Peace is...a world in which women are inspired to hope and imagine.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

consistent stitches

Have you ever wondered why it's necessary to have consistently sized stitches in quilting? Why it's a prized skill? Why would anyone need to make sure that there are 8-10 stitches / inch for handquilting, and a standard sized consistent stitch for machine quilting? Well, detail oriented artistic types might say because of aesthetics, because an even consistent stitch is lovely to behold. Quilt masters might say because it's indicative of skill set. I put forward another reason. Not that I disagree with either of these, at all. However, what I think quilt classes neglect to teach and online resources never that the more consistently sized the stitch is, the easier it is to rip it out. And I learned that lesson today. Got done quilting "asleep on a cloud" (otherwise known as "fast asleep on cloud nine"), on the main part of the quilt top. Why I did not spread the meander quilting all over the top - that means including the outside border - is beyond me. Now I'm short on thread, and was planning to do something funky on the border. Say, a heart in each corner, and hearts and clouds all along the border. No sooner do I do the first heart and I say...hmmm...not liking that  heart. Do I stop? No, I continue. I do the first cloud, with the thread breaking once, and realize that I'm going to have do some echo stitching around the cloud to get out of it where I need to to go to the next heart. Do I think it looks OK? hmm. not really. and I keep going...the next heart...hard time getting into it, couldn't get out of it to move on the to the next piece...and out it all comes. 10 inches of quilting...straight line between 1 heart to 1 cloud to 1 heart. I just finished. This took me oh, say about 5 minutes to quilt, and an hour to take out. And why was it so hard to take out? because my stitch length varied from very very very tiny, to a gapping half centimetre. omg. And now what am I going to do on the border? Really, am almost out of this lovely thread - variegated with blue, yellow and white - it looks just lovely on the clouds, and gorgeous on the deep blue sky backing. If I run out of thread, that means a trip to Guelph this week...for one spool of thread.

What else have I learned in quilting this quilt? well, that another machine would be great. Sewing machines have what is called a "throat", the distance between where the needle drops down to where the body of the machine in. My Janome sewquist has about a 5" throat, and it's awful hard to squeeze 30" of fabric into those 5 "...and then manuever the material in a manner that will keep the stitch length consistent. Other machines intended for machine quilting have a 10" or 12" throat. Where's my Christmas list??

OK, putting it down for the night to think about the border, and come back with a clear head. At least all the bad stitching is out. If I hadn't done that now, I would have left it for a very long while!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

deep breath...and jump right in

Hookay, started the quilting on Anna's quilt this afternoon. Took a deep breath, watched several quilting videos - especially by Leah Day...and sunk the needle in. Exhilirating on one hand, and very scary on the other. Turned on some soothing music (I tell ya, when Toby's favourite Reiki CD comes in, that will be my quilting music!!), took a swig of a Coke..and started! Time now for Toby's much deserved walk, the patient boy. Will continue after the walk...who knows, by end of day tomorrow, I might even have it bound!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Getting ready to quilt "Floating on a Cloud" for Anna...

I love this quilt. I don't want to post pictures is a gift and I picked out the pattern myself - unlike the last few, where the mother to be picked out the pattern. I'm very excited. The blocks were a great size to work with on the front, and on the back, I did something different that I've never done before...sticking to my M.O. to always do at least one new thing on every quilt. I'm even practicing the quilting motif (which is intended to be a fairly large meander) on paper with the machine in advance. I did manage some machine quilting risk by not getting the fabulous thread I really wanted...I got a quilting thread somewhat more muted that will be very forgiving of mistakes. The quilt itself is also larger than the other baby quilts I've made. For those of you who know me, you will understand when I saw that visualizing measurements is not my forte. so...60" VS 46", yeah, it's a different size, but would I actually catch that? nope, not me. So actually quilting it will be more of a challenge than the others - that's a lot of my material for my Janome sewquist and me to manage.

What else...I'm working on trying to instill some order into the list of projects around the place. I love lists and planning (why else would I be a project manager!), but somehow my tools from my workplace haven't really made it home with me. So, I've found this great low tech way to organize projects in various areas of the home: Personal Kanban...found it via The Simple Dollar, which is a great blog about simplifying your life, and managing your personal finances. So I'm in the process of setting up my personal kanban for our household far, the "To Do" side is the only side with something in it. I'm also going to set one up for my quilting projects. They are piling up in my head, and need to make it down on paper or a wall somewhere so I can start prioritizing and visualizing.

One of my next projects that I want to start on is a quilt based on a course I just finished on Peace Building Conversations, from Shirley Martin. I'm having a great time planning and designing blocks in my head. This quilt will be a challenge for me all over...being the first time I'm designing one, to the types of blocks I'm going to use, to the way it's going to be quilted...etc.

And the Sampler quilt? I've gotta get a name for it. It's coming off the quilting frame and coming with me on Thanksgiving - who knows, maybe the quilting will get finished over that weekend.

Other projects? Christmas is coming up...I've been saying for years I want to make a tree maybe this is the year, and maybe placemats and napkins to match. Also, all the babies could use what, bibs? and maybe I can extend into simple coats, etc? I see so many beautiful designs online from the various blogging quilters out there. I am so inspired by their work and their fabrics and their creativity!!

No pictures this time!! maybe next time, when the Cloud quilt is done and flying on it's way to Switzerland...

Peace & Adventure, Liz