42 done

These went faster than I thought they would.  After the first dozen or so, I got so I could run the machine pretty fast.  I had to slow down for the tracking back...it's always harder to quilt back over a line of quilting.  That's a mark that doesn't wash out, so if you're off the line, it's gonna show.

Unfortunately, I still have half the papers to pull out, so it's going to be a while before I move on to the next step. 

That paper is well perforated.  And, I'm very careful to slide my finger along perforations, tearing the paper along the lines.  But, there's always some left; little bits where a stitch was too long or for some other reason, the paper didn't tear just right.  And, that gets pulled with tweezers.  I'd say it takes six or seven minutes to do that, per square.  And, there are 42 squares.  I've already made my plans for the little melon shapes.  I don't plan to mark them with paper.  I plan to draw lines on them and use those lines as a grid to quilt in some simple feathers.  Just something loose, and in kind with what I put in the squares.  I have a new white pen to try.  And, there's always my old reliable ceramic pencil. 

While I was working on this, I kept thinking about what I'd tell a new quilter.  One of the things we'd practice would be learning what the needle looks like.  Sounds weird, but hear me out.  I do this whenever I try to quilt on a new machine.  It's not just the mechanics of how the machine works that makes the quilt.  There's also getting the stitch in the right place.  To do that, you have to know what the needle looks like if it is in the exact right spot to put a stitch where I want it to be.  I make a stitch, move the fabric to the next spot, make another stitch.  Just like I'd do if I was quilting fast.  But, this is slow.  Like make a stitch, take my foot off the pedal, move the fabric, maybe adjust it with the hand wheel to make sure it's the right spot.  Then, make one stitch and take my foot off the pedal.  The needle may travel downward as much as an inch before it encounters the fabric surface.  So, what does the exact right spot look like from an inch above?  If you're just making one stitch, you can move the fabric around to get it in the right spot.  And, your eye learns to see that line and tells your mind where the stitch is going to happen.  Do it slow, one stitch at a time til you can see it in your sleep.  Then, speed up the machine. 

And, don't hunch.  The ideal spot for your head to be is not down near the needle.  It's at the top of your extended shoulders and your shoulders should not be anywhere near your ears.  You should be looking down at an angle so the needle is like a sighting line. 

And, the most valuable piece of advice I think I give new quilters is "don't fix your mistakes".  Wait til the end.  Wait until you're done, or they would interfere with the next step of quilting.  Then, fix every one you can find.  When the quilt is finished, you won't find all of them.  They just won't end up being that big of a mistake.  When you're looking at a 6" square of your quilt and you see a mistake, that's a big deal.  But, when you're looking at the whole quilt, will you even be able to see that mistake again?  I don't recommend this on show quilts.  On something you're quilting for show, fix every one you see.  It's worth the effort.  But, for a wall hanging or a baby quilt, you'll be surprised how much less time you'll spend "unquilting". 

I know this is true in a lot of the country, but it's soooo hot here.  Between the heat and humidity, I'm just drained at the end of the day and I want food that's cold for dinner.  Cold and simple to prepare.  No heavy meals.  Yesterday, I needed to work in the yard real bad.  I was able to get out there from 6 to 8 am, and by then, I was drenched and my yard work was over. 

Definitely quilting season around here.  I can do that inside, in the air conditioning, with minimal effort and movement.  I barely break a sweat.

Everybody have a great Monday.  The start of another long week here. 



Terri in BC said...

Great advise about not stopping to fix every mistake. It took me three years to spot a mistake in my Orca Bay quilt, and I still have to look hard for it.

Hopefully it cools down a bit for you. Here in BC, just north of Seattle, we appear to have had our summer from March to May, and now spring is back and it is wet and chilly.

Terri in BC

lw said...

I tried using tissue paper, but the paper I used was too thin and tore so that I had no view of the seams as I tried to follow them. So I tore off the paper and went back to the drawing board. What finally worked was drawing dots with the disappearing purple pen onto the fabric and "connecting the dots." I'll have to get thicker tissue paper next time and use a longer stitch when I'm making the pattern to follow.

Carla said...

I too tried using paper but it tore and I got frustrated. One method that did work pretty good for me was Glad Press and Seal saran wrap. I was able to press it on to my quilt and draw my quilt design with a sharpie and stitch away. And it was pretty easy to pull off. But now I let my friend do most of my quilting.