Quilting Frustrations

So I have a crappy sewing machine. When I got it a few years ago, I didn’t want to invest a lot of money in one because I was just learning how to sew/quilt. I love quilting, but on my machine it has become so much of a chore, such a frustration, that I rarely do it. Eric, I think, is tired of hearing me curse at the thing everytime I try to sew something. So, we are going to begin the process of looking for a new machine for me. This will probably end up being my birthday present this year (which is in August), so I won’t have anything new for a little while. I realized the other day though that I have several quilt tops that I am in the process of piecing. I hesitate to switch machines mid-top, because there may be enough variation in the stitching that my blocks may not all come out the same size. So, with that in mind I think I am going to have to bite the bullet and try to finish my quilt tops that I have in progress before I get the new machine.

Way back in 2001, I learned how to quilt. I made three quilt tops that year, that still have not been quilted and finished into quilts. My very first quilt has some of the quilting done on it, but I have so much trouble with my machine, that I quit working on it. I would so love to see these pieces finished! Out of all the quilts I have started, only four are finished. Here are pics of two of them.

Watercolor 20Log 20Cabin

This is a Watercolor Log Cabin. I purchased this kit at the first quilt show I went to. The kit came with the pattern and all of the floral fabrics for the piecing. I purchased the border and backing fabric separately. The blocks are pieced together so that half the block is light and half is dark. This is a wall-hanging, so it is only about 20 x 20 inches maybe.

Watercolor 20Log 20Cabin 20Close

This is a closeup of the blocks and here you can see the fabric I used on the back. I machine-pieced this, but quilted it by hand.

My second finished quilt is this baby quilt. I don’t have children yet, but I just loved the 1930s reproduction fabrics so much, that I decided to make a baby quilt for “someday”. This is made up of nine-patch blocks and I interspersed the repro fabrics with muslin. I love the look of this.

1930s 20Nine 20Patch

I think the squares are 2 x 2″ squares. I cut every single one of them out and laid them out the way I wanted them. Yes, I am a little obsessive. This is crib-size, so it’s about 36 x 45″.

1930s 20Nine 20Patch 20Close

I used muslin also for the binding and the backing. Both of these have quilt labels on the backs (I do manage to sign my quilts…but I am just now starting to sign my stitching pieces!). I have the labels embroidered and then I use fabric from the quilt top as a border for the label. They turn out pretty cute. This quilt was machine-pieced and machine-quilted. As I said, I only have two other quilts that are actually finished – both of which were gifts. I’ll post pics of those next time. Part of my frustration with having so many unfinished quilts is that I call myself a quilter, but I don’t really feel like one. I am hoping that this year, with the help of a new machine, I can finish some of these languishing quilts and proudly call myself a quilter.

I am hoping to get caught back up on my batik blocks of the month (I have two to do – Nov & Dec), and then you should be seeing the Kimonos back again. If anyone can recommend a good machine, let me know!

I have to apologize too, for not posting more frequently. I haven’t had a lot to show for the past few days. I started a HAED (Heaven and Earth Designs) piece, but I think the fabric I chose is not going to work out. So, I will be restarting. I haven’t done anything on my Lemon Meringue Sampler except the backstitching around those top flowers. I have started my stitching on Jen’s RR piece, and hope to finish that soon – so no sense in showing progress photos. I have almost finished the second bird on my Queen of the Needle piece, but again – not really enough to show a progress photo. So, thanks for sticking with me…even when I have nothing to show. Here’s hoping for a relaxing weekend in front of the TV watching movies and stitching!

Oh, and to answer a question on the French Onion Tart – the recipe is in the new (January/February) issue of Cook’s Illustrated (excellent magazine).

Walk to Rivendell: I am looking back at the lights of Hobbiton from the first slopes of the Green Hill Country (7.5 miles).

I am grateful for finished projects.

24 thoughts on “Quilting Frustrations”

  1. Eclecticmk - Margie

    I love your quilting! A couple of years ago, I switched sewing machines in the middle of pieceing a quilt and I DID have trouble matching the pieces. You are right on target with not wanting to switch in the middle of a quilt. 🙂

  2. Eclecticmk - Margie

    I love your quilting! A couple of years ago, I switched sewing machines in the middle of pieceing a quilt and I DID have trouble matching the pieces. You are right on target with not wanting to switch in the middle of a quilt. 🙂

  3. Your quilting is beautiful! It’s a hobby I’d like to learn but that won’t be until we have a house someday (no room for a sewing machine in our condo).

    I know how you feel about not having much to post about when you can’t share progress pics! I still enjoy reading what you have to say, with or without pics. 🙂

  4. Your quilting is beautiful! It’s a hobby I’d like to learn but that won’t be until we have a house someday (no room for a sewing machine in our condo).

    I know how you feel about not having much to post about when you can’t share progress pics! I still enjoy reading what you have to say, with or without pics. 🙂

  5. Your quilts are gorgeous! Having a good machine does make a big difference. My mom taught me to sew on her old crappy machine, and it put me off sewing forever. I do a bit here and there and have considered doing some quilts now that I have a good machine. I’m not quite there yet, though.

  6. Your quilts are gorgeous! Having a good machine does make a big difference. My mom taught me to sew on her old crappy machine, and it put me off sewing forever. I do a bit here and there and have considered doing some quilts now that I have a good machine. I’m not quite there yet, though.

  7. I’m really impressed Michelle – good job! Your sewing machine is better than mine – non-existent! LOL!!! Sounds like one would make a lovely bday gift for you this year!

  8. I’m really impressed Michelle – good job! Your sewing machine is better than mine – non-existent! LOL!!! Sounds like one would make a lovely bday gift for you this year!

  9. I love your quilts – especially the watercolour log cabin one – beautiful colours 🙂 I have three on the go – one I started aged 14 (!!!), ome from scraps I started before I knew what I was doing (about 12 years ago) and a real one I started last year. I really need to sort myself out too 🙂 I have no idea how to finish them or quilt though 🙂

  10. I love your quilts – especially the watercolour log cabin one – beautiful colours 🙂 I have three on the go – one I started aged 14 (!!!), ome from scraps I started before I knew what I was doing (about 12 years ago) and a real one I started last year. I really need to sort myself out too 🙂 I have no idea how to finish them or quilt though 🙂

  11. Anna van Schurman

    Just a suggestion, but have you had your machine reconditioned in a shop? I’ve always found that makes the machine work better.

    Of course operator error is still a major issue!

    The baby quilt is adorable!

  12. Anna van Schurman

    Just a suggestion, but have you had your machine reconditioned in a shop? I’ve always found that makes the machine work better.

    Of course operator error is still a major issue!

    The baby quilt is adorable!

  13. Michelle, your baby quilt is so charming and the watercolor one is lovely too, soft and delicate. 🙂

    Anna may be on to something with taking your machine in for a tune up. I had mine in not too long ago and getting a good cleaning was just what it needed. My previous machine was just awful, a bottom of the line model and I thought that sewing just wasn’t for me with all the frustrations I had with it. Then I got a better machine and what a difference! 😀

  14. Michelle, your baby quilt is so charming and the watercolor one is lovely too, soft and delicate. 🙂

    Anna may be on to something with taking your machine in for a tune up. I had mine in not too long ago and getting a good cleaning was just what it needed. My previous machine was just awful, a bottom of the line model and I thought that sewing just wasn’t for me with all the frustrations I had with it. Then I got a better machine and what a difference! 😀

  15. Beautiful quilts, Michelle! Just lovely!
    I’m glad you’ve decided to restart your HAED now rather than later it can be heart breaking starting again after you have done alot of work.

  16. Beautiful quilts, Michelle! Just lovely!
    I’m glad you’ve decided to restart your HAED now rather than later it can be heart breaking starting again after you have done alot of work.

  17. I love the baby quilt, Michelle. There is no reason why the size of the blocks should change according to the machine.
    It’s weird your machine is so crappy though. A machine is a machine, even if it’s not a fancy electronic one it should work OK for straight stitches!! Are you sure there is no problem with the tension? I should think giving it a good professional servicing should help tremendously.

  18. I love the baby quilt, Michelle. There is no reason why the size of the blocks should change according to the machine.
    It’s weird your machine is so crappy though. A machine is a machine, even if it’s not a fancy electronic one it should work OK for straight stitches!! Are you sure there is no problem with the tension? I should think giving it a good professional servicing should help tremendously.

  19. The Silver Thistle

    Your quilts are fab!! Really loving your work. I wanted to give quilting a try a while back and bought the Diana Leone book which was great eye candy……..still haven’t got around to making the quilt I had my eye on though, lol.

  20. The Silver Thistle

    Your quilts are fab!! Really loving your work. I wanted to give quilting a try a while back and bought the Diana Leone book which was great eye candy……..still haven’t got around to making the quilt I had my eye on though, lol.

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