Friday, July 17, 2020

Always Gonna Be an Uphill Mountain; Always Gonna Wanna Make It Move: Of Small Victories in Custom Quilting

I finished the background quilting in the first row of 4" blocks and moved down to the second and third rows yesterday.  This is VERY slow going, and I'm so glad I bought that adjustable height saddle stool on Amazon so I can sit at my long arm frame while I work on the tedious background fill quilting.  I've been using the stool when I need to unpick stitches with a seam ripper, too -- but hopefully there won't be any more of that with this quilt!  Hope I didn't just jinx myself!!

It's so exciting, though, seeing my quilting design start to take shape on the quilt  in front of me.  

I'm trying to figure out pathways for quilting that minimize stops and starts as much as possible.  I'm also really glad that I decided to add those 1/4" unquilted channels around the background fills, because I love how they define the overall diamond shape that I'm trying to bring out of the piecing.  But, for those who thought maybe I'd get this completely finished by the end of this week, that is definitely NOT going to happen.  Still hopeful for finishing the quilting by the end of July, but I'm not going to stress about the deadline.  As Miley Cyrus once sang, "It's not about how fast I get there, it's not about what's waiting on the other side.  It's the CLIMB!"  ;-)

One more mystery of long arm quilting has been solved for me, this time by a helpful member of the APQS Owner's Forum.  I posted this picture of how, when I was quilting my ruler work border, I was getting gorgeous stitches in one direction that would turn into almost flatline on the top of the quilt when I had to quilt back in the opposite direction.  It was infuriating me, and I couldn't figure out why it was happening.  So this other APQS owner in the forum responded that my problem might be caused by tension that was balanced, but was too loose overall, top and bottom.  He suggested that I set my bobbin tension to around 200 with the TOWA gauge and then adjust my top tension to rebalance the stitch.  Well, I had my bobbin tension set at around 160 before.  I tightened my bobbin tension to 200, bypassing the little pigtail guide on my M class bobbin case, and then increased my top tension accordingly until the stitch looked good top and bottom.  Well, this completely solved my problem, and it never would have occurred to me if it hadn't been for the advice of a stranger.  Gotta love the Internet!

Since I have so little to share with you today, I'm throwing in a bonus: Behold, Samwise the Brave and Snuggly Rottweiler Puppy, 8 months old and about 98 pounds:

I would be getting so much more quilting done if I wasn't busy playing tug and throwing tennis balls all over the house.  This is why we can't have nice things anymore... but having nice things is totally overrated!

Happy Friday and happy weekend, everyone!  I'm linking up with:


·       Whoop Whoop Fridays at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

·       Finished Or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

·       Off the Wall Friday at Nina Marie Sayre


·       UFO Busting at Tish in Wonderland


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

the quilt looks great! I was going to check and see what the height is for your saddle stool and see if I would like it at my 3 roller hand frame but the link didn't work

Jill said...

The machine quilting looks very nice. I totally get minimizing stops and starts. The saddle seat linked work when I checked. They do look comfortable. Playing fetch provides a nice quilt break - your eyes get a rest and puppy gets some exercise!

SJSM said...

Are we talking "bull in a china closet" with Samwise? Puppy power times 98 pounds is quite a force. I’m glad the pleasure he brings to your household keeps the ooopies more than bearable. You keep plugging away on the quilting and the finish will be so exciting. If like me when the finish is eminent the desire to finish increases and you get a second wind, so to speak, that drives you forward.

JustGail said...

Interesting tip on the tension. IIRC on another brand long arm forum, someone was having a similar issue and was pretty much told it was expected that right-to-left would have more issues. I've saved this info in case I ever need it. I probably should just print it and stuff it in the manual.

Samwise is becoming quite the handsome beast. It's a good thing he's helping you get up and move around so you don't spend too much time hunched over the quilting!

The Joyful Quilter said...

One row done... HOW MANY more to go?!?! Keep at it, Rebecca. Spirit Song is going to be magnificent!! Regarding the TOWA gauge... I bought one, but usually forget to use it. While it's not a complicated device, I never feel like I get a good reading with mine. On another note, I'm shocked to see how much Sam has grown!

Kathleen said...

You are doing an amazing job on this! I don't know that I could stand to do it the way you do. I may need to look at that chair, speaking of standing. Hope you have a lovely Sunday.

chrisknits said...

What a smoosh face!!! I love him. Our neighborhood is becoming the Goldendoodle capital, all because of us, so my life is full of doodles and I love it. Next one to fall is our neighbors, they get their's next month. But it would be lovely to see a Rottie now and then.