Thursday, 14 December 2017

UFO Sampler

I thought that I had posted about my UFO sampler quilt but now have realized that I put most of the photos on IG!
Anyway, I have been using this as yet another practice ruler quilt and tried just about every ruler that I have on this. The center is finished and I have arrived at the borders. For this, I tried out the Handiquilter Wave ruler.
I have got the 8" wave with a 0.75" and 1.5" depth. Most of my borders end up around 4 -5" and I thought that this would just fit nicely. After a minor struggle to work out the middle of the border (I am so spatially challenged!) putting the wave in was a breeze. Does not really matter if you are slightly off in holding the ruler as it is wavy. This was a bonus. After having stitched the wave, I then shifted the ruler and roughly marked the boundary for the feathers in.
This was easy as and the end result is very neat

Bit hard to see as the batting is not particularly puffy and I used the Aurifil 50/2 thread that just seems to blend in but this is only for practice and to have a bit of a trial to see how this ruler works. I only did the feathers from corner to corner and put a bit of a corner design in as I initially could not work out how to get around the corner, but when I had finished the first feather I saw that I could have taken the feathers into the corner lifting up towards the corner of the quilt and meeting the corresponding feather from the other side. Well, next time...

The real advantage with the ruler is that I only had to think about placement in the beginning. After the first border I could take the ruler and align it on the line that corresponded with the inside of the border (took a note of this!) and off I went. This saved a huge amount of time if I compare it with how I usually would have done it, i.e. used my curvable ruler and drawn it in for every border. Was pretty pleased with this.

Almost done now, so I will post a photo of the entire quilt once it is done.  Some of my handiwork

Actually getting better with the rulers and their fact, I am getting a bit addicted to this (as you will see in my next post...). Got so many ideas!

Also, if you have not seen it ...Patsy Thompson will run a Ruler Workshop on her blog in January. Patsy is one of my favourite quilters and visiting her blog the other day I stumbled across this. This sounds like good fun and I will definitely participate. In fact, going over a number of her blog posts about ruler work in general my head was buzzing with inspiration.


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Almost there!

I finished the quilting on my baby quilt
This took me a while as I have developed a good dose of Bursitis in one shoulder. As I decided against a cortisone injection, I had to take it a bit easy with the FMQ. Also had to re-evaluate my set up with the machine. Initially I thought the machine sat too low, hence one day we took the machine off, turned the table around and put the legs higher...what a hoot!...only to realise a bit later that you could quite easily adjust it by one person just lifting the machine with the table on one side and the other person adjusting the legs. Took 5 seconds!
Once I had done this, I realized that the problem most likely was not the height of the machine, but the way my chair was not adjusted properly at all. When we set the machine higher I then also had to set my chair higher, actually right to the top, so that left me no room for finer adjustments and my legs were not at a right angle. So, we put the machine down again and I inspected my chair...had to lift my lumbar support as this was just flopping around at the bottom and also tried to get the height right. Good posture when FMQ is so important...although I am not sure my shoulder issue was caused by the quilting alone. Might just be one of those things that come with age.
Anyway, so this went very slowly but without any trouble. As I previously mentioned, it is a bit time consuming as I used the Golden Threads paper method to get the E2E design on the quilt but it was much easier than I thought. The design remained straight across the quilt top...the beginnings and endings (as I did it in 3 sections across the quilt) were hardly noticeable and I was able to keep distances more or less consistent. A slight miscalculation occurred at the bottom as I had decided to follow the distances in the pattern as closely as I could, so it did not end up exactly where I wanted it to end, but that was fine. Really enjoyed doing this for a change.
Now I only have the binding left. I used spray basting for the first time and now wonder whether I should wash the quilt...probably should, I reckon.

Also did a bit of a play with my HQ Versa Tool ruler in between
Must say that I am getting better with my continued ruler practice...did not once trail off to the side and was quite impressed with this. This is a 2in clamshell. Initially I had marked a 2in line across the piece but then I just build on that. Even though the clamshell is not huge, this would look lovely on a smallish baby quilt. It gives a really nice soft feel to the quilt, so this could be another option for an overall design. Stitching this out on a quilt I would probably mark the whole quilt with 2in lines though just to make sure that it is kept straight.
I am getting quite enthused about different overall designs, but after this I will have continue on my other ruler quilt...have too many UFOs at the present.


Friday, 24 November 2017

Handiquilter Ruler of the Month -

This ruler for this month is the Line Grid Ruler
Absolutely LOVE this ruler!

Finally the answer to my inability to do a grid just with a ruler. I have tried to do a grid with a straight ruler many times following the markings on the ruler. Without fail my grid ends up visibly inaccurate...just cannot align the ruler properly, it seems. So I was interested in this ruler and whether it would work better for me.

Definitely does!
I managed this simple grid (placed diagonally across) with relative ease and looking at it, it looks accurately spaced at 1/2in intervals and my lines are very straight. This is a bit exciting. While I will still do my larger grids with the stencil I have, for smaller sections this is ideal. The ruler is larger and you have a good grip on it when doing your lines...really like this one. Will try the different angles which are strategically placed across the ruler for ease of alignment next. 


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

E2E on HQ Sweet 16

Overcome my stage fright and finally went onto the quilt. See my previous post on my preparation for quilting E2E on the Sweet 16.

First section completed...I used my EQ program to guide me in the placement of the motif. As you can see I brought the design right up to the edge of the quilt with some of it going to be taken up by the binding. I did a lot of shifting the design to and fro in the program and this was the best way to align it so that I get a similar look of the motif at the bottom as well.

Action shot with the paper attached

Could you do this on a probably could for a smallish quilt, however I do think the space around the HQ Sweet 16 makes this a lot easier. What you see here is me quilting from the top down going across from left to right, so as I am approaching the end of the edge I have got the bulk of the quilt to my right. This would be somewhat difficult under the DSM. I was also glad that I could have the paper lying nice and straight. Even though I attached it with masking tape where I could there is the potential of movement if you are not careful. As I went along I quilted sideways at times and then often turned the quilt to have the design facing me lengthwise as I approached the end. The space around the machine makes this very easy. Not so easy was to follow a line...I am totally out of practice and had to go really slow. So there are some minor variations in the design but that will not be noticeable at all.

Not exactly a fast process. For this quilt I have to trace and quilt the design in 3 sections. This is ok for this baby quilt but I doubt I would do this on a Queensize quilt...that would take ages. At the moment I am tracing one evening and then the next evening I quilt the design across, taking the paper out after each section.
Very happy how this is turning out. This is a welcome relief from the allover designs I usually do (meander, swirling, loops etc). Not sure I will do this all the time but once in a while this could be quite interesting. The only thing to remember is to keep the design a bit simple and somewhat free flowing, otherwise you will sit there ripping out the paper for ages. In my little design the paper comes away fairly easy, the time consuming factor is more the tracing of the design. Looking at it though...well worth it, really suits this little quilt.

Linking up to Esther's blog for her WOW=WIPs on Wednesdays


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

New baby quilt

I have been steadily working away on 3 different quilts. Yes, why do one if you can do several at once!

Finished my baby quilt. This one is made out of charm squares and gave me a bit of a headache as I also had obtained a packet of 2 1/2in squares in the same range, somehow thinking that they would make up 4 1/2in squares. Well, they obviously don't and after a lot of internet surfing I finally came up with a combination of designs.
I found the idea with the stars in the center on Pinterest...Vanessa Christensen from the V and Co blog. She had the charm squares and stars arranged this way in a small quilt in some greenish tones. Very pretty. I added some additional borders to use up my 2 1/2in squares...EQ7 came again very handy as the math just did not add up and I needed to do some tweaking. To my big surprise this worked out very well. 
The quilt is by now spray basted and ready to go! Spray basting was definitely a first for me...not sure I like it all over my feet and then spread it all over the floor...bit messy. But I have got something special in mind for this one and spray basting was the better option.

I am planning to do an edge to edge design on it on my HQ Sweet 16. We learned about this in the group I am attending and given that I am really bored with my allover designs this seemed a great option. I selected a design from the EQ Quilting Designs Add-on Program Volume 8 called 'Mini Moonflower Design'. Got very enthused about this and tried it out on a piece of white cotton
While not the most exciting design I thought that this was simple enough to trial on this quilt. I think it suits this little quilt.
In between of course, EQ8 came out and I had to shift my baby quilt from EQ7 to I spent some time on it trying to work out the size of the design and most importantly the placement. While this is all do-able, a bit of planning is a must, particularly as this design is straight across in very definite rows, so I had to make sure it does not sit on every seam line and looks well spread out while still appearing as a consistent overall E2E pattern. The motif consists of 2 rows of flowers and I ended up making this eventually 10in high. The next issue was to pay some attention to the edges and the spacing. EQ 8 was enormously helpful with this...
I worked in Zoom mode and placed my motif where I could effortlessly start...also used that little ruler in EQ8 to measure the approx. distance at points so I have an approximate for placement. I then exported the image using the 'Export Marquee Selection' and pasted it into a Word document, so I can have a look at it when placing the motif on the quilt.

So now I have got a picture of the top left corner and the top right as well as the bottom. Also took an image of the approximate spacing which will be about 1/2in.

Now it is just a matter of doing it! The motif will be stitched out using Golden Threads paper and I will most likely do this in sections. My only fear is that this might not end up straight across for some reason. Well, we shall see...

If this works out I might get some simple pantographs to expand my options a bit in terms of overall designs. Found some really nice ones on the Golden Threads web site. Lots of possibilities!


Friday, 27 October 2017

Handiquilter Ruler of the Month Club - the Swiss Cheese Ruler

Another month has gone by...

This month we were introduced to the Swiss Cheese Ruler
The ruler has three different sizes of circles, i.e. 1/4in, 3/4in and 1 1/4in.

This was a bit of fun playing around with this.
First tried just fitting the circles within lines...not that easy if you have trouble being exact in putting your lines down, but again, I think this is only practice. The circles are easy to do. If you look at the ruler you will notice the the Westalee rulers they insert a little piece to close that gap. With the HQ rulers that gap can be distracting as the foot sinks slightly into it and creates a bit of a notch. However, if you slow down a bit at that point and concentrate this is not much of an issue and even if you get a bit of a notch it is hardly noticeable.
I did try the 1/4in circles which are tiny, tiny...while they do create beautiful little pearls on a practice piece, I had problems fitting them nicely into my lined up 1/4in space. Personally  I think it is easier to do them freehand. The other two sizes are great though as you will not be able to keep it nice and straight if you were to do them freehand.
The square next to it has the orange peel design done with the 3/4in circle. For that I drew a grid in the square first and put my circles neatly into each square and then completed the overlapping circles. That worked really well and is a good way of doing this design at that size.
Next I did just lines with alternate circles, again at the 3/4in size. 
Really like this design...I used the straight edge of the Slice Ruler to give me a straight line and then just switched to the circles in between. I think I did draw a loose grid in the background first to keep my orientation straight.
And another one
Filled in some of the 1 1/4in circles as this is what they showed on the Handiquilter website. Thought initially that this was quite boring but actually looks really interesting. If you have them all lined up in a border and fill every alternative one, this could look quite good.

Overall really like this ruler as the circles are small enough to be used in blocks, sashings and borders in a variety of ways. While small I know from experience that no matter how careful you are to follow a drawn line, you will not achieve a tidy round circle freehand even at the 3/4in size. The 1/4in circle however is just a tad too small for me and unless I figure out how to align it precisely I probably prefer to do those little pebbles freehand.


Tuesday, 24 October 2017


I upgraded my EQ7 to the new EQ8 program and have been looking around the new program a bit. It does look quite different but is very intuitive. This is important to me as I do not like reading manuals.

So I drew my favourite block...bit rusty on this so just used the easy draw facility and drew 'An Arrangement of Small Pieces' as a 9in block, then coloured it, saved a copy and went on to explore the export options. Same as before, you can copy to Windows clipboard or export as a Windows Metafile. I had issues with that in the last program, particularly when trying to use this as a piecing diagram where you draw individual units out of the block.

Happy to say, this worked very well (could just be that I finally figured out how to do this properly!)

So I exported the block using the Clipboard option, then opened my Serif Drawing program and pasted the block in there, then ungrouped the block, so I could pick the individual units up. As I copied this with outline and fill, I then had to click on the units, and grouped the fill and outline together before moving the piece. This allows you to create a nice little piecing diagram. As I am in my drawing program I could now have added text or arrows etc. to demonstrate the piecing of the block.

Looked at the Rotary Cutting Chart (rounding to 1/8in or 1/16in)
Here is a snapshot
...and also looked at the Foundation Piecing option which now comes out coloured (if you want)

All very interesting...lots of little changes. The navigation around the program will take me a while to get used to, but overall a much more user friendly experience.

Curious to see what else I find. There are a lot of new features to explore, like you can now take pictures of your fabric to use in your quilt...need to get on to that as I find it very useful to use the fabric that I am actually using when designing a quilt. This could be much easier than the scanning that I have done before.
Head over to the Electric Company website if you want to know more about this upgrade.