Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thready Issues

Go to the end for my Works for me Wednesday tip.

Wow! There is so much to learn about machine quilting besides the super fun part of the free motion movement. I bought a length of Ricky Tim's Oodles of Doodles to make a simple lap quilt for my mother who has.... a love for what she calls 'contrasting colors'. We definitely have differences in color preference, though I'm getting more fond of brighter colors as I age. I made a poor choice of backing once you figure in thread color. I was trying to give her a choice of something more subtle for the back and am quilting the doodles (tracing in essence) in white thread. That showed every mistake! I switched to a dark blue, which was impossible to get the tensions perfect enough. Below is a test swatch on the edge of my project; you can see the dark blue on the right. The direction in which I move the fabric seems to affect the tensions. Anyone else have this problem? So I switched to a light blue color for the bobbin. You can just barely make it out on the left echoing the attempt at a feather.

See the doodles? I thought they'd make great practice work. And they do, but I miss the freedom of doing my own thing. And that pink floral at the bottom? Don't worry, it's part of my test swatch.
And there's another tip from me, this one is my original thought: Using a loop of painter's tape to hold all my loose thready bits! It really works for me! Especially since my dry rough hands like to hang onto the threads.

Child's Sewing Machine

This is my little daughter, age 4, on Christmas day with her favorite gift: a Singer chainstitch machine for kids. It was $14.99 at Michael's and it sews like it. Basically, it doesn't interlock all the stitches- skips stitches. But we took the thread out and she 'sews' by guiding the fabric under the needle, getting used to putting the presser foot down, using a foot pedal and moving the fabric.

If it weren't for the finger guard at the needle, I think she'd be better of with my sewing machine. But then we'd have to take turns with my machine and wouldn't be able to sew together, which she loves. I'm keeping my eye out for a thrift store machine!

See that pin basted quilt in the background? That's Leah's quilt that I was supposed to have finished before Christmas! But I boxed it up so she could unwrap it. It still needed some quilting and the binding but she was thrilled anyway.

If you're wondering about the bandaid on her finger, it wasn't from the needle. Chances are there's not even an actual break in the skin. She just loves bandaids for every boo-boo. Hello Kitty bandaids are her favorite, so maybe a Hello Kitty Janome is in her future. Maybe I could one day upgrade to the Horizon and she could have my current machine? HA!

Leah's Quilt

I think she likes it! This was Christmas morning when I gave her this unfinished quilt. As of a few days ago, it's done and she loves it.

Just pretend you don't see all the clutter and junk in the background. Nothing to see, move along. What is it about Christmas morning that completely trashes the house?


Non-skid Ruler Treatment

I read about this trick for making your rotary rulers non skid in an email newsletter, the origin of which I can't remember. So keep in mind this is not my idea, I just tried it out! And it works fabulously! A little clear nail polish at the corners with some salt sprinkled in before it dries, and viola! A non-skid ruler without any extra expense! Nevermind that the nail polish is nearly a decade old....I digress. The only draw back? I had gotten so used to my slippery rulers that I now have to make a mental effort to not slide the ruler accross the fabric too much when repositioning.And below is another trick I've been using, post-it notes to mark my measurements on the ruler. Because it's really easy to make a mistake with all those lines. And those Christmas presents I was working on? Some of them are now birthday presents.