Monday, January 23, 2017

Quilting with Rulers: Ombre Triangles Continue

My quilting is slowly getting done on my Ombre Triangles quilt. Slower than my favorite purple pen evaporates. Good thing I took pictures of the overall design.


The marks are mostly to point out which shapes I had planned to put where, not really something to stitch over. I did mark a line to indicate the apex and base line of the smaller inner triangles. I try to do as little marking as possible, using the markings on the rulers and the seam lines to guide me. But sometimes, there's not much to go by, so I definitely do mark.


I'm continuing to break it down into different geometric shapes. Last week I did a hexagon and this week it's time for a large triangle. This triangle is actually one of two overlapping triangles, so there's a part of it I'm not quilting.


I'm really loving using my straight 12 inch ruler for these half inch echoes I'm using to delineate the geometric shapes and then going back and filling in with this little flower fill.

I now mostly quilt in our store, Sew Simple of Lynchburg, and I've realized that I need to do some tweaking of my set up to allow me to quilt better. Most of the machines are set up for shop demos. I keep one set up for free motion quilting most of the time, but hadn't really set it up for my own use. (I'm really hoping we can move the shop in the coming year so I don't have to share studio work space with the sales floor.) I had some issues moving my ruler with my project.


The first issue was quickly identified. Once upon a time Janome had some Supreme Sliders cut to to be used with the extension table that comes with the Janome 8900. I had an extra one in the shop and was using it on the 8200QPCSE set into a Horn cabinet. It's long, but narrow. The slider really needs to be big enough to cover the joins between the insert and the cabinet surface.

It caused my ruler to get stuck or jerk when going over these areas.

Silly me....I preach to y'all about the need to have a good smooth surface to quilt on.

The next issue was found shortly after. It seems the machine had slid to the right a little.....


The arrow above points to where the insert was no longer supported by its own support built into the machine. The lower insert was causing my ruler to rock as I quilted with the ruler to the right of the needle.

Here's my story and I'm sticking to it..... I think that as we gain skill in free motion quilting (and likely other things in life), we can become a little blind to the basics that we paid so much attention to when we first started out.

I know I've got some awfully talented quilters here...have you let things slide in your quilting set up? Or not slide as in this particular case? Especially if you've traveled to a class, retreat, or workshop.

If you are new to free motion quilting, I cannot stress enough how much a good set up with a large smooth, flush to the machine bed, surface is to your quilting.

Going forward I will be putting one of my Sew Slip mats around the foot of this machine and make sure that it's in the proper position. (I will also be praying that the right space opens up for our shop. We need classroom space! But that's not exactly a actionable tip for you!)

Happy quilting!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tip for Using Mini Cones or Large Aurifil Spools

Here's a tip I shared on Facebook and on Sew Simple of Lynchburg's blog (my bricks and mortar shop and Janome dealership):

If you are using a horizontal spool pin on your machine (sideways), you need to use a spool cap.

 A spool cap (sometimes called a spool holder) holds the spool or cone on the pin. These usually come in two sizes (there’s a third type I’ll talk about in a minute) and are meant to not only keep the spool from coming off the pin, but to hold the thread slightly away from the actual spool. This keeps the thread from getting snagged on the spool, especially if it’s an older spool with the notched edges and a slot cut in it for the thread end.

Enter thread that is cross wound on a mini-cone or spool like the large spools of Aurifil.....


These threads are wound in such a way that they are meant to be fed off the top of the spool/cone without any interference from a spool cap. If you use a separate cone stand, that's great. But many use the horizontal spool pin on their machine. Some may use a spool pin, others don't, but the cone doesn't look entirely right on it.



While the cone is full, it's rarely an issue. As the thread is used up though, it can get hung up on the small spool cap. Without a cap, a nearly empty cone can start to 'dance' on the pin as it unwinds.

I've got a solution for you:


 This is a Janome product which fits on the horizontal spool pins of all Janomes (Kenmore and Elna machines as well, I expect). The larger, new machines come with them, so check your accessories for it. Some of my students tell me that other brands are also making these special spool caps now.

I do sell them online at Amy's Quilting Adventures, but I also suggest you check with your local dealer.

If you liked this tip, you might want to read the whole article I wrote for Sew Simple. It's part of a series on troubleshooting mysterious machine issues.





Friday, January 13, 2017

Free Motion Quilting with Rulers: Teal Triangles

So glad to get some stitching done this week. This super simple 60 degree triangle quilt made with V and Co. Ombre fabic  was pretty fun to make. I did a lot od sit and stare time in front of my design wall in the shop to decide the balanced, but random looking color placement. So totally not random.


There's just the one fabric in this quilt. Isn't that cool? I had already done some preliminary design work for these triangles (using the super awesome QP Edge 12" ruler and the TopAnchor 9"Dahlia) so it was good to actually start on the real thing.


First to choose the thread. This quilt runs the gamut from light to dark, and I knew I wanted to use just one thread. Too light wouldn't work, nor would too dark. This Glide thread was just right. BTW, would anyone be interesting in buying Glide thread through my online shop? It's an idea I'm kicking around.


Once the thread was chosen, time to do some stitch in the ditch or SID for short. I chose to do this with my straight ruler in free motion instead of using the Accufeed on my Janome or a walking foot. I had three reasons: 1) The designs I wanted to make would overlap and break the quilt into bigger chunks, so I wouldn't just be stitching straight lines all the way across the quilt. 2) Since I'd be stitching bigger chunks, I wanted the freedom of stitching in free motion so I wouldn't need to rotate my quilt a bunch if using the walking foot. 3) I'm stitching in the shop and the machine that has the most room for this project is already set up for free motion quilting with the ruler foot. (reason 3.5: I'm a wee bit lazy) 4) It's what I do! Ruler work rocks! (Yes that's 4 reasons...anyway....)




Then the fun got started! Just a wee bit  so far. Yes, just a tease. The life of a shop owner has very little time to actually sew or quilt. I'm working on getting more creative time before I go completely AWOL.

Have you all seen Christa Watson now has a class on Craftsy? I've mentioned her here on the blog (she's a reader of mine) before, we've got a quilty mutual-admiration thing going on. She's a great teacher of beginner quilting, whether with a walking foot or free motion. Her class is The Quilter's Path. Plan it Stitch it, Quilt it.


Craftsy is running a Buy One, Get One Free sale. Click on the above instructor's affiliate link and
make 2017 a year of more making! Buy a Craftsy class and get a second class of equal or lesser value for free. Don't forget my second class on quilting with rulers if you've one of the enjoyed my first class. Quilting with Rulers, More Techniques and Motifs is all about creating ruler work designs with just a few basic rulers.

Use coupon code BOGOJAN17 at checkout. Excludes Mastering in Minutes and The Great Courses. Limit one per user. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Expires January 15, 2017.

I've been watching Christa's class and I'm looking forward to doing a more thorough review soon. She's an enthusiastic teacher and her class is packed with information.

How is your new year going so far? Are you seeking more creative time too, like I am?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bernina Ruler Foot

I was blessed to have a customer and free motion quilting student come into the shop last week so I could take a look at her Bernina and its new ruler foot. As a Janome dealer whose shop now sells fabric, I couldn't work up the nerve to visit my local Bernina dealership and quilt shop to ask about this new foot.



I should have her come in more often. As soon as she came in, we got very busy during a time when the shop is usually fairly slow. This meant we didn't have much time to actually stitch with it and I wish I had taken a little more time with her to reward her for letting me see this new #72 Bernina ruler foot.



I shot a quick video, but nothing of either of us stitching. It wasn't the best footage, so I'm going to pass on posting it.

I like it. For Bernina machines of course. I still love my Janome foot. This Bernina version comes the closest to the Janome foot than anything else on the market. The height is easily adjustible with a thubscrew and there's give to how it attaches to the machine like my Janome foot, which helps it glide over bulk better than a solidly attached foot.

It has a little cut out in front of the needle for visibility too. This foot hopped on the machine she brought in, so it needs to use 1/4 inch thick rulers. I don't know if it can be adjusted with machine settings like Patsy Thompson did with the Janome ruler foot she put on one of her Berninas so it won't hop. It isn't a clackity clack kind of hopping like the generic spring type free motion feet. I'm guessing some Bernina free motion feet might move like this as well. The hopping will help it move over bulky seams well.

My customer tells me that the foot is made so it won't crash into the needle clamp if you go down with the needle with the foot up. I admit, I am so used to making sure the foot is down, I never checked this out. It's a great feature.

As far as rulers go, Bernina is selling their own rulers now, but from what I've seen so far, they are regular long arm rulers that have been available for some time, but now these have the Bernina name on them. Again, this foot needs 1/4 inch thick rulers.

The new ruler foot works on newer machines only.

Here's what I got from a Bernina Ambassador:

The Adjustable Ruler foot #72 is compatible with our current line of machines; the 3 Series, 4 and 5 Series, and 7 and 8 Series. It is not compatible with previous generations of machines with four digits in the model number or earlier. This foot is separate from the BERNINA Stitch Regulator, and is not compatible with BSR. Please check in with your local BERNINA store to find out more about the Adjustable Ruler foot #72 and ruler sets, if the foot is compatible with your model BERNINA, price and availability.

For more information, check with your Bernina dealer as I am a Janome girl, through and through.

If your machine can use this new foot and you already have a different foot, should you switch? That is entirely up to you. If your budget allows, I'd say yes. The foot isn't cheap and if you had any of the other options out there, you likely have some thinner rulers that you can't safely use with this foot.