Monday, 22 May 2017

Machine Oil

This post is a little PSA (Public Service Announcement) regarding that bottle of sewing machine oil you have next to your machine.  If it looks like the one on the right, DON'T USE IT!

I have been happily using that bottle, which came with my longarm, since I got it. The oil isn't sticky, it seems to lubricate fine, so why replace it?  Well, yesterday I decided it was probably about time. I was picking up one machine from the shop, spotted the oil and picked up a new bottle - the one on the left. See how crisp and clean it looks?

I have been fighting with my machine for ages. Every time I oiled it, the tension would be a mess and I'd have to fight with it to get it back in line.  Rethreading didn't work. It didn't matter if it was a new bobbin or a half-full one I'd just pulled out. Every time I oiled the machine, I had to work at it to fix the tension.  It would start like this. See those little eyelashes?

Or even worse, like this mess.
But eventually it would fix itself (sometimes with a loud snap) and I'd be fine until the next time.

I took it in for service, and they couldn't reproduce the problem. I finally resigned myself to this being a 'feature' of my machine that I would have to live with. Oiling was relegated to once only, as I started a quilt. Not a good policy, since the norm is to oil every 2 bobbins, and a large quilts takes upwards of 5.  But it was working for me, somewhat.

But today I had fresh oil, so as I loaded my next quilt I used it in my longarm - precisely one oiling of the bobbin race. And I could not believe the difference! Not a SINGLE issue with tension. It was beautiful, and the tension never flinched.

So the moral here, ladies and gentlemen, is don't keep using that discoloured oil in your machine.  Invest in fresh oil as often as necessary (a whole $5 this bottle cost me). You might not realize what's happening, but your machine will thank you.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Happy Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day, and that means it's quilt show weekend here in Ottawa.  I couldn't enter any quilts in the show, since I'm not a guild member. But I was thrilled to have a few of my customers enter their quilts.

One in particular received 3 ribbons for 2 of her quilts.  I loved quilting these, and was thrilled to see them do so well at the show.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Stepping Stones

I designed this quilt just over a year ago, originally to be submitted to a magazine. Hence why this is the first you are seeing of it.  However, I got distracted from that project and have decided that I don't have the patience for the process. So, this quilt is now finished and on display, and eventually I'll finish writing the pattern and publish it myself.

The fabrics I used are all Northcott Stonehenge - one of my favourite lines. I had a couple of charm packs and worked from them and a few fat quarters to make the quilt.

If you've done it, what is your opinion on magazine submissions? Worth the effort and secrecy?

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Woven Lattice Complete

And it's done! Binding completed and this is now a quilt ready to find a bed.  Or a lap - it's 76x76", so not quite right for a bed I guess.

I designed this quilt 4 years ago from a photo I saw online. I understand now that the block is a Carpenter's Square (or at least part of that pattern, since the standard quilt seems to continue the weave right through the center of the quilt).  I scraped up enough of my 4 teals to do the border as an extension of each of the block colours. And then had almost enough left over for a scrappy binding. One of the teals is missing there, and a different doubled up to compensate.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Design Wall Monday

My design wall is full of a new quilt top today. This is another mystery quilt, from a different guild. My fabric choices worked out much better this time. You can't really tell from this photo, but the red and black fabrics are from the same line, with little stars on them.  I'll add a 2" border around this, to bring it up to donation size and then get it quilted.

Continuing my disappointment with mysteries this year, I wish I had done this one scrappy. The instructions said you could do scrappy, or pick 3 fabrics, so I pulled yardage from my stash. But it became apparent pretty quickly that the quilt would have been much more interesting in a scrappy selection and the pattern was intended for that. The star centers were supposed to be made of 4-patches.  I re-cut my fabric to get solid squares, because that seemed kind of silly for a single fabric, to cut it up and then sew it back together in a 4-patch.

 I may try this pattern again - scrappy instead of red, but keeping a single accent fabric.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Cat's Meow

This is the original quilt, that goes along with the mushy scraps.  It was a mystery quilt from one of my guilds. I really like the pattern, but as I said, not so happy with my fabric choices.  But every quilt is a learning experience. The pattern is (I think) called "Cat's Meow" and was a mystery quilt available online.

I made a presentation bag in red & grey to go with it, and now it's ready for donation.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Top finished!

I finally made a decision on borders, and here it is. Not fabulous, but the top is finished and hopefully it will cheer someone up as a donation.  I have to admit I'm really happy to see the end of that red/grey batik fabric line.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A Couple of UFO Finishes

 These poor quilts have been hanging in my closet for a couple of years (or more).  I bought this fabric line with a particular plan, and then lost interest in the pattern I was considering for it.  So the fabric hung around for a while waiting to be used. Finally, one day I bought a strip-tube ruler and decided to play with this fabric.  I actually came up with 3 quilts, I had so much fabric. This is the first one, following the pattern. 

And this one is the third (number two is almost done -just needs binding). This one was made with all the leftover end cuts from the tubes and a bit of extra fabric I had.  It's just a little baby size, so I decided to custom quilt it and have some fun playing.