Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jacob's Ladder Progress

Thanks all for your comments about guild guilt - as I commented on the post myself, I ended up agreeing to do the newsletter.  I see now that it includes publicity, which I will probably reinterpret in my own way, delegate, or else drop the ball on entirely.  Well, this is what they get with a technologically inclined, busy woman!  Print media?  What's print media??  Incidentally, if anyone uses a freeware/shareware desktop publishing program they love, please feel free to share in the comments.

Guild ended early last night and I had some time to sew.  I've tried several new (to me) techniques on this UFO.  Over the weekend I finished with my double sawtooth border (made with Thangles; new technique #1) and got the quilt pin basted.

Last night I finished running some straight lines in the ditch over the quilt using my walking foot, which I've never attempted before (new technique #2).

My third new technique is something I came across at JoAnn's while shopping for batting and backing fabric for this quilt.  I was browsing the quilt stencils area for something to do in that 4.5" wide white border area and came across a stencil marking spray.  I'd never used it before but thought it was worth a try, since pounces make a mess and don't leave enough of a mark on the quilt, and I can never use marking pens or pencils on stencils reliably.
The instructions said to cover the area around the quilt to protect from overspray, so I took the lid of a copy paper box, cut a hole in it slightly smaller than the stencil, and taped the stencil into it.

Surprisingly to me, this does not spray a blue line similar to the marking pen, but a chalky substance similar to a pounce.  It works pretty effectively.  I used it on a scrap piece and rinsed it all out much more easily than the water-soluble pen.  It leaves a little chalky dust on my free-motion quilting foot that I blow off after I take the quilt out to mark the next square, but it works very well.
The only challenge is placing it correctly on the square to quilt since you have to cover up so much around it.  I think I have a system down for peering through it enough to get it right but it's a little tricky.  I'll also have to wipe off the excess spray from the stencil before I use it again tonight - the photo above is after four uses.

Additionally, when I pin-basted this top, I did NOT use any basting spray since I'd been reading that it might have been the culprit behind a lot of my tension and broken thread issues on the Hoopla baby quilts last year.  Sure enough, I have not had any issues so far.  I also have to say that the time I've spent reading Leah Day's and Judi Madsen's blogs, between their machine quilting and top marking tips, have really been helpful to me in undertaking this project.  I might end up machine quilting myself more after this!

I'm happy with the way this is quilting and I hope that I can get a lot done before this weekend's challenge "completion" deadline.  I know it doesn't have to be finished, bound and laundered but I'd at least like to finish the quilting in the center of the quilt.

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