Friday, April 6, 2012

Machine quilting and I: progress report

When I had decided just before Christmas that I would embark on a major effort to improve my machine quilting skills, I was highly motivated. And entered the first of different phases that I have since gone through.
First phase: totally motivated. Sitting down and making plans as to how to go about it in the most effective manner. Should I practice one pattern a day? or restrict my practice sessions by time? how big a practice piece per practice session? Keep a diary on it all?
Then I also needed to arrive at a decision as to how to handle the sewing machine situation. My Janome, which is the one I bought because I wanted to use it for machine quilting in the first place, has the one disadvantage that one has to remove the stitch plate when you want to change bobbin holder. And I have to change the bobbin holder from the normal sewing one to a special free motion quilting one, that much I learned when I took that trip to the dealer with it before Christmas. So setting it up for quilting is a bit of a hassle, and thus not exactly an incentive to the motivation to start a practice session! If I want to parctice for 15 to 20 minutes, I have to spend considerable time dismantling the normal sewing adjustments, putting up all the quilting gear, and then reverse it all after the practice session is over.
So for a while I tried to set up my old Bernina as my sewing machine, and keep the Janome set up as a quilting machine on the other end of the table, that way I would not have to rebuild everything every time.
However, that was a good idea in theory only – my table is definitely not large enough to have two machines set up all the time. Nor do I have enough room to set up a second table.
Packing one of them away while the other is in use is just about as stimulating as doing all the adjustments on the Janome to begin with. And again, there is not enough room in the room to put in an extra shelf where I could store one of the machines while the other one is in use.
So I ended up with the good intention to put in as many practice sessions as possible, but not to insist on strictly enforced practice sessions every day. Or to put them one at the end of the day, and the next one first thing in the morning, thus getting two practice sessions with one reconstruction of the machine.
That worked okay for a few days, and I did indeed get a few practie pieces done. I numbered them as reference to be able to link them up with Leas patterns.

I also kept a bit of a ‘diary’, taking notes on how I liked quilting the pattern and such.

Quickly I realized that it did not work well for me to have the little six inch squares as individual practice pieces – that was absolutely not enough substance for me to hold on to. So I subdivided larger pieces of cloth into smaller sections. 

Even sacrificed a finished top which somehow had never got quilted – probably I was just not satisfied enough with it to give it the finishing touch. At least this way it served a decent purpose.

And that’s how I wanted to continue. At least that was the plan....

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! I know just how you feel about working on machine quilting techniques. It seems to be the bane of my existence. Keep going. I have no doubt that you will be close to perfection in no time, judging by your design and composition in your quilts!