Sunday, May 30, 2010

Quilting with Invisible Thread

 First off, a huge Mahalo to Julia and Janyce for all their encouragement and tips as I struggled with this thread.  I would've given up without you guys!

It's a pain.  After a few hours of fiddling with tension, changing needles, varying spool pins, trying a few different brands of invisible thread and playing around with my BSR foot, I finally got it... maybe.  Okay... I'm not so good at it yet, but I'm learning.  Here's what it looked like at the end of day 1.

Here's some creative threading...  If you look carefully, you can see that I completely bypassed the tension discs.  The thread is running across the front of my machine.  It left a mess on the backing, but at least I got it sewing. 
I gave up pulling out the threads to start over but had to stop doing that as the appliques were getting a bit frayed.  Here's the mess on the backing that I finally decided to live with.  
I've discovered that all I really need to do is sew faster.  Oh yes,  there are a few adjustments I had to make with the tension (like bypassing it completely), and I do keep my spool in a coffee cup with a thread net around it.  I used my BSR foot UNplugged, so I'd be able to use the clear plastic foot.  Need to be able to see what I'm doing y'know.  And overall, the stitching is decent.  I'm not good at it yet, so my stitches are uneven (which is something the BSR would've solved if I had been able to make it work).  But it's finicky thread and I just wanted to do SOMETHING....

So I enjoyed sewing for the rest of the day, got a few blocks nicely quilted and quit for the day.  Looking good eh? 


Then I tried again later...  And darn if I'm not having the same problems. I did the same thing, had the exact same settings, and still there's a mess of thread underneath. Everytime I changed direction, I heard SCRUNCH.......;WRRR.........WHIIRRRR... So I had to stop and found a mess of thread tangled up in the machine.  So this time, I thought maybe it's being finicky about the foot.  I removed the BSR and used my free motion quilting foot.  Unfortunately, I don't have one with good visibility yet,  (NOTE to self:  GET FOOT #24).  But again, darn if I'm gonna stop now that it's working again. 

Here's a pic of what was happening.  Again, I couldn't keep pulling out thread because the appliques were getting a bit frayed. So I left this mess and decided to go on. 

Eventually I got it working again and managed to finish the rest of the blocks without much incident over the next few days.  It appears the problem was with the foot.  I have no idea why I can't use the BSR unplugged, but it doesn't work like that.  I used my Foot 27,  free motion quilting foot with the teardrop opening.  It worked well... forward, sidewards and backward.

I'll post pics of the finished ones later... maybe even back AND front views.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

McKenna Ryan's Faith Hope Love art quilts

The other project I'm working on is the art quilt series "Faith Hope Love" by McKenna Ryan.  I found it at for just under $200.00.  And it was a kit of patterns and fabrics.  I'll have to pick up batting and backing but I was surprised that everything was there.  They did substitute a couple of fabrics, but it is SUCH a great deal that I couldn't pass this one up.   The colors of the fabrics are slightly brighter, not as neutral looking.  But I think that will be nicer for my home.  My home is rather bland, which is why I thought something like this would look nice.  The slightly brighter colors will bring a more cheery look to my otherwise neutral home.

I've already finished making the blocks, just have to get the backing and quilting done and then mount them... so here's what it looks like right now...

I hope the fit nicely onto the frames.  This week, I plan to get some of the quilting done, and maybe have them all mounted before the kids are out of school.  While they're in summer school, I'll be teaching my niece and her friend how to sew, so that will keep me busy. 

Will post an update on this batch when it's done and mounted on my wall! 

Smallworks Celtic Dragon

 One of the projects I'm currently working on is a Smallworks Kells Wyvern.  The picture above is directly from the website of Melinda Small (link below) and is the pattern I'm using to make my own little mascot.  A while back, I made the Dragon pattern (#4063) offered by Simplicity and was dissatisfied with the results.  I reviewed it a few years ago on  Since then, I've been hoping to find a  pattern that looks a little more ... artsy... realistic... kinda... and  I found a line of wonderful patterns by artisan Melinda Small.  Her fantasy patterns are wonderfully detailed and instructions are very good.  I'm not a doll maker, maybe this is why my Simplicity Dragon was such a fail, so having every detail, from tools to stitch size is extremely helpful.

I've selected fabrics, traced patterns and cut them out.  Currently I'm putting it all together, which is taking a bit of time.  But here are a couple pics of my current status.

The pattern requires several fabric choices, and here are the selections I made:
The picture below is the current state of my dragon/mess.  The pieces are small and curves are tight, but her directions are very good.  I am finding this project to be difficult, but doable, and as long as I take my time, I think the little bugger will end up being a wonderful little mascot to guard my front door.  
More progress to be posted soon...  I'm hoping he'll be ready for his first flight within a month.