Virtual Quilt Festival

Last weekend I attended the Virtual Quilt Festival that took the place of the International Quilt Festival in Houston. While it was not NEARLY as much fun as spending 3 tiring days walking the convention floor, it was still fun to peruse the galleries and take some classes.

The most exciting thing was to see my quilt Mahek the Market Girl “hanging” in the competition entitled “In My Mind”…..

It was also fun to be able to sit with my feet up, drinking a cup of tea while I watched the classes that I had signed up for. Both were quilting related and while one was just so-so, the second one was AMAZING.

I spent 1.5 hours with Claudia Pfeil in her studio in Germany!!

I would never have taken this class in person because it was designed for a long-arm machine, but with distance learning, I was able to enjoy her work and learn lots about developing new quilting designs.

She started off by talking about her “alphabet”….the building blocks that she uses with most quilting designs…..

screen shot from class

She starts with 5 basic patterns…..bridge, swirls, S-designs, straight lines and balls!!

Then she talked about her 5 elves (she had cute names for them) …. additional element, echo, mirror, combination, spacing

Then she moved to the machine and demonstrated how she uses these elements. As she started quilting in an area, she would begin with one of her simple designs. She would echo and/or mirror the design and start adding additional elements as she went. The final combinations were amazing….

She also showed a way to tie off your threads without having to bury them. I videoed this portion and want to get to the machine and try it out. IF I can figure out exactly how she did it, I will be sure to pass it on!!

I left the seminar feeling encouraged and inspired and then discovered that she had also provided a 27 page pdf full of quilting designs!!!

If you haven’t heard of Claudia, be sure to check out her website. And, if you get American Quilter magazine, there is a wonderful article about her quilts in the January 2021 issue!!

Getting to know Julio – Part 1

If you haven’t already met, this is Julio……

He has been part of our family for about a month. He and I are slowly getting acquainted and learning each other’s quirks and perks!!!

I started out by quilting Charity quilts and was pleased with the results…..

BUT…..those quilts didn’t have a specific pattern and I honestly wasn’t too concerned if things weren’t perfect. But now, I am ready to work on one of MY quilts…

and one that I really want to do a great job on!!

The issues that I had with this particular quilt were one of the reasons that I bought Julio. And now I was ready to take advantage of those issues being gone……but they were still there!!

If you remember, I HEAVILY pieced the backing and the front was strip pieced so there were a LOT of seams. I was SURE that Julio would jump those seams just fine…..HE DIDN’T!!

I started trying to figure out why. First, I started adjusting the presser foot tension by loosening it using the knob on top of the machine. I turned and turned and sewed and then turned some more, but THIS happened….

I had twisted the knob completely out!!!

After about 10 minutes of panic, I was able to get it back together but still hadn’t fixed my problem.

As I dejectedly sat there staring at Julio, I noticed that there were some hash marks on the foot where it was screwed in. And I noticed that the foot was about halfway up and could potentially go even higher. My heart quickened as I thought that MAYBE there was hope.

Then, I had to remove the foot and boy was the screw on there tight!! After consulting with Dr. Google, I sprayed a few shots of WD-40 on it and, after about 15 minutes, it came loose. Resetting the foot to its highest position was easy now…..

Now I was concerned that it was too high up and that the stitches wouldn’t work, but Julio didn’t disappoint and I was soon skimming over all of those seams with the greatest of ease!!

There have been other issues that I will discuss later but I just wanted to share the sheer joy of figuring out that I was, indeed, going to be able to use and enjoy Julio!!

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
DANGER…..SLIPPERY SLOPE

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!!!!

Ruler Quilting–a little blip

I have been using a ruler to quilt the borders on a cute baby quilt and have learned a few things as I quilted along.

I first used the straight edge to quilt lines inside the inner border….IMG_7512..a nice ease-into using a ruler.

Then I started using a curved edge to quilt the pieced borders……

IMG_7514

….and that is where I started having issues.

Firstly, I found that the foot was getting stuck as I crossed seams and, because I was having to force it along, I was making long (toe snag) stitches.  I kept raising the presser foot height but it wasn’t getting any better.

Then, I had a good look at my ruler foot and realized that there is a spring and screw that, amazingly, raise and lower the foot!!!!IMG_7513

PROBLEM SOLVED!!

Then a few hours later, I started having trouble with the thread breaking.   I completely unthreaded my machine, cleaned out the lint, including a small piece that was stuck in the bobbin case and started over but it still wouldn’t work for long.

As a last resort, I decided to change the needle and it fixed the problem.  I seldom think about the needle being the issue but obviously it had a burr on the eye that was causing the thread to shred.

Here is the finished border…..

IMG_7530

I was able to quilt it without having to make any marks and it adds so much more than my normal 3 squiggly lines down the middle.

This was a simple pattern, using the easiest of the rulers, but I am pleased just to have made a start!!

I am one Happy Quilter!!!


Making my mark on the 4th of July

Over the past week I have been working on a design for my “Henna Whole Cloth” quilt.  I spent several evenings making Google searches for Henna Tattoo designs and came up with TONS of great designs.   It was especially hard to whittle them down to the ones that would work on my quilt!!!

I cropped the images that I liked, used Power Point to print them in the size that I wanted and started working on my full size pattern.   I started with the original design that I tested and then started building out from there.   This is the final design……IMG_5505

I say that this is the final design…..there will be some echo quilting around the circle designs and also in the blank corner areas. 

So, today my plan was to begin tracing this intricate design onto the fabric.  In the past I have used a small (12 inch square)  lightbox and was really not looking forward to trying to do something this large on it.

But…..quilting friends to the rescue….. My friend, Sheila, had a large, flat light box that she allowed me to borrow for this task…..IMG_5509

….and boy did it make a huge difference!!!

There are two great features on this piece of equipment….first of all it is flat so that my pattern and fabric were able to lay flat and not slide around.   Secondly it has a dimmer so that the light doesn’t have to be so bright.   When it was on bright it looked like this…..IMG_5501

…..and I couldn’t see where I had drawn already!!    The dimmer function allowed me to see the lines and also see the blue oft the markers…..IMG_5502

So, after about 5 hours  and 4 blue pens later,  the main part was traced…..IMG_5504

My next step will be to make sure that the corners are going to be square and then I will add the four peacocks in the corners.

Now I just have to figure out how I am going to baste it!!!!!