Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Cross-Hatch Ruler

 The cross-hatch ruler was a show bonus when I bought my Innova.  The usual round deadbar is replaced with a square bar with a channel, and then there is a sliding bracket that holds a 40" ruler at various degrees.  

I needed to try it.

First thing I learned is you need lots of extra backing when trying to use both the cross-hatch ruler and red snappers.   I also learned that you can quilt closer to the takeup roller on some angles than on others, as the ruler surface rounds.   So, 45 deg was OK, 135 deg was affected by this 'rounding'.   Again, this could be solved with extra backing. 

 I wasn't doing 'traditional' cross-hatch in a block, I'll have to save that for another quilt.  Here I was doing large cross-hatching across the whole quilt as an overall design.  I did really like this ruler for that, because I could cross two 9" blocks at once, re-angle my ruler and zig-zag my way across the quilt without breaking thread.  I think it would be much harder to do this accurately with the usual shorter straight rulers (but haven't tried it, so don't know for sure).

I didn't tighten the slider every time, and I think I will look for a drop-in pin for the angle adjustments as opposed to the thumb screw that is there now (seen better in the first picture) , because I got really tired of screwing and unscrewing (plus it was really time consuming), and wound up just relying on the tiny lip to hold the correct angle.  If this were heirloom or full on custom quilting, I'd be tightening up all the attachments each time I think. 

And then I went back and meandered every other diamond...this added texture, and also took attention away from those points that didn't meet exactly.

and now this quilt is ready for binding. 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Today's Lesson, or Why you need extra backing

Today's lesson was that when using  Red Snappers (which I love) to attach the backing to the leaders AND when wanting to use rulers in the need LOTS of extra backing...luckily I had just enough backing (with like 1/2" to spare at the bottom) for the quilt, so with some tips learned on MQR (Machine Quilters Resource forum), I was able to use the longarm to attach some extra backing; enough to re-attach to the backing leader and complete the quilt.  It would have taken a lot more time if the additional backing would be part of the quilt, because then I probably would have unloaded the whole quilt, and used my DSM to add backing, so there would be a nice seam, but fortunately that wasn't necessary, and also I had my speedy red snappers, so it really only took about 10 minutes to be able to quilt again.

So below you can see where I quickly added some scrap to extend the length of my backing enough to be able to connect to the leaders, and also why, if it was a permanent seam, I'd want to do it differently. 

This 2nd photo is from underneath, and it shows how lucky I was not to have a seamed can see the darker shadow at the top is the quilt top, and the 2nd shadow shows where the backing ends.  I did have lots of batting, but trimmed it to add the scrap.  

Also,  I wish I had added a wider scrap, because the extended base plate on the machine kept bumping up against the red snappers and so the final 2" was very finicky and tricky.  Next time I plan ruler work in the borders, I think I'll add 14"-16" extra backing length..., but on a regular basis, without rulers in the borders, 8-10" should be good enough.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Baptist Fan with Circle Rulers

When I decided to start longarm quilting, I figured I could devote 1 day/week, and sure enough, a whole week went by between quilting days.

Once again, someone elses quilt came before mine, but that's OK, because I choose to do it.  A good friend of mine had a quilt that she had layered and spray basted back in January, but then had sewing machine issues and didn't get this quilted.  So, it had backing 1" greater in size than the quilt, but it's spray basted, so it's not going anywhere.  I added some length with scrap pieces, so I'd have room to load the quilt.  My plan for the 2nd quilt was to try some ruler work, which I never did on my short-arm.  I was inspired by a facebook post by Karen Walker, who had learned a baptist fan technique from Mari-Lee Seei at MQX West.  It's time consuming, so if I were to do this on a larger quilt, I'd need bigger circles.  The fan that Mari-Lee shows on a video uses 4 circles,  but I only have 3, so that's what I used.  I used a 2", 4" and 6" circle template (Deloa's).  I decided I *should* practice first, as I hadn't done ruler work before.

 Two rows was enough to have some confidence and to learn a little about when to place the ruler.  I don't have much patience for practice...I want to do the real thing!

Just a teaser of the front, until the quilt makes it to its final owner.

 The fans show up really nicely on the back.  Wonderfil Mirage thread on top. So fine on bottom, and warm and white for batting.  As always from this quilter, perfectly pieced and flat, which is a real advantage when the backing is too small.

Monday, 12 December 2011

First Quilt

As I was playing with the practice piece on Saturday and Sunday morning, I was pondering which of  *my* quilt tops would be the first to be quilted on my new machine.  However, at church on Sunday, it became clear that the first quilt would be one of the Quilting Ministry quilts, as one of the ladies in the congregation is facing cancer surgery before the month is out.

So...this is a YBR (Yellow brick road pattern) 50x60.  I used Superior Omni on the top and so-fine in the bobbin.   Bamboo batting. 

Something I haven't done in about 4 years is stitch out a pantograph, as it wasn't much fun using a 4" panto on the shortarm.  I found it much more enjoyable and quicker to freehand quilt.  However, if I'm going to be quilting for customers, I had better practice some pantographs.  This quilt seemed a perfect chance to try one of my new Anne Bright pantos that I bought at MQX West.   This one is called Paisley Feathers.  It adds a lovely texture to the quilt.

A friend was over yesterday and asked how long it would take to stitch out a row...I didn't know then but I can tell him now, 12 minutes to stitch a row, 2 1/2-3 hrs to frog it :(.  Somehow I didn't get the third row lined up correctly and it overlapped the 2nd row, so out it came.

The pictures aren't great, but it's dark outside now, and the quilt is off for binding tonight, so this is the best we'll get this time around.

Innova in the House!

Keith from ABM International made it on Friday, and spent the day setting up my machine for me.  However, with a busy week behind me, and parenting to do, I didn't have much energy for playing on Friday.

It looks/seems much larger in the family room than it did in the Portland Conference Center.

Saturday we had some time to play...even my youngest had fun playing. 

Monday, 5 December 2011

Still waiting

the Innova is still sitting in crates in the garage, and I've been told Friday for my installation, so hopefully a Texan shows up on Friday to open those crates and I've already let people know not to expect to see me at an event on Saturday.  I have 7 tops pieced and waiting...I've made the binding so I can actually finish them...guess I should be cutting batting and preparing backings this week :)

Monday, 21 November 2011


My name is Michelle.  I live in Calgary Alberta, and I've just bought an Innova 26" longarm on a 12' frame, and this blog will be about quilts.  I've been quilting for 7 years now.  I had a 9" Husqvarna machine on a grace frame for 4 years, so quilting on a frame is not new to me.  I'm very excited about what I'll be able to do with the Innova.  Now that the thinking of a name for my business is done, perhaps a name will come along for the Innova, which is currently experiencing climate shock, sitting in my garage at -20 while we wait for a tech to come from Texas to move it into the house and set it up. 

pattern: Shattered Glass Judy Neimeyer