Autumn Jubilee 2020 DONE!

I don’t know about you, but I feel great when I finish a project. My Autumn Jubilee 2020 quilt (pattern by Carole Carter – https://frommycarolinahome.com/2020/10/30/autumn-jubilee-quilt-along-assembly-and-finish/ ) is officially finished!

If you are looking at the link for the pattern above, you have to look at several posts on Carole’s blog to get the entire pattern. I did add my own spin on the final border which I shared on my post here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/11/15/autumn-jubilee-2020-quilt-along-update/

I started this quilt as a weekly sew along in October 2020. If you have been following my blog you will remember that I got Stuck in the Middle while quilting this in November. Just yesterday, I reported on my progress. The quilt has been languishing on the frame, unrolled since then. This week my good friend, Nancy, came over and I asked her to help me “re-roll” it. It really takes two sets of hands, and she is SO patient, doing exactly what I was asking as we rolled it back to the starting position. I did find another “row” of quilting that needed to come out, and that took me about an hour. I was able to “get my groove going” and re-quilt the areas where I had the tension problem from the disaster of November. I have a little mantra going in my head…..“tighten the roller…..side clips…pull the bobbin thread to the top….PRESSURE FOOT DOWN…..and glide….”. That seemed to help me remember what I need to do. I was able to get the quilting done and get it off the machine and trimmed up to take for “show & tell” at my quilt bee on Tuesday.

Next came the binding! I had the stripe fabric set aside for this quilt and pulled my bin of green fabric to find the “right shade” to go with the stripe. As I mentioned in my post previously I make my binding using the Susie’s Magic Binding technique.

Binding is waiting
Binding ready to attach

Before I could attach the binding I wanted to make the label for the back of the quilt. I like to catch two edges of the label in the binding to save me some hand sewing time.

Quilt label done
Label made on my Janome 11000 embroidery machine

I used Embrilliance Express (free program) to type out the wording for the label. I also used the built in block lettering, and added a slant, in the 8″x8″ hoop.( Do you remember my angst with the embroidery on yesterday’s blog post about puckers?….this one came out perfectly)! I think it had to do with the “weight” of the fabric, as the one with the verse was rather light weight, and this green fabric was good quilting cotton. I did make a point of “pinning” my stabilizer around the hoop, a trick I learned from videos on Kreative Kiwi. If you are interested, take a look at this video, around the 1:27 point. Pinning around the hoop makes a HUGE difference with heavy designs that might pull and pucker.

Once the label was finished at the embroidery machine, I added the yellow border fabric. My method I use for having a nice label edge is to use a lightweight fusible pellon. I put the “glue side” of the pellon against the “pretty side” of the label, and stitch all around the outside edges. Then I cut an opening (a big X) in the pellon, and turn the pellon to the back, smoothing along the sewn edges, and clipping the corners. I roll & finger press that seam to get a nice sharp edge. Then the label is ready to FUSE to the back of the quilt. It takes a lot of heat from the iron to get through the thickness of the label/stabilizer for the glue on the pellon to stick. I move the iron around quite a bit so it doesn’t scorch the fabric, but I spend a few minutes working it. I do this for 2 reasons. I want to not fight with the label and a lot of pins while putting the binding on and I don’t want my label to be too easy to remove. I learned this method from a Pat Sloan video when she was making circles for applique.

Almost done
Binding going on

I use the TQM Binding tool to join my tails. It can be a challenge with the two color binding, and I tend to “baste it” and adjust the join several times before I get it lined up just right. The TQM binding tool helps with the measuring of the angle/space etc. Jenny Doan at Missouri Star has a great video on how to use the binding tool and how to join your ends.

Because the binding is all done by machine, goes fairly fast. I tend to take a few breaks while binding, so I break it up in steps. I tell myself you can have a break after the binding is on the back of the quilt, before the join! Then when it is time to join the ends, I come back to it “fresh”. I also like to press my binding once it is sewn to the back of the quilt, towards the edge of the quilt…then it is time for another break. I take it back to my big work table and use those wonderful little clips to roll the binding to the front and secure it. I have enough clips to go all around the quilt. And I take another break before winding a bobbin to match the back of the quilt and finding a thread that will work on the front to topstitch in the ditch of the green flange. With all those breaks, I still got it finished in an afternoon, including the time needed for the embroidery of the label. I got finished just in time to go make dinner, and still had enough daylight for a photo out on the grass.

Autumn Jubilee 2020 done
Autumn Jubilee 2020 finished.
Finished project Autumn Jubilee 2020
Just need to hand stitch the top and left side of the label. The bottom and the right side are stitched in when the binding was attached

I brought the finished quilt into the kitchen with me, and while my dinner was cooking in the air fryer I got the hand stitching of the label started. The quilt is now “officially done” and ready to go into the washing machine with a few color catchers. I can’t wait to see how it crinkles up! I know some don’t wash their quilts, but I love the softness it gives the quilt and after all the time being dragged around it deserves a nice washing!

Do you get excited when you finish a project? I hope my tips for label making and links to binding methods are helpful to you.

STUCK in the MIDDLE

You ever have a situation where you feel like you are just STUCK IN THE MIDDLE with no where to go? That’s what the last week has been like for me!

The week started out fairly well. I finally got the courage TRY again to quilt on the frame, with the Janome-1600P, that has been taking up 12 feet of space in my sewing room. (If the setup is unfamiliar, the frame has rollers for the quilt, the machine moves back and forth and left to right on a platform that glides the length of the frame. You are moving the machine while quilting, not moving the quilt. ) This set up enables you to quilt something large fairly easily using a domestic sewing machine. It is a scaled down version of what long arm quilters use, at a “scaled down” price.

time to practice
Quilt frame and practice piece

Backstory – the frame came from a friend who lacked space, I added the Janome 1600 P machine ….and it sat. I bought the machine used for $500, and it was serviced before it was shipped. This was a great price, as a brand new one was over $1300 at the time.

Two or 3 years ago, two friends came over and helped me “trial load” a practice piece, and then it sat. Things got in my way, mostly fear of screwing up a quilt, so I did nothing. At some point, I “unplugged” the Janome 1600P, maybe during a thunderstorm.

In 2018 I did some quilting on a long arm machine and gained some courage. My sister-in-law, Carolyn, allowed me the opportunity to use her brand new Gammill long arm quilting machine, Greta. Of course, that required a trip to the other side of the country to do that! I had a lot of fun working on my Grandma’s Kitchen quilt.

Quilting at Carolyn's on Greta the Gammill
Quilting at Carolyn’s

Still, the frame at home with the Janome 1600P machine sat. Quilt tops (LARGE) continued to be made, and hung on hangers in my sewing room. I did order some LED lights last year, because my excuse was it was “too dark” to quilt on it. My dearest friend often pokes fun at me for not using it!

I decided in 2020 with all the “extra” time I had due to COVID-19, that I would start finishing things I started. I cleared up a couple of UFO’s and was determined not to create any MORE UFO’s. Small projects got finished, a couple of older things got finished.

I recently put borders on my Autumn Jubilee 2020 quilt https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/11/15/autumn-jubilee-2020-quilt-along-update/, and I made the backing for the quilt. I decided last week, I was going to tackle this machine on the frame come one way or another.

I cleared off all the “stuff” that got stored on the top shelf, my husband added two rows of LED lights under the shelf to give me better lighting of the quilt, and I loaded the thread that I intended to use on my quilt top. (I even dusted the machine and vacuumed all around it!). I played with the practice piece for 2 or 3 hours, until I felt comfortable with my stitches, speed, tension etc. Then, I took photos of the “set up” of the practice piece so I could “unload it” and load my quilt.

I have to say, that taking those pictures was a “smart” thing to do. I had to look through the photos two or 3 different times so I did the loading properly. I am sure that experienced long arm quilters will laugh, but this is only the 2nd time I loaded anything.

My hubby was a HUGE help getting this process done. I remembered things Carolyn had told me, and that my friends had explained, and he helped me get the backing on squarely and pinned to the “take up” leader.

loading the backing

Eventually, I got the batting on and anchored, and the quilt top got loaded.

Pinning the top

That process, the practice and the loading took care of Sunday and Monday! That process was NERVE WRACKING to say the least.

By Tuesday, I was convinced I could start quilting and had a joyful time! I was confident with loops and swirls!

Getting started with quilting

The first couple of rows seemed to go along nicely. Then to my horror, I rolled the quilt forward to do the next row and saw this —

tension trouble
TENSION TROUBLE – EYELASHES and more

It seems that I was having a huge tension problem….SIGH….what was going on??? I started trouble shooting and low and behold….somebody forgot to put the pressure foot down……SIGH…..another learning curve. (Am I getting too old to learn new tricks?)

Quick message to Carolyn gave me good advice on how to “rip out those stitches” . It was decided I should carry on, and go back to them after the rest of the quilt was done. Since this is all free hand guided quilting, I should be able to fill in as I need to. Sigh….. I made a mental reminder to LOWER the pressure foot. (Note; whenever I need to advance the quilt, I slide the machine to the far left, off of the quilt. I have to unclip the side clips to move the machine. When I bring the machine back onto the quilt, I have to raise the foot to get the 3 layers from the edge, UNDER the foot.) And, even with a mental note, I did that more than once, and not realize until I advanced the quilt. I think I have about 3 rows to “unstitch”.

With my brain engaged, I continued stitching through Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon until suddenly the machine absolutely FROZE. I was 3/4 of the way down the length of the quilt, stitching like a happy girl, and it just seized up. The handwheel would not even turn. PANIC ensued. I was grateful that the problem happened when I was at the far end of the row and and inch from the edge.

I looked at everything and could not determine what the heck was going on. On Thursday my husband helped me “disengage” the machine from the frame. He has great mechanical skills, and started taking things apart, looking for where the machine was “bound up”, and looking for the giant ball of thread wrapped around inside of gears etc. NOTHING ….that machine was clean as a whistle.

Inside the Janome 1600P
Under the 1600P

I could not understand why it seized up. We “read” the owners manual, and I about fainted when I read the part about OILING it daily.

Oh my goodness, maybe I ruined it. I have had this machine sitting for 3-5 years at least, and had forgotten this MAJOR detail.(My two other Janome machines have NO place for the consumer to oil, and I honestly didn’t think about it when I got started on Sunday.)

I got out the oil, and the lube, and hubby oiled and lubed, and tried to free it up. He went to the computer, and studied parts diagrams that I downloaded, and tried again on Friday. He “isolated” areas that were working and determined it was the bearing on the main shaft of the machine that might be seized up or “galled”. (He tried to explain that but…phew…basically ruined). He was shocked that the oil wicks were completely dry again when he was looking at it on Friday afternoon. More oil went in the appropriate spots. LOTS more oil. The decision finally was made to put it “back together tomorrow” and pray that the “authorized” Janome service center could order parts and get it working. (He could fix it, but Janome won’t sell parts to the consumer). So, sadly, I looked at my unfinished quilt and started thinking about how to move forward.

I called the shop and inquired about business hours next week and talked about the 2 week turn around due to the holiday etc. I decide I would take it up on Monday. I didn’t need to bring the foot pedal or the power cord, which was great by me. We have the foot pedal, but don’t use it on the frame. The power cord is “zip tied” to another cord and a big pain to undo, so we have been “testing” using the power cord from my Janome 8900.

Friday evening I decided to go out to the sewing room and do SOMETHING. I was depressed that this quilt I worked on so hard was stuck on the rails, the machine was dead. I dug out another UFO, and decided to work on something fun. But first, I needed my power cord. I unplugged it from the broken J-1600, and while I was doing that, I thought I would just try to give the handwheel a spin. IT MOVED!!!!! I was in shock!! It had been absolutely seized up early in the day. I plugged it back in, turned it on and it RAN! FAST!!! And didn’t seize. I was amazed to say the least. I messaged my hubby, and knew that since it was apart all over my cutting table, to leave it alone until he could have another look on Saturday. I went ahead and unplugged it, so I could sew on my J-8900. I gave it a parting shot of MORE oil, 5-7 drops more, in every spot.

Fast forward to Saturday night, and this is what happened.

Reassembly time
Reassembly of the Janome-1600P
TECH SKILLS

It seems that this machine forgave me the abuse I rendered, and through the grace of half a bottle of sewing machine oil, it is functional and working again. It took us about half an hour to get it set up again on the frame, get all the poles holding the quilt reattached and straighten the quilt up again!

Ready to stitch again
Ready to resume quilting.

Three quarters of the way finished with this quilt, the machine is functional and I am no longer feeling “stuck in the middle” with no where to go!

Moving forward, I will finish the quilting, and then roll back to the places with the tension problems and do some “unstitching”. Carolyn sent me to You Tube to watch a video on how to “efficiently unstitch” – https://youtu.be/3cmSC0BxsrQ Natalia Bonner, a nationally known quilter & author gives great explanations of the process, and I can tell you, it WORKED for me in a couple of areas I tackled already.

Also on You Tube, LEAH DAY has a great video tutorial on “How to clean and oil the Janome -1600” – https://youtu.be/gXyB1SO-ZJE

So; ready to move forward and get this quilt finished. Hopefully, with all the pitfalls of this week, I will have the courage to “quilt again” on the frame. My hope is that I will improve over time, and graduate from Loops and swirls to more sophisticated looking quilting as I learn. The downfalls of this machine and frame is the very limited space for quilting. The throat of the machine and the space that the take up reel uses limits you to about 6″ for actual quilting. The upside is, you only have to man-handle the quilt to load it, and advance it as a row is complete. The quilting itself is fairly easy with the quality frame moving at the slightest touch while I work my way from left to right across the quilt!

Wish me luck! It’s a new week! (And the optimist that I am, I have the fabric picked out for the binding!) I did that while the machine was off the frame.

I also decided to iron another wide piece (104″) of backing for another quilt while the hubby was tearing things apart. I think this backing will go on my Scrap Happy Stars Quilt. More about that quilt on this post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/07/12/scrap-happy-and-allietare-updates/

(Look for the one with the orange borders!)

IRON to distraction
Do you iron when you are stressed?

And I did get something done on that other UFO I mentioned! I got out my bin of VINTAGE CHRISTMAS QUILT blocks (Book by Lori Holt) and worked on the Candy Cane block –

Candy Cane block
Vintage Christmas Quilt book by Lori Holt.

I have 3 more blocks cut out and ready to stitch. This has been languishing since MAY! More about the project here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/05/09/a-little-bit-of-fun-with-the-twist-and-vintage-christmas-quilt-along/

Pet Mosaic piecing completed

It only took me 7.5 months to “finish” the piecing of this project.  You might remember I went to a retreat at Cheryl Lynch’s cottage at the end of May  ( where we started our mosaic projects.  My sister in law (www.oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com ) worked on her Rotti while I worked on my cat.  (She finished her’s and has already had it in a show —     https://oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/creating-a-dog-from-scratch-can-be-ruff/     )

This was the look of my project when I packed up to leave the retreat.

Mittens Mosaic

I came home from the trip, was faced with out “deadlines” and left everything in the bin until August.  During August and September I got the project “out of the box” and back up on the design wall.  One 2″ square at a time, plus lots of additional angle piecing to “make the curves” work out.

20160820_223820

I got busy sewing once all the design work was done; but toward the end of September, the deadlines snuck up on me again!

Layout is complete

So, by October 8th, Poor little Mittens was stuck again! Mittens spent all of October, November and December stuck on the wall…..  I don’t know what is worse….being stuck in a box or stuck on the wall?  (see those blue blocks? I took 2 classes from Bonnie Hunter, and I claim distraction!)

When I started thinking about UFO’s that I want to complete in 2017 I decided that MITTENS the Mosaic Cat would have to be  # 1. A few days after I recovered from New Years, I got busy.   Seriously, the hard part was done, it was just 5 or 6 days of sewing.

20170105_170625

In between model rail road club weekends, and a snow storm that dumped 8.5″, and 44 degree temps in my “over the garage” sewing room, I did some work.

Yesterday I was able to join up all the sections .

20170111_142650

and   I would like to report that he is “constructed” to include a 3″  border !

20170111_181143

Now, he will hang on the wall until I can come up with a quilting plan!  There are lots of photo’s in my album – https://www.flickr.com/photos/92296158@N02/albums/72157668596534501

Thanks to Cheryl Lynch Quilts – http://cheryllynchquilts.blogspot.com/   for the great project and guidence.  If you can take a class from her, you would certainly enjoy any project she will teach.  This is my 2nd  “Cheryl” project.  My first was in June 2014, when she came to Ocean Waves Quilt guild and taught a class with Dupioni Silk.  The class was called “Sensational Silk” and I LOVED that project. I made a wall hanging and I just love the way the silk catches the light. It hangs in my living room.

Barn Raising in Silk  27 x 39"

Barn Raising in Silk
27 x 39″

I now have a  Janome 1600p quilting machine and frame, so I want to get busy practicing before I tackle this kitty!   This set up has been “sitting” since early September, waiting for me to find time to use it.

Janome 1600 mid arm

I now have a collection of needles and bobbins for this machine, and was “gifted a set” of leaders for the 12′ width; so I must  load up a practice quilt and “get busy”.

I am “anxious” to use these wonderful tools that I have and see if I can make good use of them.

What is on your 2017 UFO list?