Monday, August 25, 2014

Keeping it real

In the interests of keeping it real and prove that I am far from being a longarm quilting superstar Yet, I'm sharing my current struggles with the kids art quilt, which by the way really needs to be done by Friday for the back to school BBQ.
My original idea was to keep it simple with some easy loops. The sashing is only 1 inch and in reality, not so easy for a newbie to keep looking good in such a small space while pushing around a 75 pound machine. 
I completed the 1st row on Friday and didn't like it at all. 
So of course it had to be unsewn.
This lint roller works fabulously for picking up all those little thread bits off the quilts.
So then Friday night I pulled out a huge pile of my quilting books to hunt for ideas and after nothing totally grabbed me with that "Ah ha!" moment, I remembered the straight line quilting on last year's kids art quilt. It looked good so that was my new plan for Saturday, after Sunshine and I got home from a classmate's birthday party.
But.....the trick that I learned from Kimmy Brunner at MQX for channel locks if a machine doesn't come with them doesn't work on my machine due to the type of carriage it sits on. Thankfully after a bit of online searching I found this method: using binder clips against both wheels.
The binder clips are hard to put on but it did work. The bad part? I didn't like the result. It does nothing for this quilt. Blarg! Now what?
More unsewing occurred yesterday morning (not fun at all) and I again flipped through the books for a new idea that I thought I could pull off decently well and would suit the quilt.  Here is the next attempt.

Am I happy with this? Nope! Again not being a professional and really skilled at this yet, they don't look great at all. But then it sort of looks like a kid did it which could be an IDE = Intentional Design Element. Still I didn't really like it and I don't want all the people that will be seeing this quilt hand in the school's lobby to see it this way.
A new idea is needed. We are meeting friends in Lake George for dinner tonight so I don't know if I'll be up to ripping out these 3 rows when we get home. If that doesn't get done today, it will get done tomorrow after work. Then I need to get on the ball on Wednesday and get this done once and for all. Hubs thought I should do a meandering wavy line out and then back again, sort of like what a single cable looks like.
I think this would be hard to make even cables in that small 1 inch space.  I could just do a single freehand curvy line down the middle of the sashing like what is in the middle of this table runner tutorial from The Intrepid Thread. 
  Any other ideas that you could suggest that can both 1) look good with the abstract kids' art and 2) be completed fast and 3) that this newbie quilter can pull off?

16 of you added your own colorful comments:

  1. My go to design in a pinch is a meander wether it move a long arm or a hime machine After all meander was there long before all thes other designs came about. And I think it is still charming. Hang in there. Long arm quilting is not an easy task to master...I never will. LOL.

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  2. I think all three designs were fine, the issue you might be having is with thread choice. I would recommend just using white or yellow thread as high contrast variegated threads can be hard to work with! I find they can distract from the design element.

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  3. Being a newbie on the longarm as well, I can relate Michelle. I want my work to look like that of my heros! I have to agree with Kathy, in that all designs are fine and I especially like the last one but I would you use maybe a light yellow thread. Good luck with your choice.

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  4. I agree with Kathy above. I think you're swirls are fine...I just think your thread choice for a newbie is not the best. I agree a solid yellow thread would be better. I can see you wanted the primary colors for the kids quilt but I think it will be better choice in a year after you get more practice. I agree any geometric shape like triangles or squares would be nice but I amazed how hard they are to master. You have to have just the right point or they come off rounded. Whereas your swirls look great just don't let them grab so much attention with your color choice. Good luck

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  5. I agree that a blended thread would be better. You won't see the imperfections that are bothering you.

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  6. I like to do a wonky figure 8 then a squiggle to the next figure 8. Enter and exit from the middle of the figure 8 between the two circles. It works nice in small borders and is easy to do.

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  7. How about a ribbon? It's a curvy line like the single cable, but not as uniform, then you return back down the line but just slightly offset, crossing with some of the curves. Good for a simple, narrow spot, plus doesn't have to me very uniform. (Was I clear as mud?)

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  8. That last 'curvy vine' was very nice and one that I would do but, in agreement with Kathy and others, the variegated thread may be what is unsettling. Although I have several spools of such thread in various color combos, I have yet to use them as I don't care for the color changes within the stitched pattern when I test it. Try just a single blending (or slightly contrasted) thread with that same motif. You executed the design well and I find it very pleasing. Hugs...............

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  9. I agree with Kathy. The thread choice isn't the best. I'd go with a yellow to blend in and make it cohesive.

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  10. I often do bubbles on 1" or less borders, bubbles don't have to be the same size, that's up to you... maybe in yellow? not the variegated..

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  11. I also agree that the colored thread is allowing you to see all of your imperfections. I think it would look great with a neutral. Good luck.

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  12. Lol I'm so glad its not me, I love a variegated thread so it blends in but pops too if that makes sense, I really like the swirls but how about some zig zag triangles ?

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  13. I say, you are being to hard on yourself. Most people (non-quilters) will even notice. I would try blending the thread more to the fabric and if all else fails, stipple. ;). Good luck!

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  14. I really like the swirls. If you don't want flaws to be as obvious (and they are certainly more obvious to you than anyone else) use a matching thread. Contrasting thread is great, but you have to be really brave in my opinion. I also like the idea of a free hand curvy line, quick, easy and still has a bit of whimsy. Maybe a free hand leaf pattern. Some thing that is not symmetrical will show fewer flaws.

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  15. Match your thread to your fabric and any pattern will work....or at least it does for me! blessings, marlene

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I enjoy reading each and every comment that you share. And isn't that what it is all about....sharing.