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/  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. 

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Recipe - Italian Penne Salad

I have never been a great cook, and now being retired, even worse with just us 2 old fogies in the house.  Each month when preparing "something" for our quilting day, my stomach goes in knots trying to come up with something really good.  This time I tried this, and OMGoodness, it is gooooood!  I sampled it so often, I had to make another batch!

Italian Penne Salad

1 box (1 lb.) penne macaroni
1 sweet red pepper
1 green pepper
Small red onion, or 6-8 slices, chopped
50 slices pepperoni (that how they are labeled in my store)
1 small can black olives
Kraft Caesar Vinagrette dressing, approx. 1/2 cup.  More or less to taste.
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the penne in salted water, drain and rinse under cold water.
Chop the peppers and sweet red onion into small bits.
I nuked the pepperoni (10 sec.) to make it easier to separate, then cut into smaller pieces. 
Chop up the olives.
Pour dressing over all.
This recipe was delicious immediately.

Perhaps you might want to add small mozzarella chunks, and maybe add grape tomatoes before serving.  IMHO, the dressing really made it - I did not overdo.   

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Too much?

I've made these scrappy Hole in the Barn Door, or Church Dash blocks years ago, used a LOT of favorite fabrics from my scrappy stash bins, and finally, it's time to make them into a quilt.  There are no duplicates - making them was such a pleasure, but the end result is a bit overwhelming!

There are 57 blocks in all, used 49, and the balance , most reds, will be on the back.  These are set diagonally, with a soft plaid as sashing and soft yellow in the cornerstones.  The setting triangles are a soft striped green, figuring it needed something soft and gentle with all these colors!  It is my intention to put a 3-4 inch soft striped green as an additional border, but I'll decide when I get there.

I find the numerous combinations of scrappy fabrics very pleasing - there is not ONE block that I would remove -- perhaps its location, but not the block.  Apparently I was unable to stop making them!  (like Potato Chips?, or Peanuts? - can't stop with just one?)  

Since I name my quilts, here are my ideas for names - chime in if you have any good ideas!
Waaaay Tooo Many
More is More
Too Much of a Good Thing
Just a Few More
Couldn't Stop
Potato Chips
Heinz - 57 Varieties 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Use up those cute blocks!

I was practicing my machine quilting, hoping recent repairs solved the issues, and decided to make  pillows as practice blocks.  At the last All Day Sew, Jody was using really BRIGHTS, for a quilt and kept bringing the trimmed strings to me, hoping I'd use them.  Well, I did!  Dig those two bright and happy string pillows!  DH said I should also show the backs.  I'll send the 2 string pillows home with her, and donate the other two.  They were fun to make, and I learned about Velcro on the backs.  I had the folds across the mid-backs and they tended to pooch out too much so Velcro was needed.

BTW, so far, so good with the quilting, but I DID use Sewers Aid to keep the stitches as nice as possible.