Friday, November 12, 2010

Taming the thread demons

Our Veteran's Day was spent mostly taming the massive amounts of leaves which last Sunday's storm dropped all over everywhere. In most years, the leaves are only on the back yard, where the trees are. This year they were in the front, side and back. 5 straight hours of raking and blowing and cursing. My hands are killing me today, all cut up and blistered. I had to clip back all the flower gardens in order to get the leaves out of the gardens. I had hoped that my mom might come out yesterday and bring the 2nd leaf blower. As soon as she found out my husband did not have to work, that plan seemed to change. Go figure, she thought bringing it today would be just as useful! Good grief. I can use my own leaf blower today...I was hoping to avoid having to rake!
I figured that being outside for several hours would make my kids crash in the afternoon. It sure did make me want a nap! My 4 year old had to get into plenty of naptime mischief (nearly 2 hours of it!) before she crashed. What you cannot see is the multitude of things she crashed on top of. She managed to change out of her clothes into her jammies -- somehting she's done a lot lately. There are 3 books beneath her. Two quilts, a blanket and an afghan. There is a giant stuffed lamb, three baby dolls and their clothes. A bear, a few barrettes, and a dress. My list likely goes on, but I didn't want to move her to take this picture. Lisa (AKA miniature quilture) ought to get a kick out of the fact that she's sleeping with her "backpack"...the purse that goes with a dress she sent Sophie this springtime! Too funny.

So, while everyone else was getting a good rest, I had to conquer this beast. It is huge, 124"x103". And as you can see, when loaded the longway, goes clear across my machine. I have only quilted one other quilt that was this wide. I know to fear huge quilts! If they are not perfectly square, the issues can magnify quickly.
This quilt is prolifically floral and very bright. Thread and quilting pattern selection were a little tricky because of the many colors and patterns already in play. The backing is a sea green floral. It is a little bit unexcpected since the fabric does not appear on the top, nor does the seagreen color, so this played into thread choices as well.
Here's the backing. OK, maybe it is more of a mint green. Whatever.
What I chose to quilt was the very leafy pattern below called Woodlands. This is the first time I have used this pattern, and I was hoping that I would not really hate doing it since there is so very much of it, nearly 12800 square inches! I really wanted to steer clear of anything blatantly floral. It is already busy enough in the flower department.
The other thing I did on this quilt was tame one of the myths about thread which some longarmers have. Some quilters really think that their machine can only quilt one kind of thread. I read things like "my machine only likes King Tut", and "I cannot quilt with cottons" all the time. I gotta admit. I have fallen into the trap of preferring one thread more than others, but mostly just don't take the time to fiddle with tensions sufficiently to get others equally as comfortable. Yesterday was that day. I had this YLI 50wt variagated brown thread and a mostly coordinating YLI 40 wt cotton for the backing. I have used the solid thread for a quilt some months ago with not too much trouble, but the variagated gave me huge fits on a quilt recently so I picked it all out and nearly threw it away. You see, these threads were a gift from YLI after MQX last spring. Free thread, how fun is that! These threads were a very nice choice for this quilt, also somewhat taming the overuse of flowers, so I wanted to use it.
I am most happy to say that it has been perfectly fine. I have had not even one thread break, and tension is good!! Yea, yea - delight.
I'll leave you with a few statistics of this quilt...
~It will require ~19 rows of the panto
~Each row takes about 15 minutes to stitch
~Each row is 12700 stitches (you do the final math!)
~Every four rows is about 21"
~I change bobbins 3 times for every 4 rows (sigh!)
Yes, it does beckon the question of will I have enough thread, doesn't it!

No comments: