Tuesday, August 28, 2012

free motion quilting - harp size

This is a Pfaff Creative 2, which has a good 9.5 inches of space from the inside of the harp to the needle.  It is easy to quilt a queen size quilt with it.
This is a Bernina 930 Record which has 7.5 inches of harp space. The Bernina is wonderful for free motion quilting, but the smaller harp size makes quilting large quilts difficult.
This is a Singer 15-91 it has only 7 inches of harp space, but the shape of the harp is narrow so there is more room to pile fabric under the harp.
Size matters, especially when quilting a large quilt.  What kind of sewing machine do you use for quilting?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Custom built sewing cabinet for Pfaff Creative 2

Built to my specifications by Green Acres Builders of Wawanesa, Manitoba.
 The breast cancer pink desk top cover is made of aluminum.
It has a three-level lift, this picture shows the machine in the down storage position.
Desktop level for free motion quilting, piecing and most regular sewing.
The plexi-glass insert was purchased from the Brandon Sewing Centre.
This bracket under the machine platform prevents the machine from vibrating.
Top level position for free arm sewing and embroidery.
The beauty of having something custom made is that you get exactly what you need.
 Roomy top drawer.
Cupboard for embroidery hoops and sewing machine accessory case.
It is wonderful to sew on.  I just love it!
Happy stitching.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bernina 930 fmq - Jesters' Hats

This month's teacher is Wendy SheppardHer tutorial is on free motion quilting jesters' hats as a unique filler design.  I started doodling jester hats.  At first, it was really hard to fill the entire page without getting stuck in the middle somewhere.
Practice, practice and more practice.
Big gaps of empty spaces.
Back to the drawing paper!
Three pointed hats were easier to draw then two.
How about a little loop at the end of the points, would this look like bells?  In total I drew 40 pages of jesters' hats before free motion quilting the design.
Starting to get the flow of this, now I'm able to draw the hat in all directions.
 This is fun!
In June 2012, I got this email:
Good afternoon! I came across your blog today and saw that you fmq with your 930. I am new to my 930 (LOVE it!), but am not sure of the ins and outs of fmq with it. My machine did not come with any special feet. I would love it if you could explain what foot you use, and what settings you use on the 930 when you fmq. Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to answer my email. I hope I can perfect fmq soon!

I did my practice piece using my Bernina 930 Record. 
The Bernina has a high and low speed.  I set it to low speed.
The stitch length (bottom dial) is set to zero.
 The feed dogs are dropped.
I started my practice piece with neon orange thread in the top and plain orange in the bottom, only because that was the thread in the machine from my last project.  The top thread was Marathon 100% polyester trilobal embroidery thread, I don't know what was in the bobbin.  I used a new universal Schmetz 90/14 needle.
My practice sandwich is dark blue denim top side and pieced dark denim with recycled jeans to make the back side the same size as the front.  The batting is Warm and Natural cotton. 
I used 505 spray glue to baste the sandwich together and then an Avery micro basting gun to tack around the edges.
I always free motion quilt with my needle in the down position.  I didn't take a photo of it but every time I re-thread my machine or change the needle I sew a practice scrap of a few inches to ensure the machine is sewing smooth stitches on the top and bottom side.
First pull the bottom thread up to the top side and micro stitch the ends in place.
For me, this design was easier to fill the space completely by starting in a corner rather than the middle of the quilting space.
 The little white dots are the plastic tacks from the basting gun.
 Free motion quilting making jesters' hats....
this is tons of fun!
 Filling in the spaces.
Ooops!! Ran out of bobbin thread.
This is a great time to check the stitch quality on the back side.
Running out of bobbin thread was a bonus, I switched thread colours.  Neon yellow in the needle and lime green in the bobbin, both colours are Marathon 100% polyester trilobal embroidery thread.
 The join would be less noticeable if I had stuck with the same thread colour.
Look at that pretty thread....I was going for visibility.  I think this design would be harder to quilt when the thread matches the fabric.

I use a Bernina number 29 large darning foot.

Back side view.
They say a picture says a thousand words, obviously, I had lots to say about this free motion quilting design.  Below is jesters' hats on my free motion challege sample quilt which I blogged about here.
As always your comments are really appreciated.  Have a super duper weekend all.