Monday, February 8, 2010

Progress in two areas...

After a bit more fiddling with my machine this morn, I actually started quilting in the afternoon. I am a bit disappointed in myself because I am just meandering, and not actually trying anything new. I have no one to blame but myself...I should have had a warm up quilt to start on. It takes a bit to get used to handling all that material under that arm of the sewing machine.

I am trying to become proficient at free-motion quilting. For those that don't know what that is let me explain. Normally, the feed dogs are up and the pressure foot has pressure, when you put the fabric under the pressure foot and put the pressure foot down, the material is pressed against the feed dogs. When sewing, the feed dogs pull the fabric through at a precise rate.

In free-motion quilting, FMQ, the feed dogs are dropped or in some cases where machines don't have that capability, they are covered up. And the pressure of the pressure foot is reduced, and for some machines/some people the stitch length is set to zero, and a hoping foot or darning foot such as the one shown above is put on the machine to take the place of the regular pressure foot.
There are stitch regulators/speed controls that can be bought. The stitch regulator will keep your stitch length consistent no matter what what speed is sewn. The speed control is just that...keeps the speed of the needle the same consistent speed and then all left to the operator is just keep his on speed consistent.

I don't have either of it is all left to me. I have to try to keep my speed and my motions in sync to keep a consistent stitch length. I have not mastered that yet....but so long as they are not toenail catchers, I am happy. When the quilt is washed, they more than likely will not show up.

If you enlarge the photo of the quilt above, it appears that I have used a dark bobbin thread but I haven't. I had to use a large jeans needle and it leaves holes in some of the cheaper fabric; again I think once it is washed they will close and not be noticeable.

Someone ask me if I had any recent photos of Mama Squirrel, so I got the camera out this weekend and tried to snap a photo or two. She was slightly jumpy and this was the best I could do. When I turned around to go in the house, there was Puss Puss, so no wonder she was slightly agitated.

But to the progress in that area, at least I hope it is progress. For a little while now, I sometimes try to pet her....not with just my finger as she gets food out of my hand. I try to rub her back...she always moves back about 18 inches or a couple feet....she never runs completely away. Well, this weekend, I waited till she had a nut and was eating it and I just placed my hand on her back and left it a few seconds...then I start to pet her. I got a couple little strokes in and she hopped down to a different level, but was right back up. Maybe one of these days she will realize how good it feels to have her back scratched!


Carletta said...

Quilting is a huge task Rose and I admire that you have the patience to complete a quilt no matter how you stitch it.
I love this profile shot of Mama Squirrel. Mine haven't let me get close but they seem to know me.

Caron said...

I agree with Carletta: just quilting at all takes a lot of talent and patience. It is something you enjoy, too. That is important and your work is lovely. I think it's cool that you can get so close to mama squirrel.

EG CameraGirl said...

I think quilting takes practice and lots of it! I've tried it. Maybe some day I'll go back to it. ;-)

Interesting that you were able to stroke Mama's back a little. She's very cute.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Good Morning Rose, Did you get more snow? We had a gorgeous little snow last night --one that clings to everything and is so pretty. We got a few "night" pictures--but the rains came and this morning, there is NO snow left.

Your quilting looks beautiful to me --and it seems complicated. I'm sure that it will be marvelous once it is all finished!!!


don said...

The quilting is impressive and a totally unknown skill (to me) :-) I like the shot of Mama Squirrel. My gray squirrels come and hop up in an bush outside my computer room window...begging for nuts which I promptly throw out. They eat some and bury the rest!

George said...

It looks as if you're doing a wonderful job on the quilt. It's going to be beautiful. And Mama Squirrel is certainly acting as if she considers you a friend.

Lowell said...

I've just realized that the world of quilting is another world that I know nothing about; and it even has its own language! All those fascinating terms you used related to quilting and sewing - very interesting.

You must have a special attraction to squirrels! I've never been able to get closer than about 30 feet to one! Mama is a real beauty.

Anonymous said...

Any contact w/ a wild animal has to be progress! I'm so glad you showed this, I've been wondering about momma squirrel!

Neal said...

I'd like to see you do the free-motion quilting sometimes. The next time I'm down remind me to look at your machine and how you do it.

Mary said...

It's looking real good, Rose! I wish I had a stitch regulator and maybe I would do better with free motion quilting. I wish my squirrels were that friendly, but they won't even let me open the door without running far away!