Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Do you ever have........

One of those weeks where all your good intentions go out the window?  Me too.   This  Last week I was going to sort the two mystery blocks that have mistakes, practice my FMQ, finish up a couple of bits, and make the back of my circles quilt, and of course sort out the design wall.  What did I do ?  Very little.

In my defence I had a busy week at work, we had a weekend event on for which I had to do the catering myself.  Why didn't I just get a caterer?  There are four vegans, people who don't eat any animal products at all, including milk, cheese, eggs, even honey.  If we were in London there are vegan caterers but in the Northeast?    So I have to cook, and as there is no oven or hob at the venue it has to be cold, even harder.  So the end of the tale is I spent two days shopping and cooking, and two days preparing, serving, and clearing up.  No way did I have any energy to get into the sewing room, and on top of my other work days very little chance or energy either.

I did get in yesterday  one day though

and practiced my FMQ.  This is the back as you cant see much from the front.  I did pebbles again which seem to be getting rounder but I still can't stitch them in a cluster very well, they are fine if I go in a straight line two deep but it's when I try to do my cluster and have to stitch over previous stitching it gets a bit messy.  I varied a few of them by stitching inside the bigger circles too.

Next I had a go at meandering, I read in one of my quilting books (I think) that it's easier to make a shape, so I did gingerbread men, well I did arms and legs, some had heads but only one arm and a leg, some were just a bit of a squiggle, but it did help to do that, it's the best meander I've ever done.  I need to be consistent with my gingerbread men size though.

You can see this one much better.  See the little gingerbread men shapes on the left?  I am so proud of those.

As I told you last week I'm using up old fabric which I doubt I will ever use, and odds and ends of thread too which is why the thread colour changes, although it does mean I have to fill the bobbin more often.

I used packaging tape to stick the wadding onto the back of the insulation boards for the design wall, only it didn't stick AT ALL!   I'm going to have one more try and if it doesn't work try the stapler.  If that doesn't work I will put it in the bin and buy a ready made one and hang it with command hooks.  I'd do that now but I'm not so keen on wasting what I already bought, although I am tempted............. I need to have a think............

I'll let you know next week what I decide.

Well, it's now next week, I didn't get to finish and post, but I'm not going to worry about that now.  If I worry about it I will get stressed and upset, and why worry about something that has happened that, in the grand scheme of things isn't important, and that will end up with me feeling bad about myself and getting all upset, yes, I do, and it is so stupid.

So, moving on, I hope you had had a great two weeks and got lots of sewing done.  What did I do this week?  MORE FMQ practice and you know what?  I had a lightbulb moment.

I was doing another practice

Sorry about the poor pics, my card reader stopped working so I had to use the iPad.  Now I know this one looks rubbish, as if I went backwards, but that is partly because I was having my lightbulb moment and I got carried away and instead of stopping to make another sandwich I just kept going over it.  Anyway, I had put on one of my Craftsy classes, Angela Walters, Small Changes Big Variety, excellent by the way, and she said if we were having problems with the circles and were using a stitch regulator try turning it off.  So I did, and WOW!!!  It was so much easier, the fabric moved easier and my movements were so much smoother.  The problem is my stitches are now uneven in size, but then I got to thinking, that's what a stitch regulator does, it makes all your stitches an even size, nothing else, no magic fairy dust to make you a much better quilter.  So, new tack, I am stopping using the stitch regulator, even though the stitches will be uneven, for now, but I'm thinking with lots of practice they should improve, and with smoother movements my quilting generally will improve anyhow.  What do you think?  Do you use a stitch regulator and how do you like it?  I know Janice from Colour Creating and Quilting just finished a quilt with the most beautiful quilting, look at her quilt, Janice hasn't been machine quilting long and she does feathers and all sorts using a stitch regulator.  I would love to hear how you all do it and how you get on.

Would you believe I haven't any quilt pics to show you this week?  ALL my sewing has been secret, two for swaps, both almost finished, and one is a pattern test for a lovely little mini quilt which is going to be featured in a blog hop soon.  Obviously I can't reveal it, but it is cuteness itself, and when it is launched I will make sure you are among the first to hear about it.

So, sorry for the lack of pics and just a very few boring ones, I'll order a new card reader and try to have some better ones next week.

Until then
Smiles from
Kate x

Lorna @ Let's Bee Social
Kelly @Needle and Thread Thursday
Sarah @Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?


  1. Oh dear Kate... Sounds like you had a rough week, or two. Your practice pieces look great. And that is the only way to get better at anything, including free motion. To practice and find what works for you! Here's hoping that February will bring you much joy and sunshine!

  2. This is soooo what I need to be doing right now... practicing, practicing, practicing. The problem is that I just want to jump in and skip the practice. Hmmm, I suppose your way is better - looks like you had fun!

    Wow, cooking for vegans is a pretty tall order. I can easily cut out the meat, but once you cut out cheese and dairy products, then that throws the rest of my vegetarian recipes out the door... what a good friend you must be to go above and beyond!

  3. Yay for lightbulb moments! I see you are getting lots of great practice and and I think your pebbles are looking super! Thanks so much for the mention, Kate. You know how excited I was to finish and you were such a great encouragement to me all the way along. Thank you!

  4. Wow your practice looks wonderful and having to cook for such a variety of tastes / food styles ? Congratulations! I think you are a kitchen saint! : )

  5. You should be proud-looks great-far more than I have accomplished with my FMQ practice! Too busy catching up on some paper-piecing blocks I'm behind on-how do you find the time or the energy? I have four quilt tops waiting for me-oh well, another day. Thank you, Susan

  6. Your FMQ practice looks pretty good - I like an organic pebble. Wow being a vegan is very strict! Not even honey! And it's all voluntary - unbelievable!

  7. Regarding the design wall - I'm thinking flat-headed pushpins could also work and would be a bit easier to deal with over staples if you need to reposition anything.

    The FMQ is looking good! As for the stitch regulation, I haven't tried turning it off yet, but Angela actually showed me in class the difference between one and the other and it's remarkable. That said, she's been doing this for over a decade and she didn't start out as a master either (she'd be the first to say). Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up about it (she'd also be the first to say)!

  8. I quite often have weeks where I seem to be so busy but have nothing to show st the end . I've never really progressed beyond straight line quilting either on this machine . I'm afraid to juggle buttons incase I never get them reset again

  9. Great practice! Hopefully this week will give you some time in your sewing room.

  10. For FMQ I don't use a stitch regulator-I speak from a longarm perspective. I get much smoother lines/shapes that way. And your stitch length just comes from practice, so keep it up, you are on your way;) And a thinner thread helps hide some imperfections also. I love using Glide thread.

  11. I like your gingerbread men! I had never heard that way of doing stipples/meanders, to make a shape like that. It really makes sense.

    I'm glad you had an "AHA!" moment with your stitch regulator. I don't have one, so I have no idea how different it would be with or without one. I do know that only a very picky quilter would ever look at the difference in stitch length on a finished quilt :) But it's nice to feel like you're improving, isn't it? And you certainly are!

  12. That is what I need to do - FMQ practice. One fine weekend when all the stars and planets are in their most auspicious positions, I just might.
    For the vegans - hummus and veggies :-D

  13. Kudos for getting some FMQ practice in. I have a hard time fitting that in and I certainly need the practice. Pebbles are super hard for me.
    Maybe try pins or flat tacks on the back of the design board?

  14. Sounds like a busy couple of weeks. I've not tried my hand at quilting, your attempts look really good to me.

  15. Ooh, mysterious stuff, I like it! Love minis! As for your FMQ #1, yay for listening to Angela; she is just the BEST. I stopped using my stitch regulator on the longarm shortly after I got it, never had one on the Bernina, as it's pre-stitch regulator, and oh yes, much better flow. Sure not all the stitches are exactly the same length but you nailed it: that's ALL a stitch regulator does, and IMHO it's kind of cheating... As for pebbles, you probably know, but it helped me so much to do them in figure 8 style, and say or think 'round' and sometimes even make my lips in an 'o'!! As for meandering, which I LOVE, I think of jigsaw puzzle pieces, sometimes of a ghost (kind of like your gingerbread men!). A glass of wine, as my very first FMQ teacher said, oh, back in the late 90s, works wonders, and it's true! But like anything, practice. Draw it, doodle it, stitch it. ;-)

  16. Very nice quilting Kate! I love how you have combined your motifs. Using gingerbread men as a mental model is a great Idea. I always thought of jigsaw puzzle pieces when I stippled. Looks good!

  17. They're lovely practice pieces and your pebbles are looking great :)

  18. Kate, take a breath. There, now another. Step away from the quilt samples. Hide them, cover them with fabric. Just don't look at them for a week or so. Trust me on this. da,da, daaa, da... Ok, has the week gone by? Pull them out and look at them again. If you are like me, they look amazingly better. Yes, much better. When you are working on a quilt piece you are actually looking at each little circle, each little gingerbread man and you see every imperfection. When you let yourself look at the whole picture you see the general idea of pebbles and meandering. Listen to your readers responding to your work -- it certainly is going very well. Keep practicing but try it on a smaller quilt -- perhaps a charity baby quilt. Your work will be fine. All this said, I computerized my long arm because I couldn't take my own suggestions.

  19. Kudos for tackling that I know all too well about getting sidetracked with life. I've been working late at work for the past two weeks. I finally "hit the wall" this weekend -- have not been very productive, quilting or otherwise. Here's to a better next week!!

  20. Here's hoping for a more relaxed February for you Kate - with lots of time in your studio! The FMQ is looking so good - it really is just all about the practice!

  21. Kate this is a great post. You are really focused on your quilting skills and the only way to get better is practice. These pictures show such improvement. I love your gingerbread men with a head and one arm and leg. ☺. I have lots of posts that just chronicle my practice sessions. It makes me happy to look back and see improvement- and also see that I still have a long way to go!


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