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Day One—The Bucket List

I put a small muslin quilt sandwich on the frame yesterday to get started on my journey to become a better machine quilter.

I started out by using my new TOWA bobbin tension gauge and think I’m going to like it.

Here’s a video of how to use the TOWA.  I found the best price at Superior Threads. No affil.  🙂

Since buying it, hopefully I’ll be able to make use of some of the thread I have that my Juki used to like but doesn’t like now.  I’m sure it’s a tension deal because the first large quilt I did (Queen) on the frame used this Thread Art thread.  I love the way the thread works up.  For some reason, all of a sudden (after using Thread Art thread with no problems), the Juki threw a hissy fit and started making horrible loopies on the back of the quilt and nothing I did would make it behave.

In desperation I tried So Fine and although my machine loves it….I still prefer the texture I get with that cotton thread.  I ordered 2 cones of King Tut to try but yesterday I used the So Fine.

I tested the bobbin in the TOWA and after quilting a bit, I tweaked the top tension a wee bit.  Right now, I’ve got beautiful tension.  I used 2 colors so I can easily see if there’s a problem.

I plugged in Dawn Ramirez’s Pajama Quilter Rethreaded and studied some of the designs.  Then I went to the frame to see what kind of success I would have.  Well, I still have a lot of learnin’ to do but I think I have hope.  🙂  Granted, these efforts aren’t exciting to anyone but to myself but I promise I’ve done worse.  Lol.

One thing I learned is that I need to slow down & relax.  Just because the Juki sews fast doesn’t mean I have to move the machine fast.  Watching Dawn stitch out the patterns showed me that a slower, easier approach works.  I guess I have this mentality that says you can machine quilt a large quilt quickly….it doesn’t have to be done that way.  Even if it takes several days to do a quilt….it’s still faster than hand quilting…and easier than pushing a quilt sandwich through the machine.

I had Don watch a segment on the DVD and was commenting about how easy she makes it look.  He said “It’s because she’s having fun.  It’s supposed to be fun.”  Duh!  Why didn’t I think of that?


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  1. Don is right…quilting is all about having fun. If it’s not fun, then you’re in the wrong field! That’s why I only do my own quilts…anything else would be work and then it wouldn’t be fun.

    Your freehand work shows great promise 🙂 take a deep breath, slow down and smile while you’re playing. Music or audio books help me stay relaxed.

  2. Quilting Tizzy

     /  January 20, 2011

    I might give the music a try. I’d probably mess up trying to listen to a book while quilting. Lol.

    I don’t want to do quilts for customers either. I’ve got one quilt I’ve promised to do for someone in exchange for something special. I can’t say right now what it is but after I’ve done lots more practice I’ll start on her quilt and tell everyone what our deal is for. 🙂

  3. Anita

     /  January 21, 2011

    Music does help, but you may find yourself trying to keep time with the music. Easy listening seem to work best for me….

    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  January 21, 2011

      You’re probably right Anita! Can’t you just see it now….me dancing and quilting to the Eagles?

  4. Lindy

     /  January 25, 2011

    Such a lyrical piece, and you just practicing!

  5. Sheryl,

    I was playing on the computer tonight and saw your blog entry here. I think you were doing amazingly well for your first attempts.

    I was wondering if you have practiced more and are enjoying your quilting. Sometimes, in order to really enjoy it, you just have to practice until it comes naturally. I’d love to see an update on any of the patterns you have practiced until they have become your own. Machine Quilting really can be the most fun ever.

    Happy Quilting,
    Dawn Ramirez

  6. Quilting Tizzy

     /  December 15, 2011

    Hi Dawn. Thank you so much for looking at my blog. I participated in Judy L’s UFO challenge this year and finished 19 quilts so far!

    I’ve done a lot of different things with my quilting and tried some things that just didn’t work for me….yet. I’ve got several pictures that I haven’t posted yet of some of my work. I will try to let you know when I get that done. Your DVD’s have been a great inspiration to me.

    I can’t say that I’ve mastered any of your patterns enough to say my versions are my own yet. Lol. I look forward to the day when I can quilt without putting so much thought into each movement. My space is pretty limited right now since I use a Juki.

    I’m getting a new system in February. DH and I went to Houston for festival and tested a few machines I had narrowed my choice down to. We ordered a 22″ ABM Innova which was my first choice even before we made the trip. If I can get DH to finish the barn conversion, we’ll be ready for my new machine to get here.

    Thank you again for looking and for commenting! Have a Merry Christmas.


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