Saturday, 23 May 2009
I'm on holiday / Review of Micro Stitch tool
Next week is half term school break here in the UK, but Dh and I started early by taking Friday off to go and watch Ds rowing in the National Schools Regatta in Nottingham. He did really well and got through to the finals, but not into the medals. For us it meant leaving home at 07:30 a.m. to drive up there, then sitting on the bank of the lake all day until we could finally leave at 7:30 p.m. and not getting home until 10:30 p.m. but we enjoyed it and Ds was really pleased that we had come to watch. I took along some socks that I am knitting for Dh, and managed to turn the heel for the second time (first time they were too big so I had to pull back to the cuff and try again).
For the first time in months I have actually done some work on my Willowcrest dollshouse, the one that is a knitting and quilting shop, and posted onto my other blog. Now that it is in the living room it is much easier to work on, and I had a number of purchases to add from the London Kensington Dollshouse Festival that I went to last Sunday. That was fun, although I have been so many times that there is a certain feeling of 'deja vu' as a majority of the dealers are the same every year. I didn't buy very much but I enjoyed looking at all the wonderful things as it is a show with a really high standard. I mainly picked up hand-knitted items like a tiny lacy shawl, a hat/mittens/scarf combo, and a tiny knitted teddy.
Last Saturday was my sewing club, and I spent the first hour and a half removing Micro Stitch tacks from a single quilt so that I could pass it to a friend who is donating it to a hospice fete. You may remember that I used the Micro Stitch to sandwich up a couple of quilts by mounting them onto the rollers of my tabletop quilting frame, an operation which seemed very quick compared to the usual clamping and safety-pinning. I had purchased the tool after seeing a positive review on the Stack and Whack newsletter from Bethany Reynolds. I was a bit worried that the tacks would have too much 'give' and I would end up with puckers in my quilt but in fact I found the quilting just the same as it would have been with a safety-pinned sandwich. The only difference, and this was an improvement at the time, was that you can sew right over the tacks and not have to worry about them getting hung up in your presser foot or getting in the way.
However, and this is a big however, I found it extremely time consuming to remove the **!j#x tacks afterwards. They are virtually invisible as they are so small. I almost had to do it by feel, continually running my hand back and forth over the quilt to locate them, as it was very hard to actually see them. Once found, they are easily removed with thread snips (or you can buy a special tool like a modified seam ripper) and usually just fall out on the other side with a good shake of the quilt, or a brush down. It took me far longer to remove the tacks than it would have done to remove safety pins and I wasn't even 100% sure at the end that I had got them all out. The learning for me is to: a) be much more consistent about where I insert the tacks, for example follow a design line, so that I will know where to look for the tacks afterwards. b) put much more effort into using contrasting colour tacks against the background (they are available in black and white) even it means having to load/unload the tool more often. c) consider removing them as I go, particularly if I can see that the tack is in a less obvious place such as concealed against a patterned fabric.
I also got the sleeve stitched onto my Vintage Fans quilt last Saturday, so just need to do the binding now.
Next week we are all on holiday, Ds from school and us from work. We might have some days out but Ds has to a lot of studying for some big exams he has right after the holiday. I will probably have to help test him so it will be some of my time as well. I wonder if I could knit and read from flash cards at the same time...
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