Friday, March 29, 2013

Doodle Quilting and Ruler Work


 I'd like to think that I work best with an imminent deadline, but if the truth were told I am a huge procrastinator. We had a wedding to go to last weekend and I stayed up late quilting up a quilted linen pillow for the happy couple. First I made some guide lines with my ruler and air erasable purple pen. Then the names and a few designs were drawn out.


Then I started stitching in the middle of the pillow, and worked my way out. I did this in a kind of Zentangle style. Have you tried Zentangling? It's a lot of fun and uses many quilting designs as well as many zentangle designs lend themselves to quilting.


 Linen can get off grain pretty easily, so I used spray baste to adhere it to the batting. When I spray baste, I use Sulky's KK2000, Temporary Spray Adhesive. It's safe to use indoors and no odor. It's temorary, lasting 2-5 days, though it comes undone with ironing too. I use it for fast and small projects. Even though this will be a pillow, I used a lightweight fabric for the backing of the quilting so there's plenty of texture and dimension.

quilting with rulers

 For the background around the main design, I used my handy-dandy ruler toe and did straight lines on a 45 degree angle about half an inch apart. The hardest part was making it line up (enough) when I got back to the beginning. It saved me from doing my usual 'quilt the heck out of it' routine and then taking forever because of the density.

 

 I promise I didn't misspell her name!

"Love" is written in letters about 1/2 inch high!


This was really a lot of fun! I love to write and doodle with my sewing. I changed direction of the straight lines at the center of the sides, top and bottom. This made a nice little chevron-y thing.


Love putting in little details!


And this tiny flower near the word, "Grow". I pray they will grow old together with much joy.

 
 The couple are a bit unconventional, so I thought something less traditional would be just the thing. I do hope they like it! After all the work, actually only 4 hours or so, it snowed and we couldn't go to the wedding.

I'm linking this article with Leah Day's FMQ Friday, go check it out for more free motion quilting fun!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Part 3 of 3; Review on the Free Motion Couching Foot by Janome

Since it took me a while to get all the videos for my review of the Janome Free Motion Couching foot uploaded to youtube and the blog, I thought I'd better write a new post to link to it, for those who read with a blog reader or other form of RSS.

All the videos can be found at Free Motion Couching Videos along with some commentary. And the final video, without commentary is below. The bulk of my thoughts on this foot can be found at Free Motion Couching Foot Review; Part 2.

 
I enjoyed doing these videos and I hope you find them useful! Ask a question in the comments and I'll do my best to answer.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Free Motion Couching Review Videos

My hubby worked his magic and I've started to upload and edit the videos of my test drive of Janome's new free motion couching foot. This first trial was a bit of a downer. The foot just couldn't couch this finer yarn well. But it gets better when I try a larger yarn.

For a more extensive written review (while having problems getting the videos loaded) see Janome Free Motion Couching Foot Review Part 2.

I decided to test this yarn on my free motion couching foot that I adapted (hacked) from the convertible free motion quilting foot set by Janome.

My foot has a smaller diameter hole for the yarn to pass through, so it did better than the Janome FM couching foot, but this yarn was still too fine to get stitched down well.


Here's the final video in the review of this foot.


In the end, with a larger diameter yarn this foot did much better. As I said in the video, I'd like some changes in the foot, but it enlarges my toolbox (of techniques) and so I like it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Janome Free Motion Couching Foot Review Part 2

I have some wonderful videos for you of this foot in action, however they are in .avi format. While .avi format is listed as a supported format on YouTube's site, apparently it is not so. So these videos will have to wait until I figure out how to convert them to a more preferred format.

So to have something to post, I offer up the written portion of the review, along with a few photographs. "Few" because who needs photos when taking video? Sigh.....

Edited to add: All three videos are now live on youtube and in the post; Free Motion Couching Review Videos.

 Here is the new foot, part #202110006. It cost me $25.20, bought at a small shop in central Virginia, USA. The two balls of yarn to the left in the above picture were the yarns I tried so far. The very first try was with the pretty fine sock weight (I think, I'm not knowledgeable about yarn) yarn in the very front.


 Above is a side-by-side comparison of the FM couching foot with the wonderful convertible free motion quilting set. Here I am showing the two toes that came with the couching foot (on the left) and the open toe is on the convertible FMQ foot and the "hacked" couching toe I made for it.

 Here is a close up of the free motion couching foot. Note that this is the standard darning type foot, which needs to have the rod at the top of the spring put over the needle screw. This means it goes "clackity-clack" as you sew.  There is a nice tutorial and video at Leah Day's site, The Free Motion Quilting Project for how to better fit this style of foot to your machine. This turns it into a foot more like the convertible FMQ foot, in that it doesn't go up and down anymore. However, this foot is a bit short for my machine, though it is for high shank Janome machines, which describes my 6600P Janome. This means that it floats pretty high over my quilt sandwich. I have just a smidge of presser foot pressure adjustment left, so I would not be helped by the rubber band adjustment, though I most likely will hack it eventually so it is quieter.
 Above is the #1 toe, which is the larger of the two toes. Note the handy notch in the foot to easily thread the yarn and thread into this foot. Though if the yarn gets too tight as it unwinds and is fed to the machine, it can pop out through this slot. It also can come out the slot when moving the fabric to the right. I think this feature neither adds or takes away from the foot.
 My biggest question for Janome is: "Why oh why didn't you just make compatible toes for the free motion quilting set?" Then I could just change out a quilting toe for a couching toe. I have to hope that this might be in the works. Maybe I'll have to send them an email.

It doesn't stitch like the picture!
The biggest difference between this new foot and the couching foot I rigged up (and the Bernina foot as I understand it) is that it is designed to be used with a zig zag stitch! Any of you who have played with using the zig zag in FMQ knows that it looks very different when moving the fabric from side to side. You would also know that if you were to couch yarn in the way that is shown in the illustration from the packaging above, you would have to rotate the fabric/quilt, thus negating the benefit of doing the couching in free motion in the first place.

Sorry Janome, I think this is a big fail! Not that I'm saying the entire thing is a fail. Read on.

 Using the zig zag means the hole is large in order to accomodate the swing of the needle. Above is the smallest diameter toe with the finer yarn I tried. Even with setting the zig zag to the 1.5 setting for the widest stitch this toe can handle, it still missed attaching the yarn most of the time except for when I stitched in a mostly vertical direction.Changes in direction pulled the yarn off to one side for several stitches, resulting in unattached yarn.
Shortly after I took the above picture, I started shooting video. So until I get the formatting issues resolved, this is the last picture I have for now. You can see there's quite a bit of room, both in the hole around the yarn and under the foot.

I then switched to the convertible FMQ foot set and couched this same yarn with my "hacked" FMQ couching foot. I had to reset my machine to a straight stitch first; I nearly forgot! And proceeded to couch this yarn much better, though still not perfectly.

Before I forget, Vivian, asked in the previous post what thread was I using. I used Superior Thread's Bottom Line thread, top and bottom in a cream color. I did not want to complicate this test drive (no matter how slightly) with using the monopoly. The Bottom Line disappeared quite nicely into the fluff of the yarn.

Then I switched back to the FM couching foot and used a heavier yarn, still with the smallest diameter holed foot. You can see photos of the two stitchouts with the FM couching foot here. The foot performed much better with the larger diameter yarn, though still not perfectly.

Bottom line? No, not the thread, rather the verdict of this review: The foot certainly has some serious design issues that could be improved upon, but it has earned a place in my tool kit of creativity (especially since it's an hour and a half drive to return the foot). Since it cannot handle small diameter yarns and I would love, love, love to FM couch Superior Thread's Razzle Dazzle, I may re-hack my hacked foot to use for finer yarns.

If I had to choose between hacking the plastic foot of the convertible FMQ foot set or getting the FM couching foot I would hack the foot. I would most definitely not choose the couching foot over the entire convertible FMQ foot set!

I hope I can get the videos loaded and posted for you in the next couple of days!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Janome Free Motion Couching Foot Review

I was able to play around with the brand new free motion couching foot for my Janome today. I used up all of today's "quiet time" to do the stitching and shooting a few videos for you.
free motion couching Janome
 I will say that the foot did not work well with the finer yarn that I wanted it for, so there's no way it will work for the Razzle Dazzle by Superior Threads, which is what I was hoping for. More info on its performance hopefully tomorrow. I hate to string you along, but my non-stitchy life is calling. It sounds a lot like, "Mom!"
I did try a really nice larger yarn with some sparkle, and it worked a lot better with this foot. Not perfect as you can see in the feather, but definitely better. So far I am not in love with the foot, but I think it definitely has something to add to my toolbox of creativity.

I will hopefully get the rest of the review, with videos, done for you by Wednesday. Hope you enjoy and please use the comments to leave questions on this foot or the technique and I will do my best to answer them.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Free Motion Couching on a Janome Part 3

Back in July of 2011 I wrote several posts on free motion couching, inspired by Leslie at MarveLes Art Studio and the wonderful free motion couching foot she had for her Bernina. Part 1; Part 2. I posted about creating a free motion couching foot for my Janome also, since there was no foot like the Bernina's for my machine.

On Wednesday, I visited a wonderful sewing machine shop that carries Bernina, Janome and Elna machines in Roanoke VA called Alpine Sewing Machine Co. While talking about the kind of sewing I do, the lovely Swiss accented proprieter mentioned the new foot from Janome that allows you to attach yarn or cord in free motion. I jumped on that foot like a starving dog on a ham bone! [Edited to add: Part # 202-110-006 for the high shank models]

I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but I should this weekend. So far my main thought about this foot, which comes with two 'toes' for differing diameters of yarn, is why didn't they make it comaptible with the super-awesome convertible free motion quilting set? Maybe that's in the works?

For more information about free motion couching, go check out the older posts above, and Leslie's blog too. Leslie's most recent post was also about doing some free motion couching.

I'll post my results in the next few days!

[Edited to add:  Janome Free Motion Couching Foot Part 2  and  Janome Free Motion Couching Foot Review Part 3 of 3, plus the videos of Free Motion Couching Foot Review.

PS. A special thank you to Vivian for commenting today on my free motion couching foot 'hack' post and lighting a fire under me to post about this new foot.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Poured Out 2 Quilt Done

 Whew! Done just in the nick of time!

Free motion quilting, machine applique
This quilt is the second in a series inspired by the combination of my church's logo and the experiences and emotions during my husband's successful battle with cancer. Those negative words in the background threatened to choke the life right out of me. If it weren't for God's love and grace poured out over us over and over, I don't know how we would have gotten through it.

This was another hard quilt for me to do because of the emotions behind it, but it seems as if my best quilts have a spiritual theme. That's why I have entered it into the Sacred Threads Exhibit. It's the first time I have entered anything into a show, exhibit, or competition. I hope that others are touched by it. I do want to do a more cheerful quilt next! I also hope my pictures are good enough to get the quilt into the exhibit. You really can't see all the detail, especially the quilted words on the jug.

I learn so much from each quilt I do. This has machine applique and of course, a ton of free motion quilting! I need to learn more about when to cut the background out from behind applique. I was afraid to do it so I didn't. The black showed through a bit on the jug and the cascade of water, mostly just at the needle holes of the stitching. I also need to mark the edges of the quilt so my feather plumes don't get cut off by the binding.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Quilt Craziness


Perfectionism and procrastination in the same person can have pretty interesting results......

Two days left! Gotta quilt!