Saturday, December 01, 2012

While I should be quilting

Taking a short dinner break. A week or so ago I ran across a special on lamb chops, so I bought two to throw in the freezer for quick dinners. One of those, plus the last of the made-and-frozen twice baked potatoes and a side of broccoli - dinner was seriously good. I pan fried the lamb chop until it was about medium rare - it was pretty thin, so it didn't take long. I'll be on the look out for more sales.

Rumor has it that it was a nice, warm day. I say rumor, because I've not left the house. Slept a little later, ate breakfast, then started rummaging through batting for the charity quilt. While I was doing that, a friend came over for hot chocolate and a chat. It is such a pleasure to have morphed from an AWANA leader to a friend as these young ladies have grown, married, and in some cases, had children of their own. It's even more delightful to see them continue to follow the Lord, and try to make life decisions, big and small, in a godly manner.

Once she left, I went back to crawling on the floor. The only part of quilt making I actually hate is layering the backing, batting and top prior to quilting. I snapped a picture before moving it over so I could baste it down:

The colors are pretty true to life; the sashing and a number of the greens in the blocks are more olive than true green, which I kind of like. Twelve different fabrics scattered among the blocks - not bad for less than half an hour's worth of fabric picking, in a store with a limited supply of decent Christmas fabric.

The machine quilting is slow going. I spent over an hour playing with the stitch regulator foot on some scrap sandwiches- the stitch regulator that magically makes all of your stitches the same length, speeding up or slowing down the machine based on how quickly you move the fabric under the needle.


It's a matter of practice, I know. But this quilt needs to be substantially, if not completely quilted by the end of the weekend, and I've simply no time to deal with a learning curve. The quilt is also going up in a silent auction; I don't want a "learning" piece to be my donation. So I'm quilting it the way I always do, coordinating my hands and feet to get the right combination of speed and movement to produce even stitches.

After fifteen years of machine quilting, I can do this in my sleep.

Even so, there are marked differences between this 830 and the Artista. For one thing, this one has the motor capacity to sew much faster. So much so, I've adjusted the speed (the motor speed is infinitely adjustable via a slider on the sewing head) to about 3/4 speed, just in case I develop a case of lead foot.

The large slide on sewing table that surrounds the machine is great, space-wise, but the plastic doesn't let the fabric move terribly smoothly. I've got a "slider" taped to the sewing bed to alleviate the issue (yes, in order to make machine quilting on a top of the line machine easier, I've taped a piece of shiny, slippery plastic to it. With blue painter's tape).

I'm actually having a lot of fun. Sewing at the dining room table isn't ideal (chair too low, but sitting on phone books makes it difficult to reach the foot pedal); I end up with hunched up shoulders if I don't pay attention. It's a good thing I live alone, as I keep muttering "Shoulders down, breathe. Shoulders down, breathe," as I sew. Even that bit of shoulder pain can't take away the joy of creating.

Not just of creating, but of contributing to a cause. The proceeds of our silent auction this year are going to Campus Kitchen for supplies and food.

Looking back over the years, most of the quilts I've made have been gifts. While I do have a fair stash of quilted items here at home, most have gone as wedding or baby gifts, for birthdays and anniversaries. One went to the Sheriff's Office (they keep quilts/blankets in the squads to give to kids in trauma situations), another was auctioned at work for a heart unit at Children's Hospital. It seems fitting that the first quilt completely made on the 830 be one that is going for charity.

At least it will - if I get back to quilting it. Break over.

No comments: