Monday, December 22, 2008

Still Practicing and Playing!

I have finished quilting my second quilt which is a baby quilt for a friend. Since she doesn't know about it yet, I will post a picture after I give it to her. I did the same Double Plume panto on it. It is a play quilt, so it is 2 pieces of theme fabric that I quilted together with the idea that it can be used on any floor for the baby to play on. The fabrics match the theme that she has decorated her nursery in.

I have my 3rd quilt on the frame. It is a top that I made the first year I was quilting when 2 LQS did Thangles' Buck A Block program using civil war fabrics. I was able to get a 2nd block out of some of the months so I ended up with 30 blocks instead of 24. I am playing with some templates on this one and it is taking me longer to complete. I am getting a lot more comfortable with my machine and using the templates. I am doing a Piano Key outer border and opposing scallops in 2nd border, the blocks are practice for doing continous circle, but I am just playing with whatever comes to mind for the individual blocks. I don't really know what I am going to do in the sashing. I have stabilized the quilt by practicing Stitch in the Ditch on all the borders and blocks.

I picked up 2 quilt tops and backs at guild last Thursday that I will do once this one is off the frame. I am hoping to get them done the first week of January.

Friday, December 12, 2008

First Longarmed Quilt

I started working my my first quilt on my new longarm last week. I learned A LOT during the process. I knew when I started it that the thread I had chosen is cotton and took special care to get the tension correct. I don't think that I really thought that one out enough because this was my first quilt and I did have a Poly thread on hand that was close in color and would have been easier to work with. But then again if I am going to be doing this I might as well learn to deal with my favorite thread. Right?

Well, I did get to learn to deal with it. My quilt is 71 inches by 91 inches. It took me a day to rip out the stitches from the bad tension and it was only 1 row of the pantograph that I was quilting. Yikes!

Tip #1 Check your tension on the top and bottom of the quilt within a few stitches of starting your row.

I started getting better with the tension and feeling a little bit more confident. I should have known that I was about to learn another lesson.

Tip #2 Double check where you are aligning your Pantos. Cause if you don't you will be riping out another row of stitches. Oh, and after you have ripped out the row, you might want to look at Tip #2 again because having the row too far from the first one is just as bad as overlapping it so get out that seam ripper again. (Yes, I really did have to rip the same row twice, but at least the second time I caught my mistake faster, so I really am learning.)

I was so excited when I finally finished quilting the quilt and was able to take it off the frame. I draped it over the rollers and took the pictures above, then noticed that I had missed part of one of the rows of quilting.

Tip #3 Check your quilting before advancing the quilt. I did figure out a way to get the quilt back on the machine, lined up with the panto, and finish the row.

All in all, a good learning experience. I feel confident that I can troubleshoot the tension, align my pantos, and troubleshoot issues as they occur. Not bad for my first quilt on the machine.

My new machine

I got an APQS Millennium longarm quilting machine. YEAH! I am posting pictures of my DH and I setting it up.

This machine has been a dream of mine for a couple of years. I got to go to Quilt Market in Houston and test drive all the longarms and midarms that were there and decided that yes I really did want the APQS. When I called DH to tell him that I had decided on which machine that I eventually wanted to buy he surprised me by telling me to go ahead a buy it.

It came in seven very large boxes that took up quite a bit of our garage. DH had taken a day of vacation to help me set it up So we start out with pieces and parts taking over our bonus room. :)

Here the machine is before the rollers were put on the frame. All shiny and new.