Friday, 16 February 2018

Patsy Thompson's January 2018 Ruler Work Winter Course

Running a bit behind but I finally managed to knuckle down and finish the last 2 lessons of Patsy's free online workshop. The end result is stunning of course as I have followed Patsy's design pretty closely to have a sample of the lessons that we have done over January.

Just need to bind it now and then it is done.

Really enjoyed this workshop...if you want to have a look, head over to Patsy's blog and read over the 9 lessons. Lots of really good information to get you started on ruler quilting coupled with handy hints and lots of inspiration. Particularly enjoyed the last lesson where Patsy showed how to extend the outer arches to cover the length of the area...this would not have occurred to me. I probably would have looked at the ruler and thought...'oh, that does not fit' and moved on to a different ruler or different design. While it did not work for me on the first trial, I did manage to get those arcs down in an orderly fashion and Patsy was right, once you fill the areas you will not see those little hiccups that happen on the way.

This is a lovely design and I would not mind doing something similar to that on a bigger scale, i.e. extend the design out, maybe adding a different frame and another border. Lots of possibilities. But first I will do another wholecloth that has been on my list all of last year and I am determined to stitch that out
Like always, I am curious as to what this would look like...I am thinking black background and cream or gold thread. This could be an adventure on the new Sweet 16 as I am still struggling at times to get the tension 100% right. Have started to work out dimensions in the EQ8 program, just need to fine tune now and work out how I am going to mark this and what parts are going to be marked. I am intending to put the framework down with one of the new arc rulers and am still debating whether to mark the feathers in or just do them freehand. The motif in the middle will definitely be marked in as this design relies on the precise alignment of the motif, particularly in the border. 
So lots of work ahead.


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Patsy Thompson's January 2018 Ruler Work Winter Course

I am catching up with lesson 8 and 9 of Patsy's online Ruler Workshop and have the basic framework stitched out
This is how far I got over the it is just a matter of filling this in and finishing off. Lovely design!
Must say that I did not find this easy at all. Had some difficulty putting in the star spikes with a straight ruler as they are quite long and I found it difficult to gauge the tick mark at the other end, so had to re-do some lines before I got it right. Used  the straight skinny ruler from Handiquilter for that which I find quite tricky to use as it is about 10in x 2.5in. Nice length but hard to hold even with three Handigrip strips on there. I think the trick really is to stop and re-position your hands which of course, I did not always do.
The arcs are done with the Pro Echo 12 ruler. Also tricky as the whole ruler does not extend over the whole area so you had to do it in two halves, so to speak. I am glad that Patsy did talk about that in her last lesson as I would not have thought about doing it that way. Worked well after some failed attempts and I got the framework down eventually, looking great.

Bit sad that this little online course is finished but really appreciative of the amount of work that Patsy would have put into its presentation. Like always, learned a lot and am itching to try my own design at some stage many possibilities, very exciting! Also will be on the lookout for Patsy's second Ruler DVD which should be coming out at some stage in the next few months.


Monday, 5 February 2018

New Rulers

My new arc rulers arrived from the US
They are the Lisa Calle's Pro Echo rulers. I got size 8 and 12 thinking that this is probably of most use to me at this point in time. There is a whole set of sizes available and I would have liked some additional sizes but with postage this is all I could afford without being overly greedy. Husband made remark about  how many more rulers I could possibly, I can think of plenty more!

I stitched out some arcs in the following sample (first two spaces from top down)
Effortless alignment, very happy with that.

The next 3 spaces of arcs were done with the Westalee Corner Mark Ovals
You might have wondered why I got those...they are extremely useful in creating arcs of different sizes. If you look at the last space, I used the smallest of the three ovals and got five different sizes out of that by just aligning it to the next quarter inch mark. This represents very good value for money and would be very useful for different sashings and smaller borders. If you then look at the bigger ones, there are a lot of sizes in there, so for that reason alone I think they are useful to have in your repertoire of rulers, i.e. able to make just simple arcs, interlocking designs and a variety of orange peel designs, all in a multitude of sizes. This was a better option for me than buying a dedicated swag design set with a few different sizes...found that a bit limiting and wondered how often I would use that. Similarly, did not want to end up buying different size ovals as standalone rulers as I am then limited to a few select sizes. 

That's it for me for a while with rulers...unless I smuggle them into the house 😜


Friday, 2 February 2018

Westalee Corner Mark Ovals

Had a gift voucher for Christmas for Punch with Judy and (amongst other things) got the Corner Mark Ovals from Westalee.
I think these are really good value for money as they give you lots of different sizes of half ovals to use which is why I got them. Did a bit of an initial play with it the other day which is a bit hard to see because the fabric is patterned, but I hope you get a sense of how versatile these ovals can be.
Did a bit of a block design and then just used the ovals to produce some arcs of varying width and lengths. This is very useful for sashings or small borders.

Will endeveaur to stitch out a bit of a sample on solid fabric so it's easier to see. For now I will need to get back to finishing off Patsy Thompson's January Ruler Workshop to finish off lesson 7 and 8.


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Almost Finished

I have been steadily working away on my practice wholecloth. Started a rather crazy background filler
...and once started had to continue with it. Was a bit unsure of it as it is a rather playful background in a very traditional design. Grid probably would have been better but I did not feel like it. The texture this produced is really amazing and it does look interesting.

Today I finished the whole piece. Spend half of the day putting in a piano key border. This was not part of the original plan but I had so much fabric left over on the sides that I thought it was a pity to waste all of that.
I used my favourite ruler from the Handiquilter Ruler of the month program - the Line Grid ruler
This ruler is very easy to hold and produces very straight lines. Worked well and went along rather quickly. The only thing that drove me crazy was the Handigrip tape on the back. As I was stitching close to the batting, the end of the ruler really gripped hold of the batting all the time. In the end I took the Handigrip strip off on one end to be able to move the ruler more easily. That worked fine as I still had all my other Handigrips strips on the top. I am actually quite amazed on how evenly and straight this turned out. The only marking that I had  to go by were the center lines on all four sides.

End result before I gave it a bit of a spray with water to get rid of some of the blue marker pen that was still hanging around in some places.
Next comes the binding, then a proper wash and I will need to block this one properly as the tight background is trying to pull the whole thing in a bit. So, a little bit of work ahead still.
This was good fun and a really useless exercise in terms of just focusing in on some ruler practice, while at the same time just going for it and seeing how this would turn out. Love those types of projects.


Sunday, 28 January 2018

Tension Expedition

Today I had some time to devote to the tension issue of the Handiquilter Sweet 16. After 6 months I felt in the right headspace to have a really good look at this, because  when I stitched out my Patsy Thompson ruler framework yesterday, I was not totally happy with my tension.

If you are researching these machines you would have come across quilters talking about this on the various forums and groups. There is a lot of information on the tension issue available on the net...oodles of YouTube videos, information on the Handiquilter website and on other websites dealing with longarm machines as well as individual bloggers talking about their experience. Would be good if they all said the same thing, however they do not, hence this makes this all the more confusing. One thing though is consistent...people talking about that you will somehow 'feel' when the tension is right on your bobbin. Must say that I struggled with getting the sense of what that should feel like, as there is a bit of play in the bobbin, i.e. from when you know it is too tight to when you know that it is too loose.

Also very confusing is what people use in the bobbin. A lot of people use prewounds, either DecoBobs (80wt) or SuperBobs (Bottomline 60wt). I have got some SuperBobs, but have not used them that much as I got a lot of thread to get through (although might try some DecoBobs in the future as some people swear by them).
So today I started with my Aurifil thread 50/2 both in bobbin and on top. I thought that I had this thread combination worked out, but apparently not as I have pokies either on the top or on the bottom. Must have had a super dose of patience today, because I was determined to get a good stitch out of the machine. So, started with the bobbin again however this time went with some feeling and set the bobbin way tighter than some of the You Tube videos would suggest. I set it so that it stood up in my hand and just about wanted to leave my hand, then lifting it up and letting it gently and relatively slowly drop. I noted the Towa number which was sitting around 220 which is significantly higher than what I had come across on some blogs. Never mind, I thought and continued, examining the thread path...decided that the thread needed to go through all 3 holes and then adjusted the top tension...yep, that worked fine and I was able to produce a decent stitch once I adjusted the top tension.

On I went, pulling out the Rasant thread. Still unsure whether I should always match bobbin and top thread, but for the time being I went with that
My efforts for the day...not that you will be able to see anything much. I quilted in blue Rasant on the top and white on the bobbin. Rasant has been a thread that I have not really mastered on the DSM either, so I was in for a treat with that one. I like the thread as it is fairly strong and bonus it is pretty inexpensive. Adjusted the bobbin again with the drop test, assuming that my machine enjoys a somewhat tighter tension in the bobbin. Rasant is a Tex 25 thread which amounts to 40wt, so thicker than the bobbin needed to be loosened a fraction (Towa value was approx.210). Threaded it through 3 holes and was able to get a decent stitch once I adjusted the top tension.

I then switched to Magnifico on top and Bottomline in the bottom, as I will need to continue with that on the Wolecloth. Already knew that the bobbin tension needed to be cranked up for this one. Checked whether I was still getting this one correct and as before this was extraordinary fiddly...luckily I had taken some notes and saw that I needed to only thread it through 2 holes. Also worked reasonable well, but pretty sure that this thread will not be my first choice in the future.

I then tried a really old variegated thread that I had from Anton Robinson...tried this with Bottomline and Aurifil in the bobbin and that gave a really nice balanced stitch
Somehow get the feeling the machine performs better when top and bobbin are not matched. Maybe this is only because I cannot get the balance a 100% right...this would make sense.

So this was my day...just playing with thread.


Friday, 26 January 2018

Patsy Thompson's January Online Ruler Workshop

Spent some time yesterday and today catching up with lesson 7 of Patsy Thompson's January Ruler Workshop.

After having spent the last few weeks looking at how to put in tapered and parallel channels, we had to construct this framework
The framework was constructed from the outside inwards starting with the smallish arcs. I used the 6in leaf shape arc from Handiquilter (bottom right) which gave me a slightly smaller arc than what Patsy demonstrated, hence my channels (done with the Slice ruler, top right) are also smaller. Later realized that I should/could have used one of the circle rulers for this part...this would have given me a more pronounced arc. I stitched the second arc with the bigger 10in Handiquilter arc and then used the circle (bottom left) ruler to put a tapered channel in there. This worked really well. The smaller arced square was done with the 6in Handiquilter arc.

Then came the filling
Patsy makes this look so easy...I had to really concentrate for this part and this time drew my feathers lightly in with an air erasable marker. I like those as they are only temporary which is a good thing for me as I tend to be very messy with my marking. I put a mini grid in using the 6in Handiquilter arc ruler. Really enjoyed this and for once that worked without a hitch!

Finally, some pebbles
Looking good...wonder what comes next