Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Lickety Split: The Sequel and My New Machine!

Hello, friends! It has been a long time! So what have I been up to? I've been focused on my health and fitness (one more pant size to go before I can fit into my pre-moving to Houston jeans!), I have started reading again after a long reading drought and I finished a couple quilt tops and a baby quilt.

The baby quilt looks similar to my last quilt, but I promise it is new! One of my pregnant friends really loved the pattern and colors of the last quilt, so I made her one as a gift. I used Lella Boutique's Lickety Split pattern, Kona Navy and Sweetwater's The Boat House fabric for this quilt top.

I won't elaborate on every step of this quilt, since I've already written about the process in the previous Lickety Split post. However, one of my favorite things about quilting is that there is always something new to learn. Even though the quilt is the same pattern and similar colors, it did present a few unique challenges:

1. I couldn't find a matching chevron fabric, so I had to paper-piece my own chevrons.
2. The light blue was a little weird to work with! Depending on the light, it looks really blue-gray or really blue. You can see this effect in the marketing materials. The yardage wasn't out yet and I had a difficult time finding a coordinating light blue fabric for the backing. Fly Aweigh Flags in Gray ended up being a good match. It is another fabric that is hard to order online, because it looks gray or blue-gray depending on the picture. (Exhibit A | Exhibit B)
3. Both the nautical flag fabric and the anchor fabric were directional, so I had to piece the back. I used the Elmer's Glue method from this Invisible Seams on Quilt Backing tutorial, so that the piecing wouldn't be distracting.
5. I always wash the quilts before giving them away. When I pulled this quilt out of the dryer (at 10pm on the night before gifting, of course), I discovered a tiny tear in the fabric at one of the seams. I probably snagged the fabric with the sewing machine needle, while I was quilting or attaching the binding. My heart stopped and my stomach dropped! I really felt like I was going to be sick! I was about to rip it apart and start over. After the shock wore off and rational thought prevailed, I realized that it would be a fairly easy fix since it was near the edge of the quilt and the quilting wasn't dense.
  • I removed the binding in the area and secured the threads in the seam around the tear. I was hoping that I could possibly "trap" the hole in the seam by making the seam a little larger, but that didn't end up being a viable option.
  • The tear was in the middle of the long side of one of the 3"x1" red striped pieces. I cut a piece of red striped fabric that would end up the same width, but I added some extra height to cover the tear and additional fabric on all sides for the seam allowance.
  • I folded and pressed the seam allowance under and adhered the piece to the quilt with a bit of lightweight interfacing, which also helped stabilize the tear.
  • I used hand quilting thread to blind stitch the applique piece on to the quilt top.
  • I reattached the binding and washed the quilt one more time, just to make sure nothing came loose! Because of the interfacing, a portion of the 3"x1" area is slightly stiffer than the rest of the quilt and I probably could have used a smaller piece of interfacing, but it hard to notice unless you know it is there. It is also not visibly noticeable. I may have went slightly overboard with the repair, but I feel confident that the area is secure!
One more thing: I have some new toys in my sewing room!

My new additions are the Gracie Queen and a Juki TL2010Q. In my first Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day post in 2012, I asked advice about sewing machines and I received so much great input! I ended up getting a basic machine (Janome HD1000) and decided to do some more researching and saving before I made any major purchases. I had my heart set on the Janome Horizon 7700 for a longest time, but in the end I decided on the Juki/Grace combo.

I have not had the opportunity to test out the Gracie Queen yet (leader fabric will be in today), but I love, love, love my new Juki! I initially thought I was just going to keep it on the frame and do piecing on my little machine, but I don't think that is going to be possible! I used it on the Jamieson quilt and here are some of my initial thoughts:

  • It took me two hours to thread it properly! It wasn't until I found this lovely video by DarlingMushroom that I realized that I had missed not one, but TWO tension guides!
  • I do not know how I lived without the "needle down" feature for so long! No more wobbles. 
  • It sews so straight and so fast. The speed scares me a little bit! Currently, I am slowing closer to the turtle than the rabbit!
  • I was suspicious of the automatic thread cutter at first, because it cuts the thread so short. If I had cut the thread that short on my HD1000, I would be spending a few minutes unjamming my machine. But it works and I like it!
  • I have had no issue with it eating my fabric. I have also had issues in the past with my seams flipping the wrong way while sewing and it hasn't been happening with this machine. I am not sure why and it may just be a fluke.
  • I love the bobbin access from the extension table.
  • It's taken me some time to get coordinated enough to use the knee lift and the foot pedal thread cutter, but it is really nice. Those features really save time, which I would have never guessed.
  • I didn't think the jump from 7" of throat space to 9" of throat space would seem that much different, but it definitely feels much roomier!
  • Easy access holes for oiling. I really love not having to open the whole machine up to oil it!
I am not going to make any long term goals this year, because I always forget about them by January 15! My 2015 finish-along projects will be focused on learning to use the Gracie Queen and emptying my quilt top bin, which just had two more quilt tops added to it!

Quilty Fun Sampler  & Deep in the Heart of Texas Quilt

A quilter's work is never done!

7 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Katy Cameron said... #

Happy new year! Looks like you have plenty to keep you busy :o)

Liz said... #

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with the Juki, it's the machine I've been thinking about. I keep seeing positive reviews which is making my decision easier and easier :) Happy New Year!

~Diana said... #

I'm looking forward to hearing about how it works as a long arm...

Angie said... #

Love this quilt just as much as the first! Going to have to give rounded corners a try...very cute!

Debbie said... #

yay for the fix-it job on the sweet quilt! And yay for new machines - very fun!

Celtic Thistle said... #

Great to catch up with you Taryn, looks like you have a lot of quilting ahead of you in 2015! Have fun getting to know your new machines.

Harriet said... #

Congrats! Have a lot of fun using your new machine! Greets!

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