Saturday, December 19, 2020

The learning curve


Even though I technically didn't make a lot of progress yesterday, it was an amazing day. I learned so much that my brain was about to explode by the end of the day. 

So I have software that runs my long arm called Quilt Path. I know how to make it work for the very BASIC stuff like Edge to Edge quilting. I downloaded the manual onto my iPad, and I guess I should read it to learn more. There are the manual, videos, and the best thing of all - there's Facebook. If for no other reason, I LOVE Facebook for the user's groups that have formed. 

I was so happy as the day before, I learned how to cut a block design in half and then in quarters with a wee bit of help from the Facebook group and fiddling around with the software. I think I'm good. Except that when I loaded the design into the format screen and told it where to stitch - it wasn't good. 

The design is NOT centered

The darn design wasn't centered, and well, I could have stitched it out, but that wasn't what I wanted, and DARN it - I've come this far, I'm not stopping until I get it right. 

I got advice from one of the users on the group, and then I thought I was good to go. But NO - now the design is too small to fill the space. Centered, but too small. Good grief - how do I make it larger? 

Now the design is too small

I tried to make the design larger in the edit screen, but that didn't help. I EVEN broke down and spent quite a bit of time in the manual. OK - so I understand more and more of these commands. That's a good thing, but no information on how to change the size. 

Back to the user's group. I rarely ask questions, but I bet they'll be happy to see the end of me and my problem! Seriously?? It turns out that all I have to do is TOUCH the boxes with the size and a new menu pops up to enter the size. Good grief - that simple? And I missed it. I think I touched the button with the blue arrows to the right of the actual sizes!!

Changing the size

So I played around with the size a bit and the placement, now that I know how that works. I got it where and how it needs to be. But it was late by then, and I wanted to do all the stitching at once, so I left it for today. But I HAVE to get that quilt off the long arm today. I have three more quilts to quilt and bind before Christmas, and well, I'm running out of time! Thankfully, I'm binding them for the customer, so they aren't panicking about getting them bound. 

Now I want to dig out a quilt of mine to put this new knowledge to the test. Actually, I have several that could benefit from this custom quilting with blocks. I might just dig one of them out and get it quilted while all this information is fresh in my head. Oh my - what fun and what new possibilities have been opened. 

Then I spent a LONG time on a planning session about the embroidery software called mySewnet Embroidery Software. This software works for ANY brand of embroidery machine. It's now available on a subscription basis, as well as buying it upfront, so if you want to kick the tires, so to speak, and see if it works for you, then it's not a huge outlay of money. If you're interested, check out the website or contact your local Husqvarna Viking or PFAFF dealer for more details. I've got several software presentations scheduled for next year - remember - I'll be giving you the top-level view and show you all that it's capable of doing. These are not hands-on classes. 

Oh boy -- I know a lot of this software as well, but as much as I think I know this software, well, let's just say that I learned a ton in that department yesterday as well. But my brain was exploding - not only with the knowledge but with the possibilities of what can be done with technology. Trust me -- I know enough of the software to give you a good overall view, and by then, I'll know even more and have some amazing samples, so watch your local Husqvarna Viking or PFAFF dealer for the invites. 

And if they don't have any online presentations booked, contact them, and DEMAND that they book some sessions! The sessions are good for ANYONE - whether you have an embroidery machine or not. If all you do is buy designs and embroider them, why not investigate what you can do to make your own or create some amazing designs. And if you don't have an embroidery machine, you can still watch and learn about the new technologies happening in the sewing machine world and get a good view of whether you would like to own an embroidery machine someday. 

I need more hours in the day just to skim the surface of what I want and can do with both of these technologies. 

January will be a hectic month - it'll be just for me with lots of experimenting. Speaking of experimenting, I also worked on the T-shirt quilt. I'm making great progress, and the fact that I can quilt it right after Christmas is excellent news. 

As I'm doing the final calculations, pressing, and trimming, I have two piles. 

The garbage and the sample making piles

The one on the left is the garbage - bits of collars, sleeves, and small bits. The pile on the right are the larger pieces that I'm going to use for experimenting with machine embroidery. There are so many stabilizers and designs and combinations that can be used to get successful machine embroidery on T-shirts. The more I experiment, the better I can explain it to someone else. And as I mentioned the other day, some of those knits are very different from T-shirt knit, so I want to play around with those. 

I love this ironing station that I'm using. I need scissors, and all I need to is pull out the drawer, and there are the scissors! This is the Ironing and Crafting station by Singer. I love it - it's big and stable!

The drawer in the Ironing and Crafting Station

So here's the status of the T-shirt quilt. I've almost got three rows completed - well, by completed, I mean, the T-shirts have been stabilized, cut, and ready to start sewing together. There are still a few that need some applique and a couple where I'm going to sew a couple of smaller parts together and stabilize them as one big piece. It seems that I left most of that work to the right side of the quilt!

T-shirt quilt design

I think there are 36 motifs in total from the fronts and the backs of the T-shirts. I think it's such a shame that some people take T-shirts and cut large squares, regardless of what's on them, and make a quilt. Fast and cheap, but does nothing for the shirts, and then you're very limited in how many designs you can do. I took everything possible in the bag of T-shirts and used it. 

It hasn't taken that long to get to this point, but several more hours to finish the job. I've pulled some fabric for the backing and binding, and all I need now is some time. 

The other useful tool when making a T-shirt quilt is that HUGE 20½" square ruler. I thought I had taken a picture of it, but no - I did a screenshot of my phone. Good grief. Anyway - that ruler is the BEST thing as most T-shirt quilts tend to have large blocks. Trimming with two rulers can be done, but having ONE larger ruler saves so much time. 

I have one Zoom session this morning (I'm not hosting - so that's good), and then the rest of the day is free for sewing and quilting. In an ideal world, the custom quilt would be off the machine, and the top of the T-shirt quilt would be together. Can I make that happen? I guess we'll have to wait and see. 

BUT don't forget that today is also Virtual Retreat day. Remember, it starts at 6 PM, and we're back tomorrow all day. Stop by and say HI - you don't have to stay and sew - just pop it. It's the final one for the year, and well, perhaps we can share a glass of good cheer tonight. Hey - I might have to crack open my bottle of Chicken Bones liqueur. 

Here are the details. 

Don't forget the Virtual Retreat this weekend. 

Saturday, December 19   - from 6 PM  - 9 PM. 

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 828 3037 4208 Passcode: 150354

Sunday, December 20 - from 10 AM - 8 PM

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 835 0153 5963 Passcode: 032336

And I see that we're going to be in lockdown for another couple of weeks, and the region beside us is now moving into lockdown. More time to sew, I suppose. 

It was like Grand Central Station here yesterday. I had picked up those orders from Thimbles and Things, and people came to pick them up. My front step was littered with bags of stuff! And I got some great goodies to enjoy with my morning tea. Thanks for the goodies - much appreciated since I don't do much in the baking department! 

On that note, it's time to get moving. I have a busy day planned, and I want to say tomorrow how productive it was. 

See you tonight on Zoom or perhaps tomorrow!

Have a great day!


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