In honor of National Quilting Day today, I’m going to bring you up-to-date on my long arm (really mid arm) quilting adventures.
If you’re a regular reader of ARHtistic License, you know that last November I got a HandiQuilter Moxie. Then I had six private Zoom lessons with a HandiQuilter educator to learn how to use it. I made a practice piece to try out free motion quilting and also the ProStitcher Lite robotic quilting software. The piece was not good enough for a human being to use, but I thought it might work as a quilt for Ralph.
Ralph was not impressed. (Yawn.)
At the same sewing and quilting festival where I ordered my Moxie, I’d bought some fat quarters of designer fabric. I added some fabric from my stash to it, and I pieced a top for a lap quilt. This was to be my first “real” quilt quilted on the Moxie.
Man. I had a time of it. I knew what quilting pattern I wanted to use, but I couldn’t get it to run. The error message said the pattern was larger than the frame area, though it didn’t look like it was larger on the screen. I couldn’t figure out how to make the design a little smaller. I tried setting it up multiple times, but I couldn’t get it to run, so I tried a different quilting pattern.
I didn’t realize how much smaller this new pattern was until I began running it. I didn’t like it, but I figured it would be a good lesson. It was, but not in the way I expected.
I did two passes of the pattern, and then it was time to advance the quilt (shift it so that I could work on the next unquilted part). It was then that I discovered the bottom tension was all messed up.
It’s funny–as the design repeated, the tension improved, but it was still not good. I decided to take it all out and start over. The only good thing about bad tension is that the stitches are easy to pull out.
While I was pulling out those bad stitches, I had plenty of time to ruminate, and I realized that I had watched a video about resizing quilting patterns. If I could find it, I could use the pattern I originally wanted.
But first I had to fix my tension. I reread the section of the manual on tension, and I watched a lot of videos. I followed all the instructions, but no matter what adjustments I made, it didn’t seem to affect the tension at all. I worked on it for days. I must have tightened the little knob 30 rotations, and I still had what looked like couching on the back of my quilt. (It looked like a thread lying on the surface, held in place by small stitches.) One instruction on one of the videos made no sense to me: the instructor said that the thread should snap between the tension discs. I couldn’t make it do that. So I took a picture of the tension discs and texted it to the store technician I’d ordered it from. He told me the discs were too tight together, and I need to loosen the knob at least 10 rotations.
Yep. He was right. I loosened it severely, and then I was able to snap the thread between the discs. It still took a long time until I could get the tension to look acceptable. It’s not perfect, but much better.
I figured out how to tweak the quilting pattern so that it fit within the frame area, and in one day I quilted the entire lap quilt. I wish I could say everything went smoothly; it did not. I forgot the “drag and drop” sequence when I advanced the quilt, and I had to figure out how to make the machine start quilting at the right spot again. I don’t even know how to explain the problem and the solution, but if that ever happens to you, watch this video, starting around the 5:30 mark. (I don’t have the same machine or the same frame or the laser light, but by following his “drag and drop” directions, I got my machine properly lined up.)
I just have to finish hand-stitching the binding to the back of the quilt, and then it’s ready to be my new TV-watching quilt. (Yes, I like to be all snuggled up in a blankie when I watch TV.)
So here’s a sneak peak at my next quilting project, some blocks for quilts for our new granddaughters:
The babies came over on Tuesday.
Me and Etta:
Greg and Robin:
Do we look like we’re at all happy to be grandparents?