Monday, March 25, 2024

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Off the Frame


I had just starting FMQ around the flowers when the tension went WACKO. Yep, I had run out of bobbin thread. My Nolting CLX doesn't have a warning for a low bobbin or empty bobbin. Despite my chronic tinnitus, I can hear the difference in the machine when the bobbin runs out. I don't sew for very long without bobbin thread. I do, however, sew a long time when I run out of bobbin thread on the 201 or the 301. That's maddening. Some folks wind two bobbins and use one on top of these vintage machines so that when the top runs low, that means the bobbin is running low, too. Not me. 

I finished quilting EW today. Oh dear, those are unfortunate initials. They do, however, appropriately describe my feelings toward this particular project. I have been unhappy almost from the start. I am a finisher and I persisted. I practiced ruler work with a circle ruler from Quilter's Apothecary  My initial stitches were pretty bad, just too messy and I did not like the design. I unzipped the quilt from the frame so that I was able to sit on the couch to rip much of it out. Surprisingly the quilt zipped back on to the frame easily. Probably because it was a small quilt. I had never done that before. Kinda chuffed (they say that in the UK) that they worked so well. I finished all of the hexagons first and then went back to do the FMQ on the panel. 

The dense quilting on the panel will hold the added batting in place in the center. I wonder if it will bunch up under the hexagons after washing. Since it is a wall hanging, I imagine I can press it out if so.  

I took this photo in the ambient light from the small basement window.  I like it now that it is quilted. The echo quilting inside the panel was relaxing. I did use stitch regulation for the whole quilt. I have to for ruler work. My machine does not have an automatic needle down which would be a VNF(very nice feature). I am learning how to keep from stitching inadvertently when I shift the ruler. Every quilt is a lesson. 
I will bind it with some Moda Green Grunge I bought today. It's pretty much a perfect match to the leaves. I dunno, this panel did end up pretty much how I imagined it might look after all. Close enough.

I did it again


I am not fond of this flimsy. I bought it when visiting Asheville, NC at Asheville Cotton Company. The panel caught my eye and it was on sale. So I bought eight, because I couldn't buy seven. I should hae cut the strips smaller so that the hexagons would be smaller. I didn't. I struggled with the layout, I couldn't fit the panel in the center without adding back some of the border. I didn't give up. I persisted. I call this quilt my Elizabeth Warren quilt. 

The flimsy is 46 long by 48 wide. I had some leftover batting to use up. When I got far enough into the quilting, it was time to add the batting. Usually I like to sew batting together with a zig zag. My Kenmore 1158-1814 is not sewing well. It bunches the batting as I sew. 

I lined up the batting pieces, overlapping the edges. I drew a cutting line and then cut the two pieces. 

Then I smoothed out the batting and went back to quilting. 
It will work. I think the bobbin tension is too tight in the 1814. I'll mess with that and update you all. 

I know that my previous post showed this same technique in an abbreviated form. Just thought some of you might appreciate the step by step. 

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Serpentine experiment


I pieced this batting on the Kenmore 158.1814. It looked great coming off the machine and when I placed it on the fleece backing on the frame. By the time I landed here in the quilting it was a wrinkled mess. Shit. I cut out the stitching and trimmed up both edges. Then I overlapped the edges and drew a serpentine line along the edge and cut it out. 

It's not the neatest cutout. I hope that the batting stays put. I quilted over it but my design is quite large, so...... 

I finished this baby quilt in just over an hour with just over one bobbin. Some of the flowers are wonky but, hey, I had fun doing it. As my son says, "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good." 

I chose a hot pink thread to stand out on the yellow. It blended well with the blocks and I had some trouble seeing as I worked. Had I turned off the lights and worked in the shadows, I think it would have been easier. We learn by doing. 

I enjoy working with fleece backing. This will be a cozy blanket for the baby when she is old enough for blankets. Right now she is still in utero, as they say in OB. 

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Foul Mouthed Quilter

 I now have a  dot com called FMQStudios.  M. named me that after she spent enough time in the studio on the longarm listening to me swear with increasing ferocity as I pieced a quilt. I don't even remember which one it was. Almost all my quilts start out as "the quilt." As I grow weary of the tedious piecing, "the quilt" becomes "the g__ Da__ quilt." Finally, as I stitch on the borders, it has morphed into "the g-- Da-- F------ quilt."  I created a FB page called FMQStudios for some odd reason. Did I think I wanted to create a business? Dunno.

Today it was the perfect August day. Sunny, breezy, and agreeable temperatures. That meant that the She Shed was habitable.  I spent several hours up there stitching a practice french braid strip. I have so so so so so many scraps. I also managed to put together a 6 by 6 leaders and enders block. I wish I had the tidy gene.

Last week I cleared off the 31-15 so that I could use it to bind my most recent quilt, a Round About (pattern by Donna Jordan). I love this machine. It is almost 120 years old and is in it's original treadle stand with extension table. I managed to coordinate my feet and right knee so that the balance wheel stays put when I use the knee lift mechanism. There is no back tack. I start to stitch and then simply lift the presser foot with my knee and hitch it back a couple of stitches. Works like a charm. 


In this photo I am piecing some 3 1/2 inch vintage pre-cut squares. I found out that the 1/4 inch mark on the 31-15 is actually more like 3/16.  No problem unless you want a true 1/4 inch seam. Which I did when I sewed the binding on to the Round About quilt. Sigh. 

Monday, April 11, 2022

Squeaky Nolting

 I have a Nolting CLX 20 Long-arm. I keep a log to track hours since needle change and last oiling. It was time to oil today. I dutifully dropped one drop of oil onto each of the oil wick ports on the top of the machine head this afternoon. When I turned on the machine for warm-up I heard a distinct squeak. It drove me absolutely nuts. I waited a few minutes to see if oil would reach this squeak. Nope. 

This squeak was clearly a cry for lubrication. I cut the power to the machine, turned the hand-wheel and could hear a whisper of a squeak in two spots of the full turn of the wheel.  The wick ports were wet with oil. I decided that I had to get to the innards. 

Now, the front of the Nolting has 6 hex screws that holds the front plate and light bar in place. Two of them are located beneath the light bar, you can't see them in this photo.  The two on the left side of the photo below also hold in the back side plate.

Back Side plate. 

I have removed the front plate in the past. It requires disconnecting the electrical harness for the light and switches. It's a bit difficult to re-connect the harness so I would prefer not to disconnect that. I discovered that if I removed the two screws on the left side of the front, I could remove the back side plate. Easy. I was able to access the innards.
This makes me happy. I like to be able to see the working parts of a machine. PS,  I disconnected the power before I removed any screws. I also took out the needle. The wicks were wet and reaching their respective targets. The machine wasn't dusty with lint. As I turned the hand-wheel I oiled all the parts I could see. I don't have any idea where the squeak was but it went away. I buttoned everything back up and was back to quilting. 

That squeak might have gone away eventually but I like to dismantle sewing machines and I needed a distraction from quilt design. This scrappy quilt has been a challenge. At least today I accomplished something. 


Friday, February 4, 2022

Zippered Pouch

 I have an abundance of fabric scraps.  It seriously pains me to throw away fabric. I remember visiting a friend who did home decor and she threw away scraps that were huge! I mean three inches by thirty inches. WTAF?

Consequently I have bins of fabric scraps. Admittedly, I get anxious when I look at all these scraps. I am approaching my eighth decade (that means that I am almost 70) and I don't exercise daily. You figure it out.  I simply cannot bring myself to discard perfectly good fabric that I paid 7 dollars a yard for. Yes, my fabric scraps are that old. There are others that are much more pricey, so there is NFW they are going into the bin. 

Today I pressed and cut some 1 1/4 inch strips. Alternating dark and light appeals to me. I had an abundance of dark and not so much light. I dug out some lights, cut them into strips and proceeded to QAYG (Quilt AS You Go) a couple of zipper pouches.

I finished one. We got ten inches of snow last night and I had to clear the deck and the gate. Steven ran the snow blower and cleared the drive. I snowshoed (that is one weird looking word) a path around the yard so the dogs could pee and poop. 

At this rate, if all I did was make QAYG zipper pouches I could stay busy for the rest of my life. I have that much fabric. 

It might be time to destash.