to format to their format, learn some new things in Photoshop and all kinds of other little twists. But it's done!!!!  Now to get the second one done. This one should go a whole lot smoother!!!!

That's it for today!!!

Have a super day!!!!


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