Author Archives: Mary

Hot, humid, and buggy

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While it’s not as bad as Tampa, we’re still in the south so it’s just going to be hot and humid outside this time of year. My walk today was hot, humid, and very buggy but even with that I’d still rather be outside walking along the creek and listening to the sound of the water flowing along than inside an air conditioned gym on a treadmill listening to a machine hum. 


I got 4.21 miles in on my hike today and while I’m still about 2 and a half weeks behind, I hit the 1000 mile mark today. And just in case you haven’t been following my challenge – I’m walking NOT running – the goal is 2017 miles in 2017. I’m going to have to play a bit of catch up this fall I think. The goal is to not fall further behind but I don’t think I’m going to make up a lot of ground in the heat – so I’ll try to stay on track and when it cools down a bit, pick up those extra miles. 

Quilted

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The beast is quilted (#5 of 9 to be quilted this month) … of course I still have to trim and bind Becky’s quilt and there are a couple very small places I want to go back to and potentially restitch but I feel relieved to have this one off the machine. If I do have to restitch a couple places, I’ll use the clamps to hold it in place on the longarm or will use my home sewing machine. 


I mentioned that I was having some stitch quality issues at one point during the quilting – I’ve been doing this a while so I ran through my troubleshooting list but I always check online to see if I’ve forgotten to try something. This article by Dawn Cavanaugh is a good overall review of tension issues. She calls what I was experiencing direction tension trouble most likely caused by needle flexing. I’d done all the correct things to minimize it and but really slowing way down was the solution after changing to a larger needle, loosening the quilt in the frame, and decreasing the stitch length to 11. 

I won’t get another one quilted this week because we have Rae coming to stay for a couple nights tomorrow. She called all excited tonight because they found out the sex of the baby today. I forgot to ask if I’m allowed to tell yet so I’ll leave you all in suspense for now!

Family time

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I’m getting extra days with the kids so no quilting today but that’s OK, I should finish Becky’s quilt tomorrow. Can you tell Rae is practicing being a big sister?!


Will I hit my goal of quilting 9 while I’m here?! I’m not sure but I won’t pass up precious time with the kids even if it means falling a little short. 

Sometimes I love it, sometimes I don’t

Published / by Mary / 7 Comments on Sometimes I love it, sometimes I don’t

Quilting a top on the longarm can be quick and easy but sometimes it’s not. The top on now is really too big but I’ve rigged up an extension for the leaders and got it on but there’s no room to get to the machine if there are issues and today there were issues. I wasn’t completely happy with my stitch quality so I did a little tweaking but didn’t get any improvement so I rethreaded the machine and that created a big problem — I could not get the tension adjusted right. So the bottom of the quilt had to be unrolled and I had to work my way through a troubleshooting list which included me trying a different bobbin case and destroying it. 

I finally got acceptable tension after taking apart the intermittent tensioner and cleaning some thread out that had wrapped around it. I also am having to slow down … sometimes when I’m in a hurry to finish something I find myself  jerking the machine around. Taking a deep breath, slowing down and concentrating on moving the machine smoothly helps. 

Sometimes the fabric makes a difference too. The stitches are good here. 


Not as good on this fabric. 

The quilt is reloaded and after quilting for a couple more hours I’m done for the day. It’s going to take another day to finish unfortunately. 

Back to work

Published / by Mary / 69 Comments on Back to work

Thank you all for your kind comments regarding Keith’s sprain. As I’ve mentioned many times, the blog is a journal for me of my family, my travels, and my quilting and Keith’s unexpected but relatively minor injury is a part of our story. Believe it or not, I do have a filter and there is a lot that happens in my life that doesn’t appear here. 

While keeping any type of public journal leaves me open to negative comments I fail to see why someone would write a rude email rather than just stop reading my blog. If my content doesn’t interest you, please feel free to visit other blogs rather than come here and there’s no need to write and let me know how unacceptable you find my content like this reader felt the need to do. 

Your husband must really like having his pictures taken. It is unbelievable that any man would consent to being in a furniture store, sitting on a display love seat and pose for a picture while holding swatches of fabric! The best is of him on the ground after a fall. Then, in emergency, showing off the dressing on his foot! Wouldn’t the doctor and nurses pose with him to make the situation more dramatic?

There has to be a good lock and bars in your bathroom doors or pictures would come from that area in your house. 

Pictures of quilting are more interesting.

And for those of you who like the quilting content but suffer in silence through all the other posts … here’s Becky’s quilt on the longarm. Loaded today and the spiral quilting has been started but I’ve got a long way to go. 

Bonus quilt

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Kayaking again today – such a serene mountain lake and I almost had it to myself! Just a couple pontoon boats out there in the distance. 


I decided to get one of next week’s tops loaded and before I knew it, it was quilted and coming off the longarm. This is one of Mom’s tops – pantograph is Jilly and it has a soft Minkee backing. Someone’s going to enjoy this one!


This is quilt #4 of 9 and I’m one ahead going into the weekend. Chris, Becky, and Rae are coming in the morning so no more quilting until Monday. 

Loading a quilt

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Longarm Quilter’s use different tools and methods for loading a quilt and over the years I’ve settled into a routine that works for me. Since I frequently get questions I thought I’d snap some photos and share my process here. 

I pin just the backing to my leaders – standing at the machine and using corsage pins. I have zippered leaders but after the first year or two I found it easier to just stand and pin rather than to unzip the leader and sit on the floor in front of the machine.  


Once the backing is pinned, I roll it all on the top bar and then as I’m rolling to bottom, I use a squirt bottle with water to spritz any areas with wrinkles – no pressing backings for me! The spritz and the tension on the rollers magically removes any wrinkles. 


I layer my batting and then line up my quilt top. Rather than pin these, I do a quick basting stitch across the top 


Quilter’s C clamps along the belly bar keep the top smooth and even for quilting and are easy to reposition when rolling the quilt. 


Finally, side clamps to support the quilt edges.  


Finn is too young and curious to let loose in the sewing room but the downstairs bathroom makes a good playpen where he can watch me quilt. He doesn’t mind being contained as long as he can see me and usually settles down and takes a nap. 


I bought my side and C clamps at a quilt show and the businesses are no longer on the internet but a quick search of Grip Lite clamps comes up with several options including Nancy’s Notions.  Nothing popped up with a quick search for the Quilter’s C clamps but I’m sure someone out there still sells them.