Sunday, 16 September 2007

Re-inventing the wheel, and Miss Lydia Pickett

I am continuing to climb the steep learning curve with my Freestyle quilting frame. It is very frustrating because I feel 100% sure that I am reinventing the wheel - yet I can't find any book or dvd/video on using a home frame system. There are trillions of books on quilting designs, how to stipple, that sort of thing, but I can't find anything on the mechanical practicalities of using a frame. It seems ridiculous when these home systems have been sold in the thousands, if not tens of thousands. If anyone knows of a reference, PLEASE let me know, I would be very grateful.


Here are a few more things I have learned:

  • I need to smooth the top from the centre out to the edges each time I roll on, to try to fight the tendency of the quilt top to become hourglass-shaped (the quilting draws it in, yet the ends are pinned to full width on the rollers). The sideways tension is on the backing so it doesn't alleviate the tendency of the top to draw inwards.


  • where the top has no excess to trim off, I should put the batting onto the backing first, then pin the quilt top through all three layers. The cd that came with the system shows the top being pinned to the backing, then folded back, and the batting being inserted between the two layers. Despite best endeavours, this left me a gap of up to 1/4" with no batting in it along the top edge.


  • You can continuous-curve quilt around the seams of a block, by rolling on as needed (which is tedious but do-able). However (and my dh helpfully pointed out that this should be obvious), it is no good rolling forward to go around the whole block if the total distance quilted forward from original starting point exceeds a certain distance (about 10" on my frame) because once the three layers are quilted together, you can't roll back any further than about 10" because the top and bottom can no longer separate to go onto their respective rollers. I found this out by quilting all around one block, moving over to do the next block in the row and discovering I couldn't roll back far enough. Having driven helpful husband out of the room, I had to do part of the block and leave the rest to do later off the frame. I guess I should have done about half the first block, then gone along and done half the next block etc. etc., before rolling forward. But that is going to require some advance planning on how to quilt the seams, I hate advance planning.


On my next practice top, I am going to try some edge-to-edge quilting patterns. As there is no pantograph facility on this frame (and I would think that when someone writes that book I want to read, they will have a chapter on improvising pantograph systems), I will have to draw out the pattern onto Golden Threads paper.



What else have I been doing? I am still knitting on my Widdershins cable sock, I have turned the heel (which is just the most wonderful heel, you increase for the gusset, then knit a proper heel flap and decrease on either side to tie it back into the gusset - so no picking up stitches!) but when I tried to do the cable rib up the leg I found it was too tight. I ripped back and tried with bigger needles and less cross-overs, then it was too loose. So I have ripped back again, and am trying with original needles and less cross-overs. And I finally got my invitation to Ravelry, I was so excited, and spent about a half day setting up an account there. They only take pictures from Flickr, there is no direct upload option, so I had to create a knitting album on Flickr to get my pics into Ravelry. Oh, and it is getting a bit colder here now so I sat down one evening and knit a hat, the 'May' pattern from Rowan Big and Easy leaflet.





I've also finished two Miss Lydia Pickett kits from my monthly club that Judith of 'In Some Small Way' is running. This was the Day Bed and the Ladies' Writing Desk, which I think were the August & September kits. We have now moved onto the living room furniture so I have shifted my base colour from pale yellow to a sort of oatmeal colour (one of my dh's Citadel paints in a shade called 'Bleached Bone') which matches the provided artwork quite well. These kits went together well. The Day Bed was fairly easy. The front legs of the desk are built up of three layers and you need to sand the fronts off to round the leg so it looks more like a cabriole leg and less like a laser-cut structure. I found the artwork slightly puzzling as the interior pieces above and below the shelf do not completely fill up their allotted space, even though in the kit picture they appear to. The little extras with the ladies' desk are two little books and a folded vintage leaflet. I am quite pleased, as usual, with how both kits turned out.



2 comments:

swooze said...

Love the hat. Yes I am still learning on my FMQ. Will I ever feel good at it? I hope so! Have lots of UFOs to finish up.

Rita said...

The day bed and writing table is absolutly beautiful.
I have a confession to make....after I saw your miss LP closet, I had to have one myself. Hope you don`t mind.

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