Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, A & C!

When you've never seen a cake, it takes a while to catch on--

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Quick Quilt, and Janome Report

I pieced this baby quilt a while back as a break from the triangles, and quilted it Saturday to see how the new Janome works. I like the quilt: the colors, and the cheerfulness, and the simple block, which I saw somewhere and copied. I had a bunch of fat quarters in these stripes and polka dots, some designer and some JoAnn cheapies, but they have all gone together for a guild charity quilt.

I'm also happy with the meander with starburst quilting design from Machine Quilting by Sue Nickels. The starburst gives you opportunities to turn and move around the quilt smoothly. It also hides starts and stops well.

And the Janome report so far:

1. Free motion quilting: A The few extra inches under the arm make a world of difference, as does the large table I got as part of a promotion. And the little feature that brings up the bobbin thread with two clicks of a button is almost worth the price of the machine! I'm still not a great free motion quilter, but this was not only much easier, but also produced better results.

2. Straight quilting with the Accufeed foot and Accufeed Stitch-in-the-Ditch foot: B I couldn't see that it was better than a walking foot, and since the Accufeed thing has to be attached if you haven't been using it, it isn't any easier. To be fair though, I think I skimped a bit on the pin basting, and that may have been the problem.

3. Accufeed 1/4 Inch foot for sewing on binding: C- A mess. The flange doesn't make a clear guide, the design of the foot makes it hard to see the edge of the quilt, so my binding was actually less straight than usual, even with the wonderful Elmer's glue technique. Not only that, this foot requires a special needle plate, a real pain. I'm glad I found this out before I tried to bind an important quilt. I guess the regular foot might work better. I hope so.

(Added later) I owe the machine an apology. Turns out you have to move the needle to 5.5 to get the 1/4 foot to work right. I you do that, it's fine, a B+ at least.

4. Accufeed Stitch in the Ditch foot for second binding stitching: A Great! The little guide stays right in the ditch, and the stitching was fast and very accurate on the front. On the back where the less-than-perfect first line of stitching caused the binding to be an uneven width, the results aren't as good.

I'm looking forward to seeing what other tricks this machine can do, and I'm sure that practice and familiarity will smooth out some of the problems I've had.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


About a week ago I decided that maybe the broken dishes quilt I'd been dawdling over since June could make a wedding present for my nephew who is getting married the end of September. This gave me a real incentive to push to finish the piecing to get it to the long arm quilter by today so I can then bind it and take it to the wedding. I just finished last night, and here it is. A bit aggressive, isn't it? We'll hope they like it. The registry stuff wasn't too out of line with this look; they don't seem to be the ivory brocade place mat and crystal candle sticks type of people, or Pottery Barn minimalists--more the folk art and pottery look.

So this quilt, hurricane watching, and horrified fascination with the political scene have kept me busy; no posts, and very little blog reading. I hope to be back in gear soon.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Saturday I drove up to Saugatauk, Michigan to meet Nellie Durand, of Nellie's Needles, who was showing her work and doing a demonstration at Good Goods gallery there. I've enjoyed Nellie's blog and admired her beautiful work for several years, so it was delightful to meet her. Here Nellie is constructing one of her lake series and in the other picture you can see another of her quilts. She works in several styles, all fascinating. If you're not familiar with Nellie, be sure to visit her blog for more examples, and to read some of her tutorials.

Nellie suggested I check out the Petter Gallery in nearby Douglas, and I was so glad I did, and had a chance to see the work of Sue Holdaway-Heys. Her fabric work is striking, combining quilting and painting to produce beautiful landscapes and floral studies. Take a look at more of her work here.

I've also been getting acquainted with the new Janome. Last Thursday, during Al Gore's speech (about ten minutes), I made this pile of triangle squares on the new machine. It is fast! It's also very accurate. The quarter inch foot has a little flange that guides the fabric very securely, making a nice straight seam.

So I'm pleased. Of course this morning I spent 15 minutes trying to figure out why I had a thread jam. I think the machine wasn't threaded right, but I'm still not sure. This learning the ropes is normal, I guess, at least for me. Mechanical I'm not.