Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tumalo Trails aka "Cowboy Up", DONE

I call this "Cowboy Up" because it looks so  ... blue sky, outdoors and I'm here in western Nebraska, where there are a LOT of blue skies, and real cowboys!    It's about 86"x 106", all MQ'ed on my Janome MC6500.  Whew!  In case anyone wonders, I have 8 7/8 inches from the needle to the machine housing. 

Thank you to Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.com for the inspiration.  The border is my own idea. The darker blue corners took a little fidding on graph paper.

This is the quilt that started one day when I just HAD to sew something, and made about 100 little 9-patches, wondering what I could do with them.  At the same time, my PILE of accumulated stuff on my sewing table was out of control.  Suddenly a blue plaid shirt that I had not yet cut up, fell on top of the 9-patches.  My gosh, it was the PERFECT fabric!  It had been given to me by my friend Janet, who knew I liked cotton shirts.   I used every bit of that large shirt, with NOTHING left over. 

I learned the border quilted swirls using the clear Janome foot that glides, doesn't hop, with red guide lines that help to keep the arches approximately even.   Thanks to videos from talented Angela Walters.  This design uses a backtracking method.  It really helped to have thread matching closely to the background.  I quilted each side in about one hour.  That narrow dark blue in one of the borders is a dimensional flange - just for touching.

This clever design is called pea pods.  To avoid boredom, I used a number of quilting designs on different rows.  

Oh yes, about 3600 pieces!  

Monday, November 02, 2015

Something in the Middle, Wonky Log Cabin.

A friend and I are promoting the BOM at this year's Guild meetings.  This year we based our blocks on Log Cabins, but used a variety of methods, trying out some of the varieties.  Here are 3 blocks I made today, just for fun.    The first 2 are just fine.  Third? not so much.  The centers are NOT square, and the logs are all cut and/or sewn on angles.  When finished, the block is then trimmed to size.

This is 9 1/2 in. unfinished.  That's a flying cow in the center, complete with angel halo.  I likes this one - scale of the fabrics was small.  (Green is cutting mat, not fabric.)

The shoe below worked out pretty nice also.  The stripe in the shoe was repeated in one of the borders.  I had to add the dark brown because the block wasn't quite large enough.  That meant I had to trim down the white with yellow dots.

This cowboy boot was not good.  Too many fabrics and perhaps just one fabric per round would have been better.  Could have used some green, or red or ????  Errors are part of our learning process.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2015 - My birthday tree planted about 5 years ago.  Fortunately, it grows faster than I do!  LOL

In case you don't remember - I MQ on a DSM, currently a Janome MC 6500.

Below is one border edge on my huge "Cowboy Up", aka Tumalo Trails, from Quiltville.com.  I am practicing these swirls, and I think the end result is quite passable!  8-)) .  I had originally thought this design would be very time consuming, but NO, I did about 60 inches in one sitting.  I was careful to match the light blue thread to the border color, so hopefully, the texture will show, not the thread. 
 OK, I keep showing it - but hey, I LOVE it! 

I'm getting ready to take a driving trip and frequently dig in my quilting stash for gifts that might be suitable.  I love ALL of my quilts but they don't do anyone any good in the closet.  The Rocky Road to Kansas (blue string) that I call "Stringing my Blues" is one of my favorites. The quilting in the white area was done in a variegated white and pastels - turned out really nice, but kinda feminine.  Next time I will quilt something more masculine in style. 

The hourglass turned out nice as well.  This is an easy quilt with strip piecing.

Below (left) is my "Handsome Log Cabin" - I had a man in mind but then remembered he is from Canada!  Uh ohhhh, WRONG colors!!!  

Saturday, October 03, 2015

LOTS of Machine Quilting on Tumalo Trails/Cowboy Up

I have been machine quilting on my Janome MC6500 every day, for 20 minutes or so each time, several times a day for the past month or so.  I change positions, so as not to strain shoulders and neck.  There are 48 blocks in this quilt, by Bonnie Hunter/Quiltville.com.  She calls hers Tumalo Trails, and I call mine Cowboy Up, because I think it looks like cowboys, big skies, plaid shirts, etc.  It is HUGE, over 86 x 106 or so.

I MQ'ed each block separately in the entire row with the same motif.  Sashing will be quilted simply and separately.  This first photo below was done using the Janome Convertible clear plastic foot, with the red guidelines.  This is the first time I've been successful - it helped tremendously to have my machine cooperating again.  Since I am also in love with scrappy multicolor quilts, my "backtracking" shows in many places.  The thread is a soft muted cotton medium blue/grey.  There is NO thread in the world that would blend with all the lights and darks.  However, I am reasonably happy with the end result. 

This one (below) has a charming floral posey-like motif.  It can be resized, reformed, pulled pushed to whatever space available.  This idea is from Christina Cameli, author of one of my new best favorite books. 
 I used 3 or 4 of her ideas in this quilt.  She also has several other ideas on YouTube, a web site called A Few Scraps  Her designs are fresh, casual, and the ones I liked best are friendly, outdoorsy, and informal, especially suitable for this project. 

I LOVED this motif - so versatile!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

It's my Birthday!, Visit with Colorado Family, Snake Skins, Machine Quilting

 I had a birthday - I'm still alive and kicking!

I made a quick trip to Denver area to visit my brother David, and his wife Mary.  What a delightful pair they are!  This is a quilt I made for them some time ago.  Mary wanted it in the photo!  8-)

 My brother, the engineer - note the pocket!  Me, having a good visit, looking like my mother.
Their backyard, all full of trees, soil, plants, berms, a hole that was going to be a lake, green things (usually green, if not too dry) and his Solar System that provides INCOME, not a bill!  Rocky Mountains in background, a stunning view.  This used to be out in the boonies, not now.
 That's Mary, retired art teacher.  I wish they lived closer to us. 
 Yes, that's Birthday me, Elaine Adair.
 Bull Snake skins - yikes, I kept watching for the LIVE snakes, maybe in the trees?

Back home again in Nebraska, and I can concentrate on machine quilting my long-delayed project, a Quiltville design called Tumalo Trails.  I renamed it "Cowboy Up" because it looks so "outdoors, friendly, western".  I saw this free MQ design on the Internet by Christina Cameli, called Bear Claws.  Works for me, on this very busy, big quilt.  Only two blocks a day is the goal  -- my shoulders and neck feel it!

 The back. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sprockets, a Linus Quilt, and THE Solution to Janome 6500 skipping stitches problem

DONE!  This is one of Bonnie Hunter's patterns.  I added a row of 4-patches to the top and the bottom to give it some length.  I'm liking it!  I quilted it in "sprockets" my own name for what started as a posey or daisy, but I liked the squarish angles better.  This will be a Linus Quilt. 

Solution for Skipped Stitches for MY Janome MC 6500
If you can stand the last time I'm going to talk about the solution to MY issue with skipped stitches on my much-loved Janome MC 6500. 

My machine is 10 years old and has always machine quilted beautifully, until about 8 months ago, when it started skipping stitches.  OK, I used a thread conditioner, Sewer's Aid, which helped for a while.  Then I unfairly blamed the basting spray, then I blamed my Senior Citizenship, possibly my own failing skills, then ????.  Finally, I took it for servicing with a hopeful spirit,  but despite the tech's beautiful practice stitches and assurance that all was back to manufacturer's tolerances, it skipped stitches when MQ'ing.   Back again to the repair shop  a 2nd time, to recheck if  "something" is wrapped around the tension disks - like invisible thread.  "Nope" -- "Elaine Adair, you have just worn her out!"  Surely not, but ... there were many, many quilts quilted on this machine.  ???   How many is too many??? I finally decided to try a new motor - while not terribly expensive (under $100.00). That idea seemed unlikely but it was worth a try, before investing in a new machine.   

Nope, no difference with a new motor - still bad, skipped stitches when MQ'ing.  (Fine stitches on regular stitching).  Depression, lost my enthusiasm, and my current projects all came to standstills. 

I finally decided to begin looking for another machine and found an excellent tutorial/review from Leah Day on the Janome 7700.   To my surprise, she said to leave the feed dogs up, set stitch to zero for machine quilting.  Uh say what?

So, with nothing to lose, that is what I tried on the above quilt -with my Janome 6500 and ...  Not a skipped stitch in the entire project - NOT ONE!  I quilted it in 2 days, envisioning flames and smoke erupting from my machine with all my quilting efforts!

In the meantime, I've been hearing of other MQ'ers on DSM, that they also leave the dogs up - who knew?  I presume my machine IS worn and this solution might do for a few more years.   None of my quilting books mention it, nor "famous" pro quilters, except for Leah Day. 

So, this is the end of my whining, griping, tears and complaining on this subject.  8-)))))))  Several other bloggers have listened to my tale of woe and needed to know if I'd found a solution.  Yeahhhh!  Hope this helps someone with similar issues.