Let’s iron those chains!!

We all know that ironing is a BIG part of quilting and sometimes it takes longer to iron than it does to piece. And, woe to you if you don’t get it ironed flat!!!

Back when I was working on the Brown Stripe quilt, I made a video about an easier way to iron when you have been chain piecing. While it isn’t actually a TOOL, it certainly is a technique that will go a long way…..

But sweetie….he followed me home!!

Wednesday started out like a normal day. My plans were set for working in the morning and spending the afternoon in my studio. Then, we went to the gym….and you know that NOTHING good ever comes from that!!

While plodding along on the treadmill, I started listening to a quilting podcast and towards the end they started talking about Quilting Machines….long-arm, sit-down, mid-arm etc……

Slippery Slope: What It Is and How to Respond to It – Effectiviology

Back at the house, I couldn’t get the conversation out of my head and kept thinking about the Color Wheel quilt that is 82 inches square and wondering how I would ever quilt it on my Juki. Also, I realized that I actually have room for something like this in my new studio!!

Finally, I picked up the phone and called my local(ish) Juki dealer and started asking questions about the 2200QVP Sit-Down machine. I found out that this machine is being phased out and replaced by the identical machine, except with a stitch regulator (and a lot more $$$$$). Since I really wasn’t interested in the Stitch Regulator, I decided to make a trip to the store and give it a try.

I went prepared with rulers, quilting gloves, practice pieces and a basted charity quilt. I was immediately pleased with the stitch quality……

….but continued to sit and play!!

After about 2 hours, I was hooked and decided that this machine HAD to come home with me.

After huffing it up the stairs, Michael paused to take a photo of me and Julio……

On Thursday I found a couple of hours to keep working on the charity quilt and am again pleased with the results…..

There will definitely be things to learn and it will take a bit of time to get used to, but I am thrilled with my new purchase!!!!

Another tool in my Quilter’s Toolbox

As I said in my last post, this month was the second installment of the “Morewood Mystery” presented by Meadow Mist Designs, and this month centered around making Half-Square Triangles in two different sizes.

Cheryl, the moderator of the mystery gave some amazing suggestions for how to easily trim these HST’s using a Rotating Cutting Mat and the Bloc-Loc ruler. Check out my video to see these latest tools that I have added to my Quilter’s Toolbox…..

Quilter’s Toolbox….Cardstock

Yes, you read that right…..today’s quilter’s toolbox is a simple piece of card stock!!!

It started with the making of the “Thank You” quilt that I talked about in this blog post.

I knew what the flower would look like but wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted it to fall within the quilt. My solution was to cut a piece of card stock into three pieces…..

….throwing away the center section, leaving two L-shaped strips to be used to create temporary edges so that I determine the layout of my quilt……

When I decided which format I liked best (the center one above), I placed a ruler over the piece, having 1/4 inch sitting on top of the card…..

I carefully pulled the card strip out…..

And used the rotary cutter to make the first cuts which I then used to square up the second set of cuts…..

I also used this very special tool to audition borders. With this small quilt top, I could place it on top of any fabric that I wanted to try and then use the tool to contain the border so that I could analyze it…..

…..including whether I wanted the border to be on all sides or just on one.

After I found out how helpful this tool was I added another one in grey. I covered the card stock with a lamination sheet which gave it a bit more structure. I also cut the grey piece in a different format (totally unintentionally) which gives even more flexibility about sizes.

So….there is another of my favorite tools!!! Obviously it will only work on smaller scale items but it sure made the decision process easier on this particular quilt.

Why is this happening…..

As I was happily sewing along on my brown stripe quilt, I started noticing that some of the stitching tension wasn’t great……

I worked thru the list of all of the usual suspects….

  • re-threaded the top
  • re-threaded the bobbin
  • adjusted the tension dial
  • cleaned out the bobbin area
  • put a few extra drops of oil in the proper areas

But it did not improve!!

I finally decided that it had to be the needle. For the last two years I have been using Superior brand Titanium coated needles…..

Because of their durability, I do not change the needle nearly as often as I used to. Here is what Superior has to say about them……

“With Superior’s Titanium-coated needles, you will hear a different sound when sewing (a soft, constant thud, thud, thud) when the needle is getting dull. This is because the thin layer of titanium-nitride coating is wearing off. Every time the needle penetrates fabric, there is a microscopic amount of wear on a needle, no matter what it is coated with (nickel, chrome, or titanium).

There are many other cues of a dulling or dull needle that are more recognizable, such as skipped stitches, the top thread shredding, and/or puckering while stitching. If your thread starts to behave strangely and you are experiencing these types of problems whereas you weren’t before, chances are that your needle should be replaced.

So, I replaced the needle and….magically…..the tension issues went away!!!

AH…..much better…..

Now…back to sewing!!!

Quilter’s Toolbox

My husband, Michael, regularly does product reviews called “Things that don’t suck”. In that vein, but not quite as sarcastic, I am presenting “What’s in Your Quilter’s Toolbox?”.

Today I want to talk about Easy-Thread needles and decided that the best way to do this was with a video…..

As I said, I love these needles and find many uses for them. I even keep one stuck to a magnetic screwdriver on top of my sewing machine……

It is amazing how often I reach for it during the quilting stages.

I hope that you try these special needles and enjoy them as much as I do!!!