For Mouse and I, the next table runner class is this Saturday. Mouse has been reluctant to work on her runner — she is supposed to have the middle panel pieced for Saturday — because she is so paranoid about making mistakes on her 1/4″ seams. She seems to find the sewing itself to be very stressful, although she’s always excited when the blocks go together properly. I’ve been encouraging her along, and she’s now down to just six more seams before her “homework” is finished.
Here’s her runner and mine side by side on our design boards — isn’t it amazing the different effect you get, just by selecting different fabric for the same pattern? Her “snowballs” are much more distinct, whereas mine seem to blend together into a sort of sunflower lattice.
On the freemotion quilting side — I was so disappointed by my poor results with quilting the “green” quilt the other week, that I was reluctant to sit down at the machine and try again. The biggest problem, I felt, was the sort of jerky drag I felt as I tried to move the quilt while I stitched. It felt awkward — not at all smooth.
My friend Joline recommended getting the teflon mat — the Supreme Slider — to help my project slide better over the base of my machine, and I’m sure that will help, once I can find one (Joline says she got hers at Triangle in Guelph, so I may have to phone around and try to locate one before I drive out there). However, on rewatching some of the Leah Day videos, I realized that my existing foot might also be the culprit. It has a needlebar which, as Leah describes, is meant to bump up and down as the needle stiches, making the foot “hop” along the quilt surface. Leah recommends bending that bar back out of the way, then using an elastic band wrapped around the shank of the foot as a spacer, to set the foot at the proper height. I was very reluctant to do that to a foot I’d just purchased for $33, but on the other hand, I was also reluctant to do further quilting if I was only going to be getting the same poor, jerky results.
So I bit the bullet, and modified my foot as she described: what a difference! I only tested it on a small sample yesterday, but it seemed to slide much better, much more smoothly, and it was far less distracting to sew when the foot wasn’t squeaking and hopping constantly across the fabric. I managed a passable spiral and a small daisy chain. Mind you, my stitching line still looks a bit scrawly and hesitant, but I feel that was more my lack of experience in timing my hands with the machine speed, rather than me fighting against the machine. It’s now like the difference between a first grader learning to print, and a middle school student who writes in a smooth cursive script. With practice, I feel like I can now improve — although I still want the slider mat!!