Saturday, 28 May 2011

To paraphrase Piglet: "Look at me! I'm quilting!!!"

Yes, the 12-foot-Beast is operational and we have lift off!  (or should that be 'quilt off'?) Last Sunday after I got back from knitting at the pub, I loaded on my first quilt and started my learning curve.  I decided to go first with the twin size Daisy Trellis that I made earlier in the year.  My party piece from using my first frame is a large meander stitch which is perfect for this type of busy quilt where the quilting lines aren't going to show very much.

So I loaded it up and started stitching, and did an hour or so of stitching each night after work, and finished it Thursday night!  I've gotten used to the heavier feel of the carriage and steering is going fairly well.  The Pfaff Hobby Grand Quilter seems like a real work horse although it is slightly pernickety about how it is threaded - the smallest thing left out and it goes wrong, it also wasn't too sure about tension for a while.  For the first quilt I used a variety of cotton threads in the top before my order of threads arrived from Cotton Patch in Birmingham.  I found the bobbins hold a lot less than my Janome 6500 and I was having to change bobbins about every 1.5 passes which was a bit annoying.  So I switched to Bottom Line in the bottom and King Tut in the top, and like magic it all started behaving. Here's a pic of the finished quilt.

So Thursday night I loaded up my second quilt, going with the Hawaiaan Potpourri Quilt as it is another busy quilt that would suit meandering.  I went even bigger with the meander on this one.  I used Bottom Line in the bobbin again, but went with a variegated YLI thread on top.  I couldn't believe how much fluff the YLI thread generated in the bobbin area, mega fluff compared to the King Tut, I had to clean it out several times.  I also had more trouble with the tension, but that may have been because I used a batik fabric on the backing.  I switched up to a 100 Schmetz (?) Sharp needle which brought the tension up to an acceptable level, but I also had to tighten up the top tension considerably compared to the King Tut.

And I finished that one on Saturday afternoon.  The new poles are working really well, but one of the homemade rachets has given out, luckily the opposite end is still holding.

I emptied all the waiting tops off of my back-of-the-door rack (which was collapsing under the weight) and I have an embarrassing number, about another 6 or 7 after these two, and some of them are absolutely huge.  I have no idea what I was thinking, making king-size quilts.  Luckily I had recently won £50 of Hobbycraft vouchers in a competition, so we went over there today and I bought four more packs of Poly-Down wadding which I quite like.  I wanted to get more Hobb's Heirloom Wadding as well, because I am down to two packs, but they were out so I may have to mail order again.  I've also got a fair bit of work ahead of me to get all the tops ready for quilting, with a backing prepared or pieced as required.

I am also in denial about all the binding I will have to sew on.

Meanwhile, on the knitting front...

I was working on the second sleeve of the Liesl cardigan at the pub last weekend, and having a lot of trouble getting the lace pattern to match up with the body pattern.  I looked at my first finished sleeve to see how I had done it there, only to discover that I hadn't and it is completely wrong.  So instead of being almost finished, I now have to finish the second sleeve then rip out the first sleeve and knit it again.  I'm about halfway through the second sleeve.

Meanwhile, things are not going smoothly on my Cookie A Sunshine Sock.  Armed with the corrected charts, I got as far as knitting the heel flap then tried it on to see how deep the flap needed to be.  Although I have been loving this smooshy Colinette Jitterbug yarn, it is quite fluffy, and I was disappointed to discover the combination of fat yarn and a very textured cable lace pattern was about the most unflattering thing I could possibly put on my ankle.  It made my ankles look like tree trunks.  So I thought, ok, I could make fingerless gloves instead.  But it even made my wrists look bad, plus the tube was too loose.  So I accepted my fate, and ripped it all out.  Again.  I have now cast on with white Cherry Tree Hill, which to my eye looks a bit thinner than the Jitterbug, so hopefully I will get a nice delicate lace rather than a woollen version of a truck tire tread.

I am still knitting away on the Vertical Garter Stitch edging for my Learn to Knit Afghan.  I discovered at knitting group that 'afghan' is apparently not a familiar word in the UK.  They had seen the word on American knitting patterns so they knew what it meant.  I don't think there is a word in Britain with the same connotations of a knitted/crocheted blanket.  Interesting.  I've switched from increasing using 'Knit front and back in the same stitch' as recommended in the book, to making one stitch from the bar between the stitches of the previous row, as I found I was getting a little row of holes up one side of the scallop with the previous method.  I'm not re-knitting the first several feet though.

I've pressed on with my applique block for the UFO challenge.  It's been so long since I did needleturn applique that I've lost my edge a bit.  I've done the central rose but I need to go back and rip out and re-do one of the bud cases which came out crooked. Still, I feel virtuous as I've already done more on it this week than I have for several months.

I think it should be safe to blog my I-Knit Sock Club package, because I think everyone should have received theirs by now.  So here it is.  The patterns are for lacy socks or lacy fingerless mitts, the yarn is tomato red and gorgeously smooshy, and the gifts are a custom project bag and a little sachet of Eucalan.  A lovely treat to me to receive in the post.


swooze said...

I am really excited for you that you have your quilter going. And you quilted 2 already? That is great. I look forward to seeing the rest.

I assume it will come down after this and you will have to piece another batch!

Sue said...

Terrific quilts! Can't wait to see the rest!

Daisy said...

All the quilting sounds very impressive, even though i don't know what you're talking about. And the Iknit parcel looks great!

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