Monday, 22 November 2010

UFO - tick !!

I am SO glad this one is done. English paper piecing takes a long time anyway but when you're stopping and starting for umpteen other quilts well time just flies. Last time this appeared on my blog I was up to the navy blue hexagons. I then found this lovely print in my stash and appliqued the whole thing on. With mitred corners too I'll have you know - lol ! That was a job in itself. Then a 3 inch strip of navy added. This did 2 things - made it bigger obviously and meant I didn't have to bind those funny shaped edges. I thought long and hard about hand quilting this but decided it would probably add another couple of years onto it ( took about 3 years I think anyway )

So I took the bull by the horns and quilted it on my Janome 1600p - only the second one I have done on this machine. I used a lovely pastel variegated thread and meandered away. My machine quilting is not perfect by any stretch but I love how this turned out. I am glad I went for the machine option although it would have looked good hand quilted - especially as it is all hand pieced but there you go.
At one point I nearly abandoned this. I had started out just working in rings round a single hexagon but after a while decided I didn't like it. Because the fabrics are pretty I went ahead and unpicked the whole thing. This was on a quilting day with my group. Whilst everyone else was sewing away on lovely new projects I sat and unpicked and unpicked. Took all day and some of the evening too when I got home but then I was able to start again.

These pictures should click to make bigger if you want.
Anyway after my last post when I told you all my machine had been stripped and oiled by me it was working like a dream - for about a couple of days. Then the funny noise re-appeared. So this time I did take it to the repair place. Apparently I may have a slipped jockey pulley - ouch !! Sounds painful - lol ! They have had it 2 weeks now and I am anxious to get it back. They have a lot of machines in and told me there would be a 2 week wait so I'm sure it'll be home soon. I have another back-up machine but to be honest don't get on with it that well. I have done a little on it but am looking forward to using my other one.
I have pulled fabrics for Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt and this is what I'll do when my machine gets here. I will show you my colours next time as well as some photos of what I've been doing whilst my poor machine has been in hospital.
I have finished my SSCS gift but of course can't show photos of that yet. But lets just say I went out of my comfort zone a little and did some hand applique - shock !!
Anyway time is getting on and I have to dash - take care xxx

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Tempted !

Because I have been very good and spent a lot of time lately working on UFO's I am feeling the need to use some new fabric ie. start a new quilt. It seems so long ago that I did this. I have a big UFO finished this week but have not taken photos today because it has been so dark and dismal that the light has been awful. I will wait for a brighter day to do so as I really want you to see this quilt at it's best.

Before I did anything however my sewing machine needed attention. Not the newish machine that I bought for quilting but my ordinary machine that I do all my piecing on. When I used it last it kept making a funny noise every so often. I can only describe it as the noise Donald Duck makes - I kid you not - lol ! At the time I was intent on quilting anyway so I just put it to one side and left it. Yesterday however I was in the mood for some serious piecing. I had phoned the sewing place and they said if I brought it in they would have a look at it. But there was a 2 week wait and a basic service would cost £50 ( I think about $80 ). Now I love spending at anytime but when I thought of what else I could spend that cash on - well it got me thinking.

I had already removed the footplate and gave it a good old clean in there - I do it all the time. Being brave I decided to go a bit further and started removing the side cover being careful not to lose the screws. Surprising how much fluff had built up. Then I started manually turning the wheel and watched which bits inside moved up and down. I'm not sure of the technical name for any of these parts but being very cautious I applied a couple of drops of machine oil to the bits that seemed to be doing the most work. I had a hairy moment when I did indeed drop a screw inside the machine and said a very rude word - lol ! But with the removal of the bottom of the machine I managed to get it and screw it back in the right place. Once it was altogether I grabbed a bit of scrap fabric and tried it out. To my absolute delight it was great. No strange noises and definitely sewing smoother. Nowhere in my manual had it mentioned oiling the machine - it is 3 years old and I have used it a LOT so I suppose it stands to reason a drop of oil would not go amiss. I am chuffed to bits and am now deciding what to spend my pennies on.

To give it a bit of a workout I spent a couple of hours sewing strips together cut from these fabrics.

They are quite subtle for me and I have had them for a couple of years. Also unlike me they are all from the same range - I never normally buy stuff like this. It is called Zen from Makower and is vaguely Japanesey.

I had bought a new ruler a few months back and armed with a wonderful tutorial from Lurline (she has it listed on the left hand side of her blog ) I had a lovely time sewing and chopping and pressing. Today after a bit of applique I have this

The question I am asking myself is do I like the block enough to make more and turn them into a quilt ? These are big blocks - almost 20 inches square. I would need to make another 11 and then borders to make a new quilt for Jason and I. Shall I or shan't I ? If I do go ahead I am thinking to hand quilt each block separately and put them together Quilt As You Go. I need to think about this one - lol !

As usual I am behind on answering emails - still having back probs - so if I owe you a reply you never know I might get round to it soon. I have been having some lovely comments from no-reply bloggers whose profiles are private so have no way of thanking them for taking time to chat to me. All comments are very much appreciated even if I don't always manage to answer.
One last thing. I am trying to get hold of a copy of Australian Patchwork and Quilting. It's Vol 17 no 7 - 2009 Yearbook. I will gladly swap, buy or whatever. I would be eternally grateful for any help..

Take care xx