Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Squirrels on the Loose!


I was patiently and calmly quilting the Adinkra quilt, following  the momentum I had built on quilting a couple of other quilts recently. I stitched in the ditch. Remember the good old days when stitching in the ditch was the quilting, and not the preparation for the quilting? I quilted the inner borders.  I am now working on the individual blocks. I haven't decided on what to do with the outer borders yet.


But then Black Friday and subsequent sales happened and fabric and beads and scrapbooking paper kept jumping into my cart.  Nothing like a mystery quilt to give yourself an excuse to buy fabric! I am going to make Bonnie Hunter's On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt.  Right now, I made about a fourth of part one of the mystery blocks. I think I want a small wall hanging but I am very tempted to make the full size. I had to stop myself from making any more blocks. I think I need a bit more variety of fabrics in this set.


And then when I was making the first blocks for the mystery quilts, I decided to go into this box for a wider range of the aqua/teal colors.  And saw that even though I've collected this fabric for a long time, I haven't cut or sewn anything. I said I wanted to make this quilt a long time ago, ahem in June of 2015. I even made a label for it for my sidebar. 

I decided that this equilateral triangle quilt would work wonderfully as a leader and ender.  Not much thinking required to just sew triangles together.  I cut what I could into triangles, and the leftovers can go into the mystery quilt.

Yeah, I've added two new quilts to the mix, and there are a few others that are trying to weasel their way in line.  The WIPs just took a tiny step backwards, and I will continue to work on them so they can also continue to make progress.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Review of Sewsteady Wish Table - Flat Bed Extension

A flat bed is pretty much a requirement for quilting a quilt on a domestic sewing machine. It keeps the quilt from creating drag, helps keep the stitches be more even, gives more control to the quilter, and spares some sore muscles.   You can try to prop up the space with books and other things but that is difficult since it is hard to find the right number of books to make the table level, and they do move out of position.  I did that for several years, before I was ready to admit I was a quilter.

I then bought a sewing table for my Kenmore - a real table made especially for sewing machines where the table sits inside a lowered space so the bed of the machine is level with the table, and that worked well for it.  Unfortunately, my new machine does not fit in that sewing table, so I knew I needed something for my Huskvarna Viking that gave me a flat bed.  I've been saving up for it.

One day, I found this at a good price, and decided to go for it. The Sewsteady Wish Table (affiliate link) comes up with the extension table (the flat bed), and has some bonus things, like the drawer, a table lock, a vinyl cling ruler, and a circle sewing tool.

Decision Making

Deciding on whether to get the table, and what kind to get took me a while.  There are different sizes, and there is an option to get the table without the accessories.  I wanted to get as big a table as I could get that would fit on my desk where my sewing machine lives.  My table is pretty small, but I read the reviews, and they told me how far apart the feet are, and it seemed like it would just barely fit.  I wasn't too worried though, because I would always put the sewing machine on a bigger table for quilting. Having it fit on the desk would be preferable though.

The Purchase

Buying the Sew Steady Extension Table was very easy. Just put it in the Amazon basket and buy it.  A day or two later, they sent me an email requesting the make and model of my sewing machine and then they shipped it.  It didn't take long, because they apparently make several kinds and give you the one that is the best fit for your machine.  You don't need to measure anything.

They sent several emails asking me how I liked it, and telling me they wanted me to be happy, and asking me to write a review on Amazon. The first one came the same day they shipped it. It was nice that they wanted me to be happy.

Some Assembly Required

It came pretty quickly.  It does need some minor assembly.  Those black table legs have to be put in the spaces. That part is pretty easy.


Here you can see that the table leg just barely fits over the edge of the desk I am using. All the feet fit firmly on the table. I can use the table right where it is. Yay!


 Here you can see that the back table leg just fits on the desk too.  The table itself goes past the desk, but this does not cause a problem. You probably won't be cutting it so close when choosing a size, but I thought I would show it to you just in case.


Then you turn the bottom to move the legs up or down until it is even with the bed of the machine. This part was not as easy, because some of the legs required me to turn left to move up and right to move down, while the others were the opposite. So first, I had to figure out which turn did what before I could get it to do what I wanted.  And of course, to get them to work together, this required several turns. Still, that part isn't that hard. We're quilters; we have patience.


There is a vinyl cling that gives you the guidelines for sewing. I was really excited about this part because I thought it might mean I could do half square triangles without marking  You have to put the cling on your machine so you can see exactly how it will fit on the machine, and cut out the part where the table is cut to fit  the machine. Then take out the backing and position it under the table. The cling is very thin though, and even though I tried to be careful because of that, it ripped right away as I was trying to position it.

I did ask them for another one, but they told me I could buy one.


To place the table on the sewing machine, you have to take out the storage compartment.  On the one hand, this isn't a big deal, because you wouldn't be able to get to the storage compartment anyway once the table was over it, but it does mean one more thing to keep track of. It does fit under the table so it isn't that big a deal. A bonus is that the table comes with a drawer and it is clear, so you can see exactly where everything is. Another unexpected bonus is that there is room under the table to store more things out of the way but handy.


Everything seems to fit pretty well on the table and it is ready to sew.


Here you can see that the table isn't really custom designed for the machine, since it doesn't go all the way to the edge of the bed.

Test Drive

I tried it out by quilting some small quilts on it.  Because they were small, they probably wouldn't have created much drag anyway, but it was really nice not to have to worry about the quilt weight. I did a couple of those.


Now I am trying it on a bigger quilt, starting with quilting in the ditch with the walking foot.  The table does a great job holding up the quilt and avoids drag.  The quilt does get stuck on the edges of the table - the rounded edge at the front of the picture.  You do have to watch to make sure a part of the quilt isn't stuck there or on the edge on the other side, which would cause a bigger problem than the drag would, making the quilt hard to maneuver, and keeping the needle going over the same space over and over again, or making very small stitches.

Then I moved on to free motion quilting.  It worked fine for me, although Amazon does recommend the Super Slider (affiliate link) to help make the quilting even smoother.

The table is strong enough to hold the weight of the quilt, but you do have to be careful to put too much weight on it.  I wouldn't lean on it to help me get up after a long afternoon of sewing, for example.

Another thing to note is that I do have to move the table in order to get the bobbin cover off.  It is an easy matter of sliding it away and back. I haven't tried the table lock so I'm not sure how it would work with that.

The Circle Tool


The Circle Tool is a nice bonus to have. It helps you sew circles.  I had a hard time understanding the directions, and found a YouTube video that explained how to use it. Looking back at the directions, I'm not sure how they could have explained it differently, but basically the blue thing (they call it a pinmoor) faces up, and you put the two feet into the holes in the table. Find the center of your desired circle on the fabric. Take off the blue pinmoor and put that center spot of your fabric onto the needle that the pinmoor covered, and sew.  The tricky part when using embroidery stitches is to fix your stitch width so that the join between the start and the finish is smooth.

Also the circle tool makes fairly big circles. I haven't tested it yet to see what size circles it makes normally.  I am thinking of quilting my circle 365 quilt with circles.

In the sample above, I was trying to see if I could make a smaller circle. Since the tool wasn't properly positioned, it must have moved a bit, which is why it isn't circular. I am sure that when used correctly, it will be circular. It did leave a noticeable tiny hole in the center, which may be due to my not following the rules. I haven't tried it out past this so I couldn't say for sure.




Overall Impression

The table does work to provide an extended flat bed on the machine, making it easier to quilt. I originally thought the table was okay, but nothing spectacular.  But while I am quilting each quilt, I am thinking about how I am going to quilt the next quilt, and not thinking about the next new project I want to make.  This is not  normal for me, so this table should get credit for that. I'm not sure what they could do to keep the quilt from getting stuck on the edges, and it pretty much does what it says it does.

The flimsy vinyl cling and the weird feet hopefully are one time issues, but they do cause some minor issues.  I am going to give this four out of five stars.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Day 1 of Circle 365

When I turned the page to November 16 in my 5-year diary on Thursday, I saw that it has been a big day over the years.  In 2014, I got a cute sticker I was able to add to beautify my page. Apparently that was the only exciting thing that happened that day. But in 2015, I was painting my picnic table and in 2016, I finally found and bought my sofa.

The other exciting thing about that day was that it was Day 1 of the Circle 365 quilt. The one where you make a circle a day for 365 days and at the end of the year you can make a whole quilt out of your circles.  Yeah, well, Day 1 was in 2015. And I am still nowhere near 365 circles. I haven't given up on the project, it is just that I keep making other things.

But to commemorate anyway, I made some more circles. I am also showing some circles I made earlier this year but probably haven't shown yet. According to my blog, the last one I showed you was 191 in July.

Block 192


I believe this was a fabric that was gifted to me by another quilter.  It looks like a leftover from a bigger circle. It was in the box unsewn, so I sewed it on.

Block 193



When I bought the extension table (which I still have to review), it came with a circle maker.  I decided to practice using it.   It makes bigger circles than I expected.  Here I am trying to see if I can finagle it to make smaller circles.
.

Block 194


This circle is made of the backing fabric of the Adinkra quilt. I will press it at some point.

Block 195



This is one of the blocks that was already made, so I am not sure if I have shown you. I couched a yarn.

Block 196

 


You did expect some red and white fabric here didn't you? Does that make this quilt a child of one of the other generations? Or is it a distant cousin since it won't share much DNA with the others.

Block 197



There's another one. Both of these were already made and in the box.

Block 198



This one was also made from the gifted fabric, and was in the box.

Block 199



Another one that was already made. It uses Adinkra fabric. The address is from a piece of junk mail I was using as a backdrop.  It was really windy outside and all the blocks kept flying away.

Block 200



Block 200! You don't know how happy this makes me. Nice big round number.  More Adinkra fabric left over used with Life of Plenty leftover. Of course, if I have already shown you any of these blocks, I may have to backtrack. 

Linked to:

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Quilt Reveal: Red and White Tree

Two quilt reveals in a row!  I am on a roll!

The last time you saw this quilt, it looked like this:



This is a third generation of the red and white quilts, and I was pretty sick of the red and white by now.  I've already learned that the fabric looks pink from a distance and doesn't even play nicely as a red and white quilt, so making a third one of these was irritating me.  Whoever made up the arbitrary rule that I should keep making red and white quilts?


I looked at the package I won, and back at this quilt, and decided the green would look quite nice as apples.  I know you and I both thought that the red could be leaves or apples, but we were both wrong; the apples are green. Since this was supposed to be a scrap quilt, I found some other scraps that might work and brought them downstairs. (Yes there is a blue apple and yes I did that on purpose.)


I added a sun to the top left corner, because all of the drawings I made as a child had one of those. I didn't color very dark as a child so the fact that this sun isn't very bright is fitting.


We had a power outage and I decided to work on this quilt by candlelight. I did not get a chance to audition the fabric, but I kept telling myself "You have a red tree. Does it really matter what color this is?" The eyes are big because I didn't dare to make them any smaller. There is no way I would have found them if I dropped them. I like how the baby bird looks like it is about to fly. Maybe it is a flying lesson. Or animatedly telling Mama what happened at school.


I added the grass, and teased it  so it would fray.  I had to add a doggie. It doesn't look like Zeus, but it does look like a dog. I put him on top of the grass, because that is what I would have done in kindergarten.  This dog is so light, he walks on blades of grass.

I used some tulle to cover the quilt before quilting.  The gluestick was old and the glue is washable and I wanted to make sure everything stayed properly in place. I was worried that the glue might stick to the needle and make it difficult to quilt, but it didn't. The tulle makes the blue look like denim from a distance.

 
 I made cloud-like scribbles in the tree as I would as a child. I also added diagonal lines across the background to represent the rays of the sun.  Let's see, I have apples, birds and a dog on the quilt. A, B, D.  It seemed like I needed something that started with the letter C. I thought "color" might be too obscure.  I didn't want car or cat, so I had to look in the dictionary for other C words.  I added a clover.  While I had the embroidery thread out, I added other little bits around the quilt too, which you can see in the pictures throughout this post.


And in case that doesn't look like clover, or think shamrock instead of clover, I added a little carving in the tree.


Here's the finished quilt. I used the same apple green fabric for a wide binding. I wound up having a seam in the bottom left corner, making it bulky, but I think it is okay.


Here it is with its parent.The grandparent quilt had to be sent to the nursing home because there wasn't enough room for it.  This quilt was a lot of fun to make from start to finish.

Linked to:
ScrapHappy Saturday 
Let's Bee Social

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Quilt Reveal: Red and White Presents

Since I had such a good time quilting my last quilt, I decided to go on and quilt another one. Here's my finished red and white presents quilt. The lighting isn't good in the fall/winter, but at least you can tell that it is finished.

 
Unfortunately this one was not fun to quilt.  I used free motion quilting, and my biggest mistake was not planning a continuous line.  I knew I wanted to do loops in the inside squares, and a bigger loop in the long rectangles, but my plan for the remaining sashing involved traveling back along existing lines, and there really wasn't a good flow from one space to the next. 


(I obviously wasn't trying to match points on this quilt. The center square is half an inch finished.) 

There were other issues too. I kept running out of bobbin.  There is some kind of problem with the machine, and the bobbin fills only about half way.  I have a separate bobbin winder and my two broken machines upstairs have bobbin winders that work just fine, so I don't have any excuse for not using one of those, but I didn't think a small quilt like this would need that kind of effort.  Then I ran out of spool thread too.

I also had other interruptions - some perfectly normal family type stuff, and some bots who are worried about the interest rates on my credit cards.  When I was working on the tile quilt, after an interruption, I would come back and say "now where was I?" and resume quilting. With this quilt, the interruption would lead me to say "let me turn this machine off and do . . . " something else. 

These interruption meant I wasn't able to establish a good rhythm flow to the quilting, and the path changed from one session to the next. I don't think any of that is obvious in the finished quilt though.


Here it is, a second generation quilt next to its parent.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Winner!



I received this bundle of fat quarters from Quiltmaker!  Thank you so much!  So many ideas are swirling in my head on what to make with these.

I had promised myself that the next new quilt I make will use up scraps, and even though these are not scraps, I may have to add some of these to keep myself from starting a new quilt with this bundle alone.