Sunday, April 15, 2012

Welcome to Rebecca's Ugly Quilting Blog!

"Regulated" Stitches?
You know all those other quilting blogs, where beautiful projects with exquisite workmanship are showcased on a regular basis?  This is not one of those -- not today, anyway, and probably not tomorrow, either.  Just take a gander at the lovely free motion quilting in the photo above.  Since I used invisible nylon monofilament thread in the needle, we're looking at the back side of the quilt in this photo.  The straight lines were stitched with a walking foot, stitch length set to 2.5, and then I attempted to stitch in the ditch around the curved seam of a drunkard's path block using the BSR Bernina Stitch Regulator contraption for my Artista 200/730 machine.  This magical machine footsie is supposed to count the fabric threads with a "laser" as I'm moving the quilt with the feed dogs down, automatically adjusting the needle speed so that I get nice, even stitches despite my relative inexperience. 

Dr. Evil explains the "Laser" Technology of the Bernina Stitch Regulator
Hmmm...  Do you think Bernina would like to use MY quilting sample to advertise their technology?

Bernina Stitch Regulator, courtesy Bernina USA
There are two different "modes" for the BSR foot, and since I got wretched results with Mode 1, I'm going to see if Mode 2 works better for me.  I got herky-jerky hiccups each time I tried to reposition my hands on the quilt because the machine kept stitching when the fabric moved slightly.  What most annoys me, though, is that the stitch length does not look ONE BIT "regulated" to me.  They are all way smaller than the 2.0 length the machine was set for, and each stitch is its own unique length, many of them tiny little locking-stitch length that will provide me with HOURS of fun as I attempt to unpick them with a seam ripper.

Well, when all else fails, there's always education, right?  I've signed up for a machine quilting class at a quilt shop in Concord next month.  Drastic times call for drastic measures!  All of my quilting books and blogs to read are all well and good, but there's nothing like having someone who knows how to do it looking over your shoulder to tell you exactly what you're doing wrong.

Not that I'm going to just put this quilt aside for the next few weeks!  I'm going to try wearing those kooky rubberized quilting gloves.  I'm going to try BSR Mode 2, and I'm going to try flinging the BSR contraption across the room and doing it the old fashioned way, with a plain old darning foot and no training wheels.  I may even try to use the walking foot and turn the quilt around under the needle, although I doubt that will work.

In case you're interested, here's what I accomplished so far, the straight lines quilted with the walking foot:

Straight Seamlines Quilted, Except for Circles

I quilted the seam line and two additional quilting lines to either side of the seam lines, both vertically and horizontally, except for the seam lines transecting my circles.  Next I want to quilt just the circular seams, before going on to do something pretty in the center of each circle. 

And now, a special treat to reward those who have stuck with me throughout this whole whining post:

Little Bald Lars with his Roman Square Quilt
That, friends, is the first quilt I ever made, a Roman Square for Little One Lars's "big boy bed" back in 2002.  It has school buses, doggies, sailboats, and all sorts of other I Spy fodder, and it is still on his bed today where it shall remain, until the new quilt is finished!

Happy Sunday!


JustGail said...

I think you're being waaaay too hard on yourself. Unless you are entering this quilt in a show, no one is going to be looking as close at it as these photos, or you as you are quilting it. It's time to invoke the galloping horse at 30 feet rule. It will be a much loved quilt when done, that's what counts.

I'm assuming you've done practice stitching on small bits? I will say that from my limited experience, that those small practice bits are not like working on the full size quilt, which is a lot harder to move around smoothly.

Rebecca Grace said...

Thanks, JustGail. Confession: I have not done much practice at all. This is partly because I am impatient to finish the real quilt, and partly because I am loathe to "waste" perfectly good fabric. But just yesterday I broke down and started rooting through my stash for the ugliest fabrics I could find and started cutting up 18" squares for practice. I need to bring some to the class I signed up for next month, anyway!

Thanks for your comments and encouragement. :-)