I finally got the binding finished on my Puppy Panel charity quilt, making it my first finish of 2018!
Now it’s ready for Show & Tell at my two guilds… and then to be donated to a child in the hospital.
I know the top is just a single piece of fabric, but I really like how it turned out! The images on the fabric and the colours are cheerful — I love the pale yellow flannel (left over from covering the boards for my design wall!) and the bright red binding. I hope it will be loved by its recipient.
I then sorted through my completed tops, debating what to put on the long arm next. I chose another charity quilt top — an HST quilt made by a group of women from my traditional guild that I sew with once a month. This top was the last of three quilts created from that HST bonanza, and I wanted to get it finished and donated.
There are a lot of angles in this quilt’s pattern, and I thought, “Hey, this might be a great chance to try quilting with rulers on my long arm!” I have the special foot, the rulers, the ruler base that attaches to the machine… let’s give it a go!
I was a little nervous about attaching the ruler base (a clear plastic extension) to the long arm machine, because it is supposed to “snap” on. I didn’t want to break it. So I watched the video on the Handi Quilter site about how to install it correctly: slide it over one side to fit, then flex it and snap it down over the second side.
I snapped it alright.
Right in half. Yikes. I can order another one — and I will! — but it will be about US$150. Not to mention that I had the quilt waiting in the frame… and I didn’t want to wait to start quilting it! So on from this misadventure to a new adventure.
Time to rethink the plan. I decided to try meandering — something else I’ve never done before. I decided I better practice a little first, so I grabbed my big ole sketchbook and practiced meandering for a few pages… I started at the bottom left and finished at the top left of the page.
I had once seen a video in which the instructor recommended approaching meandering like you’re drawing mittens — make a big roundish shape (the hand) and follow it with a little roundish shape (the thumb); then repeat, changing direction and orientation. I tried to keep that in mind while I meandered across the page.
Not the best — a bit uneven. A bit jerky. But I thought it would be good enough, if I used a low contrast top thread. So I decided to quilt just the darker value areas of the quilt, using a blue thread, and then contemplate what to do with the lighter value areas.
Here’s a close up of some of the quilting. Not too horrible. You can see what I have to work on: I have to pay attention to where I’m going, so I don’t end with long skinny arms that try to reach back into unquilted areas I missed. There’s definitely an art to the twisting and turning line, and I don’t think my finished product looks much like mittens. But stand back five feet and it looks great.
I definitely improved as I went along. I need to practice looking ahead, and remembering to keep my movements round. No sudden changes of direction (that result in points). I probably need to slow down a little. Funny how I used to think meandering looked like the easiest thing to do! Now, I think it requires a lot of practice and concentration to do it right.
The quilt is out of the frame, waiting to be trimmed. Then I think I’ll use my walking foot on my domestic to do some simple straight lines through the light value areas, using a cream coloured thread.
Which means, it’s just about time to think about loading my orange and turquoise quilt into the frame. But first — clean the lint, put a drop of oil in the bobbin case, and change the needle!