Monday, March 21, 2016

Beginner Longarm Quilting

Being a new longarm quilting machine owner is like being a beginner quiltmaker.  I've quilted on longarm machines in the past, but mostly using spirals, loops, and meandering.  In my quest to quilt custom quilts, I've watched a lot of YouTube videos and joined a lot of  Facebook groups to feed my hunger for knowledge and quilting motifs.

First, I practice on either a dry erase board or paper.   I have poor penmanship and am no artist when it comes to drawing, but I do know that what I draw will look much better quilted.  I've done a lot of free hand work as well as using various rulers.

Yesterday was the first day that I decided to start making a sampler of some of the designs I've seen (that I have a chance to stitching out).  This is definitely a "practice makes perfect" scenario I find myself in.  I need a LOT more practice, but am sharing my experience in the hope that other beginner longarm quilters will not get discouraged.

The plan is to make three to four rows of blocks, quilting a different design in each.  Today, I'm sharing  Row 1.  I'm using the machine's horizontal and vertical lock control to quilt the block grids. A close up of each design, technique used, and my review of each block follow.

Block #1 - Orange Peals:  I used a wash away blue marking pen to draw 2" grids into an 8" square.  I actually started out using the ruler in the bottom left hand corner.  I used a 1.5" circle template to stitch the design.  Other than using rectangular rulers to stitch in the ditch, this was my first times using any sort of shape ruler.  It was tedious, time consuming, and I could tell that a lot of this would cause fatigue.  So, I started stitching from the top left hand corner freehand to see if I needed to use the rulers.  The start was pretty poor, but I started to get the hang of it in the second row.
Review:  Quilters who use templates/rulers have spent many, many hours perfecting this skill and it takes many, many hours of work.  I will definitely appreciate this talent when I view future quilts.

Block #2 - Circle Templates:  This was oh so easy on paper; not so using the machine.  I used the inside and outside of circles.  None of that mattered for my skill level.  Much more practice is required for this one.

Block #3 - Linda rtaylor's Applique Helper:  This ruler is intended to use to trace around applique shapes.  However, it has three (or four) scallops on one side.  I decided to  make a random grid.  I love it.  I now have another use for this ruler.

Blocks #4 and #5 - Top Anchor 6" Five Point Star Template:  These rulers are very costly.  I spent about $70 for two templates, 6" and 10" 5-point star.  I love the idea of these rulers.  I tried six times in two blocks, changing the color of thread and/or moving the template to a new spot.  Only two of the six stars matched back up at the beginning.
Review:  There is definitely a learning curve here.  I watched the video twice prior to stitching but I plan to watch it again and again if necessary.  I so want to be able to use these rulers.

Block #6 - Random Grid Lines:  After the fail with the five point star template, I decided I needed no structure so I grabbed a straight ruler and made a random diagonal grid.

Block #7 - Swirls (Free motion):  For a little pick me up after a stressful row, I decided to do a free hand design.

I'm working on row #2.  We will see how that goes.
-------------------------- Type-u-later,

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Gypsy Wife: Section 7

After working on section 6, section 7 was easy.  It does include even more partial seams so plan the sewing ahead of time.  I have three more sections to complete.  I've already selected the orphan blocks I will use.  I also did some housekeeping of my strips.  I remove all strips that I've already used from my pile to reduce the stack.  I have about sixteen strips I haven't used but need about twenty one to finish the project.

Section 7:  Used 7 Orphan Blocks

 Section 1-7

-------------------------- Type-u-later,

Monday, March 14, 2016

Gypsy Wife Section 6


If I start that way, you know something is coming.  Section 6 was by far the hardest section to piece.  I love a challenge and that is exactly what this quilt is.  I pieced all the sections together that included a few partial seams.  No biggie, just work each "mini section" to get it done.  I did just that and got it done.

Then, I got my section 1-5 to add number 6.  "Oh no!!!!!" It is not lining up!  I felt something unpleasant wash through me.  I figured out that I missed adding a strip where the first time it is used is in this section.  If you look closely at the first and second photos, you can see the missing green strip on the right side of the bow tie block.  So.....I began taking the entire section apart.  I was hoping I could change some strips around and wouldn't have to take it all apart, but that wasn't happening.  Therefore, this section was already time consuming and then I had to take it apart and resew it together again.

In viewing the next photo and comparing it to the first, you see that the gold strip on the end is now red, as it should be.  I like the first version better, but this will just have to suffice.

Used 21 orphan blocks:   Here is sections 1-6 sewn together.

Here's to praying I pay better attention in section 7!

REMINDER:  I'm using orphan blocks in my version instead of piecing the required blocks recommended in the book.

-------------------------- Type-u-later,

Monday, March 7, 2016

January and February Finishes

My goal is to get some UFOs that I need in lectures quilted.  Also, I want to give myself challenges of using different quilting designs and use different techniques to complete the quilts.  I'm using my quilts as a learning opportunity.  I figure by the time I complete the load of tops I have to quilt, I should have experience to quilt any style of quilt.  In the past, I've only used meandering, loops, and spirals.

Jelly Roll Jam II is the first quilt I quilted on my long arm quilting machine.  Although I'd use long arm machines in the past, I'd never sewn using pantos.  This is my first!  I feel it took way longer than if I'd done my traditional edge to edge designs I'm comfortable with.  However, this is the first technique I learned and I'm proud that I was successful. This quilt top was a made in January 2015.
Closeup quilting of Jelly Roll Jam II
I quilted a healing quilt for my sister that I forgot to take a picture.  I experimented with polyester batting, the thicker kind.  I can honestly say, "I don't like polyester thick batting."  So the third quilt I finished is Noodles.  I used a ruler and stitched in the ditch, my first custom quilt, and used a new to me spiral quilting design in the pink borders.  I matched the thread so well that you can't see it from the front.

Close up quilting of Noodles; I used meandering the the scrappy areas.

I practiced on the Noodles quilt so that I could use an adaptation of the spiral design in the rows on this Autumn Braid quilt.  I stitched in the ditch, diagonal loops, and spirals in the print rows. I had fun with this one.


I have four more tops quilted that I'm working to get binding completed.  Stay tuned for more fun!

 -------------------------- Type-u-later,