Sunday, May 22, 2016

Juki QVP (Table Mount)

I finally had a chance to work on my Juki table-mounted long arm that I purchased at Paducah in April of 2015.

Previously, I had only quilted a table runner and was not happy with it. I just couldn't get the tension right. Then, a long-arm machine owner friend of mine came to visit me in December. She had NO fear of my machine and immediately unthreaded it. I nearly had heart failure! The manual that comes with the machine is really crappy, and I had only threaded the machine once or twice. Anyway...long story short...she got the tension issue fixed and marked threading instructions directly on machine. She MADE me thread the machine, wind a bobbin, and load the bobbin many times.

Here is what I found out. I was running the machine WAY too fast. The top of my work looked good, but the bottom thread didn't. When she slowed the machine down and had me stitch slower, I had a MUCH better looking stitch (both top and bottom). I also found my work to be more accurate with the slower stitching. Everything was looking good, and I felt much more confident.

Then, life happened and I didn't get back to stitching till now (May 2016). I practiced threading the machine, winding the bobbin, and stitching. I felt confident enough to start quilting again. It just so happens I had a Chinese Coins top basted and ready to quilt. (My daughter had put in a request for a replacement Chinese Coins quilt since my grandson has worn out the one he is currently using. She tells me it look "really bad.") I figured this is a perfect quilt for me to practice on. My grandson isn't going to critique my machine quilting expertise; he will love the quilt no matter what.

Things are going smoothly so far. I'm using a variegated thread for the top and a neutral thread in the bobbin. I started by anchoring the quilt by machine quilting "in the ditch" of each vertical row. This did a nice job of stabilizing the batting and backing and allowed me to remove several basting pins. Next, I quilted a loopy design in the "coins" part of the quilt. That went pretty smoothly, so I thought I was ready to tackle the solid part of the quilt (where the stitches would show). I loosely drew my quilting design and went to work. I'm very happy with it so far, and I'm learning a lot.

This is what I've learned so far...

  1. Slow down
  2. Breathe
  3. Take lots of breaks (to save your back and neck)
  4. Don't worry about perfection
  5. Stop and reposition your hands (and the quilt) often
  6. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

Thursday, May 19, 2016

New 365 Challenge Blocks

I had been doing primarily dark blocks for the challenge, but I finally got to the point where I could make some of the 6" finished light blocks. I have really been enjoying these. They are taking some time to make, though. Some of the blocks are like making four 3" finished blocks. The last group of 3" finished blocks are on the left; the light blocks all finish to 6".

I'm liking how they are turning out. Several of my friends are doing this challenge too. It is fun (and not too late to join). Check it out here.

I'm getting ready for a trip to Branson with my dad and step-mom. (My dad is 82 and hard of hearing, and my step-mom has Alzheimer's.) We are meeting my son, his wife, and little June Beth. This should be interesting. I'm keeping positive thoughts. Wish me luck!