Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WIP: Time Out

I have just returned from a week of quilt-filled and granddaughter-filled time visiting my daughter in Oklahoma City. We bonded by pouring through quilt magazines and admiring her fabric stash. We visited two quilt stores. In one store I bought a cloth book panel - yes, another one, this one by Riley Blake. This panel came in a zip-loc packet with sheet of written instructions.

As we are driving away I open the packet and begin reading the instructions. I see the phrase "front pocket". I murmur. "Hmmm. A pocket. Are there small stuffed animals to put in it?" My daughter, upon hearing my musings, slows the car and begins to pull off the road toward the right. "Do we need to go back to the store again, Mom?" she teases. She uses just about the same tone of voice you would with a toddler if you asked, "Do I need to put you in time out?"

Time Out Chair image from 

Within minutes of leaving the store I have discovered that yes, there is a pocket, yes, there are stuffed animals for said pocket, and yes, of course, I need a second book for second granddaughter who is due to arrive any day now. My daughter dutifully makes a U-turn, we go back, and I purchase a second book panel.

Having a 17-month old keeps my daughter from posting as often as she would like to her blog Robin Loves Quilting. But at her OKC home, I am inspired by her works in progress. We discussed an approach for finishing her Christmas Traditions Quilt and talked about tricks for mitered binding corners in her Boo Quilt. I admired her FMQ on the Boo Quilt, especially since I did struggle so with my own FMQ on the Ghastlies Quilt I completed a little over a week ago and brought out with me to show her.

But, as folks keep telling me, FMQ does get better with practice. After returning from my trip this week, I plan to attack my Jack O' Lantern Trio wall hanging. My plan is to do diagonal channels on the blue sections, gentle arcs along each side within every orange triangle of the flying geese bands, and perhaps something curlique-ish within the pumpkins themselves.

I will not be so concerned now with even stitch size, but more with fluid motion. With the Ghastlies, I seemed to keep leaning on the quilt or getting it hung up on something and so I'd get jagged rather than smooth stitchlines. I'd occasionally forget to completely lift the pressure foot so when I dragged to a different area, I would often snap my thread. Aaargh! I also need to improve on r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g.  Even though I'd taken breaks, I'd woken up several mornings with tight shoulder muscles and a sore ribcage from my Ghastlies efforts. Because of the angle on the front of my Pfaff, I hunch over to see underneath the overhang above the pressure foot to concentrate and guide where I move the quilt next. Since I have identified where I am going wrong, I can now focus on areas for improvement.

I am not giving up. I do not want to invest the money nor the space for a big longarm machine where the quilt must be loaded on rollers; but I am considering a Handi-Quilter.  A bigger bobbin would mean less stops and restarts. Better visibility and bigger throat size is appealing more and more. The needed skill is the same as on a domestic machine but an HQ Sweet Sixteen or a Baby Locke Tiara would be a lot more ergonomic and convenient.


I believe they are the same machine. I need to improve my skills first before seriously considering purchasing one of these. If any of you readers have comments or opinions on these machine please feel free to share them.

My stats this week are not all that impressive in terms of projects I did so I will go to Freshly Pieced WIP to enjoy browsing what others have done. But my success this week was priceless in terms of quilting bonding time with my daughter and play bonding time with my granddaughter.

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