Category Archives: Longarm

Piecing with my Featherweight

Month 5 of our Digitizing Master Class was all about color. I am not a big ’stash’ collector, so my scraps are prepared for specific projects. A lover of batiks, I had slowly been collecting batik scraps that I cut into 2.5″ squares, saving them in small snap containers. After I finished my Month 05 lessons, I had about a week’s worth of time before the next class. Inspired by our color lessons, I decided it was time to make my batik quilt.

This was also a great project for using my vintage Featherweight. To make quick work of piecing, I used quilter’s 2.5” fusible grid interfacing. I created 20 blocks in total with about 7 different combinations. Each of the large blocks contain 7 x 7 blocks of the 2.5” squares for a total of 980 squares.

For my sashing and first border, I chose a golden yellow batik because it feels like being surrounded by sunshine. To join the blocks in each row I cut 15 14.5” x 1.5” sashing strips. To join each of the rows, the top border strip, and the bottom border strip, I prepared 6 59” x 1.5” pieces. For the right and left side borders, I prepared 2 pieces 76” x 1.5” long.

Next I added the outer border strip. I chose to use ‘teal’ because I love water and it grounds me. I prepared 2 side borders, 76” x 6.5”, and 2 top/bottom borders each 88.5” x 6.5”.

After the top was pieced, I mounted it onto my longarm for quilting. I chose a teal and purple batik for the backing and a purple ombre batik for the binding. I chose purple because it feels like passion. For the quilting I chose a butterfly swirl panto motif designed by Anne Bright.

Here is my finished quilt!

Busy week filled with lots of projects!

This week was a very productive week! There was a ton of learning, quilt piecing, quilting on the longarm, embroidering, and even a new paint job on the house.

I finished up month 4 of my digitizing master class. Our project required using our Corel Design skills, Hatch embroidery digitizing skills, to creation of our cut files and embroidery design files. We then stitched out what we created. This month we are learning all about color.

My sweetie has been busy piecing his own quilts. When he finishes his quilt tops, he passes them on to me for the longarm. This week I quilted another ’fish’ themed quilt, a ”Christmas Doxie, and also a ’Touchdown Football’ quilt. (I will post pictures later today)

I was able to longarm my ”Little Red Wagon” quilt and finish up with binding. This was also a learning opportunity. For the first time ever, my machine threw the thread off the upper tension spring (of course when I wasn’t here watching) When I discovered it happened, it had completed two rows and sewn a pleat in the back. Yes, I really did pick out all the stitching. Since there was essentially no top tension, the bobbin thread was just laying on the back. This made for quick picking. Fortunately, I was able to place my zones again and am quite happy with the result. Thank goodness it was on my own quilt, I would have been panicked if it was someone else’s project.

My other project is my “Simply Dreaming Quilt” designed by Sarah Vedeler. I started this quilt right after my Mom passed away last year. I was able to work on Month 07, one of the outer borders. It was the perfect month because it is filled with lots of beautiful flowers. Mom and I used to spend a day in May visiting our favorite nursery together. With the one year anniversary of Mom’s passing, along with Mother’s Day, these beautiful bouquets remind me of our time together.

We also had our house painted this week – by a company and not us! This was a definite first – paying someone to paint our house. The last time we rented scaffolding, replaced siding, added cedar shingles, and painted. The crew that did the house pressure washed one day and spent two really long days painting. Love our new colors – navy, cream, and light gray!

Sewing studio – piecing and quilting

We managed to finish selling all of our vintage machines and cabinets we have been restoring. Now that we are down to one machine at a time, I have been able to return to my sewing studio! Yesterday I pulled out my longarm, gave it a good cleaning and oiling, and updated my software. I then loaded a quilt sandwich to test stitching. While the sandwich quilted, I also began piecing one of my Red Wagon Quilts. This was the scene in my studio yesterday!

Simply Dreaming…month 5 quilting in the hoop…

To make my ‘quilt sandwich’ for this quilt, I used my longarm to assist. I mounted my backing, then added my batting. I basted along the top, bottom, both sides, and horizontally about every 10 inches. This insured I was able to keep it all aligned and smooth.

Next I placed my well pressed quilt top on the frame and pinned it really well to the basted backing and batting. Next I removed it from the longarm, and smoothed out further on my large cutting table.

The next step was stitching in the ditch following the ‘basting map’ provided with the pattern. While the pattern refers to it as ‘basting’, I is not meant to be temporary and removed later. Once I completed the stitching in the ditch, I flipped my quilt with the backside up, removing the basting threads stitched on the longarm. My quilt was then ready for quilting in the hoop.

Next I did a tension test on my Luminaire XP1, using a sandwich with the same front, backing, and batting used for the quilt.

First up, quilting the twenty month 3 blocks in the hoop. I used my 9.5” by 9.5” for the first block. For the second and third, I used my monster magnetic hoop. The fourth block, I used my 10.5” x 10. 5”. I decided the 10.5” was the best hoop for this job. My 9.5” hoop has a screw type lever for opening and closing the hoop. This was not efficient because it must be unscrewed and then screwed down every time. My magnetic hoop was okay but was not holding the quilt as tightly as I wanted. The 10.5” has a ‘lever style’ fastener. This allows me to unscrew only once for the amount needed to hoop the quilt. then the lever that closes the hoop with a single push. Below is the results for month 3’s quilting.

Christmas quilt, practicing borders and corners….

This is another Christmas quilt that I completed on my Qnique Longarm. This particular fabric was a mix and natch series. The border strips were a repetitive fabric of strips. The cardinals that are around the top of the quilt were the wider strips. The 3″ alternating strips I will be using to bind this quilt.

This was an opportunity to do an all over panto within the center of the quilt. For the borders, I used the ‘borders and corners’ feature to quilt a coordinating design around the outside borders.

Expanded longarm….

With Grace discontinuing their Continuum 1 longarm frame, decided to extend my longarm from a 10 foot frame to a full 12 foot frame before the parts were no longer available. This also required extending my Luminess lighting too.

I purchased my 2 foot light extension directly from Grace Company. As always, it came quickly and was quite easy to install.

I purchased the 2 foot table extension from AllBrands.Com. The extension comes with the new 12 foot track and all the parts to extend not only the table but also the take-up rail, belly bar (aka backing rail) and the front rail. The upgrade was $599 no tax and no shipping. It was drop shipped from Grace Company and also came quickly.

In researching my longarm, I also discovered that Grace makes locking rolling casters for the Continuum frame. So I purchased the 8 casters which were also drop shipped directly from Grace Company.

In a matter of about a week all the parts were in my studio and ready for assembly. The first step was adding the extension to the table. This is the first time I have run into a problem when assembling a Grace product. The new 12 foot tracks were wider than my old 10 foot tracks. They slid easily into the new 2 foot extension but would not slide into the two 5 foot sections from my 10 foot original frame. Of course it was a weekend so required waiting until Monday to call Grace.

Before calling Grace, I used my micrometer to measure the difference between my old track and the new track. When I called Grace the following Monday, I gave them the measurements. Two days later, delivered to my door, were 4 new 12 foot tracks, no cost to me, that had been trimmed to my specs. They slid in perfectly!

So now that the frame assembly was completed it was time to add the new casters. We laid the table on it’s back, then removed the adjustable feet replacing them with the locking casters. Given the height of the casters, we also lowered my table to account for the change in height. Next, we turned the table up and started the process of adding back the carriage, belts, longarm, and encoders. Along the way we made sure all wheels turned, the belts were aligned, and the encoders were also working

Finally it was time to test the stitch out and do final adjustments to achieve stitch quality. When all the adjustments were finally completed, I was quite happy with the results. I used a very light color on top and a deep red in the bobbin.