I spent the past few days in Christchurch attending the Craft & Quilt Show. We had our Juki machines and Swiftquilter frame on display. Poor hubby had to drive down with the 4x4 packed to the ceiling and I had the luxury of flying in and back out with only my carry-on bag.
The stand looked a lot like the one we had at the Auckland Festival of Quilts. Hubby did all the unpacking and setting up so I did not have the heart to ask him to move the quilts around so that my most recent creation had pride of place. Instead, my scrappy warm/cool diamonds were covering a trestle table in the corner with the PC and accessories on top of it.
I spent the three days doodling on my 'short-arm quilting machine' (my new name for the Swiftquilter setup). One can only do so much stippling before it gets very old. After a few questions about using a template, I thought I would create my own as an experiment.
I drafted a little bird and when I was happy with it, I did some paper folding and layering. I took the stack of paper to the sewing machine and without any thread I sewed around my sketch. When I unfolded it all, I had 4 birds in kissing pairs. I used a marker to trace each one following the perforations made by the machine needle. Not perfect by any standards, but I figured it would give me an example of how the templates can be created. (Sorry, they are upside down in the photo)
To use the template, I drive from the back of the machine and use the stylus to follow the template. My biggest problem is taking my eyes off of the stylus to take a peek at the stitching - this only leads to disaster!
I admit that I prefer to do everything freehand from the front of the machine, but acknowledge that there are times when a template like this is useful. I have even made a promise (to myself) that I will use this technique on my next quilt.
The end result was fine, although if this were a real quilt, and not a demo on the cheapest cotton fabric I could find, I would have tweaked my design a bit. I think that they came out much better after I filled in the background. Here you can see one set filled in with some swirls and the back of another surrounded by stippling.
Other than hours of demonstrations, I have done no sewing this week. The Monday Moderns had a sewing day on Saturday that I missed (bummer) and all the sewing machines including mine were packed up last Monday. I will hopefully see them again tomorrow night.
Meanwhile, I have cut out the next border for my tea towel challenge and am expecting the first round of the Cotton Robin round robin any day now. Check out the centre blocks here. I don't know which one I will get and it's all secret squirrel until they are all finished and sent back to their owners. Try to (secretly) guess which one is mine.