Friday, October 23, 2015

Week in Review 2015 - 10/23

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

The pebbles and rays free motion quilting is my practice
piece before sitting down to start on Deconstructed
Sunrise #3
. Note the oil blotch in the lower section of
the sun's center. This is why it is vital stitch on scrap
fabric when you first start quilting after a long absence
from your machine. My George has a tendency to ooze
oil down the foot of the machine if it isn't oiled properly or
if it sits idle for a long period of time. 
When I started quilting back in the Jurassic era (late 1980's) I was clueless about everything. I struggled to select fabric, to use a rotary cutter, to match my seams and even how to get the bobbin thread to pop up through the fabric. I wish I had my first log cabin quilt to share to prove just how clueless I really was. I made it in a community ed class taught by following Eleanor Burnes's Quilt in A Day method. Our instructor gave us a shopping list that included the yardage for light, medium and dark fabric. Let's just say I bought only small calico prints and got the lightest lights and the darkest of darks. I even remember the color scheme was red, white and blue, not for patriotic reasons - more to fulfill the light and dark requirement. If that wasn't bad enough I inserted a lace ruffle trim. The miracle is that I was proud enough of this debacle/master piece that I put it my children's school auction and someone generously bought it. That isn't where my cluelessness ends, however. I had no idea how I would have to learn to properly clean and care for my sewing machines.

The sun kissed clouds are fused and the edges
stitched down using the Bernina's
buttonhole stitch. I fused various scraps left
over from making the quilt top to Steam a Seam
then cut used my rotary cutter to free hand cut
long skinny, but undulating clouds.
My Bernina 1230 is my workhorse. This is the machine I piece with and do the vast majority of my free motion quilting. It has one draw back and that is its throat. This is the space between the needle and the motor. What I love about this machine, beyond the fact that it feels like a natural extension of my hands, is just how easy it is to clean. All I need to do is brush out the lint every couple of bobbins and oil the bobbin case every few cleanings. Five years ago I treated myself to the George, APQS's sit down long arm. I had been salivating over long arms for over a decade. It really is a treat not to have tug and shove large quilts through a small throat. However, cleaning and oiling the George is a little trickier than the Bernina. I did a thorough job prepping the George this week before starting to quilt Deconstructed Sunrise #3. I had learned that I hadn't been oiling it correctly in the past. Now, hopefully, I am doing precisely what the George needs. I can say that the quilting went very, very smoothly. I'm in love with my George again. 

My tip this week - love your machine(s) and they will love you back. 

Oiling sewing machines may not be my favorite way to spend my week, but the pay off is definitely worth it. Here is what I was able to get done:

1)  Deconstructed Sunrise #3 (Due November 30, 2015)
Let the quilting begin!

a) Stay stitch clouds in place - done!
b) Prepare quilt for quilting - done!
c) Start quilting - done!

2) Free motion quilting practice. - done!

3) Post the number of days I have worked in my studio in 2015 - 87/126

4) Perform a random act of kindness - done! 

Next week I will be narrowly focused. It is time to leap frog ahead and make major headway quilting Deconstructed Sunrise #3. Naturally, I'll squeeze in a few other projects. Here is the plan:

1)  Continue quilting Deconstructed Sunrise #3 (Due November 30, 2015)

2) Free motion quilting practice. 

3) Post the number of days I have worked in my studio in 2015

4) Perform a random act of kindness 

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.


  1. You are so right about treating your machines well. The one thing I don't like about my 1962 Singer 503a is all the oiling and lubing it requires...but the payoff is sooooo worth it. Great idea to do a practice piece before a project--except your practice pieces put my final works to shame. lol Love that you have a random act of kindness on your list.

  2. Everytime I see your beautiful FM urges me to quit being so stubborn and sit down and practice!!

  3. Looks oh so lovely, Gwen! And you're right about loving your machine and I'm very negligent about oiling my machine. I must get better about that. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Hello Gwyned,

    The pastel colours are really beautiful, and I love the quilting you have done for the practice piece. It's all coming together...

    Oil seeping down to the needle and foot is a real hazard. After a couple of nasty experiences I always make sure now that I leave the machine unused for a couple of days after oiling, with paper tissue wrapped around the needle bar and presser bar.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv