Monthly Archives: April 2013

Back on Track!! and some pics of my new sewing table!

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I had a pretty productive weekend ( for a change ) after being stalled since the Easter weekend!  So I learned a couple of things over the last few days, the main one being “put the dam pins where you are going to be sewing) LOL  Seriously , putting them in the center of each block was a pretty big bone head move on my part.  That was the main reason i had puckers when i stitched across a line of stitching at  a right angle to the way i was going!

So i spent a few evenings last week picking out all the rows that had any puckering, there were a few that didn’t , but it was worth it!  Then i pinned the h**l out of of each line i was going to stitch and presto!! no puckers!  I have only 8 lines to sew on the center part of the quilt and then the borders before i can bind it…. but nearly there!

I did have an issue with my walking foot, i was using an open toe style foot and using the same area on each side of it to guide how far away my stitching was from the seam line… Well I could not figure out why one side was always narrower, you know a bit closer to the seam, than the other?? then i had a closer look at the foot and discovered the edge that i was using was a different width on each side! Really, seriously ??? they couldn’t make them both the same?   but at least i figured it out and from then on could compensate and have a more evenly space design. Sheesh!

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a picture of the quilt top while doing the borders so you can see it while i describe the quilting i am doing on it. Anyways , what i did to quilt this was stitch about 1/4 inch away from each seam line, on both sides of the seam. and then just where the blue squares line up diagonaly i did a row of stitching diagaonaly through them too. It looks pretty nice, (if i do say so myself) LOL

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Here’s a couple of closeups of the quilting in progress. I am using Aurofil size 50 thread and a 3.5 stitch length to do the quilting.

So here are some pics of my revamped sewing space.

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this is the new sewing table dh built for me, there are drawers on the left side as you can see and behind them there is open shelf storage  facing to the left (as you are looking at it), you can see my tv up on the wall, much easier to actually see now that i am back further from the wall.

We still need to tweek the height of the machine, the bed of it is a scant 1/8th of an inch higher that the table, but it also slants down a slight bit towards the end ( the end on the left as you would sit at it ) and it is even with the table there , so that complicates things a bit. It hasn’t been an issue with this quilt, but i think it could for Free motion quilting.  I also have a little table , see it up against the wall on the left? that i can use on my left side at the front to hold some of the quilt too.

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Looking the other way, you can see the floor isnt done yet. Walmart is out of the black and white foam tiles …  and i have a large piece of smooth plywood for my chair to roll around on. and where the blue bag is hanging is a rod on the wall with plastic hooks that i hang rulers …. and well bags too.  The yellow ribbon is one my Granddaughter Venessa and I tied and put in our tree while her daddy ( my youngest son) was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011-12.  You can see the flourescent light fixture above the table, there is also one over the cutting table, got them at home depot a couple of years ago , fairly inexpensive and very good lighting.

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My cutting table and some storage shelves, (which used to be in a closet before we tore down the wall) there are also shelves perpendicular to the white ones, the black end supports are just visible on the left , they have some sewing and quilting stuff on them ,but not much …. other stuff though. I also have a tall plastic storage drawer unit , just to the left of the shorter one on the left of the picture, yes down near the bottem!anyways i keep , fat quarters , charm squares, jelly rolls etc in the tall drawers.  My ironing board is set up pretty much behind where i am standing to take the picture. I thought about setting up something beside my machine to iron on , but i kind of like the idea of getting up to stretch the legs now and then so i just left it where it was.One of my favorite things in here is my new design wall, the white sheet right behind my cutting table, so now i can layout blocks and see them and re-arrange without having to go to another room!

so that’s all the news for now!  well except the snow is actually melting here! yaaaaaaay!  i can see some grass in our backyard and the front is about half  melted!  could spring actually be almost here?

The Best Laid Plans

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Where to start?

I need to back up a bit to the long weekend…. I had big plans to get the machine quilting done on my Sundown quilt.  I decided to use my machine as it was and not set up my free motion quilting setup ( more on that in a minute)  my thinking that the quilt was small enough that i could manage it on the raised bed of my machine… nope!! did not work well at all, the stitches would become smaller as the quilt became hard to move.

got a few of the vertical lines done and when i did a horizontal line i would get a pucker when i got to the vertical line. I consulted Harriets book, Heirloom Machine stitching and reread the chapter on straight line/grid quilting. I reduced the  pressure on my presser foot and that helped and i also realized i need to stabilize it better by sewing a few lines evenly spaced both vertical and horizontal before really getting going on the grid quilting i am doing. Basically it is a line of stitching 1/4 ” from each seam line both vertical and horizontal.

Having sorted that out the real problem was my sewing space or lack thereof.  I have used a system of styrofoam panels cut to fit around my machine with a piece of heavy clear vinyl on top. used a little table on my left, also built up to the same height.  Worked quite well once set up , but was somewhat time consuming to setup and take down. the problem i was having was i plan to do the borders and then the quilting and i thought i would be wasting a lot of time.

so as it was still only about 8:00 am on good friday i grabbed Heirloom Machine quilting and dh and i went out for breakfast. I showed him the kind of setup i needed and we talked about how it could be done.  My thought was to move my sewing room to the current guest room, which is probably twice as big and then we could build a wall on the current room and have a guest room, but we would also have to re configure our computer room upstairs for the grandkids.

the other option was to expand the room i am currently in, it has a closet with a door at the end of the room with built in fairly deep storage shelves.  when we got home we did some measuring and if we tore down the wall of the closet we could leave the shelves up and still get about 2 1/2 to 3 feet more space. perfect!!!

so we tore down the wall that day, ripped up the old ratty indoor outdoor carpet and put in some of those foam puzzle shapes on the floor. they are really good for standing on and better for finding pins too.  We also decided to build a sewing table that would be level with the bed of my machine that would be good for piecing and quilting.

Off to Home Depot we go looking for a piece of melamine that we could cut to the size we wanted etc etc. found one, the two of us couldnt lift it LOL

and we would also need to get a special blade for the saw.  Couldn’t decide  what to do so we went for a coffee to figure it out and as we went by the paint department i said they make Melamine paint!!  so we got a piece of 3/4″ sanded plywood, some melamine paint , some brackets to hold the shelf the machine sits on.  We got them to cut it there to 4 by 5 feet. easier for two old folks to manage into the basement !

we made a template for the machine and dh did a practice cutout before tackling the cutout on the tabletop. all went well!  while he did that i sorted and organized shelves and containers and moved them to their new place. we also cleaned out some stuff, some to the dump and some to thrift stores.

I still havn’t painted the table but i have tried it out with the piece of vinyl on it and it works great!!!  we were away this past weekend so didnt’ get it finished.

my machine has an oddity on the machine bed where  the needle is, that area is slightly higher that the very front part of the machine bed. It didn’t create any issues when i tried it out but i am thinking that it might when doing free motion. I think our solution is to put the machine on a slightly thinner shelf and have a small piece of something (yet to be determined) cut to fit that small area.   I picked up a slider thing this past weekend and with that over top it should be fine.

I still have a bit of organizing to do but havnt quite decided where some things should go. so i may leave some of that till i am using the setup and see where things make the most sense.

Dont have any pics yet but will try and get some this week. then its back to quilting!!!

thanks for dropping in!