Saturday, January 23, 2010


Work has been BUSY so I haven't had a lot of time or energy left for sewing. We have a conference next weekend so everything will be down to the wire this coming week. Thankfully, I'm not attending the conference so I get my life back next weekend. However, I couldn't wait until then for some sewing therapy so I gave myself permission to start quilting the quilt and I'll do some job-work tomorrow before the football games.

I started laying out the quilt sandwich on my bedroom floor but soon got very tired of crawling around down there. I'm old. I enlisted DS#2 to help me carry the layers into the sewing room and I worked on it in sections on my cutting table. Quilt basting spray is immensely helpful for this, and I also did pin it at regular intervals. I know this is supposedly not the ideal way to do this, but it worked fine for me.

Finally, I was ready. Or so I thought. I originally wanted to do freehand meandering on the blocks and spent a couple of hours practicing that. I have done it before so it wasn't completely new, but I had to play with my machine to find the best settings again. The built-in free-motion stitches are rubbish.

Free-motion practice went well, but once I had the quilt at the machine and started wrestling it, I knew the meandering was not going to be a wise choice for my foray into machine quilting something bigger than a table runner. I decided to opt for straight line, NOT in the ditch, quilting - following the shapes of the block pieces and attached my walking foot to give it a go.

I spent a few hours wrestling it like this …

… but I did finally get into a rhythm.

I first tried rolling up the sides but that was actually harder to manage than just keeping it flat and moving everything around as necessary when pivoting at corners. As you can see, there is actually an extension table under there, which is a curse and a blessing. The curse part is because the quilt gets caught on the back corners of the extension table when I'm turning it. I may have to move this operation to the dining room table where I can have more tabletop behind the machine, but I'm resisting that because I don't want it on my dining room table for the next year. ;-)

I now have a grand total of three quilted blocks. At this rate, I might finish in 2015.

Can you tell which blocks are done? The near blue/white pinwheel, the green/plaid star above it, and the blue/pink basket on the right of the star.

Oh, and while my machine was at the hospital, it developed a squeak that is driving me CRAZY. But I don't want to take it back in and be without it again so I'm hoping it works itself out. You're not supposed to oil Vikings so I don't want to start squirting into it willy-nilly. If it doesn't stop soon, I'll be forced to give it up again because this is something I can't live with, like I did with its previous problems.


  1. 2015? Sounds like the sewist's equivalent of a mural painting. I admire your stamina. Good grief you wrestled that quilt top like a champ. I'm topstitching prefold diapers and recieving blankets these days, it's more than enough work. Oh, and I see I'm the first commenter this time. What, nobody is up and commenting on your blog on Sunday morning at 4 am ET?

  2. It is not easy to machine quilt a large piece. I did it once. Then decided any future quilts would be sent out for quilting. Good luck. If you're persistent, it will get done.

  3. That is interesting about the squeak, my D1 developed a squeak after I had it in for service too.

  4. You know I wondered about that, when I saw that my new Viking manual didn't include any oiling instructions. Do they really not need additional lubrication ever, or is it only that you're not supposed to try it at home?

  5. I don't think it will take you until 2015. So far it looks fantastic. I have a quilt on my bed that I started making in the late 80's. I started hand quilting it. What was I thinking. I stuck it in the attic for almost 20 years. I finally made my mind up to finish it by machine. It took only one day to quilt it. A lot of what I did is what you are doing. I simply outlined around the designs. I did free montion on the sashing and I absolutely love it. It's on my bed right now. So don't give up. When you feel like working on do, and when you don't don't. BTW my machine is still not back from service!

  6. Debbie, I think the last time I machine quilted a quilt, I ended up laying the quilt on the cutting table and moving my machine over there. I worked on it standing up. It worked so much better than having my shoulder supporting all that weight. I'm sure this is why people send their quilts out to people with *real* equipment. I guess this is why my mom does hers all by hand.

  7. Your description of wrestling with the quilt is reason No. 541 why I don't quilt. I so admire anyone who has the patience to quilt. I'm too sloppy and slapdash for it, I guess. I'm sure you'll do a beautiful job, as you do with everything else you sew. I can't wait to see the finished quilt.

  8. haha!! That's how I feel about quilting too. I barely get a tablerunner done before I"m about to tear out my hair!!

  9. It is much easier to quilt when you have a large space for the quilt to lie on. I have my machine recessed in my sewing table and it is wonderful for quilting. Wait, did that sound like a brag? The quilt looks awesome.

  10. LOL: I've been quiling this weekend, with my Sapphire. I prefer quilting by hand, but since I pieced the back of the quilt too, it was going to be a challenge for my hands. One thing is sure: i need some practice :-)
    About the squeak, my Sapphire does it when she is dirty. Once I've cleaned her, she does not let herself hear. But once the noise did not go away: thread had wound in her inside, and she needed to be opened. I took them a few minutes to clean her.
    Regarding oiling, Viking machines are not supposed to need some. But when I had mine checked, the man told me he did oil her... and this man does know what a sewing machine needs...

  11. I started quilting a large (don't ask the exact size) quilt around 2 or 3 years ago on my needle feed machine. You would think it would be breeze right? It was not an easy undertaking, my shoulders burnt like crazy and progress was very slow. It is still sitting on my needle feed machine, which is a shame as that machine should be put to better use. I guess the saying 'how to eat an bite at a time' would apply here and there. Bit by bit.

  12. Hi Debbie,

    I tried to PM you on PatternReview, but understand you are not taking messages. So here goes, I am trying to obtain beltloop folders and fellers for my Janome CP1000 from sharp sewing, but am confused by what to look for; industrial sewing machine fellers, which come as sets that look the same as, and different from the one in your tutorial, or is there a specific title I look for? Can you please help? My member name on PR is Imaan, or you can email me on google. Thanks again.

  13. The wrestling match is the reason my quilt will be done in one of the "quilt as you go" methods, if I ever actually start it that is. The quilt looks good!

    As far as the squeeking, my Viking Quilt Designer will squeek if I use Metrosine(?) thread, or similar and sew slowish. Coats and Clark - no squeek. My dealer/repair shop said some machines will do that with all polyester thread, and as long as the stitching is good, or the squeek doesn't get worse, not to worry. I wonder if after it's had a good cleaning, it's "too clean" ?

  14. Debbie - your quilt is wonderful! Walking foot method is the slowest, but appears to be the best for you and this project right now. Just focus on one block at a time. Try folding/scrunching the quilt accordion-style up under the arm. Hang in there. It will get done looong before 2015.
    Doris W. in TN


Thank you for each and every comment. I appreciate them all, but I have to be honest and let you know that I'm usually bad about answering questions. I hope you understand that there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.

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