Friday, July 16, 2010
We hung the quilts yesterday and helped the vendors get all set up. The quilt show is going to be fantastic! Please join us and enjoy the beautiful quilts. Our sponsors and vendors have fabulous fabric and just wait until you see the sewing machines!! From Singer Featherweights to the latest that does everything but cook dinner--you can try them all at the quilt show. See you there. Are you still doodling? Good!
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Are you doodling? Well--keep it up! Round and around and around. Just keep doodling, doodling, doodling, just keep doodling, doodling, doodling. I sound like Dorrie, don't I?
Try something radical--change directions and go around in the other direction! WOW.
Keep going and I will get back to you in a couple of days. You are getting really good at this already.
Since I am obviously having an issue with getting my pictures where I want them, I am going to break this down into smaller posts. I just want to get you started for now.
One quick note on putting your thread on your machine. The aqua thread is a CROSS WOUND thread and should be fed off the top of the spool. That means it needs to go on the machine horizontally. The yellow thread is a STACK WOUND thread and needs to feed off the back of the spool while it stands upright. I will be happy to take questions on that one. You also need to either remove the adhesive sticker from the top of your thread or completely ream out the hole where the spindle holds the thread. That adhesive sticker will greatly affect the tension of your top thread...and not in a good way.
Now, get a scrap piece of paper and a pen or pencil. You need to doodle. Start by making loops like you were trying to get a pen to start writing. Keep it up for a few minutes. I don't care if you overlap just keep going. You know this motion--it is already in your head. It is familiar and is already a muscle sensory memory that is filed away. Yea! Let's use what we already know. OK....go to your machine.
Pull the bobbin thread to the top. Hold onto both the top and bobbin thread tails. Don't let go! I know lots of machine educators will tell you that is not necessary but you can really save yourself many headaches by always knowing where your top and bobbin thread tails are. You are going to take a couple of stitches right where you are. Don't forget to lower the presser foot. Take 2-3 stitches in place. Now you can let go of the thread tails. Slowly begin to stitch away from where you began. Stop and cut your thread tails. That is how we will handle them for now. Like I said, I reserve the right to give you different instructions once you have mastered the basics. Stitch the same doodles you drew on paper. You can go over your previous stitching-- make them small---make them medium. Go all over your quilt sandwich. Find a medium speed where you feel comfortable. We will discuss hand placement, stitch length, and other stressors at a later date. For now, just play and go around and around and around. Work on keeping your loops round-ish and not cramping up your hands. Yes, you can wear quilting gloves, if you want. Try several different angles. Find what works best for you but don't stress over it. Just doodle.
|This is your fly wheel.|
|Bring your bobbin thread to the top.|
|These are several different types of free motion/darning feet.|
|Lower your feed dogs.|
|Acrylic insert for cabinet|
|Acrylic extension table|
Set your machine to straight stitch. Use a sharp, microtex, or quilting needle. *Do NOT try to quilt with a universal needle. Take a deep breath--lower the feed dogs on your machine. Refer to your manual. The switch for lowering your feed dogs can be on the lower front, right side, lower back. or hidden underneath your machine. If you have a fancy computer machine, there is a menu that says "free motion." Put the free motion or darning foot on your machine. There are a lot of different ones but most have a spring on them and have a circle or oval shaped foot. Lift your presser foot and slide your quilt sandwich under the foot. Lower the presser foot. You should be able to move your quilt freely even with the presser foot down.
You need to take one stitch to bring your bobbin thread to the top. You can do this by hitting the "needle down" button two times or by turning the fly wheel TOWARD you one full rotation. Stop with the needle in the up position. Pull top and bobbin thread tails under the presser foot and to the back. Hold onto them!
You are now in control. I know that is the scary part. Keep thinking, we are going to relax and play on our sewing machine. Breathe. Relax your shoulders by pushing them down and away from your ears.
In the next post, we will begin to doodle.
What is the point of having a blog named "Doodlequilts" if I don't teach you how to machine quilt? So...let's get started. Machine quilting on a home sewing machine is lots of fun but it is basically a self taught endeavor. I encourage you to take lots of classes because you will learn a lot of tips. However, how you learn is by doing it yourself and seeing what works best for you. Please keep that in mind. This blog is about what has worked best for me up to this point. I reserve the right to update or change an instruction as soon as I learn something that works better for me.
Basting and prep work will be covered more in depth at a later date. I know that makes no sense if we are starting at the beginning but I want to play on my sewing machine. I assume you do, too. I also assume that you are not a complete novice. Before anyone starts this process, you need to be intimately acquainted with your sewing machine. Read the manual, such that it is, and know your machine. If you are wanting to machine quilt, then I guess you must be a quilter or a quilter in the making. You probably have a favorite method of basting and prepping your quilt for the quilting process. I use safety pins to baste my quilts. I like the curved #1 pins that are a little easier on my arthritis. I just ordered something called Pinmoor that allows you to use your regular straight pins to baste. I will report back after I have used them. I highly recommend watching Sharon Schamber's video on basting to see her method of using 4 inch trim boards and sitting at a table while she bastes. You can see it at www.sharonschambernetwork.com. You will need to sign up for her web site but it is free. The basting video is in the "Free Area' on her web site. She has great instructional videos so take some time and watch her.
The best way to start is by jumping in and doing it. That said, there is some basic information you need to minimize frustration and maximize your chance of success. How many of you have given this a try and gotten so frustrated you wanted to throw your sewing machine out the window? I always ask that question in my classes and the hands go up.
Make a small quilt sandwich (fabric + batting + fabric) to learn on. It doesn't need to be large, 12" X 12" will do just fine. You will end up making several of these. Make sure they are flat and smooth. Put a high contrast thread on your machine. Example, if your sandwich is muslin, use red thread on top and blue thread in the bobbin. *Two hour thread lecture to come much later. For now, use regular cotton sewing thread. Yes, the same stuff you piece with. It is labeled 50/2 which means it is 50 weight cotton and 2 ply. Gutterman, Metler, Aurifil, Superior, Sulky are all good brands.
Monday, July 5, 2010
This is my quilt "Coexist." It will be at Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA, July 22-24. I am very excited about being there with my quilt. This quilt has been a huge learning experience for me. The design of the quilt was inspired by the ironwork of architect Victor Horta. He is credited as one of the fathers of the Art Nouveau movement in Europe. I love traditional quilting but was attempting to mesh traditional with "artsy" designs for this quilt. Only time will tell if I was successful at all. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did while making it.
Well, I'm finally doing it. I'm here in the blog-osphere and let me tell you, it can be a scary place. This blog is mainly to discuss quilting. I am a quilting teacher who teaches machine quilting on a domestic or home sewing machine. I know so many of you are in love with the piecing process but I love putting the quilt sandwich under my needle and "doodling' all over the quilt. Hence--the name of the blog. I will be sharing my process, projects, and thoughts on quilting with you. I will also share any "quilty" news that I happen upon. Such as, I live in central Oklahoma and there will be a fabulous quilt show in Norman at the fair grounds on July 16th & 17th. I hope to see you there! I will be attending Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA later this month. Yes, I do have a quilt hanging in the show and will be standing beside it some time during the show.