Wednesday, August 26, 2015


The Nolting came with a stand alone bobbin winder.  It is a simple aparatus: a thread stand, tension discs, a shaft for the bobbin and a motor.  To engage the winder, the motor tips down, toward the direction of the arrow.  There is an on/off switch but the motor stops when the bobbin is fully wound.  If you lift the motor up without turning off the switch, the motor will run again.  AMHIK.

 The winder did a terrible job of winding evenly.  I had to make some adjustments after trying the manual approach without success (i.e. using my finger to guide the thread).

 If you look closely at the picture below, you can see the indentation  in the white part of the stand within the circle.  It is hard to see, but there is also an indentation on the black, metal part of the tension discs.  The arrow points toward it.  There is a nipple just under that indentation and it is, likely, design to sit into that indentation on the white base.  When it sits in there, the bobbin winds off balance to the left.  I loosened the Phillips head screw and stuck a washer between the white base and the black metal part of the tension discs.  This allowed me to shift the tension discs so that the bobbin would wind more evenly.

It isn't perfect, but it is better.   Oh, yeah, I also tightened the thumb screw so that there was appropriate tension on the discs.  This provided me with a much tighter, consistently wound bobbin.
I am getting decent results with these bobbins.  I sure would love to have them more evenly wound.  Relatively speaking, though, this is pretty good.

Here are some photos of the finished quilt.  I don't really have a decent place to show off large quilts.  Our bed is a hybrid queen size bed.  The dogs have an extension at the foot and there is a little pace for Frannie on one side.

I rather like how the back looks.  Actually, I am rather pleased with the overall results, front and back.  Even the mistakes are kind of interesting.

I took it over to the  Quilt Zoo today for show and tell.  I made it just before they were to start the Block of the Month class.  Nina and I found some bad stitches on the back.  When I got home I ripped them out and fixed them using the 31-15.

I like that machine.  It has a large throat and a big table.  The action is not so great.  I think the belt is too tight.  The balance wheel wants to go backwards when I stop treadling.  Gotta fix that.  I think this may be the machine for attaching bindings.  It has so much room.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I did ride my bike again today.  Personal best: 22 miles.  We went as a foursome.  I struggled up one hill while they zipped past me.  Otherwise, I managed to keep up; else, they were being kind. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015


I looked at that border and decided that I would just play around with the machine.  No stitch regulation, this is all free motion and forgiveness. 

I think the high from the bicycle ride carried me a long.  I sure had fun.

Get That Ride in Early!

After 20.4 miles. 
So that you can get back to those sewing machines and that quilt!

Friday, August 21, 2015

One Hundred and Twenty

miles.  Yes, it took me 10 rides, but just the same.  I started biking two weeks ago.  My friend, Sonja, rode with me yesterday.

"Have you bought any more sewing machines?" she asked as we pedaled along.

"Oh, sewing machines are so passee." I joked.  "I am a cycling maven, these days!"

Truth is, I want to get back in the shop.  I just haven't had the time. OK I haven't taken the time. I really love cycling and honestly, to cycle 10 miles takes 90 minutes.  We live in the country and the best bicycle riding is along the road, one valley over. The hill between here and there is a 
K I L L E R.  I know I could walk some of it and ride some of it.  It is just more pleasant to burn a little diesel and drive over, park and pedal happily along.

Yesterday we rode for 20 miles.  Add that to the twenty miles from Wednesday.  Did you get Forty?  Aren't you smart.  I spent the afternoon on the couch yesterday and barely had energy for quilting.  By three, though, I was up and at the quilt frame.

I am almost finished with this quilt.  It is a practice quilt.  That means no ripping out mistakes and design change is perfectly legitimate.  In fact, anything goes. 

I managed to keep it pretty square as I advanced the quilt. 
But, now at the end, there is a fullness in the border that I will have to fix. 
I think I can work it out.  I float my quilt tops.  I may get the top roller bar down from its storage space in the quilt loft and use it on the next quilt and see how that goes.  This was a large quilt and my first experience fully floating the top. 

Ruler work is improving.  OK.  My technique is improving.  I don't stop and start so much and am faster with the machine.  But I don't get the stitches in the ditch.  That's ok.  This is a practice quilt and I am being very kind to myself.
Mom is better.  I no longer think about her constantly.  Cycling helps ("Don't ride at dawn or dusk," she warns.  Sheesh.  I'm 62, I think I know as much)  Quilting helps.  I wish cleaning the house and grooming the dogs helped as well; then I would have a clean house and pretty, sweet smelling dogs. (sigh)

Saturday, August 15, 2015


The other day a patient told me she was referred to me because someone told her I was "earthy."  That I am.  Does earthy also mean organic?  I don't know.  I think that my quilting is quite "organic" on this quilt.

I have been having tons of fun.  I am more relaxed with the machine, even when the needle gets stuck and the  machine screams at me until I turn it off.  I don't know why it happens, the needle  won't move.  The red light comes on and then the alarm sounds.  It is piercing.  I have to shut off the machine and manually move the needle out of the fabric.  It has happened a few times.  I changed the needle and thought that would fix the problem.  It didn't.

I am using blue, green and white thread on this quilt, which means I am re-threading it A LOT.

I think it will be fine.  I am giving this quilt to a dear friend.  She will be very forgiving, I am sure.  I must remember, I am still a novice but gaining with every stitch.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Inspiration vs Indtimidation

I am not so sure why the Nolting intimidates me. I spent much of the weekend getting it all set up with the Arrowhead quilt. 

This afternoon I finally decided to just jump in.  I have been here before.  Once I get started, I gain confidence.  It's that activation energy I have to overcome.

I thought about just developing an edge to edge design.  I think that is harder that quilting the individual spaces (in this case blocks).  My inspiration was a quilt I saw this spring  on the 1893victorianfarmhouse blog: here.  It, too, is an arrowhead quilt and I just love it.

I spent a little time just looking at the quilt once it was installed on the frame.  The more I looked at it the more I liked the idea of a meandering design (Sorry Linda) in the border.

This afternoon I set to it.

I had fun and gained confidence with the machine.  Personally, I like the look.

When I used the Bailey, I pinned side leaders to my quilt.  I hate pinning.

I tried chain stitching extra fabric to the back of the last practice quilt, but I found that quite unsatisfactory.  This time, I made the back about ten inches larger than the top. Still that wasn't enough.   I fashioned some side leaders from an old sheet and some dowel scraps.  I used the small Red Snapper pieces to fasten the leaders to the sides and it works pretty well.  Plus it was free.  I priced side leaders on line.  They aren't terribly expensive, really.  I can afford them.  BUT, I am practicing for retirement and, hence, have adopted an austerity budget.  Double thinking every purchase. (Except a new bike helmet.)

I thought that a Celtic knot quilting pattern would look nice on this quilt.  I tried drawing one, but I am not so skilled.  I have been practicing the "victorian" feather quite a bit.  I can draw it out on the white board but, when it comes to quilting, that's another story.

I have a tendency to flatten out the "fronds"
 It isn't so easy "on point."  I am no ballerina, that's for sure.

So I am at it again with this quilt paying closer attention to rounding out the "fronds" or whatever we should call it. 

I imagine the arrowhead blocks will demand ruler work.  That's ok.  I need the practice.

Practice Practice Practice.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


At the start of summer, I asked Steven if he could put up a shelf across the wall between the two lights in my sewing loft.  The building has a gambrel roof and the interior walls slope.  He said he could.

I arrived home from North Carolina on Sunday before noon.  The trip was uneventful and I was not so road weary that I could not sew.  So..... I trekked out the the sewing loft.

I found evidence that Steven had been thinking about the shelves.  The brackets were lying on my 301cabinet and his drill and impact driver were on the cutting table.  I saw numerous holes in the wall where he had searched for the roof rafters.  Luckily he hadn't put them up yet.

Wednesday we worked together to figure out the best position.

"Oh, it's a good thing I didn't put them up yet.  I would have placed the lower then that."

I wanted the shelves up high because I need the head room.  It might be a bit high, actually, but I am not telling him that.  He made 6 brackets.  There is another wall and he agreed to make two more brackets and put up another shelf.  That one will be a tad bit lower.

All that thread was housed, along with some scraps and other sewing paraphernalia, in the  Barrister Bookcase tucked into a corner in the loft. (This photo is the only one I have of the set up.  I had moved the thread into those plastic containers since this photo was taken, you get the idea)

 My original plan was to get rid of the bookcase and put the design wall in that corner.  Instead, I created an ironing station.  There is half a chance that I can keep the floor around the ironing board clean and thus, keep from collecting all manner of dust and thread and fabric scraps on my quilts.
 You know what would be really nice?  Another shelf on that wall next to the ironing board.  One just the right size to hold the iron.  Hmmmm.