Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This is called "cutting it fine"

I know I work well to deadlines, but this is a bit ridiculous. See the last box on this timetable? It says 'Drive to Wellington and deliver" and that is what we did today.
I didn't get my quilt photos onto a cd for the entry in time to post it yesterday. (I don't know what it is with computers and me. Apparently I was doing the right thing but my computer was not playing nicely at all. My son rescued me last night and did them on his computer. He says it has something to do with the fact that I had bought cheap and cr***y cds.) I was also up until 4 in the morning the previous night sewing on the binding and washing the quilt to get out all the quilt markins so I could photograph it. Remind me to start the next Symposium quilt at least 2 years before it is needed. What? The next Symposium is in 2 years already? That means I have to start now? Sheesh, I've only just finished this one!

So my good friend Jo (she of the time table design fame) drove me so I could hand in the envelope to the mail centre and ask them kindly if they could make sure it got into the box today, since today was the final day for entries. The very kind lady at the post shop attached to the mail centre said "anything for a fellow sewer". She deserves a medal for great customer service. It was just as well Jo was driving because on the way back home I had a bit of a zzzz in the car. That would have been a bit dangerous if I had been driving :-) I have great friends (and a great son) and I appreciate every one of them - thanks, all of you, for your support and encouragement.

One cannot go to Wellington without visiting a few quilt shops on the way and, once again, I am poorer than I was. The weather today was perfect. The sea at Pukerua Bay was like glass and there were no waves at all. Magic. there was also a fantastic Italian restaurant cum Italian grocery supply place next to the mail centre and we had a very yummy brunch and coffee to fortify ourselves for further quilt shopping :-) Did I mention the very melt-in-the mouth almond croissant I had for afternoon tea at a french cafe in Cuba St, in the next block down from Minerva (the NZ Quilter magazine's bookshop.) Who said the 'd' word?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quilting with Juki

I want one of these:
This wonderful machine belongs to my very good quilting buddy, Janice. Usually it sits on a Swiftquilter frame in Janice's studio but she has very nobly allowed Juki to have a holiday at my olace - a working holiday of course! There is so much more room under the arm than my Elna. It is a great workhorse and having needle up/needle down makes it so much more useful than my old Singer which 'runs on' after taking your foot of the pedal. It is so much easier to control what I am stitching. Thank you Janice.

The basting method I used has proved to be very successful. I have NO puckers from the quilting. I have had some trouble with the basting thread catching in the needle threader as I move the quilt around, but that is probably due to a lack of willingness on my part to clip the basting threads in the area I am working on rather than a deficiency in the basting method itself :-) After I had quilted around each block centre I removed all the basting thread and that solved that problem.

I am so rusty with my quilting. I haven't done any for ages and I am not happy with some of the work I have done. I will be getting out the quick-un-pick to fix up some of the "oops" parts. I think the reason those commercial quilters are so good is that they are quilting regularly. The rest of us have to wait until we actually get a top finished before we can polish our quilting skills. That's maybe 3 or 4 times a year??

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Basting with Sharon Schamber

Just because I have plenty of time to get my quilt finished before the deadline (Yeah, right!) I thought I would try Sharon Schamber's method of basting a quilt sandwich using boards and the table. Sharon has a free video on her website that explains the method much better than I can, so go here to see her excellent demonstration.

The advantages I see are that:

1. I don't need to get down on the floor - this is a biggie reason if you are me :-)

2. I can check for stray threads as I roll up the quilt top and backing.

3 It doesn't add weight to the quilt, unlike safety pins.

4. I can baste a quilt on my own, on my table, without needing a large surface (although because this quilt is 2.3 metres square I did put 2 tables end to end.)

The disadvantage is that it takes a lot longer than pin basting would, although I could easily have used pins with Sharon's roll method.

Really, I guess, it is a bit like having a machine quilting frame, without the frame, if you see what I mean.

I haven't started the quilting yet so I am not sure how the thread will go but Sharon says to clip the area you are working on. I will let you know how it goes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The opposite of sewing is . . .

. . . rip it, rip it, rip it! I seem to have spent most of the day undoing sewing and re-sewing. I had the 4 corner blocks to make which, as you can see, are fairly simple. The first one behaved perfectly well and then the next three were very naughtly and didn't play together at all nicely. I had to unpick them, twice! I had also decided to change some of the fabric choices, not many - only about 4, so that some of the lighter star points were more defined. But it seemed to take me forever. All day, in fact.

The centre and border blocks are now all pieced, ready to join together:

I have to keep telling myself that when they are joined it will all look so much smaller. I'm planning on finishing the piecing tonight and it will be basting tomorrow and some quilting.

My very good friend Janice has agreed to loan me her Juki 98 which has more room under the arm. I am hoping that this will make the quilt easier to turn than it would be under the arm of my Elna. Really, why don't the manufacturers make all machines have a longer arm. Every body would be happy. Surely it can't be that expensive. I don't want a lot of embroidery stitches. I want a machine that sews basic stitches and has room under the arm to do sit-down table quilting. Not much to ask, it it?

I've done enough for a mallowpuff

It's one o'clock in the morning and, while I haven't got quite as far as I wanted today, I have done heaps and it is time to go to bed!

Here is how it is looking. Most of the border blocks are pieced. I need to finish the corners and sew everything together but it is quitting time for today.

There are a couple of fabric choices I am not happy with so I am going to sleep on it and see what it looks like in the day light.

PS. I'm being spammed (of the "cool blog, leave to me yur phone nmbr" type) so I have enabled comment moderation. Darn! It is such a pain but at least the word verifications are now easier to type, as in they are more like real words rather than a random jumble of letters.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Plan Develops

It is now half past eleven in the morning and I have been up since 6. I've done 2 loads of washing, drunk two coffees and eaten 1 piece of Christmas cake. I've also done heaps of sewing. This is what the quilt is looking like now:
Yegads! It's a bit of a mess, is it not? Is it working as a design? I'm in the "what on earth do I think I am doing' stage. I'm telling myself it will look much better from 10 metres away. Maybe the borders will help pull it together.

I still have all the borders to piece - and all the quilting to do (and the basting, and the binding, forgot about those bits) Am I mad? Well, maybe the jury's still out on that one but the chances are I am. I have to be to put myself on such a tight deadline. But I'm not giving up now (and I treasure every moment of my long summer holidays, thank you for asking.)

Back to the machine for me.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Moving Right Along

I've had a really quiet, quilty New Year (Thank goodness there were no loud stereos in the street. The noisy neighbours across the road seem to have quietened right down.) I have made good progress on my quilt. I sewed all yesterday and most of today. I can tick off the right number of days on the timetable. Yipee! I'm up to date and on track. So far, so good - and I've even tidied my piles of fabric - haven't vacummed the floor though :-)

Here is the plan of what I am doing:
The blocks are all different fabrics and I'm working out how the secondary star pattern works. Some will be dark and some will be medium and some light. (Thanks to Janice for that suggestion. My original fabric choices for sashing were way too overpowering.) I'm actually further on than this. I'll post another picture again tomorrow. I just have 3 more sashing strips to make and then I can piece the sashings to the blocks. Then I need to work out a new border. I might actually get this done!

I Might Get There

It is just as well that I don't have anyone in the house at the moment. I have spent the last 2 days doing nothing but quilting! The house is a complete mess. I am making progress and have almost half the blocks completed.

The rest should/could/will get done today. I still have the borders of course. The design of these is proving somewhat troublesome since my original plan made the quilt way too big for entry into the competition. But, I have a another plan!!

Here is one of the completed blocks: