Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Busy

I've been so busy the last two weeks that I haven't had a chance to rest. Not that it's a bad thing...I'm just ragged around the edges. :)

Here's what's taken up so much of my time recently: the New Orleans Civic Symphony had two concerts last week and the Tulane Symphony has a performance Thursday night. This means the hour drive to New Orleans for rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and performances. I also did a wedding gig in the French Quarter on Friday. I love it though. :)

I also finished the "Spring in the 70's" quilt. Though a friend told me I should call it "Psychotic 70's". lol. All that's left to do is wash the quilt to bring out the crinkly goodness and then gift it to the recipient. I'm not sure I want to gift it now though, I've secretly begun to love it. I might make myself one, but use vintage linens instead of the Kaffe Fassett.

If anyone is interested - each patch in the giant nine patch squares are 4" finished (so the nine patch blocks are 12" finished), the sashing is 2" finished, and the border is 6" finished. The finished quilt is 66"x80". It was a quick and easy quilt top to put together and I'm loving the results. :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Quilting Frame

OK, Jim this post is just for you...because I love you like that!

This is my B-Line quilting frame. Bran bought it for me last year - and I LOVE it. My only complaint is that the throat of my machine is too small, so when I get to the bottom edge of the quilt the rows of free motion are much much more narrow than the top. (This isn't the fault of the frame though, it means I need to get a new sewing machine with a wider throat.) This really bothered me at first, but once the quilt is finished and washed it's much harder to see the little narrow rows.

There are three bars. One for all three layers of the quilt, one for the quilt top, and one for the quilt bottom. I actually got a 4th bar for "free" that's intended for the batting, but it's actually just as easy to let the batting sit in a pile on the floor.

All three layers of the quilt top (at the top of the quilt) are pin basted to a leader that is attached to the bar that sits within the machine's throat. Then the top is pin basted (at the bottom of the quilt) to a leader. And the quilt bottom (at the bottom of the quilt) is pin basted to another leader. This makes up all three bars. Using the bars you create tension on the quilt from top to bottom.

The clamps are used to create tension from side to side. No basting, pin or otherwise, is needed on the sides, though I find that a couple of pins on each side helps.

The sewing machine sits in what I call the cradle. The cradle is two parts. The top part sits on wheels and rails that run vertically and the bottom part sits on wheels and rails that run horizontally along the length of my dining room table.

You attach your sewing machine's foot pedal to the side and squeeze it with your hand to run the machine. This actually bothers my wrist quite a bit so I only do one or two passes at a time and rest. I could quilt an entire quilt top in a day if I really really really wanted too...but I usually spend 4-5 days working to give my hand and wrist a break. I think they sell some kind of button you could use instead of squeezing the foot pedal, but I'm cheap. lol.

You mentioned that you were doing some free motion without a frame. I actually liked doing it that way better, but I didn't like that my quilt back would shift around and I'd get these big folded pieced of back that I couldn't fix or "ease" in. I still do baby quilts without the frame though, but I spray baste baby quilts. The best piece of advice I got for quilting without the frame was to wear gardening gloves. The little stickiness on the finger pads of the gloves make manipulating the material around much easier. Oh, and another good tip was to increase the top thread tension as well.

Regardless, you should come visit me down here in the South and play with my toys!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Proof Positive

Proof positive that I actually got this quilt on the frame and it's being quilted. Yes, I actually got to the next step with this quilt instead of starting another project. :) I went to my local quilt shop on Wednesday and bought the backing and binding material. I always buy more than I need when I'm there, I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this... I got a layer cake and some other little goodies.

After I'm done quilting this quilt I've got four others that need to be quilted as well. I may just leave the sewing machine where it is and start quilting at least one more of those quilt tops that are sitting there waiting. But, I've got this Halloween quilt idea in my head...