Weekends used to mean a time to relax, clean house, catch up on laundry, and go grocery shopping. Now, they mean sewing and being surrounded by fabric! I’m fine with this tradeoff, but my house might be included in the next State of Emergency Alert. Long days doing what I love, and an extremely understanding husband, make the tradeoff bearable.
This weekend was busy… and fabulous… and so much fun. Friday I worked with Millie and caught up on random shop things including placing more inventory around the shop and ordering even more fun stuff. Saturday we had our first class. The Disappearing Nine Patch Class was a blast. Although the pattern was the same, each quilt was vastly different. I cannot wait to see the finished quilts. Everyone made great progress during class, so ladies, don’t let that get buried in your unfinished project pile. I’m mainly talking to myself since I have had a partially finished D9P floating around in my car/backpack/sewing room for quite a while now.
Two of the quilts we finished this weekend were customer quilts. One was a fun Bruin T-shirt quilt and the other was a GORGEOUS star quilt. The t-shirt quilt was quilted using a pattern similar to the border print.
The Star quilt was quilted with a simple Damask pattern. Can we have an honest moment for three seconds? This quilt made me nervous. First, it is GORGEOUS. I cannot believe the time spent on this quilt. Secondly, the story behind it is one to break hearts and show love. Every stitch was sewn with love, and I felt compelled to carry that through the quilting. Lastly, it is just so breathtaking. I was not the one to take this quilt in, so I had not seen it before I started loading it onto Millie. Breathtaking. Simply amazing. I believe I asked my mom if they were sure they wanted me to touch it. A few deep breaths later Millie started to hum.
The quilting pattern was perfect as it did not take away from the quilt piecing. Thank goodness. I would not have been able to handle it if the quilting changed this quilt in the smallest way.
Shout out to tall husbands and brothers. Also chairs and friends. Taking some of these pictures can be difficult but they put up with my “just a few more pictures” every single time.
The last quilt from the weekend (which is still on Millie) was a quilt my brother-in-law, Devin, has sewn. He pixilated two Star Wars graphics and pieced them together using 3 1/2 inch squares. I think there is a rule that you try to do anything a brother asks (I only have brothers), so we were jumping into the deep end and learning new things, left and right this weekend.
First, we wanted to keep the squares lined up. The front and back were the same size and used the same 3 1/2 squares, so in theory they were to line up. To handle this and knowing that the back sometimes shrinks up more while quilting on a Longarm we pinned the squares together all throughout the quilt. I also attached leaders onto the backing so I would have enough space to attach the quilt to Millie. On the last row of pinning, we found that there was an extra row on the top piece. Something was wrong. The unpinning began and we finally found the problem in the middle. We repined and were ready to start quilting.
Devin found two images he liked and wanted quilted throughout his quilt. One was a TIE Fighter and the other was a X Wing. At first, we tried pulling the images into Quilt Path, the program I use on Millie, but the program could not understand what line to draw next. She was moving all over the place and creating around 45 “jumps” in one small square (Jumps are when the machine moves but does not sew, so you are left with long threads to trim). I finally decided to draw each image line-by-line, so I could control what she would sew next. I figured out how to upload a background image to “trace”, but it still took quite a bit of time, and it was a huge learning curve. I was besties with that undo button.
I also reset the line and dot design he had found so it would fit in the different spaces. We made different sized blocks so all of the lines and circles would stay the same size and not get stretched or scrunched when we set each block. I set Quilt Path up to have four point marking in place. Every block could be placed within the set boundary and not start to sew outside of the grid. Although some blocks are off slightly, most are extremely close.
After all the blocks were designed and ready, I showed Devin how to place each block using the four point set up, pull the bobbin up, and get Millie to sew each blocks. While he worked on this, I was able to work on a handful of other things around the shop.
Out of nowhere, we heard an awful noise and everyone started running to Millie as I kept saying “Press stop! Press stop!” Devin caught it, pressed stop many times, and we were there. She broke a needle. I tried looking for the other part of the needle and said a prayer that Millie’s timing was not messed up. After looking underneath Millie, I quickly noticed the hook assembly looked out of place and way wrong. To test, I put a new needle in and tried using the fly-wheel to make sure everything was okay. It was not. I jumped online and searched for the re-timing video APQS has recorded on YouTube. A machine’s timing is correct when the needle can enter the bobbin basket as the hook assembly spins around at just the right time. This creates a stitch. Needle down, hook assembly spins, needle up, stitch created. That is the simple way to say it.
When I realized the video was almost an hour long and knowing we still had quite a bit of quilting left to do, I called Brenda (The sweetest distributor from Barnsdall – Red Barn Quilting). She confirmed my fear and said we really needed to watch the video and follow each step in order and fully. I thanked her and turned back to the computer. Here goes nothing… After the first three steps, back up was called in. My father-in-law was already at the shop, so he stepped in and I walked away.
I was a ball of nerves as the video continued; file this using an emery board, pull on this, unscrew and remove that. Each step caused me more fear, and I was not helpful. I quickly exited the room and worked elsewhere while they went at it. On occasion they asked for my help, then I would quickly leave again. It was best this way.
Eventually she was back to sewing happily, which meant that I was back to being happy. We began sewing again, this time moving on from the line design and starting on the X Wing blocks. On the first block we all gathered around and were mesmerized by Millie (it happens quite often).
Devin continued placing the blocks and working away. All that is left now are the vertical borders which I will finish up this week. I need to work more in the design software to set those up. This takes quite a bit of time and we were all exhausted last night. Soon it will be finished.
All in all it was a busy but fabulous weekend. We accomplished quite a lot, chatted with friends, and finished quilts. Learning new things is a key component of this journey and I am always pleased when things turn out well even if we have to take the long route to the finish line.
A new week awaits and another class, the t-shirt quilt class, is happening next weekend.
See you at the machine,