Saturday, June 13, 2015

June 1st deadline

Yes, I'd set a deadline to finish quilting one of the two quilting projects I have lined up for myself, by June 1st. Actually, I made a pact with an on-line blogger friend of mine that we would each finish one quilt by the end of May.  Today, I looked at the calendar and realized that May has come and gone!

So what's been happening with the Zebra Butts quilt?  Here's the picture I posted in my previous blog about this stack and whack quilt which you can read about here if you like.  Well, I've been diligently (kind of) working on it.  I began having trouble with skipped stitches and breaking threads that I couldn't fix, so I switched from my super-duper, deluxe, all the bells and whistles, almost brand new machine to my trusted, reliable old Lily and unfortunately, have continued to have those problems since.  I thought it had to do with the eye of the needle causing the broken threads and how I'm moving the quilt as I go around curves that causes the skipped stitches so I'm being more careful.  The super-duper machine is in the shop now to be cleaned up and checked for anything that might be causing those problems in the machine.

I have all 12 of the blocks finished with two different patterns which you may be able to see in this photo. I did a loopy, swirly design in the diamonds of the block and in the brown squares and triangles, I did a curve from one corner of the piece to the center of the side, added a loop and finished the curve to the next corner.  I had no problem with broken threads while using the two different threads in the blocks.  

Here in the sashing is when the problems of broken threads and lots of skipped stitches developed.  In some of the 12" sashing strips, I would have broken threads 4 or 5 times. What a pain!  Have to stop, clip off the bobbin thread and pick out the stitches back to a good continuing point. Then bury the threads in the quilt, re-thread the needle (and Lily, love her as I do, doesn't have an automatic threader.) and begin again, only to repeat a few inches farther along the sashing.

This morning I managed to finish the sashing on the entire quilt and am so glad of it. After much thought, I think the problem with the broken threads is with the spool of thread that I'm using. I had a partial spool of variegated brown thread left from another project but not enough so I ordered a second spool.  That's when the problems began. I think it's a faulty spool of thread.  I was able to get the proper size needle yesterday but haven't tried the thread with the new needles yet, but I don't think that's what caused the breakage.  

At any rate I'm finished with the sashing and ready to move on to the first two narrow borders. For those, I'll be using a stencil instead of free-handing it like I've done in the blocks and sashing.  

The last border, the widest and the most "busy" of the borders is a challenge for me. I seem to always falter at the last, wide border. I don't want to do anything to intricate like feathers since they would only get lost in the pattern. So what to do?  Maybe I'll settle for what I usually do--either a meander or a straight line or grid pattern.  We'll see how I feel when I get that far.  

I'll be putting this project away for the next few weeks as we will be on the road. We leave next week for Maine to pick up Lily for the summer and after a few days in Maine, we'll head to Nashville for a family reunion before heading back to Wisconsin.  So, despite my best intentions, this quilt will not be finished even by July1st, so I've reset the goal for August 1st.