Saturday, 18 June 2011

Panto time

I'm learning to do pantographs on my quilting frame (tracing over paper patterns with a laser pointer while the machine stitches out the pattern on the quilt top).  I loaded a practice sandwich and tried out three different patterns before finding one that I liked the look of.  Now I've switched to my Moda Portugal Sunflower quilt and am slowly quilting along.  Slowly because I have to roll on the frame after stitching each row.  I'm getting better at following the line but there are still plenty of wobbles and accidental loops.  I'm also trying to get a more consistent stitch length as I don't have a stitch regulator.

I saw stitch regulators at the Cotton Patch open day - £450!  It doesn't really seem worth spending that much money on a short-arm set-up.  I enjoyed the day out.  The shop is much smaller than I was expecting.  Up until now, I've only experienced them from their professional newsletter, e-newsletter and ordering via their website.  They stock a lot of American brands of quilting supplies and I just thought they would be bigger somehow.  But they are only a shopfront and a half and it's pretty crammed.  They were fairly busy the day of the open day and I was constantly having to shuffle about in front of the till to let people in and out of the shop as I waited to order.

But I enjoyed the demos which took place in their dedicated studio further down the block.  They had several short arms set up on various Grace frames, plus a Sweet Sixteen sit-down Handiquilter, and a big 120" frame with Handiquilter.  You could try them all out, plus try out the Grace Pattern Perfect (which I liked), Groovy Boards (didn't like these as much), the stitch regulators, speed controls etc.  There were about 25 people in each session, and loads of helpful staff demonstrating, answering questions etc.  I picked up several good tips about using my frame, and enjoyed talking to other frame afficionados there.  We all got a big Handiquilter totebag, with a reel of Cotty thread inside, a Cotton Patch / Marti Michell Corner Trimmer ruler with instructions, and various pamphlets and newsletters.  I also had a go on a top of the line Pfaff Quilting 4.0 edition sewing machine - and didn't like it which made me feel a bit smug about my own machines.  Irrational I know.  I ordered new tracks for my frame, a new laser pointer, and a new hopping foot for my machine, but they are all on back order.

On the knitting front, I finished my Vertical Garter Edging for my afghan, and you can see it blocking here.  I also knit a quick blanket on my chunky knitting machine to donate to the Battersea Cat Home, which is the ugly little blanket in the middle.  I have loads of coned acrylic yarn from when I used to do more machine knitting, and this seems like a good way to use up some of the more hideous colours that I obviously bought in a moment of insanity.  I'm knitting double stranded 4-ply on T3, I turned up a hem on either end and crocheted down both side edges.  The plan is to keep knitting these until I use up the ugly yarn, if I get time anyway.

You can see the Sunflower quilt on the frame in the background.

I also finished the Leisl Cardigan and here it is blocking.  I have had to guess a bit at what size to block it out to, I'll how this fits when it's dry.  If it doesn't work, I can always block it again.  I also need to work out how I am going to button it.

I had my Saturday quilt club today and finished Block 15 of Grandmother's Last Quilt 25 block applique quilt.  This was my UFO challenge project for our group UFO challenge, and I found that being in the challenge really motivated me to work on it, and I picked it up several times since last meeting.

Then I switched on my machine and in the afternoon I put together the blocks for the middle of my Kaffe Fassett Stars Over England quilt.  It just needs some borders now and then I will be able to squiggle over it on my new frame.

The other nice thing that happened at quilt group is that I took along the quilts I've quilted on the frame for show and tell.  The members like them and one lady actually bought my Daisy Trellis quilt for her granddaughter who happens to be called Daisy!  The purchase price isn't bad - it doesn't cover all my costs but it covers the lion's share, and even better she is going to do the binding so I don't have to.  Result!


swooze said...

Lovely stuff all!

Sue said...

Ohh, love the cardi! Great looking yarn!

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