The Adventure Begins

Okay, so I want to start with, this is my adventure. Other people have different adventures. My mentor's adventure is to make incredibly complex tops and send them out to be quilted. I have a blog friend whose adventure is to hand quilt. So, everybody has a different adventure. Mine was to machine quilt. I wanna do it like Diane Gaudynski and Harriet Hargrave. I wanna learn from Leah Day and watching the Free Motion Quilting Challenges.

Every quilt has been one step on the way to the quilt I entered into the Men Quilt, Too show. Right, wrong, good, bad, pretty or ugly, every quilt I made between that first one and the last one is part of my adventure. And, I love each and every one of them, whether they came out like the image I had in my mind or not.

We're in my adventure, up to fall 2006, in which I buy a good machine. My previous machine was a Singer that I bought from Sears. It had been a display model and I got it cheap. Because it was cheap. It was not an appropriate machine for someone that was going to sit and sew for hours continuously. I never really knew why it gave me such fits until my Mentor explained it. The machine was all run on rubber belts. Everything was connected by those belts. And, when the machine got hot, those belts expanded. And, the bigger they got, the less control over the machine I had. And, the less control I had, the more frustrated I got.

So, after she had looked at a few of my quilts, she offered to sell me her Mother's machine. My Evelyn, named after the previous owner. Evelyn is a Bernina 930 and a bohemoth. She weighs 33 pounds and is not convenient to take anywhere. She needs to sit in her place, at her custom made sewing table (Thanks, Dear!). As long as I oil the bobbin shuttle after every bobbin, she will run, almost silently, for hours at a time. Hours and hours and hours. She never tires. She never gets hot. She just sews and sews and sews.

This is the first quilt that Evelyn and I quilted together.

And, the third was a birthday present for Rob.

After that, I paused for a bit of hand quilting on some fusible applique work. Pattern from Fons and Porter several years ago.

And, then it was back to machine quilting.

After I'd made all the quilts we could handle and store and display, I started making quilts to give away. This to my youngest sister.

This to my middle sister.

My neice.

My parents and my boss to commemorate a 50th anniversary and a wedding.

And, then I hit a UFO. I tried to quilt a queen sized quilt in my Bernina. And, I was not ready. My skills were not up to it. The quilt got 3/4 done and then it stopped. The work was horrendous. I was quilting through marked paper and then pulling the paper off. That's perfectly acceptable and in fact, I'm working on marking paper for another quilt. But, what I learned was that you can't quilt through the marked paper. The marking tool, in my case sharpie and pencil transfer to the quilting thread. Imagine my surprise when I started pulling paper and saw that my lovely gold thread was gray. Fold it up, hide it in the top of the closet.

After that, I went to baby quilts. So, tomorrow, I'll show you some lovelies that I've given to many babies over the last 5 years.


On current projects, this is what I mean when I say marking through paper. These are the corners of a holiday quilt that I want to quilt next. It's been pieced and in my closet for a couple of years. I've known what I wanted to do, but it's taken a long time to feel up to actually doing it.

I'm going to quilt something different in each large corner of the quilt. The drawing on the left above is one corner; christmas tree lights. I needed to transfer that sketch to tracing paper without using a pencil or other market. So, I put it in the machine with a dull, unthreaded needle and I needle punched all the lines. Don't know if it shows up, but the two pieces of yellow tracing paper have the holes punched in them; trees for one corner and ornaments for another.

These were the two sketches I had to choose from for the fourth corner. I had wrapped packages and then all kinds of toys and presents. I picked the toys. I started marking around the doll this morning. I was not absolutely sure I'd be able to pull this intricate quilting off enough to make anything show up other than a mess, but after punching the doll, I'm feeling confident that I can do this. But, it's wierd needle punching a dolls eyes. I was creeped out the whole time I was sticking that needle through that cute face.

Everybody have a great Tuesday.



Leah Day said...

What a wonderful post, Lane! It's terrific to see your evolution through so many quilts and I can't wait to see your holiday quilt as it progresses.

Don't be afraid to contrast your thread color from the fabric color - this will allow your motifs to stand out better and show off equally with the other elements of the quilt. Just keep experimenting, playing, and having fun - that is what machine quilting is all about!


Anonymous said...

Very impressive quilting! I have a 930 also in the machine herd which was bought in the early 1980s. It is a fabulous machine. I love making buttonholes on mine-even with newer fancy machines that's the one I do them on. So what if the thread is gray from a marker-do the rest of the lines the same so it all works and finish that nice quilt. I may try some free motion on my 930 after seeing what a great job you are doing on yours. Did you get a walking foot with your 930? I really like it for straight line quilting on that machine or any time I get a lot of layers when sewing. mssewcrazy

lindaroo said...

I'm so inspired by your work, Lane. Will you please continue to explain how you mark your quilts? Do you have the drawing, tracing paper, and the quilt all sandwiched as you needle punch, or is it just the drawing and tracing paper, and there's another step to transfer the design to the fabric? Yes, I know this is such an elementary question, please indulge me!

lindaroo said...

Ooh, Leah Day herself posted a comment! Aren't you tickled? I'm starstruck!