Eye on the Machine: A UFO Birthday Party

This is the view from my sewing chair today (or it will be as soon as I can get my computer work done!):

Dresden Plate Drama

I’ve decided to try to just keep quilting on this quilt until it’s finally done, and maybe have it done in time for it’s 11th birthday, sometime in January! Yes, it’s a UFO that really is THAT old. I started this quilt in January, 1996, which I think (hope??) makes it the oldest UFO in my collection. It’s a queen size quilt from a pattern in McCalls Quilting magazine called Dresden Plate Drama and it is quite dramatic! I used my favorite fabric ever, a wonderful holiday print with roses in burgundies and pinks, green leaves, tiny purple-ish pine cones and metallic gold highlights. I bought a whopping 18 yards of that print, and used 13 yards for this quilt! I also bought 5 yards of the same print on a black background which is stunning as well.

So, why has this quilt been a UFO for so long? Well, it was a labor of love from the start, because every petal on each Dresden Plate had to be cut by hand with the same motif as all the rest of the petals for that plate to get the kaleidoscopic effect. Think Stack’n’Whack the old-fashioned way. Then of course, the Plates had to be hand appliquéd to the background. Even after I got the whole thing put together some years ago (not sure how many, but most likely pre-millennium) I thought I would hand quilt it, since it is such a fabulous quilt, and I really thought hand quilting was the only way to do it justice. I think I got one block quilted, and then it languished in my studio for another few years because hand quilting isn’t exactly my favorite thing to do.

At some point in the last couple of years, I decided that my machine quilting skills were certainly good enough to quilt this quilt the way it should be quilted, so I ripped out the little bit of hand quilting, and started to machine quilt. Other quilts got in the way of course, so it’s still here. I’ve no idea what I’ll do with it when I get it done, but I really need to get it done! And when it gets done, I’ll need to break out the champagne, and firmly restrain myself from putting crystals on it (though it would be pretty cool)!

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Eye on the Machine: On the Edge

Here’s the view from my sewing chair today:

Appliquilting on the edge

This quilt has been an interesting exercise in following the line, but not quilting on the line. Let me explain. See, I’m quilting right on the edge of all the appliqué pieces, so that means following the edge of the piece, but not quilting on the line that I’m following, which requires a bit of an adjustment. When you’re used to watching a marked line just ahead of the needle to machine quilt, it’s a bit weird to have to watch to the side a little to get the needle to go where you want. I think my quilting could be better quality-wise, but it gets better as I go. Of course, I’m just about done with the “on the edge” parts anyway now, and ready to start the background quilting, so hopefully I can have this done by October 1st. Always a deadline…

Eye on the Machine—Quilt of Many Colors

Here’s the view today:

Lots of different colors of thread!

I was looking forward to using many different colors of thread on this quilt, since I wanted to match or coordinate with the appliqué pieces for the quilting. I have been collecting threads for a while (variegated threads are just as hard to resist as fat quarter bundles for me!) and getting to actually use them on something was exciting. So, all that being said, changing the thread color every few minutes is somewhat painful, as is winding a bobbin with every different thread. I’m running out of empty bobbins! I used a white Fairy Frost fabric for the backing, and I wanted to see the quilting on the back in all the different colors. I’m hoping the back will look sort of like a line drawing of the front when it’s done.

I really didn’t even consider using just one color of thread on the back (which would have taken care of the bobbin problem), because I would have had pop-throughs of different colors of thread on the back, as well as bobbin thread on the top, no matter how well the tension was adjusted on the machine. That’s just the way of it when free motion quilting in all directions, you’re always going to have a spot where the tension doesn’t behave just right, and it has nothing to do with how good your machine or your technique is. My standard rule is to always match the threads on the top and backing to avoid this problem.

Eye on the Machine—Walk on the Wild Side

Here’s the view from my sewing chair today:

View from the sewing chair

As you can see, this quilt is quite a walk on the wild side, for me anyway. As I said in a previous post, I used Glue-Baste-It to glue the appliqué pieces down, and then stitch basted some of the larger ones with water soluble thread before basting the quilt top, batting and backing together. The round dots you see in this picture are just glued, and appliqué-ing and quilting at the same time is working just fine. The glue holds them in place perfectly so they aren’t trying to move around. More pics soon!

The Perfect Four Patch Demo

The Perfect Four Patch Demo

The Perfect Four Patch Demo is now available for download. It’s a short demo which will show you how to make the perfect four patch, with perfectly matching seams and the “twirling trick” to reduce bulk. It’s free, just download and click to play. Other demos are coming soon, but will only be available to DreamWeaver’s Quilts Newsletter subscribers. Subscribe to the newsletter now and be the first to know when new demos are ready to download.

Eye on the Machine—Stippling, Day ???

Okay, I’ve no earthly idea how many days I’ve been stippling this quilt now. I bet you knew that would happen, didn’t you? Anyway, here’s the issue: the tendons on the backs of my hands HURT! Now, granted, I have a tenosynovitis problem anyway, which I developed in 2004 after doing too many crystals. No, no, not THAT kind of crystals! THIS kind of crystals! So, back to the stippling. I’m working on the very edge of the quilt, stippling the background, and it’s harder to control the quilt in this area, since there’s less fabric to hold on to on the right hand side. I’ve known for a few days that the reason I’m having more pain in my hands when I’m stippling on the edge is because I’m holding my little finger on my right hand up a bit to keep it off the machine bed as you can see here:

Stippling on the edge before

Two bad things going on here: Continue reading Eye on the Machine—Stippling, Day ???