Friday, April 29, 2011

Temporary Fix

When the ratchet pins broke on my frame, I had to find something to temporarily fix it, and fast!  I can't not quilt, and I had a quilt half done in the frame!  So, I took the part to the local hardware store, and a very nice man (if a bit confused, he had no idea about machine quilt frames) helped me.  We found these:
These are shelf pins used for holding up shelves in preassembled shelving units.  They actually work pretty good.  Ok, they did the job, and that quilt and another one got finished.  Here is how they were used:
I know the picture isn't exactly the greatest, but it does show how they are used.  I hope this helps for anybody in the same spot and me. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


The tip was supposed to be on the tutorial page.  I am still working out the kinks.  Bad computer, bad! 

Marking quilting space

This is a quick tip on how to mark the space you have to quilt it so you don't hit what I call "the brick wall".  You know, you're quilting along, doing a graceful feather, and baam! run out of space and no more graceful feather.  So, here is what I do: I take a water soluble fabric pen stick the tip in next to my needle, and run a straight line from one side to the other.  Here's a picture;
It really does work great, especially for smaller machines, like my Janome.  And, best of all, it washes out! Hope this helps, Marianne

New pieces for frame

Well, I had to get some new pieces for my frame. The first time a ratchet pin broke on the frame, I thought I had maybe tightened it too much.  Then it happened to 2 more, and I was using shelf pins to hold it, thinking I really like my quilts too tight.  Turns out, it isn't me.  Word is on my yahoo groups that several other people have had their pins break too, and more than once.  So, I called, and they sent me 4 replacement pieces. 
 The one on the left is the broken one, the one on the right is the new one.  They work great.  Except for the quilt top roller which is on the bottom, the pin can't go up high enough to release, so I had to move it down one screw.
It was an ez fix and I am now back up and running with a tighter quilt top and bottom.  Yippee!  I also now have this:
I can now quilt and sew in blessed cool air.  Our central ac gave out long ago, and we have been using window units, but none in the living room (aka sewing room), now I can quilt and sew anytime of day.  I am so happy. 
Onto other projects, I am still working on this:
It's coming along very nicely, and I can't wait to get it done.  The top had been sitting around for a few years. Yes, I do eventually get stuff done, it just may take a while :). I am quilting feathered wreaths, stippling and crosshatching.  It's an experiment of sorts, to see exactly what my system is capable of.  It's capable of a lot!
Well, time to go.  Oh, I put a tip up on my tutorial page of how I mark my spacing lines for quilting space. Check it out.  Later, Marianne

Monday, April 18, 2011


If you head over to, she is having a giveaway for 2 bundles of Robert Kaufman fabric designed by Piece O'Cake designs.  They are fantastic looking!  So, head on over!  Hurry!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Janome 1600P and encoders

My quilting system consists of a Janome 1600P industrial machine on a queen size Grace start right frame.  I also have a Grace Sure-stitch regulator with it.  I love this system, it works really well for me, and the kind of quilting I do.  
Janome 1600 P on a start right frame
 Excuse the mess, I use the space under the frame for storage.  I made my own leaders out of a heavy duty fabric I bought years ago and didn't know what to do with (I seem to have a lot of that kind of fabric:).).  I pin my top and backing on, it just works easier for me than trying velcro or zippers.  
The frame came with the upgraded pro carriage, which is really nice:

 I use the slots on top for storing a needle threader and my scissors so they are always handy.  I have an apron I use sometimes for storing stuff when I am working, but everything is within reach so  I don't really use it so much anymore.  I have a clip on lamp for more light, and of course my sure stitch on the right handle.  When I first started frame quilting, I had the wooden carriage where you put your foot pedal on top, then pressed a handle down that put pressure on the foot pedal, and you had to hold it down!  That was a pain literally!  My hand would cramp so bad from having to hold it down.  From there I went to a speed control, which was great once I got it on the speed that worked with me.  Now that I have the stitch regulator, I am very, very happy.  I know some people who work better with just the speed control, I like the regulator because sometimes I want to do ruler work, or follow a pattern at a slower speed.  It just works for me. 
view of back regulator from under carriage.

side view of regulator
Also in my arsenal of tools is this book:
book of secrets, my daughter decorated the front.   
 I call this my "Book of Secrets"  In this binder I have my Janome instruction manual, all the tips I have printed out from the Yahoo groups I belong to (I highly recommend joining a group or more than one they are all great, and you can learn so much), as well as a printed out copy of Machine Quilting Magic. I got it a year or two ago from, and learned a lot just the first week!  Such as, I didn't know to oil my machine!  Honestly, I didn't know, because my DSM doesn't need oil.  I also learned about thread shredding, and how to adjust my tension for different threads, just all kinds of neat advice, and some wonderful pictures of quilts she did on a 9 inch machine!  I get inspired every time I reread it.
So, that's a glimpse into my system and my tools.  I hope this helps anyone who has the same system as I do, I know it gets confusing, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of information out there without searching for hours.  A lot of what I have learned is through trial and error.  
Happy quilting, 

WARNING! Long post, lots of pictures!

I haven't posted in a while, so lots of catch up time today.  I have been trying to get ready for college next month.  I am finishing up to be a Medical Assistant.  About 9 years ago, I went to school to be  Medical  Coder/Biller, and now am going on  to be an Assistant.  So, my attention will be diverted from quilting  for a while (I will still quilt, don't get me wrong, can't give that up! ). 
 This saturday, I will be at a local flea market, and selling some quilts.  Yikes! Other people looking and maybe buying some of my quilts.  Like this one:
Or this one:
Or these:

I am really hoping people like these.  I have no where to store them, so they have to go.  That, and I have way too much fabric, and need to make room for more ( I mean room to walk around, LOL) 

Another thing I like to do besides buy fabric, is collect old quilting magazines and patterns.  I found this one when going through some stuff in my room.  I had forgotten all about it.  

I bought these at an antique mall when we (my ex and I ) lived in New Mexico, 14-15 years ago.  I got these and some old Dresden Plate blocks, I know they are around here somewhere, I saw those last year, but I forgot all about these.  I think these will be the next version of Sunbonnet Sue I make.  Now, if I could just remember where I put them this time. LOL. 
Here is my latest project on the frame:
quilt on frame

Stitch in ditch with ruler and ruler foot

first real feather!
 One problem I am having with this quilt is I tried floating it, and it's not staying on straight, and puckering bad on the back.  So, I have to take out the stitching ( I haven't done more than 1/4 of a row, so it's not too bad ) and use the take up roller, roll back and forth.  A little more time-consuming but dooable.  
So, I am now off to study this: 
I have to take the TABE test, and totally bombed it last time, so this book seemed right up my alley LOL.  
And last but not least:
My oldest turned 19 last week.  I can't believe it!  I was his age when his dad and I got engaged!  19 when engaged, 20 when married, and 21 when he was born.  His girlfriend Hollie, made him the cake, and did a great job.  She'll be studying culinary arts in the fall, and I think she'll do great.  He will either be graduating from college this fall or in December, depending what he takes this summer.  I can't believe my kids are all growing up.  (I"m thinking his room will make a great sewing room). 
Until later, have a great day, and Happy Quilting.