apqs · Challenge · Design · Finished Quilt · Longarm · Millennium · Millie · Pattern · Quilt · Quilting · Quilting with Care · Sewing · Uncategorized

Standing at the Start Line

Everyone has to have a starting point. This is mine.

 

Not that long ago I wrote a blog post about us opening some very special boxes. Once we assembled our Millie, I spend almost every waking moment wanting to sew with her.

This weekend, I was able to take a two day class on quilt path, Millie’s brain/computer quilting system. There was so much information and I am very tired, but I have 20 pages of notes to hopefully pull me through and remember everything that was said.
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It was an incredible class that was both informational and fun. It also left my mind wandering to new quilt ideas and more projects (because we all need more of those, right?). Saturday’s class started at 9am and we dove right in. When class ended around 5pm I just wanted to jump behind the machine and apply many of the skills we had learned in simulation mode during class.

After class I drove straight to my parents house, loaded my first actual quilt, not just pieces of fabric sandwiched together, and got to work. Nerves were high as I leaned in to push the SEW button, but everything functioned fairly well.
There was a bobbin change, a thread break, safe zone areas to set, patterns to resize, repeat, and nest, and so much more.  I think I might need a checklist to remember the common steps for the next few quilts.

My weakest area is either setting the numbers for pattern sizes and thinking through that aspect of the loading process, or the last partial row at the bottom of a quilt. This row was causing a few challenges last night while quilting.

I thought I just had a problem with my pattern or a setting. I wasn’t sure, so after finishing my first quilt I loaded a second– determined to figure out what was happening.
I should clarify that the problem I was having was manually working through the jumps and a system error between the computer and the machine. There may have also been a few errors with the users brain. It happens. It was still sewing fine, occasionally there would be a thread break sensor go off when the thread was fine or it would start tracing a pattern when it was supposed to be sewing.  With each issue I was able to back it up and restart at the stitch the problem started on without changing the end result of the quilt.

With the second quilt loaded, a pattern imported, and settings seemingly happy I dove in. Unfortunately I had the same issues on the second quilt as I had with the first.
Thankfully, when I returned to class today I was able to ask a handful of questions and come up with a game plan on trouble shooting to find an answer. No matter what, she still sews beautifully and I can work around this hiccup manually instead of automatically for now.

I am just so thrilled with how each quilt turned out. I love watching Millie sew and thinking through how to enhance different quilts with different quilting designs and concepts. It opens an entire new element to quilting.
Sew you at the machine,

•Care
apqs · Challenge · English Paper Piecing · EPP · Longarm · Millennium · Millie · Quilt · Quilting · Quilting with Care · Sewing · Uncategorized · WIP week · Work in Progress

Millie Hums

We went on vacation this last week and I completely checked out on technology. It was wonderful, but I am happy to be back!

I missed WIP Week for this month, but I did spend some time working on an unfinished project. I hope you did too! See my last post for more about my WIP Project. It was an English Paper Pieced quilt designed by Mickey Depre (Her patterns are fabulous!).

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We flew back home late Friday night and yesterday (Saturday) I spent on a date with Millie. If you remember, we had a few boxes delivered the week before I left town. Those boxes turned into an amazing, APQS longarm machine. I AM IN LOVE! Sorry My Love, you might have a little competition.

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Back to Millie- Her full name has turned into Millennium Falcon thanks to one of my awesome Brother-in-Law’s suggestions. For short, we will still call her Millie. The week before we left I was able to get her all assembled, we plugged her in, saw lights turn on, then I had to leave and drive back to my house. This was so tough! It was just before midnight when we saw her lights turn on, so we were not able to actually hear her hum.

The week was crazy and I wasn’t able to get back to her before leaving town. Thankfully, I had a great distraction-Disney World. Though I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about sewing with her every day.

Back to yesterday. Yesterday I finally got to not only turn her on and hear her hum!

At first, I loaded on a couple fat quarters to check tension and play with settings on QuiltPath, the computer program she is able to work with and we have conveniently named “Millie’s Brain”. Here is what we came up with.

After this was finished, I decided to work with a larger area and loaded a little over a yard top and a backing then played more. This time I didn’t have a plan and just wanted to try different things.

I wasn’t looking up tutorials or spending too much time fighting through settings because I am taking a two-day class next weekend. This was just a time to get my hands dirty.

The first row I was hoping to alternate a teddy bear and crosshatching. Everything went well for the teddy bear, then it moved to do the crosshatching, but instead of making a jump, it sewed the transition line. “It is just a test piece,” I reminded myself, though I was already looking for a seam ripper to mend this mistake. On the next jump from crosshatch to teddy bear I thought I could trick it and stop her right after finishing the crosshatch then move it to the start of teddy bear and search for closest stitch. In theory it sounded like a fabulous idea, but in action it just didn’t work. I moved along to a new row.

Another issue I came across was that sometimes after starting a block, setting the safe areas and where the block should sew, Millie would move through the pattern, but wasn’t stitching. I was able to jump in the middle of it and get her to start stitching again, but I couldn’t figure out how to back up and get her to fix what she missed.   I’m hoping to clear this up with a YouTube video or in class next weekend.

I’m very happy with how everything is going so far even with this learning curve. I’m glad I was able to start playing and come across these issues ahead of time.

After coming across a few issues I decided to take a stab at freehand quilting. I turned QuiltPath off and unlatched her from the belts to give me full control. Once ready, my mind went blank and I had no idea what to quilt. I started with a simple “hello!” and I forgot halfway through how to write cursive- brain fart!

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Next up I played with writing “Quilter’s Hideaway.” Remember that surprise I hinted at a few posts back? Here is another part of it. I’m going to let you slowly put pieces together as I share hints and clues.

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With that, I moved on to some meandering, straight lines, and a box. I also tried pebbles in a smaller box, but my goodness, this will need some work.

I hope you enjoy this journey with Millie. I cannot wait to continue learning and sharing along the way.  I already realize I will need to come up with a better option for getting pictures of the quilting.  Often it was hard to get the stitches to show up.

 

See you at the machine,

Care

applique · Challenge · Christmas · Design · Finished Project · Finished Quilt · Pattern · Quilt · Quilting with Care · Sewing · Snowman · Uncategorized

Come Fly Away With Me?

Today is all about borders. It is due time that I stop procrastinating on my border-less quilts. They are so close to finished; it is time they make their move to the done pile. 

First up: Merry, Merry Snowmen. I’ve sewn on the inner border, and I was going to move forward without any green since I was out and unfortunately the quilt shop was also out. Have no fear, I have found a similar fabric and will be using it in place of the original green. I just felt the quilt needed a hint more green to balance out the reds and neutrals.

 

Since I was able to find a green substitute, I will add a skinny green border and then finish off with my favorite- the red with tiny white polka dots. This will also be my binding. Sweet! One quilt down.

 

Up next is my purple and teal quilt. (I still need to figure out a name for this charmer, because purple and teal quilt will not cut it, any suggestions?) I want a small white border to finish off the points, then flying geese pointing outwards.

 

Remember how I had run out of fabric to repair my last block… I am still running low on fabric I used in this quilt. It is time to dig in my stash and hopefully come up with something that will work. If I’m not back in 5 minutes you might want to send in a rescue team. It is pretty scary in there. 

One of these WIP Weeks just might have to be devoted to reorganizing. We can wait until next year to worry about that though.  

3…2…1… I’m off in search of fabric.

Alright friends I have found a few contenders, time to fly away with the geese.


 

After the flying geese border, I will finish it off with a thicker white border and this quilt can join Merry, Merry, Christmas in the DONE pile!

After a week with little sewing, it feels great to mark unfinished quilts, “DONE”. 

See you at the machine,

•Care
 

**If you like the Merry, Merry Snowmen pattern by Bunny Hill Designs, it is available here.**