Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My New Friend Millie!

Putting aside catastrophe for a little while, I'd like to introduce my new friend Millie:

It's a Millennium Longarm Quilter!  Big enough to put on a King Size quilt, or a little 2x2 wall hanging, and whatever you need in between! This pic is from the company website, but it's the same model as the one I get to use now at the Stitch Chicks Quilt Shop.  I took the certification class last night and am totally in love!!
Here is the little wallhanging I used for the class:

the front

the back

We had a little difficulty getting going, but it turned out the thread was bad, once replaced, it was smooth sailing!  This machine is heavenly!  The whole thing glides around with a feather touch, and you can do freeform designs (that's what I did) or set up the pantagraph in the back to copy images and patterns with laser guidance! (That's another class that I'm looking forward to!)

I love the look of the back of this project so much that I want to try a whole cloth quilt down the line.  My first date to work on my own is in the first week of November and I'll quilt my Shadowbox quilt. I'll post a picture when it's done.

Swap-bot Ambassador!

A nice post on the Swap-bot blog about me!

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Backing went Pear-shaped--almost Literally!

Lesson learned: When sewing 2 1/2" strips in a sort of "Jellyroll Race" fashion, it's better to follow the instructions.  At least look them up and see how it works.  What I did was sew all the little strips together into one very, very long strip, with nice mitered seams (this part was right) then I cut one off that was (I thought) the correct length for the quilt (110")  Then I took the new end, and attached it to the one I cut off and sewed them together. cutting it off at the 110" length (I thought).  Then I added the new end to the other two and sewed it on, cutting it at the 110" (I thought...see the picture developing here?)

After I had made a width of about 20 inches, I ran out of pre-sewn strips, so I cut more and sewed them together.  Realizing I was almost out of one of the six colors, I bought another 1/4 yard and continued, though I started with a fresh 110" length and added to it, because the whole piece had been getting bulky at the machine.  I created another 20"  and decided to sew this one to the first one.  THIS is where I finally noticed the first error.  My first strip had not been 110", but 130"!  Which was why I ran out of one of the colors.  I also now had run out of another color, one I couldn't buy at the original shop because they were out, too. :( I decided to take apart some of the sections to re-sew some of the yellow strips and spread out the colors a bit so I could make the thing balanced.  THIS is when I found the FATAL ERROR.

When you sew the jellyroll race properly, you're supposed to sew all your strips together into a mile-or-so-long strip, then fold this in half and sew it together into a half-mile-or-so length, then fold that in half, and so on.  This puts the strips together in a way that they remain straight.  When I did it my way, what happened was that every one I sewed together pulled just a little bit on the previous one, causing the whole thing to create the most graceful CURVE!  It looked like a very shallow rainbow. :(  NOT what I wanted AT ALL!!!

So.  I took the whole mess to my favorite quilt shop (The Stitch Chicks in Franklin, CT ) where, try as they might, I finally received the bad news--I would have to either take the whole thing apart, strip by strip, or cut it up into manageable squares and redesign the whole thing.

I chose to redesign it.  I couldn't stand the thought of ripping out 800million-or-so stitches.  So, I bought some extra 1/4 yards of the colors, ordered the yellow one online from Amazon, and when I get it, I'm cutting the stripes into squares and rectangles, and leaving the new color pieces in wide strips and I'm going to use some smoke, mirrors and lights to fake it until I make it look good. 

Just goes to show that, especially if you don't follow directions created by someone who probably went through this process themselves, you are doomed to repeat history. I really, literally pays to look before leaping.