Sunday, 5 June 2011

Getting a bit out of breath as I clamber up the learning curve

Still getting to grips by trial and error with my new quilting frame.  Why can't we just pop a pill and wake up the next morning as instant experts?  Learning curves can be hard, and sometimes depressing.  Having meandered on two quilts, I moved onto something more difficult:  my Garden BOM quilt which has applique squares that needed custom quilting.

So I had to get my head around doing custom quilting when I can only do a 5-6" stripe at a time.  Cue lots of starting and stopping and rolling the top back and forth.  Almost instantly, I discovered I couldn't see where I was stitching because of the scratched up plastic insert in the hopping foot.  So there is a stripe or two that I will need to unpick.  Eventually I took the foot off to look at it, and discovered I could pop out the plastic insert.  That has vastly improved visibility, but made the tension more difficult to get right.

This quilt took a lot longer because of all the custom work, and I only took it off the machine on Saturday morning.  It's not finished yet because I need to do some of the fine detail work on my normal machine, plus unpick and re-sew the parts I mucked up at the beginning.  I also got discouraged near the end as I discovered it was rolling crooked due to my broken ratchet at one end of the backing roller, so I needed to fudge back in some of the fullness at the other end.  The quilt has ended up slightly trapezoidal although it isn't too obvious.  Once it was off the machine, I re-glued the ratchet so hopefully it will stay put now.

I've discovered my back rail has cracked for about 3 inches in one place.  I've read about this on the Yahoo group, in America you can order replacements but heaven knows if I can get them here in the UK without paying a fortune.  I've now loaded on a smaller Christmas wallhanging but it also needs custom work.  I am experimenting with chalking through some stencils then trying to follow the lines.

On the knitting front, I finished the second sleeve on my Liesl cardigan and have taken off the first sleeve and picked up to re-knit.  This wasn't too difficult as I hadn't woven in my end when I joined on to knit the sleeve, so I could just unravel the joining yarn and pick up as I unraveled.  I've also continued to knit on my Vertical Garter Stitch Edging, I'm on the third side now.  I've found I can knit it almost without looking, while I am helping DS revise for his GCSEs.

We're in the middle of a heatwave here in the south of the UK.  Yesterday in late afternoon, I took a break from all the weekend chores and hobbies, and took my new issue of Knitting magazine outdoors to the recliner in the shade and enjoyed a tall cold Pimms as I read my magazine.  Very nice.


swooze said...

Great job. I am enjoying your progress. Hope you can get the part fixed or replaced easily.

Sue said...

Wow, you'd never know you had problems. The quilt looks great!! If you can find a long piece of 1/2" x 3/8" metal, you can use that to replace the rail and it won't wear out like the plastic pieces do. I haven't been able to find any locally but I did replace the ones on the carriage. I put a piece of thin batting/wadding and pushed the metal in. Very secure and lots more control. Actually, I just bit the bullet and bought a true long arm. It should be here in about a week. I can't wait! This is all after beefing up my frame like you have done.

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