Monday, January 11, 2016

Quilting, I have taken up quilting!!

I've always enjoyed looking at quilts.  They have such varied colors, shapes and designs.  Although I've always thought they had that "old lady" feeling.  Meaning dated and dark.

Last fall we had a girls weekend planned.  Four of us girls, who graduated high school together (1974), were going for a weekend to Maine.  I drove over and stayed at one of the girls houses and we talked about lots of things.  She does quilts and we talked a bit about them.  I showed her a few Pins I had of quilts and talked about wanting to make one.

So hear is my story of getting started in quilting.  Now keep in mind that this took place over about a four month period.

This was my favorite and looked to be easy for a beginner.  So once I was home, I bought this pattern Color Block Quilt. That was the easy part.  Picking fabric was not so easy.  There is so much out there, especially for a beginner, novice, newby, call me what you want, but I had no idea.  So my sister (who was more of a novice than me) and I headed out to Joann's.  We live in a small town so it is about 30-40 minutes to most stores.  I knew that I wanted to have white for the sashing with lighter, pale print fabrics.

So here are the fabrics we came up with:

 These were fabrics my sister liked and helped to pick out.

These were the fabrics that I liked, a bit brighter.

So now it was time to make things happen.  I had wanted to make the one for my sister for Christmas and keep the other for myself.  It was now time to get to cutting.  Of course, I only had scissors.

So next coupon, off to Joann's.  I picked up a rotary mat 36" x 24" by Fiskars.  I had wanted a rotary cutter by Martelli Cutter. Of course, they didn't have it in the store, so I ordered it once I got home.

Once my cutter comes, I now have all that I need.  So off I go to cut my first quilt.  It didn't seem to take too long to get that cut.  The pattern was very easy to follow, even for this old beginner.

I used my old Kenmore Model to to piece the quilt together. I got this machine in 1976 or 1977 as a Christmas from a guy I was dating. It didn't take too long to put the top together.  Now it was time to decide on the back.  Originally I was just going to do white.  Had my sister stop by and we talked about backs and decided to use the same material that we used on the long section of the front.  Once I decided on the back, I was off to put my quilt sandwich together.  Another thing that didn't seem to take too long.

So now I was already to start quilting with my old Kenmore.  I had read about walking feet, but didn't have one and couldn't find one for my machine, so I decided to just do without.  What a mistake that was.  I quilted one line of about 8 inches and decided that wouldn't work.  Wish I had a picture of that mess.  Luckily I was able to gently take that stitching out.

So now I was on a quest to find a walking foot for my machine.  I still have the manual and there was no mention of walking feet as an option.  I go to Sears to order the walking foot for my machine.  Waiting for the part and it finally arrives.

I am now ready to quilt this top.  Just a reminder it has now been about 2 months since I started this quilt.  Putting the top together took about a day, the remainder of days was getting stuff.  It's fun to get stuff, as long as it is the right stuff.

I take out my machine and open my new walking foot and try to put it on.  It isn't working.  Really I know how to change the foot on my machine.  After many tries, calling my sister for backup.  It still won't go on.  I call the local sewing shop, by local I mean 45 minutes away.  They are very helpful, but not at all helpful.  They try to walk me through putting it on, but it still doesn't work.  They have a guy to repairs machines in the shop a few days a week.  I ask which days he will be there and head on down for a visit and miracle fix.

So Kalamazoo I come.  When I get there, he isn't there yet.  A very nice lady helps me, we take the machine out and try to put the foot on.  She tries all the same things I did.  We decide this isn't the correct foot.  I need a Super High Shank foot.  She says she can order one for me that is a high shank and an adapter.  I decide that this is a pain in the *** and maybe I should just get a new machine.

So I had seen at Costco a Brother machine that indicated it had a quilting table and quilting foot.  So I am in Costco the next day and buy one.  Some home ready to get to work and find no walking foot with the machine.  It included the extended table and a free motion foot.  Not going to help me.  Didn't even unpack the box, taped it back up and put it by the door for the next Costco run to return.

So I start to search for other machines.  Ok I'll tell you my tale, but I don't know what I'm doing at this point, so just read along and enjoy the chuckling.  Kalamazoo Sew indicated they can give me a $20 trade in for my old machine and they have some great Vikings for as low as $999.  I think no way will I spend that for a machine.  (Hold the laughs)  I look at other options, Viking, BabyLock, Bernina and many others.  Then I looked at Costco, they had another Brother with the walking foot and all the other feet for $219.  Sold, it was in my online cart and on its way.  I got it the next day.

Ok now I'm gonna get the first quilt quilted.  It is just after Thanksgiving.  I unpack the machine and am ready.  Hubby is at work and I have a few hours to get going before he is home.

Side note here, I have a Hungarian Vizsla named Cocoa.  She is 13 and a bit spoiled.

I get the machine unpacked and ready to go.  Get the quilt out and am ready.  I start a practice run on some scrap material and Cocoa goes nuts.  It must be something in the sound of the machine.  She is pacing and panting.  Decide to wait until her Dad gets home and try some more.  Once Dad is home and they are settled onto the couch, I try again.  She is so stressed by the sound.  It isn't a loud machine, quieter than my old one, but definitely a different pitch.  So the Brother was back in the box on the same day.  Another trip to Costco to return.

So I call Kalamazoo Sew and say order the walking foot and extender for me.  No problem it will be a week or so.  I call them the next week to check and they say they just got the part in. So I head on down and take my machine.  Want to be sure that it is correct.  Yea, it is a fit and a mere $80 later I am on my way home.

At this point, I'm not too sure I'll be able to get this done my Christmas.  I go into the local quilt shop in our town Sharon's Quilts and More to ask if they know someone who does longarm quilting.  They give me two names to check out.  While I'm there I see this very cute Jelly Roll.  Not sure exactly what I can do with a Jelly Roll or if I need more than one, I buy this one.
So I get home and I call the first number and reach Alice, AMS Quilting.  She is a dream.  We chat for a bit and I decide to have her do this one.  Dropped it off to her and now it is waiting.

Within about a week, she called me to pick up my quilt.  Yeah!!!!!  So here it is.

I turned out quite nice.  I was very pleased.  Alice did great work and my sister was very surprised with her Christmas gift.  She had hinted around before that should would love this quilt for Christmas.

So I'll fill you in on the next two quilts another day.

1 comment:

  1. What a tale! You really had to want to take up this wonderful (and sometimes frustrating!) art in order to keep going! Is your Kenmore the one with the cams for fancy stitching? I used one of those for 25 years, and I think I bought it right around 70-71. I kept it, because it's a darned good machine, a workhorse. I then bought a Viking 500 which I have had for 20 years now. It's my go to machine, and I would cry if anything happened to it! Time flies.

    I also own a Featherweight or two, a Bernina 153QE, a Singer 301, and a Singer Handcrank 99 ... plus a little of this and that here and there. That's another sickness, though. =) I even had a Gammill for 10 years and ran a longarm business. The Kenmore is just a fine machine and will work forever with very little care.

    Your first finished quilt is lovely, and how nice to surprise your sister with it!