Rail Fence quilt top done...

vacuumfreakSeptember 23, 2012

I'm on a two week vacation from work, and I've spent most of it at home, though I am leaving on Tuesday for a couple nights in St. Pete on the beach. I figured this would be a good time to quilt and I've been working in this until 5 AM every day for the last 4 days. I got the pattern out of a wonderful book called "Quilting: The Basics and Beyond", by Jeri Simon.

It's been fun, though exhausting. Of course I'm still learning, so my points didn't all match up, but I think rail fence design is a little more forgiving than other kinds of patterns.

Here's a picture of the finished top... The floor was the only place I had big enough to spread it out! I've spray basted it, and I LOVE spray basting! The kind I got from Joannes didn't have a smell and said it wouldn't gum up the needle, so that is a good thing :o)

Here's a close up of the fabric.... I really liked the glitter in the red... I've never used glittered fabric before. Are there any special tips for washing it? I didn't pre-wash! :o(

I had to bring my machine out of the bedroom and move it to a folding table in the living room... more room and light for a big quilt. The machine vibrated too much, and I know that can throw them out of timing and it was really distracting, so I put a dish drying mat under it and put 2 of the legs of the table on the shag rug.... that helped tremendously. As did moving the speed control to the half way setting so I couldn't floor the machine. I also bought some cheap gardening cloves with rubber dots to help me move the quilt when I go to quilt it. I've tried them on a practice sample and decided that I feel I have more control without them. I may change my mind when I get that big quilt under there...

My hole.... I've been in this space watching Andy Griffith and Hot in Cleveland while working on this quilt for most of my vacation.

This basting spray by June Tailor is wonderful. I know many people use 505, but I didn't see any at Joanns. No more safety pins!

I got a pucker as the weight of the quilt pulled against me while I was sewing on the border... I'm not ripping out all those stitches, I'm just going to live with it. I'm hoping some of the mistakes will blend in a little more once it's quilted.

My attempts at free motioning.... It is hard! I'm having trouble getting smooth flowing lines and having trouble moving to a different area nicely. A lot of that was me playing with the tension, but I did try to make flowers, hearts, stipple, and do a spiral... I need more practice to be sure before I even think about putting any quilt in the machine and going to town. I thought about simply doing straight lines with the walking foot instead.... I don't know which would look better with a rail fence design... what do you guys think?

OK, that's it for now, back to practicing.... :o)

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tuppermom

Great job! You sound like me...sewing all night! Great colors and I would wash with a couple of color catchers and you may lose some of the glitter.
I think that straight line quilting would work better on a railfence. JMHO

Mary

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 9:18PM
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msmeow

Your rail fence looks great! The small puckers probably will blend in after quilting and washing.

You could try quilting straight lines on the diagonal - that would add interest.

Have fun in St. Pete Beach! I grew up in Lakeland so we went to the gulf coast to the beach, and I still love it.

Donna

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:02PM
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vacuumfreak

Yes, yes, yes! Thank you both for the idea.... I played with my guide bar and walking foot and I LOVE the way it looks! Now I'm not so nervous and I know how I'm going to quilt! Now to pick a color.... I have a spool of clear mono-filament, but I don't think there's enough to do the whole quilt so I may just go with white.

When I tried this out, I'd never used the guide bar before and I had it too close to the needle... it slammed into the needle bar and the machine stopped and displayed "safety device activated"... I couldn't figure out what the world it hit because I knew I didn't have any pins in the practice sandwich. Once I figured it out, I moved it farther away to the right and continued sewing and the needle fell out of the machine.... I guess that commotion loosened the needle as well, but it didn't break. Crisis averted :o)

So exciting!

Thanks, Donna... I grew up in Ocala and when we went to the beach, we always went to the east coast.... I've never been to the other side of the state before, so I'm looking forward to it. I'm really a homebody, so I'm breaking my comfort zone a little to do this :o)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:17PM
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loisflan

Good job! Your colors are very striking. I think the diagonals will be perfect with the rail fance pattern, and you will get a big boost in your confidence when you see it completed.

Have a great time at the beach. You deserve a rest. Lois

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:42PM
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ritaweeda

OK, now I see the vacuumfreak connection. I guess my next question is - why vacuums???? I have to confess I detest vacuums, even though they are a necessity. I have fought with vacuums all my life. I have come to the conclusion that the only way there will ever be an excellent one invented is when the men are the only ones who use them. Such as a riding one, you know - like a riding lawn-mower. The closest one to perfection is the robot one although I've never seen one work and doubt that they do work very well. I detest vacuums.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 5:43AM
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dan_the_mailman

Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one who vacations in front of a sewing machine! Your quilt looks great! As for those little imperfections, I've always been told that both of my grandmothers called those a quilt's personality, so enjoy them! Enjoy your time at the beach too!
Thanks for sharing those pictures!
Dan

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 6:26AM
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K8Orlando

Great quilt, Vac! It's such a classic design and your colors are wonderful. Do you have thread in green or gold? I think you might like the way that looks better than white for quilting.

You've inspired me to try spray basting again. I had a bad experience with it but it would be so much easier than pinning!

Kate

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 7:40AM
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fran1523

Very nice. Rail Fence is my favorite go to pattern when I'm in a hurry. I have done several with diagonal quilting done with the walking foot. You can pretty much just aim from one corner to another all the way across the top.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:35AM
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magothyrivergirl

Bobby~Beautiful! Great choice of fabrics & pattern. Sounds like a perfect vacation for you~~sitting and sewing in your own private sew'n'vac! I'm happy to see you are still quilting and learning and enjoying the process.

I have that same table - it is the one I set up to sew & watch the Olympics; the vibrations were horrible and I was only sewing with my little Featherweight.

Regarding that little pucker
- you don't necessarily have to remove all the stitching to fix it. Usually you can fix it, and ease in the fullness by only removing about about 4" on both sides (8" total). This method is good to do if your border was the right length and matched at the bottom. Try it, just for the experience. Or not :) I try to learn something on every quilt I make, even if it is correcting a mistake.

Tighten your needle screw often, especially sewing on a table that is vibrating. Use a brand new new needle to quilt the top. Please don't use the monofilament - that thread is the quickest way to FRUSTRATION! I suggest a soft, buttery gold color thread. Turn the quilt with each diagonal line (sew down the top - sew up the top). That will help to prevent puckers.

Have fun at the beach.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:18AM
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vacuumfreak

Wow, thanks everyone.

Kate, did you see the other thread (quilting tools) where I posted the white version of the anniversary edition Singer? I wondered what you thought about it in that color! If you go to youtube and look up a video called spray basting tutorial by someone named Patsern, she has good advice. I did my flat on the bed rather than hanging on the wall, and I did half of it at a time... I folded it back and sprayed, then rolled it back out and patted it down. It worked well and seemed to prevent wrinkles for the most part.

Marsha, your responses are always encouraging.... you are so kind and thoughtful! You know exactly what I was going through with the vibrating table! I do like it otherwise... it is light and folds up and the legs are height adjustable. I thought about turning it so I'm sitting at the end to see if that would mitigate some of the vibration.

I wouldn't be quilting if it wasn't for the internet. Having you guys and google and youtube really helps me to learn and stay encouraged!

I don't think I'm going to fix the pucker.... I like Dan's suggestion of letting it be part of the personality of the quilt... mainly because it gives me permission not to have to fix it :o)

I was lazy with the borders and did not measure.... I sewed on pieces that were way too long and cut the excess off with the rotary cutter (I did a number on my right pointer finger too with sharp blade of the rotary cutter while I was cutting the excess off), probably not the best thing for squaring the quilt, but it was easier than measuring such a long strip of fabric.

What happens with mono-filament thread?

The quilt is supposed to be a square and mine is 56 by 57 inches, so I went wrong somewhere :o)

I do have yellow and gold thread, but I'm not sure I have enough of any one shade to do the whole quilt.... I'd hate to get started with one color and not be able to find an equivalent replacement if I run out. Maybe I should go shopping because I think gold would look good... I think I'm going to have to wait until I get back from my vacation to do the quilting.... there's only one more day left and I still have to renew the lease and pack. I still have to work my 2nd job tonight, only for 3 hours, but I'm not completely on vacation since I have 2 jobs.... 2nd one is part time, 3 hours a night, 6 nights a week, so no vacation there, though I did request a 2nd unpaid day off so I can have two nights at the beach...

Rita, I've loved vacuums since I was a kid.... I thought I was the only person in the world with this crazy obsession until the internet came along... there are others like me (check out vacuumland.org)... they have a convention every year, though I've not been. They are my one true passion (I like vacuums more than I like many people!), though I could get *really* into sewing machines as well if I allowed myself to. I've stopped at 2 because of the size of my apartment, but if I had a bigger place, I'd have a treadle, serger, embroidery machine, and likely a few high end brands of regular sewing machines as well. I've seen some Janomes and Berninas on C/L for decent prices and I had to use every bit of restraint not to go look at them!

I've made a few videos of my collection on my Youtube channel... I have 2 sewing machine videos as well, but it's mostly vacuums. Here's a link to the latest video with the last machine I got... I haven't gotten a vacuum in 2 months... I'm either "on the patch" or out of room :o)

Here is a link that might be useful: Vac video

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 11:35AM
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lafonda_ranch

How exciting and nervous at the same time! You're doing a great job!! I've only quilted 2 quilts and they were stitch in the ditch and straight lines. I did do a little free motion on the border of the straight line quilt. It was on black fabric, so you couldn't see when I messed up. Jumping right in is the only way.

I love the beach, too. Have fun :-)

Robbi

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 11:55AM
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msmeow

Dan & Vac - I vaca at the sewing machine, too! I have far more vacation days than hubby so I tend to take 3 or 4 day weekends (and an occasional whole week) and just play in the sewing room, visit quilt shops, go to shows, etc. :)

Donna

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:06PM
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K8Orlando

The white Singer is OK, but I think what I really liked about the other one is that it looks like the traditional (aka ancient) Singers, so the black color was a big part of it for me. I went through kind of a goofy anxiety thing a few months ago wondering what I would do if my sewing machine died and I didn't have a good backup. The anniversary Singer looked like that perfect backup to me at the time but I got over it and realized that I will deal with that when it happens. I'll find the new machine-of-my-dreams then. Who knows... I may have even crossed over to the Bernina side by then!!!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 1:41PM
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vacuumfreak

OK, I decided to start quilting today. It didn't start off too well, but I've learned SO much! I did find some gold thread, so I loaded a bobbin and threaded up.

I started stitching and I noticed that some of the stitches were super small... the quilt wasn't advancing through the machine properly. I changed the needle when I started, but it was a really small needle... the kind I like to piece with. I changed to a larger needle and that helped. Still, I had problems with the quilt not advancing properly so I figured that the feed dogs weren't moving enough and lengthened the stitch to 3 millimeters. That helped until the bulk of the quilt started pulling against the needle and again, it wouldn't advance properly... I'm getting to the place where I can feel if it is advancing correctly or not. I figured out how to manage the bulk of the quilt so that it didn't push against the closed area of the machine's throat. I also played with the presser foot pressure, but that didn't make any difference with the stitch quality... the machine seems to pull the fabric better if I have it on the highest pressure setting.

Here you can see that the stitches on the right are much smaller than the ones on the left.... that was where the quilt wasn't being pulled properly. I tested this on a small quilt sandwich made of the same material (I had left overs from the sub cut strips) and it stitched perfectly, so this really was due to the weight of the quilt.

Kate, first of all I agree with you about the black looking better, but that probably wasn't a good machine anyway. I've only sewn on a Bernina once and it was an old model from the 70s or 80s... I didn't understand all the controls, but it was the smoothest running machine I've ever sewn on.

Anyway, Kate, I took a que from you and poured a glass of coke and rum... I took a sip every time things weren't going well... this glass was full when I started :o) All of a sudden things started going much more smoothly (or I stopped caring) :o)

What a learning experience this has been. Now I know how my machine behaves with a large quilt and that is valuable information.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:00PM
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bev2009

It's really important to have the weight of the quilt supported on something. You might try setting up your ironing board next to your table, tv trays or another table. After doing some many quilts in the last 6 weeks, I can tell immediately when the quilt is being dragged down by the weight. The quilt is going to be lovely.

I won't mention your fascination with vacuums to my son. When he was young he used to dream the vacuum would suck me up. They were real nightmares for him. LOL...now that he is all grown up.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 11:26PM
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quiltnhen

The quilt looks great and thanks for the basting spray idea. Gotta try that now!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:42PM
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vacuumfreak

Bev, I read something about using the ironing board for additional support... that is a good idea... thank you for the suggestion...

That is funny about your son getting scared that you were going to get sucked up by the vacuum cleaner! I'm sure it wasn't then, however. When I was a kid, I was scared to take a bath because I I thought the bottom of the tub was going to fall through!

I'm at my room on the beach and all I can think about is finishing that quilt... I guess the bug has bitten me. I knew I was in trouble when I went shopping for magazines to read on the beach or buy the pool and ended up getting 3 quilting magazines!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 4:01AM
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geezerfolks_SharonG_FL

I took a sip every time things weren't going well... this glass was full when I started :o) All of a sudden things started going much more smoothly (or I stopped caring)

LOLOLOL (I gotta get me some rum! Or Spanish Sangria)

SharonG/FL

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:25AM
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littlehelen_gw

Your quilt has great colors and looks great. I've never tried spray basting, but may consider for the future...thanks for the idea.
I'm taking a quilt class and one of the participants swears by not dropping the feed dogs, but dropping them as far as they will go without actually dropping the dogs...if that makes sense (her machine allows her to manually adjust).Anyway, if that's an option for you, it may help w/ the stitch consistency...either that or more Rum! (great solution by the way :-).
Now I get the vacuumfreak moniker...thought maybe you owned a vacuum store...didn't realize people collected vacuums...that's a new to me.
Enjoy your beach time...sounds wonderful.
V.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:43PM
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vacuumfreak

V,

My vintage metal straight stitcher allows me to change how far up or down the presser feet go, but it lacks a thread trimmer which is invaluable with a quilt this big... can you imagine if I had to lift that whole quilt up and cut the bobbin thread with scissors every time I started a row? I'm afraid it would be a UFO for the rest of my life! Plus I have a walking foot for this machine and I don't know if it fits on the old one. the old one also has two rows of feed dogs and the new one has six... maybe it wouldn't matter since I spray basted it. I did have a glancing thought of trying the other machine because I think the harp area is bigger... never even considered how far the feed dogs come up being a help or hindrance.... now I want to try just an experiment!

I'm glad to have encouraged a few people to spray base.... it is wonderful!
Can't take credit for the rum idea though... that came from Kathy! At present, I'm having a long island iced tea at the hotels beach bar... now where's mah sewin' mersheen? :-)

Please excuse any errors... typing on a tablet while tipsy=not good idea.... I can barely do it anyway!

That is a pic from my room. Took 45 mins to figure out how to post!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 8:24PM
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vacuumfreak

V,

My vintage metal straight stitcher allows me to change how far up or down the presser feet go, but it lacks a thread trimmer which is invaluable with a quilt this big... can you imagine if I had to lift that whole quilt up and cut the bobbin thread with scissors every time I started a row? I'm afraid it would be a UFO for the rest of my life! Plus I have a walking foot for this machine and I don't know if it fits on the old one. the old one also has two rows of feed dogs and the new one has six... maybe it wouldn't matter since I spray basted it. I did have a glancing thought of trying the other machine because I think the harp area is bigger... never even considered how far the feed dogs come up being a help or hindrance.... now I want to try just an experiment!

I'm glad to have encouraged a few people to spray base.... it is wonderful!
Can't take credit for the rum idea though... that came from Kathy! At present, I'm having a long island iced tea at the hotels beach bar... now where's mah sewin' mersheen? :-)

Please excuse any errors... typing on a tablet while tipsy=not good idea.... I can barely do it anyway!

That is a pic from my room. Took 45 mins to figure out how to post!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 11:22PM
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vacuumfreak

That silly tablet double posted my last post.... anyway I'm back home.... it wasn't as fun as I anticipated and I'm glad to be back...

I tried the vintage machine tonight just for fun. It did OK, but without the walking foot, I couldn't use the guide bar so I'm going to have to go back to the other machine. I guess I could mark the quilt with the Clover chalk marking pen, but it's so much easier to use the guide bar.

I tried the walking foot on the old machine and it worked better without it, though I did get it to fit by switching the shank screw with the one from the other machine. Messing with how high the feed dogs "stuck up" did not have a positive influence on the stitch quality or the quilt advancing through the machine. Having them up as far as they would go seemed to give the best results. The quilt was easier to move through the vintage machine... it seemed to grab the material better and the harp area is bigger....

That was a fun experiment to see how the different machines handled the quilt!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 9:57PM
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msmeow

Experimenting is great! You are learning a lot as you go.

Sorry the trip to St. Pete wasn't much fun. :(

Donna

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 12:08PM
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