|Longarm Scribble Quilting Gradually Improving|
I am seeing a little improvement, and learning a lot along the way. I am most pleased that my curves are getting smoother, my circles are looking rounder, and I'm doing a better job of quilting closed shapes where a line of quilting stitches must meet up exactly with a previous line of stitching without crossing over, like in the paisley motif. I'm satisfied with my stippling, those little hook things, and loopies (how do you like that for technical terminology?!). The paisley fill needs work but it's much better than it was initially. What have I learned? Well, for one thing, I've learned to SLOW DOWN, especially on the larger curves. When I try to zoom around a large curve too quickly, that's when it starts looking like a rounded box instead of a curve. If I move the machine slower, I have better control.
I'm keeping a list of questions for my dealer, since I still haven't scheduled my day of training with her (totally my fault, not hers). I know that I want her to take me through loading a quilt step-by-step. I got this practice quilt loaded onto my frame by referencing my owner's manual and several YouTube videos, and it's fine for my immediate purpose of learning how to "draw" with my machine, but if this was a real quilt I'd be freaking out about a couple of things:
|Yikes! Quilt Pulling In at Edges!|
So when I first loaded the quilt onto the frame, I basted about 1/4" from the raw edge of my top along the top as well as along the left and right sides, and attached my little clamp thingys (which may or may not be attached to my frame correctly, and may or may not be exerting the correct amount of tension) to my backing fabric only. Then I quilted everything I could pretty densely, advanced the quilt to the next unquilted area, basted down the left and right sides, and quilted that area densely before advancing again, and so on. See how much my quilt is pulling in from the edges at the bottom of the area I've finished quilting? See how the unquilted quilt top on the roller is so much wider than the already quilted part, creating those diagonal wrinkle lines? I know that quilts "draw up" as they are quilted, and the amount of that quilt shrinkage is proportional to the amount of quilt stitching. But I'm also concerned that I may have stretched my quilt top horizontally as I loaded it onto the quilt top roller, trying to smooth it out from side to side. And even if this shrinking quilt phenomenon is normal and to be expected, I still need to know how to deal with it properly in order to keep my quilts nice and square with STRAIGHT edges throughout the quilting process. Because this is what is happening with my practice quilt as I advance it, and this would NOT be cool if it was a real quilt:
|Basted Quilt Edge is Nice and Straight as it Should Be|
|...But the Quilting Pulls It In Badly From the Sides, and then THIS!|
One more little yucky-poo -- I discovered a couple of pucker pleats on the backing side of the quilt with the last advance:
|See Those Little Pleats?|
They are minor, to be sure, and if it was a real quilt they might not even be noticeable once the finish quilt was washed and did that crinkly puckery thing that quilts do when laundered, but the goal is of course to have NO pleats. So I need to be more careful about making sure all three layers are nice and smooth every time I advance the quilt, before I start quilting again. However, when I look at that picture above, before I even notice the two little pleats, I notice how beautiful and even the stitches are on both sides of the quilt, top and bottom. I just loaded my machine up with Glide thread top and bottom and out come gorgeous stitches without my having to adjust anything! I'm very happy with the APQS stitch regulator, too.
|In Matching Thread, Those Wobbles and Oopses Would Be Near Invisible|
|Seriously, this is SO FUN!!!|
See how much better my little "olives" (double circle loops) are looking after just a few days? I tell myself that I'm going to do practice quilting for 30 minutes and then do something else, but then I get into a groove and lose track of time.
|I Marked a Grid Outline in Chalk for This Pattern|
In the picture above, you can really see that I still have a lot less control over the movement of the machine on the diagonal versus true horizontal or vertical motion. So I'll keep working on that. What else is left to practice? Well, two things, and I'm not sure which order I'll tackle them. I want to be sure to try out a few rows of pantograph quilting from the back side of the machine, and I want to get the acrylic ruler base on the machine, switch back to the ruler presser foot, and practice quilting some straight lines and arcs with my rulers. I know I will want to stitch in the ditch around my bear paw blocks, and I need to get comfortable with that technique before I try it on a real quilt.
Hmmm... I just remembered that I have a little pile of orphan blocks sitting in a corner of my studio, reject blocks from various projects that I didn't end up using because they were the wrong size or whatever. If I piece those together into a little practice top, they would be perfect for practicing stitch-in-the-ditch with a ruler!
1. I'm going to sew the borders on that Bear Paw quilt TODAY and set it aside for quilting.
2. Time to make another pineapple log cabin block! 31 blocks are finished, 11 more to go.
Of course, if I don't get away from this computer, I won't accomplish anything at all...
Happy Stitching, everyone!
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