Apr 14, 2014

D722-28: Oh my goodness - it's done!

Long story short: the house had been sick, with Hub home since Tuesday and Bub coughing and gooping everywhere.  But in the midst of that I took quiet moments for this quilt, and all of a sudden I could see the end!  Blogging took a back-seat to quilting (as it should really).  Here's how it went, in pictures...

My thread choices for the top quilting

All the zigzag quilting complete, with the sashes to be quilted.
My idea for feeding the bias tape to the sewing.
The detail of the quilting at the corners.
The whole thing, getting an airing in the sun.
You've no idea how paranoid I was about birds flying over.
Plus some other things I did in between sewing, which require less attention and are more interruptible :)

Children's clothing patterns; ideas for the next quilt.

Apr 5, 2014

D271: It all my fault! Yey!!

I'll start with the key point here...

Tip of the day: If you love your machine, use quality thread.  It affects the tension and the debris and build up in the machine (at least). The quality of your machine's performance begins with the thread.

The poor quality thread in the bobbin is fluffy
My sewing machine dealer provides a free lesson on any machine purchased.  Today I used mine.  While I waited for the previous lesson to finish up I mentioned I'd had trouble with my machine's tension and was worried about the timing.  The technician plugged it in and, after looking at my trial swatch, did these things:
  • Changed the needle
  • Oiled the only user-accessible oiling spot available.

Thunking sound gone.  :0  
Stitches even and beautiful.  :O
Me stunned. 

And delighted!!  It was me!  I'm not sure which thing made the difference - he didn't run it between the changes to see - but there are three things that may have caused the problem.
  1. The needle may have been bent. This is highly likely when I think of the fifty or so pivots I've done, on the nine or so zigzags so far.  This involves manoeuvring a lot of heavy fabric, which I'm very careful about, but it's only the needle holding it in place.
  2. The thread fluff may have collected in the oil.
  3. The thread fluff or quality may have affected the tension pads.

A low quality thread, such as a brandless bulk-buy three-pack spool I may or may not have been using, it can be uneven in it's thickness and fluffy.  The fluff can pack up corners and lubricated points.  The thickness can make the tension pads lose their even grasp on the thread as they adjust from thick to thin patches.  Top-thread loops on the back of your work can ensue.

I thought that, like with my old workhorse machine, I could throw anything at this one and it would suck it up.  I wrongly assumed that a higher quality, more refined and sensitive machine would adjust itself it all sorts of thread - coz it's awesome right?  Nope.  It's sensitively means it needs consistency and, well, protection.  Cheap and nasty thread was okay on my old 807 as it wasn't sensitive enough to notice.  My 530 needs better quality thread.  Like I said, the quality of it's performance begins with the thread.  Also, like a commenter on my quilting forum discussion mentioned, it's not really the machine, in the end; crap thread is crap.

I also learned that 'quilting' needles aren't desperately important; regular universal needles are fine.  It's more important to match the needle to the thread thickness and to the fabric.  Can I mention my awesome Bernina, again, and the page in it's manual dedicated to different needles and their purpose? 

So, with all that under my belt, I finished quilting the white zigzags tonight.  I plan to tie up all the loose ends and remove most of the basting, and then do the coloured zigzags.

I'm working from right to left in all the initial zigzags because, even though I'm using a walking foot, I want to avoid twisting or pulling the fabric by working back and forth.  It means that I'm not sewing the quilt in the most convenient way, which would be to put whichever end is closer through the machine throat. Instead I'm putting the same side through and rolling up it's bulk, when necessary, for easier management.
Here is me working through the last of the zigzags with as much bulk as possible being out through the throat.

Top: at the start, I support the length of the quilt over my shoulder and change shoulders and I zig and zag.
Middle: Managing the bulk of the quilt through the throat of the machine is challenging, especially midway when pulling it all back through as I pivot to go up the zigzag (the 'zig'!). I keep a firm hold on the roll to ensure my sewing are is flat.

Bottom: To keep from the quilt weight pulling on the machine I hold the tail of the sewing with one hand and guide with the other.  I don't know if I could do this with a full-sized quilt!

Apr 4, 2014

D270: Resigned

So I tried sewing some lines last night and, once again, the timing was out. Or still is.  I had to redo a few lines, so I'm hoping it will get fixed at my lesson tomorrow.  Which is the hopiest hope you've ever seen coz there's no way that's happening.  It'll be gone for at least a fortnight, I bet. 

I've leant my old machine to a friend (which she loves, joy!) and I'm not dragging it back for just a few weeks.  My craftiness will just have to be spent sewing in the threads if the work so far and working on other hand sewing.  

Mar 30, 2014

D269: Other Other Brownies

My eldest nephew turned 15 today!  He's a pretty awesome kid so I made sure I hunted down a gift that was just right for him - something that connected to his interests and is something he actually needs.  Pretty sure I nailed with the $30 in an envelope! 

I had just enough time to make something for the birthday arvo tea so went for what was one of the quicker recipes from this great cake book I found in the library.  It's a chuck-it-all-in-a-bowl-and-mix recipe.  It took 45mins to prepare, with interruptions ;)  
Same same yeah?

Hub likes them better than the Moosehead brownies but not as much as the Two-tone brownies...

Mar 29, 2014

D267&8: Happy and Sad

I was happy and now I'm not.  

I was chugging along so well, with another three rows done, and then I refilled the bobbin and something changed.  I'm not sure what but the tension was so sloppy I had to unpick two rows of zigzags and spent a good portion of my baby-free afternoon rethreading, looking, checking, sewing at various speeds, and redoing things with all sorts of language about that.  

I called the dealer to see if they had any advice and they talked about upper tension... Which it shouldn't be as I hadn't changed it.  The thunking sound it makes, while the tension is off, makes me a bit uncomfortable.  So, I've got a machine lesson with the Bernina dealer scheduled for next week but until then I'm hoping a post I've created on http://sewing.patternreview.com will turn up something.

Mostly I hope it's something mysterious I'm doing, or have done, and not something that requires a service.  I really don't want to have anything bad to say about my new machine.  
Sad face.