Monday, March 2, 2009

My first scribblings on the quilting machine

   Here is my first attempt at meandering. Not great, I know, but it's actually better than I expected. I am not good at drawing.

    Here is my first attempt at following a pantograph. It was a simple pattern, and I don't think it looks half bad. If it were on a busy quilt top instead of plain muslin, I think it would be OK.

     I already made a few beginner mistakes. Boy, did I learn not to leave the presser foot up! What a mess! I'm sure this won't be the last time I do that, but I had to get tweezers to dig all the clumps of thread out of the bobbin area.
     I am having a hard time figuring out the best way to advance the quilt. Most of the videos I've found online show how to advance the quilt with no machine attached. Not very helpful. Where are you supposed to put the machine when you're advancing the quilt? I successfully advanced the quilt with the machine to one side, and the needle and presser foot down. I don't know if that creates too much stress on the fabric, or could bend the needle, but it seemed most practical to try it that way. The first time I advanced the quilt, I just ran the machine off the side of the quilt, but that was a pain. 
    I am using different colored thread in the bobbin so I can see what the threads are doing. I am still getting the bottom thread dotting the top, even though I have the top tension almost all the way down. It's not that bad, and I can live with it. If the threads were the same color, I'm not even sure I would notice it.
    Since I'm just quilting on muslin right now, I am not sure how to load a real quilt. It didn't matter which direction the muslin faced when I loaded it.  I guess the worse case scenario is is I'll figure out I loaded it wrong when I go to put it on the take up bar. Re-pinning shouldn't be that big of a deal.
    I loaded my QuiltCad program on the computer, because I wanted to try making another pantograph to practice on. I have no idea how to use this program. I was hoping it would be more like PrintShop and be kind of intuitive, but not today anyway. It has a tutorial, so I'll have to find that and go through it. I don't know if I'm just scatterbrained today, or if I'm catching the cold the kids have, but the brain is not working too well.
     I have always read it takes 400 hours of practice to get any good at using your frame. I'm starting to think it will be more. I won't take 400 hours before I put a real quilt on it, I'm not that patient.  It's not just a matter of learning one skill. I need to learn to use the frame, a new machine, how the stitch regulator works and what adjusting it will do, new software, and free-motion design which I've never done. I have LOTS to learn, but it will be so rewarding once I learn.


South Jersey Quilter said...

I'm pretty much a beginner also- I just did quilt #7 on my HQ16. When you load a "real" quilt, remember, the backing goes in face down, and the top goes in face up.

I've been doing mostly meandering, with big loops and some freehead hearts. If I know who the quilt is for, I write their name right into the border.

Good luck, have fun, and BREATHE!


mbskpj0123 said...

Hi. I just stumbled upon your blog and noticed this post. I have a Voyager17 and when I got it I was fortunate enough to have the seller forward a few of the DVDs she's made and sells.

Go here to see the videos.

I've used one or another of these to help me along the way and can tell you they've really helped. Enjoy your machine!