Sunday, September 21, 2008

I Won the Knit Purse Competition! Now I can finish that Quilt

Slight digression from knitting today; we’re going to talk a bit about quilting.

First of all, I won the knit purse competition held by Ruti’s Needlebed; I’m so happy! I’m going to put that $100 gift certificate for Ruti’s Needlebed toward the purchase of a new sewing/quilting machine. I’ll be getting the Brother QC-1000. I went to try it out yesterday. Ni-i-i-i-ce. Some of the wonderful features are that it’s computerized with a big LCD screen, does alphabets, lots of different types of stitches, 22”x16” extra-wide table is a standard accessory, automatic needle threading, bobbin loading’s a breeze, and automatic backstitching and cutting of thread (if you so choose) just to name a few.

When I get it, I can finish that quilt I started 8 years ago when I first learned piecing. I don’t know if you can tell, but the fabric has an Egyptian theme; I love things Egyptian. The course I had taken was a different piecing method a week. I had decided back then that I would hand quilt it being the traditionalist that I am. Well, it’s been 8 years. I did a tiny section of hand quilting (which I wasn’t crazy about appearance-wise). Being the perfectionist that I am, I couldn’t do a half-baked, inconsistent job. It took me quite a while to do that small area, too.

Note that the intense basting is because I was intending to hand quilt and I used polyester batting. Ruthie suggested that I use cotton instead of polyester batting. She said that in her experience, there’s (what she believes to be) a static build up with the polyester that causes the sewing machine to miss stitches. I tried doing a net search on this with not much success. In fact, a lot of sites were still advocating using polyester batting. I don’t know if anyone else has knowledge in this area. She was also disappointed in the way I had folded the backing edge over the front and pinned it down. She said I was not supposed to do that. I said, it depends what book you’re reading, but reassured her that that was not going to be my binding and I just rolled it over and pinned it down to keep it out of my way; that I was going to make a separate binding strip and attach it. That appeased her.

After my short experience with hand quilting, I thought then that maybe machine quilting wasn’t so bad after all. I made a small sample of something else to try it on. It was then that I discovered that the sewing machine I have, my husband’s grand-mother’s 50+ year old sewing machine, is not the best for this task.

It has several mechanical…issues. When I got it, the thread tension knob was already not working properly. I thought that rather than destroy what’s left functional of this precious machine, I should just get a new one; hence, the decision to buy a new machine. Let’s see if I can finish that quilt anytime soon.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Autumn Splendour

Work’s been so CRAZY that I wasn’t able to blog last week. I’ve been holding off posting this for a while because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I must say, I’m quite happy with the results. It's an original design by yours truly, moi.

I love hats! One day, I noticed that in my varied assortment of hats, I didn’t have one that also covered my ears. I also have a lot of purple present in my other hats and decided I needed to expand my color range to better accommodate my fall wardrobe.

I created this bulbous beret to cover my ears. I found this wonderful variegated ball of yellow/green/gold yarn (Berroco Idol in color: 1548 (Princess Grace)) and immediately thought of leaves in the fall, hence the motif of the hat. The background colour is Mission Falls 1824 wool in color: 010 (raisin). It’s wonderfully warm while still being light and extremely comfortable to wear. I knit it on smaller needles than the ball bands recommended deliberately to get a dense, warm hat. The hat is knit in the round as a Fair Isle pattern which enhances its warmth.