Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mama's Quilts...

My mother was a long time quilter. She loved piecing patterns and loved color. She did not like quilting itself though, and usually tied her quilts but in the 1990s she started sending them to a lady in Greenbush, MN who did hand quilting for people. What lovely quilting it is too. I received the Myomi Kimono Girl quilt from Mama in 1995. She was making us a Pinwheel quilt for our queen bed when she passed away in 1997. The Pinwheel quilt is complete as far as the hand quilting and has only the binding left. I had stored these quilts for the last 16 years and just last week I got them out. I am using the Kimono quilt on the bed now and planning on binding the Pinwheel quilt.
The color of the background on the Kimono quilt is light green and it doesn't want to photograph well in a long shot of the quilt, but shows in the detail photo. the faces are a light cream color. Most of the fabrics in the Kimonos are Asian influenced, and look quite lovely in person.  I love the colors in both quilts, and my challenge now is to find a fabric from which to make the binding for the Pinwheel quilt.
Like me, Mama liked a lot of color, and a nice mix of fabrics. Scrappy quilters are like that. I probably will never make the quality of quilts my mother made, but I got started a lot later, what with a lifetime of garment sewing behind me. I never really wanted to make quilts, and I never knew you could quilt them yourself until the last few years. Not liking hand work at all, I was put off trying quilting, as I knew I would never hand quilt and was not about to pay the price for someone else to do that for me.  But finding that you could quilt on your home machine convinced me to try my hand at it myself so now I quilt. I love the quilting part more than the piecing - that's for sure. Now to riffle through my stash of cottons I have hoarded since the 1990s and find something to use for binding this quilt - maybe it should be a red material. I love the reds in the Pinwheel. I will update later on after I do the binding with a picture of the completed quilt.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spa Fun For Pfaff and Elna...

After Smitty's kindest care, the 307 Hobby is back in business. That smell from the motor was nothing to worry about. When the machine was opened up and the parts observed, they were all clean as a whistle, and not only clean but dry as a board which means no one used this machine - probably for a very ling time - like since it was brought to its first owner. Someone tried on it and either put it away and never took it out again or used it so briefly that the lubricants never got moved around. So all the spots in the interior where you could put oil were oiled and the motor checked out. It is fine, but old and the smell is not so discernible now. However, he says the smell may be there a long time or forever, as the motor sat so long. The machine is quieter now and seems very happy with the servicing! I too am happy, and have put it in the table for its turn at being used. I am doing a little free motion on printed fabric, as was demoes in the class I took with Cindy Needham this past June, I am just now getting to trying the outlining of the printed fabric It is a lot of fun. These practices will make nice little table mats.

The Elna went in as well. She had the dial readjusted so it reads correctly now, and the servicing made her very very quiet and a pleasure to sew on. I attached the free motion foot and am working on the other printed fabric square from the Cindy Needham class. I have Aurifil in the machine and it loves it, but I doubt this machine is picky about thread anyway!  The feed dogs do not drop on this machine so I just leave them up and carry on. It doesn't seem to make any difference in the stitching. Of course some folks do FMQ with feed dogs up anyway - Leah Day for one.  The bobbin winder works now as well!

Strip Quilt Revisited...

Now I call it the ZigZag Quilt 2013, and it is ready to quilt! I pinned it in the past week and then had to keep the quilting plan on the back burner of the brain while I figure out what exactly I am going to do on this, and now I think I have the plan. I am going to do some straight line quilting first, and then see how that plan evolves and do some free motion as well. This quilt goes to my youngest son, who is quite happy about it and didn't expect it to come along quite as fast as it did. I am not the fastest quilter on the planet for sure! I did notice that after I was done, and had the quilt top out on the table the emphasis I had planned was reversed. You really see yellow pyramids...the yellow reaches out and whaps you one, and the darks take a back seat. Interesting. Good to know for the future. Not that theoretically I didn't know this fact about color, but in person it really does demonstrate the theory empirically. The yellow really dominates the lights too - you cannot see the pinks too well in the photo, but in the room when you look at the quilt you do see a lot of the pink looking at you. That is why I love scrap quilts - the color and pattern play is never something you can predict, and you always get new sensory input from looking at the fabric patterns and colors in combination melding (one hopes) with the pattern of the piecing itself. The plan now is to quilt this and then bind it and then get on to binging my mother's quilt that is all finished except for the binding. But that's another post!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lutterloh Pants And Spas for Machines...

Another stab at Lutterloh pants coming up. Even though I did say that's the last garment sewing for awhile - after my skirt last post, well, the gals on PR have been making Lutterloh pants, so I thought I would give that another whirl. I will draft the pants here in #81, 2010. But I am going to make the pants more full, and regular length - my crazy idea is to use the upper part for fitting, make a muslin pair of shorts, and then use the final product for a couple pair of palazzo pants to wear around the house. I have some rayon that is drapy and great for that use, as I was going to make skirts out of those lengths of rayon blend.

Meanwhile, on the sewing machine front, I took my Elna TOP 300 into Smitty's Sewing the other day, and He fixed the dial so it works perfectly to select stitches now, and he fixed the clutch so it will wind bobbins, and looked it over and cleaned whatever there was, timed it, and all is smoothly working now. It is a nice machine with a nice little stitch package. Something about rehabing these foundling machines is a good feeling, but now I want to make sure any machine I re-home has a good home. Right now the Pfaff 307 is in for a spa treatment itself, as it sews nicely, and I love it, but it has a not-so-great hot electrical smell coming from the innards. So we'll see what resolution we get on that problem.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Lutterloh Skirt Finished for Transitional Seasons...

I finally finished the skirt about a month ago! The tropical fabric is really nice in a skirt. I made this one a bit more full, so it drapes very nicely as well. This is my TNT skirt pattern Lutterloh Supp.257, #14, 2005. I have talked about this pattern a few times in these pages. This fabric was a really nice print from Gorgeous Fabrics. Cotton in an easy care bottom weight with the least little bit of stretch. I have had it several years waiting for use. I was going to make a shirt of it, but a skirt seems a better choice. This required a few purchases of tops to go with it, as my color holdings didn't really do the trick. Land's End as usual. This ends my garment sewing for this year, as far as I can tell so far. I really don't need any more clothing at this point, and quilting calls. I am done with the strip quilt top, and now on to the batting, backing and quilting. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pfaff Hobby 307 - my new baby sweet machine....

Yes, I  know. I DO have enough sewing machines to outfit a small sewing school. And yes, I do NOT sew on them all very often, or even sew very often really. I am a slow sewer and I often just play with the machines. I do love them. So - this is the second find my hubby made at the Saint Vincent de Paul Thrift store on the trip out west. It seems the thrift stores out in the Seattle area are repositories of nice older machines, as are the pawn shops. Who knew? You could wait 100 years around here for a thrift store to have even a tenth of the nice machines you can get out there. Good thing too, or I would need a new wing on the house. This machine is so close to my heart. It rounds out a nice set of Pfaffs living with us now. After just a cursory clean with a damp cloth, it was in fine shape, and from my testing and looking around in the bobbin area and so on, there is nothing to suggest it was used more than two or three times. All the original accessories were with it, including the original manual, which looks pristine. I found it in PDF online so I printed that out and won't bend the original manual. I know - again - strange. Anyway, I love this thing. It sews like a charm, is very heavy and solid and although not made in Germany by Pfaff, was apparently made to specs that give us a really nice solid mechanical machine with a nice stitch package for most ordinary needs. NOW - here is the best part.

This baby does FMQ like a charm. I had been looking at various Hobby machines of this vintage, as well as Hobbymatics and Varimatics - mostly on the Brubaker Sewing site, and I just never found the one I wanted. Brubaker's has so many nice machines and is always worth a call for your Pfaff needs. So, when he called and told me he was looking at this machine, and it was in a case (not a Pfaff case, but a nifty all purpose solid case like the Brother or Singer plastic hard-shell case with bottom) I was smitten sight unseen. The next day was a 50% off day, so back he went and picked up this and the Elna. It has been a good machine year. My plan is to use this machine for free motion quilting if the projects are not too large for the harp. It has quite a high harp, so that shouldn't really be too much trouble. It uses my vertical Elna darning foot well, as you can see, and I also bought it a really nice free motion foot from Mr.Vac and Mrs. Sew. I purchased this through AMAZON, and had it in two days! Amazing service. The foot is solid and very easy to get on and I love the large open ring and the all metal foot.

This machine is from that transitional period where machines were part metal and part plastic. So the casing is both, and the weight, well a nice substantial one, is not a back breaker like an all metal machine. It has a vertical bobbin, and takes snap on feet, but is a bit wider in the feed dogs and feet than the usual 5mm vertical machine, so some of the Janome drop in feet work fine on it, and it takes Janome bobbins. I bought it the new blue ones. It came with the most clever zipper foot I have ever seen. It is a combo regular and invisible zipper foot. OH so clever.

The feed dogs drop for darning and FMQ. The stitch package is just a basic set of 8 (they call it 7 because the straight stitch is variable to a narrow to wide ZZ) stitches, but you can vary the length and you have a nice 4 step buttonhole that I like very much. I love the control of a four step buttonhole. There is a setting on the length control dial for S.S. - stretch stitching. Those stitches are in purple and you select the stitches merely by turning the stitch dial to the picture of the stitch. The manuals for most Pfaffs are available on the Pfaff website now, which is really nice. There is a nice large tension dial and unfortunately no presser foot pressure adjustment on this machine. I cannot say that is a huge drawback for me anyway.  In future I will report back as to how the machine handles the free motion. I am about to work up to the end of a quilt I am making, and I intend to use the 307 to quilt it! Looking forward to the fun.  If you run across any of these older models of Pfaff Hobby machines, I think you can't go wrong. Meanwhile, the Elna TOP 300 is in for a spa treatment and a fix of a few minor issues.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Elna TOP 300 for more machine fun...

Machines. They are so siren song loaded. I have just been gifted with two more of the type of machine I love - the bottom line of a good brand. The first one is an Elna TOP 300, which proves elusive to find info and pictures of here in the US, as all the pics I can find are in Europe or Australia and New Zealand. I think the Elnas were not sold here nearly as much in the early 90s, or late 80s. This machine does date back to the early 90s, and looked like a wreck in the thrift shop. I saw it is the Seattle area in May, but passed on it due to the looks and felt it wouldn't be worth taking home. But my hubby returned from his trip out West with this in tow. Apparently all the parts that they could remove they had removed and had at the counter, including the bobbin area cover and the feet. It was missing the regular sewing foot - Zigzag foot. And the original owner had never removed the protective film from the from as you should upon opening the box and removing the machine! SO it had a ratty look from bits of the film coming loose and so on. After some work with Goo-Gone and warm moist dishcloth the looks were improved radically, and then I saw that someone had somehow crimped the shank oddly and I needed a ZZ foot anyway. Having a family of machines of the same general manufacturer comes in handy, as I had an extra shank or two I wasn't using from Janomes, and a foot as well. Luckily one of the shanks and feet fit and I don't need them for other machines, so now she has a new foot and a new shank. As to sewing. The stitch selection dial is a bit wonky, as the detents are no longer lining up perfectly with the numbers, but that isn't relaly too much of a problem. You can, and I always do anyway, do a test stitching first, so if you didn't put it on the correct stitch you will soon realize that. It sews nicely and with the correct shank uses Janome feet of course, as it is a Janome made Elna. Janome shanks do differ among models now too. This one use the red button shank as does my Janome 11510 (Kenmore 19110). I tried all the stitches and made a buttonhole. I do like 4 step buttonholes and this baby does a nice one. I may rehome this machine in months to come, as I have plenty of machines, but it is really an appealing machine with useful stitches. If you should come across one in the St. Vincent De Paul store near you, don't be afraid. This one sat on the shelf there for almost a full 5 months unwanted and unloved. Now she is clean and working and much happier. I may not have mentioned that the little wick under the bobbin case needed a drop of oil. That's it, although there are two places inside the cover in the workings as well, and those are now oiled too. This is an all mechanical machine.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cloned McCalls 2208 from Lutterloh Shirt...

My modification of a Lutterloh basic shirt pattern to emulate McCalls 2208. Unfortunately the pattern itself was so difficult to try and alter to fit me that I just decided to modify the neckline of my TNT Lutterloh shirt to look like the McCalls. It didn't take too much. I cut a nice facing for the entire neckline after folding back the neckline of the Lutterloh pattern and tracing the resultant neckline from the bottom of one edge to the bottom of the other. I had to make a back facing and two front to shoulder facings. Made them nice and wide and that was a good idea. Sewed up well and fitting was good. I wanted it high enough to wear as a shirt or as a jacket. The buttons are nice shaded grey-brownish ones I got on sale at Joanns last year.
The fabric is postage stamps I got on sale several years ago at our wonderful local fabric shop now gone. A print like this requires a plain no-nonsense pattern if you don't want to look really busy. Here is the picture of the McCalls again to compare.  The neckline is a bit lower than I wanted mine to be, and I think the whole project turned out well. I have also finished the tropical print skirt but no pictures yet. I am behind in my pics-for-blogging. Have been working on the quilt as well, and finished all the blocks.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Paper Pieced Strips and Sewing Plans...

Right now, the project I am starting is a Strip Quilt which my Craftsy class with Pepper Cory calls the Phone Book Quilt. But I don't want to use phone book paper and I wanted 12x12 inch blocks, so I cut them from tracing paper with a matte finish, which is very light and removable when the time comes. So far I have several blocks - it is addicting and fun to strip paper piece them. I have the fabric already - my quilting stash isn't huge, but it will make several quilts I am sure! So, this one will be 6' by 5' when done and a bit more for the binding. Half dark and half light blocks diagonally.  I may have to cut more strips but that's O.K. I have the materials to do that. I am taking my time.

In the meantime, I may just cut out this McCall's pattern. I have admired it for a long time, and finally bought it - it dates from the late 90s I think, but they still have it for sale in the stores. I can see why as it is very basic. I love that the neckline is not encumbered with a collar, and that it could be adapted to either a top or a jacket. No law against making longer sleeves either. Might even try that pants pattern.  I have fabric for the top as a top, not a jacket, and I do not have fabric for matching pants, although I could of course buy some. Time will be the constraint here, as I really like working on the quilts better now. Plans, though, we must have plans. Always better to have lots in mind to do than nothing at all to occupy our minds. Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Quilt for Constance Complete...

My doll Constance Evelda was given to me on the Christmas of my third year. She still lives with me, and had herself spa treated by my Mama in her doll hospital back it the late 1980's.  I have never made her anything in all those years, as she had lots of clothes at first, being size real baby, and as I was practicing with this little quilt, I decided it should be hers. She is pretty happy about it I can tell you, as that means a time out on the deck with a nice wrap to keep the breeze at bay.  This was a fun little quilt, and I learned that I need a lot more contrast in an Attic Window pattern. So many ideas are twirling around in my head - the next three quilts are taking shape in my mind, one being another try at a real Attic Quilt with contrast that gives the correct depth. I ran across a nice used quilting book in Third Place Books in Seattle. The book is Perfect Patchwork : the Sew Easy Way, by Margaret H. Nichols. More important than her sewing method is her planning method and the way every design is made from rectangle and triangle basic block forms. Combining these forms to make some designs that usually are not done that way is really a treat. The book approaches quilting a little differently - no pattern templates - you use measurement and I even think I will change whatever measurements to whatever I want to do. She provides empty planning sheets of various types that can be copied and used to plan your own quilts. Attic Window is one of the planned block setups in the book.  There is a lot to read in this book, and I think for the price I paid, I will more than get my monies worth!  I have also been buying quilting magazines in a relentless attempt to see if one or more would be worth subscribing to. Presently I do get Modern Quilting Unlimited, which is really a nice magazine, but I find a year of one is all I need. So now I am trying various other publications, and reporting on them will be upcoming here. So far, QUILT and McCall's Quilting are coming out on top.  In the Craftsy Class on Scrappy Quilting with Pepper Cory, I really was taken with the paper pieced strip quilt, and so the next one I want to make is going to be that very thing. I have loads of seasonal curtains I used to use on my front door and they are all cotton and are all going into the scrappy strip quilt. More planning on that later.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Finished and Begun...

I am finally figuring out that I am addicted to quilting. I am not so good at quilting so much as I just love to do it, as long as it is something I want to do at the time, and something I figure out myself. So I had these blocks from Keepsake Quilting that I got as a bonus a long time ago, and I thought: "Why not make them up in a sort of Attic-Windowy way, so I did - it was good practice. Attic Windows would need wider strips is one thing I learned. Mostly I want this piece as a trial for the Janome 6300's FMQ abilities again, and with the low tension bobbin case back in, I threaded her up and put Masterpiece in top and bottom. In a very pale pink. That color blends so well with just about everything. And the Masterpiece is fine enough so that that adds to the blendability. SO that project is doing well and the machine seems to like it. Perhaps a cleaning and servicing in June, and then another try at King Tut in that machine. Before starting the Attic piece I finished the FMQ on the table runner, using my Pfaff, and I am happy to have done some different stitching on that. Spirals in each corner, and wavy ocean effect along each side.   The cats and I are both happy with it. I did the binding on the table runner on the Janome and I really love how it handles the fabric with or without the walking foot. I did use the walking foot of course.  The Attic Window pattern is one that I have loved for a long time. I am thinking of an Asian themed fabric quilt using the Attic Window as an element, but not the whole quilt. Still have that percolating in the back burner of my brain. I have a lovely panel that will be the focus of the piece. SO we shall see if that comes together later - during the Summer months. Meanwhile, maybe a garment or two, but that seems like a light getting dimmer and dimmer and farther and farther....

Friday, March 29, 2013

Mini Cover and Table Runner...

The Kenmore Mini Ultra has its own cover now. I can't tell you how much I like that double sided quilted fabric from Joann's. It already has two side and batting. Can't get better - I had this remnant and just measured on the little guy and sewed this. Yes, I guess I could have tried matching the front seam slightly better, but there ya go. In other news, my table runner has turned out to be a free motion sampler in some ways. After stippling in the center, I did the sides in a different color - still in the geese pattern on the sides that is, and then I tried four spirals - one in each corner and am now doing ocean wavy stuff down the long and short sides to finish, and then comes binding.  After crying over broken threads on the Janome, I pulled the Pfaff up into prime FM position and had no more problems. I am using giant cones of Maxi-Lock for the top quilting and I think I have Masterpiece in the bobbin.  I have ordered bobbin washers for the Janome, they came, and when I have tried them out but good on a pieced sample sandwich I will report findings. Anyway, to do that I need to piece another small top of something. Thinking about that right now. I have noticed a real difference between quilting FM on a nice smooth sample sandwich and then on a pieced top. The seaming of piecing makes a difference to the Janome for sure. Meanwhile, I have some garment repair to do, so of course must set up yet another sewing machine to do that with! Good thing we have more than one sewing machine in our arsenal, or more than two, eh? Another point to ponder - time has passed and it is now almost time to register online for the Vermont Quilt Festival! That means Spring has finally begun to sprung. Very soon now...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Break for some fun...Kenmore Mini Ultra

A new to me Kenmore Mini Ultra, found at the pawn shop in Seattle and snapped up and sent to me by my son and daughter-in-law! Apparently another machine not used much at all, accessories still in place, and the only thing missing is the manual. Luckily Sears still has the Manual online, along with the Service Manual. Does the few stitches well, and the buttonhole is fine. Kind of noisy, but I did oil her and put in a new needle of course - who knows where that needle had been? For anyone who wants to search for the manual the model number is 385.11206300. It has duplicate pages - English, then Spanish and French. Since the machine takes screw on feet, it seems odd that it doesn't come with a screw driver! There is a tiny package of Organ needles in there and the buttonhole foot, a rather junky seam ripper, and the red thread spool felt, the buttonhole foot and two bobbins, and then a cover plate (plastic) for the feed dogs? Makes you wonder if darning was one of the main uses they thought we would put the machine to, as I doubt free motion quilting would be very good on this machine, although perhaps you could do small projects fine. Everything stitches out pretty well. NOW to the best part. This machine makes a very nice well wound bobbin! I aim to make this my bobbin winder, as the price is less than the expensive bobbin winders out there, and it makes a fine bobbin. After buying one of those regrettable little bobbin winding machines, a very sad tale in itself, I will use this instead and wind all the bobbins for my Janomes that I want - as in prior to quilting when I want several on hand and don't want to stop each time to wind them. Welcome to your new happy home, little Blue sewing machine!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Boy Quilts are Done...YEA!

After whizzing through the binding on the Janome 6300 with the walking foot, all is done! I have shipped them, and hope they get there in time to keep two little guys warm for the rest of this winter and early Spring! The odd thing is that the J6300 doesn't have any problems with thread at all when sewing regular things, but only when  doing FMQ.

After experimenting with other threads and other measures in order to come to a FMQ nirvana, I have found that Bottom Line top and bottom, and putting the feed dogs in the up position, and setting the stitch length to 0.0 improves the FM greatly. Kudos to Leah Day for the dogs up thing. She says she always sews with dogs up. Interesting. Other folks disagree with her surmise that the modern machines are set to work interdependently tension-feed-dogs-stitching but I think she is on to something. In fact, I also skipped putting the thread through the last thread guide - that one right at the needle bar itself - the thread tends to get caught there as it goes through. I am still experimenting though, and will try some So Fine #50 next time - probably tomorrow.

Meanwhile I am designing a quilted coffee table runner that will use the leftovers from my Flying Geese quilt and be sort of definitely scrappy. The middle seam will not be a perfect pointy geese thing at all because I am combining two pieces I cut off that quilt because it was too long. Very unorthodox, but then I will have sashing on it and hopefully the same binding as the larger quilt or the binding I put on the Boy Quilts. I have lots of leftover binding.

Also in the works are two pair of pants. I need to use up some fabric here to make room for quilting stuff, and I have two pieces of really nice beige-to tan bottom weight material here. I am going to do a tracing of my favorite elastic waist pants and use that pattern. I know the alteration I must do to get a good fit in the back now.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Vicissitudes and Solutions...

About 50% of the way into doing free motion on the J6300, it started to break thread. I tried everything and every little nuance I could think of - change needle, change thread, change bobbin tension, change top tension, do odd incantation, I tried it all. I read one idea which was to let the horizontally wound thread wind off horizontally and rigged up a way it could easily do that, as that is what the thread folks recommend, and that did help the thread to come off more easily - I could tell the improvement, however it only allowed a few more inches to be sewn without a breakage. Fellow quilters and people with a lot more experience than I have gave me a myriad of ideas, and reading quilting forums did as well. Some of those ideas I have filed away and some I tried. Some ideas have other uses and are great. One idea was to put the ironing board up on the side of my sewing - on the left - as a better surface for the quilt to rest upon. Great idea, but it didn't help the quilting. However, it is a great idea and I am doing it on the Pfaff. I think partially the batting - being rather slubby in portions, and the backing being slubby as well - well, that didn't help. But the fact that 50% went fairly well tells me that when I have time, and maybe a different quilt sandwich that isn't as heavy as a flannel quilt with thick Warm and Natural batting, well then I can probably do some nice FMQ on this Janome 6300. Meanwhile I finished the quilt on the Pfaff. I have to say that FM on the Pfaff is a complete no issue undertaking - the Pfaff sews whatever you put under the foot, and it has more harp space than the Janome if you count the height of the machine itself - I can get more quilt through that baby.  It handles whatever thread you want to use top and bottom, and I used King Tut on top and Masterpiece in the bobbin, but it will sew with any thread I have ever tried. I had no thread breakage and no problems at all. I finished the quilt top today. Now to finish the other quilt - that one is getting straight line quilting on the Janome, and going along nicely with the walking foot. I love the speed with which the Janome can do these stitch in the ditch lines. Now to begin making the binding. Going to bind it on the Janome using the walking foot, as I did on my first quilt last year.

This is the way to get a horizontal spool to run off its thread correctly on a machine with a thread antennae and the thread spool pins below the level of the top of the machine. I used three spool caps and a drinking straw I cut down. Two spool caps under the spool of King Tut and one on top. Luckily I have several machines (and the Superior Thread thread holder which has several gizmos with it) here to use the accessories of for something like this, and three diameters of drinking straws. I didn't realize I had the three types of straws. Good to have these odd things on hand! This was a suggestion on a forum somewhere on the web about difficulties quilting with a Janome 6600, so this family of machines has been talked about a lot on the web and there are a lot of helpful people out there adding to our knowledge. I imagine this is true of whatever machine you buy these days.   By the way you notice that you bypass the thread antennae and leave them down for this application. You thread directly into the first thread holder on the machine itself.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Boy Quilts proceed...

After finishing the piecing of the strips, I set up the J6300 to do the walking foot thing down every other main seam of the width of the quilt. I think one quilt will be finished all with the walking foot and the other with free motion quilting. I haven't quite decided. I finished both quilts as far as this combination stabilization and quilting first step. All was swimmingly well with Metrosene Silk Finish variegated red-white-blue (top stitching?) thread. Rather a heavy thread and it was on the top, with Connecting Threads Essential thread in the bottom in a nice blue. The walking foot is wonderful and the machine is fabulous. Cuts through several layers like they were butter. This set of quilts has the flannel on both sides, and it's a quality set of flannels, and the batting is Warm & Natural cotton and is just superb but a bit thick I think, so I didn't know how all this would go and it goes just fine!
Having finished the straight line quilting,  I set up the machine for free motion quilting. I have both the regular bobbin case and the so-called free motion bobbin case with the bue spot. I won't go into all the trials and so on, but I tested the heck out of the various settings, and had no luck with anything with the heavier Metrosene variegated silk finish in the top with free motion. After several trials of various combos of Essential thread and the Metrosene, with both bobbin cases, I threaded the top with Superior King Tut variegated blues, and the bobbin with Masterpiece in a nice blue, and began again to test various settings. Well, to make the long story short, high top tension is needed no matter what bobbin case is in there. I settled on the blue dot bobbin case for FM only because it saves me about a .2 less tension on top. I have the tension on top at almost 7, FM bobbin case, foot pressure at 1, dogs down and all is a go and a good stitch. I made several testing sandwiches before I started so that each time I begin for a day or after a bobbin change, I can test out the stitching to make sure all is well. Better to test and test for an hour rather than to have all sorts of trouble on the quilt itself. And even then, you never know. So many things can happen, especially with a heavy quilt and this one is heavy. I guess I have to admit that for only the second and third quilting projects on this scale I wouldn't have started with flannel and heavy batting had I known, but it is great to have all this practice and learn so much in the process! Meanwhile, having admitted that threading up with Superior Threads is going to produce for me the best results I treated myself to an order of threads, including the thread holder cases.  Conclusions: the bobbin case with the blue dot isn't a must have for me, but it's good to know about it. Another might find it works fabulously for them. There is an interesting blog post that talks about the Janome FM accessories with more authority than I. Gloria Hansen's blog. Excellent run down of her testing these items. Another conclusion is that even if I have to make fewer quilted projects, quilting them with mostly Superior Threads is the way to go with this machine. On my Pfaff, there isn't a threads issue. All sorts of threads do well in the Pfaff. But that is a vintage machines and I have a hunch it is also because the tension discs in most old machines are a bit worn, so they let more weights of thread through, and also the solid metal machines with the vertical bobbins are easier to regulate for this type of quilting. Just my own opinion. I want to do FM with the J6300, and that's because I want the knee lift and the cutter, and the needle up/down, and the option of several nice stitches and a multi-use modern machine.