Yesterday, we re-arranged the upstairs studio so I could start machine quilting my hexie quilt. I have entered this in a judged competition, and wanted to do everything myself, and perfectly. Despite, or maybe because of, my enthusiasm (not!) nothing worked out as it should. I started with black specialty thread (Invisifil) on top and and a dark grey Superior Bottomline in the bobbin. I will often use slightly different colours, so I'm able to tell the top thread and bobbin thread apart. I decided to use black on top, as this is what worked best in hand stitching the hexies. Well, my machine doesn't like the Invisifil, and fought me every inch of the way, breaking and snarling. Finally, I changed the upper thread to a basic 50wt cotton poly blend. That problem solved. By the way, this is also the largest quilt I've ever attempted to quilt on my machine. Not an easy thing for me to do, and very awkward. ( Yay! for long armers!) After an hour, I accepted that the workmanship was never going to be good enough to enter into a judged competition. A disappointment, but this allowed me to accept the level of work being done, and relax. I took breaks, and worked very slowly. After about 4 hours work, I had about 25% of the black quilting done. I should have the black finished today. This turned out to be one of those few times, that my push button start-stop was a hindrance, so I plugged in my foot pedal for more control. Not necessarily a good thing, as I found out how much my control has suffered with using the push button. But that is very much dictated by my arthritic hips and knees.
Even having abandoned the intent to enter this in competition, I have to look at this process as one of practice. I still want to do the best possible job, but neither do I obsess over small mis-steps. Not every mis-step is corrected, unless it might cause some sort of functional issue.
But I must keep in mind that a couple of my followers have asked for a bit of a tutorial about the making of this quilt. This just isn't the sort of job in which one can take a "selfie", so my husband tried to help, but he isn't always sure exactly what the focus of a picture should be. Nor is he comfortable with my camera, and the minor zoom function. We really only have one picture that might be of any use.
What I'm trying to show is the quilt rolled (sort of) and draped over my left shoulder, as I push it through the machine and onto the table behind the machine. The table supports the weight of the quilt and makes the "pushing " much easier. Because the configuration of the hexies, I was using free motion, and initially tried to "stitch in the ditch" but quickly abandoned that in favour of "echoing" along the edges of the black rows. The beige areas will be done separately, later, with a beige thread on the top. Since I'll be able to see so much better in those areas, I will try the "stitch in the ditch" again.
I plan to link this with Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday, and The Needle and Thread Network