Tuesday, March 27, 2018

To-Do Tuesday: Monofilament Stitching In the Ditches With the Disco Kitties

Quilting Away on Tabby Mountain
And now it is Tuesday.  Does anyone remember Once Upon a Time, A Long, Long Time Ago, the last time I posted weekly goals for the To-Do On Tuesday linky party?  Some of you may not be old enough to remember back that far, all the way back to March 6th when I posted the following goals that I was planning and fully expecting to finish in ONE week:
  1. I need to design and embroider a quilt label and decide whether it goes on the front of the quilt or on the back.
  2. I need to dig around in my studio to see if I have a package of batting the right size for Tabby Mountain.  If not, I need to purchase batting.  
  3. Then I need to get all the dog fur and stray threads off my quilt top and give it a final pressing.  
  4. Next, my extra-wide backing fabric needs to be cut to size, pressed and squared
  5. Then I can load Tabby Mountain on my quilting frame!
  6. It would be nice if I could baste my horizontal seam lines and outer edges of the quilt before the end of the week... 
  7. -- Oh, one more thing: Now that Tabby Mountain is out from under my Bernina, I'd like to finish that pineapple log cabin quilt block this week.
Well, darlings, I've finally crossed all of those items off my list, but it ended up taking me THREE weeks instead of just one.  As you know if you saw yesterday's post, my month-end goal for March is taking on extra-special urgency since I've also committed to hosting TGIFF, "Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday" this week, and in order to host the party, I need to have a finish to show for myself!

Look At Me, Stitching In the Ditch Like a Real Quilter!!!
I did spend a lot of time on Tabby Mountain today, but since I'm very much a beginner longarm quilter everything takes me a REALLY LONG TIME.  It took me two hours just to switch over to monofilament and figure out how to get the tension looking nice.  I used Superior MonoPoly Reduced Sheen Clear thread and went down to a smaller size 3.5 needle and changed up my thread path to put less drag and twist on the monofilament, but was able to leave the bobbin tension alone since I'm using gray Fil-Tec Magna Glide prewound bobbins.  Those little prewound bobbins are so convenient and easy to use that I have yet to even try winding my own bobbins for my longarm machine!

Monofilament Tension Sample, Top Side
Same Sample, Backing Side Showing Gray Bobbin Thread
I just love the way that monofilament thread looks like a perfect color match to whatever fabric it's on -- that's why it was worth fiddling around until I got it to play nicely.  Monofilament thread can hide a multitude of sins!  You know, my original plan was to use lots of different thread colors in this quilt, but the MonoPoly thread looks so good on every fabric that I'm tempted to just quilt the whole thing with monofilament!  

SID With My HandiQuilter Versa Tool Ruler
I started out with the standard ruler foot that came on my APQS machine, but soon switched to the high profile, open-toe clog foot instead.  I need to see where my needle is landing for SID, and the regular ruler foot blocks my view.

MUCH Better Visibility With the Ninja Foot!
Angela Huffman calls her clog foot  "the Ninja foot."  I have no idea why it reminds her of a ninja, but I definitely preferred it for SID!  

Exhibit A: Oopsy Wobble Away From Seamline
See how the monofilament thread blends into every color of my kitty cat's fur when my ruler slipped and I wobbled away from the seam line?  That would be so much more obvious if I was using pretty much any color of ordinary thread.

Barely Noticeable Even From Reasonably Close Up
I am happy to report that I have now completed all of the SID (Stitch In the Ditch) quilting, because it took me forever.  I did get better at it as I went along, but I still find that I need to go very slowly in order to keep those stitches right next to the seam hump where I want them to land.  As with my list of goals from three weeks ago, the SID quilting took about three times as long as I expected it to take.

So...  I'm kind of rethinking my quilting plan.  The ruler work I had initially planned to do might require marking and might end up taking a lot more time than I have available if I am going to finish this quilt in time for my self-imposed deadline.  But that's my goal, people -- there is only ONE item on my list for To-Do Tuesday this time:

  2. Photograph finished quilt
  3. Write blog post for TGIFF and March OMG Linkies

I said only one thing, but once I'm finished of course I'm going to want to share it with all of you!

Okay, that's enough computer time for me.  I'm headed up to my studio to start quilting!  Just as soon as I link up with Esther's WIPs On Wednesday and with To-Do Tuesday, that is...  


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

your stitching is so nice and neat - good job. It looks like you are learning and this quilt will go together really well

Christine Slaughter said...

I am definitely going to have to try monofilament thread. The blending is spectacular! I'd much rather spend more time on the front end of a quilt getting the tension right than having to switch out to different colors multiple times. And YAY for getting all of the stitching in the ditch done! Woo Hoo!!

Ramona said...

I'm excited to see your finish this week. WE do need goals for motivation, that's for sure! I've never used monofilament thread and will have to give it a try. Happy quilting!

Marti said...

I think your quilting looks great, not like a beginner at all. I've only used monofilament once and it kept breaking, but after seeing yours, I think I'll give it another try.

Lynette said...

Tabby Mountain is so gorgeous on the frame!! And your SID work is really, really good. I'm telling you - a whole quilt of diamond SID gives you serious practice power. That happens to be the same first-SID quilt work I did, a bunch of diamond SID. NOT easy! You did fantastic!

Unknown said...

Wow - you've chosen some lofty goals and met so many! LOL That Tabby Road quilting looks great. My hat is off to you - I have an HQ Sweet Sixteen Sit down model and adore it but the thought of a huge long arm just blows my mind. Your little tiny wobble photo will never be found in your quilting - we are all so hard on ourselves!!

dq said...

Beautifully done ditch work. That isn't as easy as it looks.