August 16, 2018

A Milestone Approaches

I was just looking at my blog statistics and saw that yesterday's post was my 399th post on this blog.  That means next Wednesday's post will be my 400th!  Wow!

Full Steam ahead!

August 15, 2018

Quilt 110: Moda "Frolic" - and using the Q-Matic - DONE!

Because it's a small project (and less of a financial investment than most of my projects), I decided the "Frolic" quilt should be the first one I quilt using the new Bernina "Q-Matic" computerized quilting accessory.

So here's the quilt mounted on the fram and ready to go.

I selected this pattern to quilt inside each of the square blocks on the quilt:

There are actually quite a few steps required for the Q-Matic.  First I have to tell the computer the overall dimensions of the project on the frame, then mark a "safe area" (a concept I'll cover in a later post).  Then I select the pattern I want and tell the Q-Matic where to stitch it.  There are actually a couple of different ways of doing that.  The method I chose is to "mark" the corners of the block by moving the sewing head to the corner and entering the command to mark that point.

In the photo below, I've positioned the sewing head and am using the needle laser (which tells me exactly where the needle will go if I start stitching) - so I know precisely where I'm marking.
Then I mark the next corner the same way....
And so on all the way around the block I'm stitching.

Once the corners are "marked", the computer can calculate the size of the design, and handle any adjustments to the design if the space I'm quilting doesn't have the same proportions as the design I selected.  Finally I press the start and the sewing head glides to the design's designated starting position.  The head pauses so I can pull up the bobbin thread, and once I've done that, it stitches away!  Here's a photo of the head doing the stitching:
And here's the final design.  Just PERFECT!  One block down, 41 to go!
Here's the finished quilt!

It turned out really well - although I did have just a little trouble with the Q-Matic when, about 2/3 of the way through the bobbin thread ran out.  I had to stop, change the bobbin, and then get the Q-Matic to pick up right where it left off.  Well... I had trouble with that and ended up finishing the stitching in that block using free-motion instead of the Q-Matic.  Thankfully, this design is so simple that it wasn't hard to finish.  But I'll have to play with the machine and practice starting/stopping properly.

That's OK.  I knew when I started there'd be a learning curve.
(36" x 42" - quilted on the Q-Matic - cotton batting)
doubleclick the photo above to see a larger image

Here's the back - taken with a bit of side-lighting so you can see the quilt design.
Here's another photo of the quilt back, taken so you can see the print.  It has dolls and teddies and text saying "cute babe cute babe" and "sweet baby girl".
I thoroughly enjoyed making this quilt - and "multitasking" - because as Q-Matic was chugging along, I was at my sewing machine putting together another quilt top.

August 8, 2018

Quilt 110: Moda "Frolic" - and keeping blocks organized during top assembly

When I was in Florida last year, I visited my favorite quilt shop - "The Quilt Place", and stocked up on charm squares.  But I messed up - I don't know what I was thinking.  I should always buy at least 2 packs of any charm squares, as I so love making simple block quilts, and 1 pack of 42 squares just doesn't go very far.

So when I got this one:


I only bought one!   Well... I guess I was thinking "baby quilt".  But even so - going to a small baby quilt.

Here are some of the prints - very bright, cheery colours!
 
I decided I'd frame all the squares in a snow-white 1.5"lattice.  But before putting the lattice together, it's important to know how I want the squares arranged.  So here's the grouping I decided on.

In order to keep everything straight - I always pin the blocks together in strips (as you'll see above if you doubleclick the photo and get the larger version of that picture).  Pinning the blocks just makes the most sense to me.  As I sew them together, I remove the pin holding 2 blocks and sew them.  Then I pick up another strip of blocks and sew 2 blocks from that strip together.  A kind of "chain piecing".  I do get japped once in a while with the pins, but this is the fastest and easiest way I've seen of doing it.

To keep the rows straight, I put pins on the top blocks.  One pin for the first row, two in the second, 3 ind the third (as you see in the photo below) and so on.
Doing it this way, I can power through the top pretty quickly and never lose track of where the rows go, etc.

I'm kinda proud of my technique.  Nobody showed me this, I just came up with it on my own.


August 1, 2018

Quilt 109 - "Old Fashioned Charm" Baby Quilt - Done!

I love Moda's charm square collections.  They are just so lovely and easy to work with. Like this one: "Old Fashioned Charm":

Here's a photo of some of the prints in the pack:

I had scraps left over from previous projects that worked extremely well for the borders.  A soft powder blue (solid) and a peachy flower print which, although the fabric isn't a Moda print, it marries well.  There isn't actually any peach coloured flowers in the Moda pack, but with the blue border to seperate the squares from the peach border, it more-or-less fools your eye.
48" x 56" - quilted on the longarm ("Butterflies" groovy boards) - cotton batting
I used a new groovy board set on this one: "Butterflies".  This was the easiest and fastest groovy board I've worked with.  Easy because there just no measuring or adjusting to advance the quilt - just line up along the bottom of the board and go.  And fast because the quilting on this is nowhere near as dense as any other machine quilting designs I've used, so it whipped up in no time!
The backing is plain peach solid - looks great and you can really see the stylized
butterflies and swirls from the groovy boards.
This one goes to "Inspirational Quilts".