FMQ Challenge for May

My finishes are falling behind.  I now have six quilts lined up to be finished.  Two are doll quilts that need both quilting and binding.  Two are sort of throw sized quilts that need quilting and binding.  Two are larger quilts that need binding.  Clearly, I need to reset my priorities to finish up the quilts that are lining up on the floor in grocery sacks.

It seemed like a good day to do the FMQ Challenge.  When I first saw this design, I wasn't sure I liked it.  Then when I watched Leah Day do it on the video, I liked it more.  Here's my rendition of it.

I realized that when I make the first curvy line, I needed to fill in more of the space so that the second line of stitching doesn't end up with long, long curves to fill in the corners and other areas.  I almost forgot to try the squared off corners until the end.  I can see how this design would be useful on certain areas.

Take this doll quilt that needs quilting and binding, for example.  I've been staring at this quilt for weeks trying to decide how to quilt it.  I had already decided to put some butterflies in the floral border, but I couldn't decide on the best way to fill the areas around the appliqued butterflies.  I think the design for this month's FMQ challenge is a good choice since it will allow me to curve all around the butterflies and fill in the spaces without breaking thread.

But then my danged sewing machine gave me so much trouble, I was nearly crazed with frustration.  Today, it goes into the repair shop for a lengthy time out.  (I was planning to take it in while I'm in Ireland anyway.)  Can you see what was happening here?

This problem has plagued me for months, and I've tried various things to fix it.  It goes along fine, and then for whatever reason, it just refuses to pick-up the bobbin thread.  

At first, it only happened when I sewed over seams.  I stopped into my local Bernina dealer and asked them about the problem.  They gave me several good suggestions, including showing me how to adjust the pressure on my foot.  (Duh.)  They also suggested using a 90/14 quilting needle.  I tried that, but the needles I have in my supplies are some my mother had (translation:  they are old and cheap).  They don't have a brand name on them, but simply say "Made in Japan".  Hm.  I tried using them, but for various reasons, I think I need to try a better quality needle . . . I might even spring for the ones made by Bernina.  

Then, I tried changing the foot on my stitch regulator.  I tried everything I could think of.  For whatever reason, it simply would not pick up the bobbin thread when I sewed on this particular strip of batik fabric.  Weird.  I tried using some scraps of the exact same batik and sewing a test strip, and it worked fine.  But whenever I switched back to the quilt itself (after ripping out the stitching for the 19th, 20th, and 21st times), it refused to work.  Go figure.  It was so frustrating I was ready to throw the machine through the window.  If I had a window, I probably would have.  (There's something to be said for having the sewing room in the basement.)

George was positively shocked at my language.  (BTW, see his male-pattern baldness on his back?  His skin is healing, but very, very slowly.  At least it isn't bleeding any more.)

So today I'm taking Gracie to the vet for her immunizations and her "Senior Check".  Although she's barely beyond her teen years.  (Ahem.)  She's going to have to wait in the car for me for about five minutes while I take the machine and the quilt into the repair shop and leave it (the machine, not the quilt).  And when I leave, I plan to tell it to think carefully about its next move.  One other thing they told me at the dealer is that there is an update for my stitch regulator . . . a heftier spring of sorts.  I'm hopeful this problem can be solved.  

Aside from my sewing machine troubles, I did get some sewing done.  My hands never fail me . . . except when my arthritis flares up.  I completed the embroidery for the third block on the Vintage Miniature Sewing Machines BOM.  I still need to add the borders to this block, and then I'll be ready for the next one.

After that I traced out the next block for the Promises & Borders BOM.  This month's block is an easy one, and I should have it finished pretty quickly . . . especially since my sewing machine is in time out.

Then, I'm excited to be starting a new redwork quilt called "Love Me, Love My Cat" by Birdbrain Designs.   It will be my June NewFO quilt.  This is a pattern I picked up at a quilt show about six months ago.  I'm planning to trace out the first two embroidered blocks to take to Ireland with me.  That will give me something to do.  Being redwork, I won't have to drag a bunch of different colors of floss along with me.  According to the TSA website, it's okay to bring sewing supplies on board the plane.  I have some nice little folding scissors that should pass muster.  

I might just break out my old Janome and do some other piecing while my Bernina is in the shop.  The Janome has been in time out for about three years.  It's a basic Janome and I had so much trouble with it that I bought the Bernina in frustration one day.  (I told Mike I was taking the Janome to the shop and not to be surprised if I came home with a new machine.  And I did.)  I had the Janome repaired, but I haven't tried using it since bringing home the new machine.  Now would be a good time, don't you think?

It's only about ten days until I leave for Ireland.  I probably won't get much sewing done between now and then.  I need to re-pot the greenhouse tomatoes since they are outgrowing their tiny little seedling pots.  I'm a little worried about taking them out of their current pots.  I imagine they are so root-bound they might reach out and strangle me in the process.  If this is my last blog post, you'll know I was killed by tomatoes.  Or maybe my sewing machine will drive me over the edge first.

For sympathy, I'll be linking up to Find a Friend Friday at:

And on Monday, I'll be linking up to:

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

Diane Wild said...

I never like to hear of sewing machine woes. I know how that feels. Good that you have a backup. Your projects look wonderful. I need to find a fun embroidery project. Any suggestions?

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Snoodles said...

I waddled back up here after drifting down to the post on the bourbon-enhanced banana bread, and imbibing so much of the virtual calories that I gained twenty pounds....LOL Wow, that looked good. No way I could have waited 24 hours to sample that!
I'll be hoping for a safe session with the tomatoes....any possibility that Mike can be home to hear your screams and rescue you?

Stray Stitches (Linda G) said...

It's so frustrating when our machines seem to have a mind of our own! Hopefully they will be able to fix the problem and it will be purring along once again. Your stitchery is adorable!! George is looking so much better - glad to hear he's healing. Aren't you getting excited to be on your way to Ireland? You are going to have so much fun.

Dana Gaffney said...

You know Super George will save you from the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. I'm just about to do my FMQ and sat down here in avoidance, I like yours, so maybe I'll like mine. Thanks.

Sarah said...

Your butterfly quilt will be so pretty with that quilting design (once the machine is fixed of course!). I need to learn that quilting design - I've admired it for some time.

George does look startled by your language but it's good to hear his skin is healing.

I have traveled many times with sewing projects and not had any problems. I just make sure NOT to carry on my fav scissors in case some one is overzealous.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Tomato plants, spit her back out! Hope the machine plays nicely when you get back.

sherry said...

yep try a new good quality needle...often skipped stitches are due to the needle...buy the best you can afford and change the needle often...i to this now and have much better success.. the large needle like the suggested may help also...have fun in ireland

Little miss Radikal said...

I have a Bernina too, but it is not at home.. like yours it is in the workshop to be repared and checked over... in the middle of sewing a quilt it just said uhuh and went on strike... luckaly for you your janome is still in the house... i have to live a week without my nina...it is good to see george is getting well again, still a little raggedy but on his way to being his own self again! love reading your blog
hugs from the Netherlands

Dirt Road Quilter said...

I will come up there and whip those tomatoes into submission...or at least into some sauce, if they even attempt to harm you. Your butterfly quilt is just so pretty, but I had to laugh when I scrolled down to the photo. I thought the thread on your photo was on my computer screen and I automatically went to pick it off. LOL. Goodness, I need a nap! So very happy to see that sweet George is on the mend! Sometimes our machines sure can be finicky. Hoping that a little tune up and change of needles does the trick. You might try holding your tongue out a bit and crossing your toes too. :)

Kate said...

It's so frustrating when the machine goes on the fritz! Hope it's back in working order soon.

Junebug613 said...

Just a tip, that you probably already know for traveling by air. Always take a self addressed, stamped (with a few stamps), padded envelope with you. Just in case you get to security and they won't let you take your scissors or something else that you don't want to have to replace. You can mail them to yourself! I always do this and haven't had to use it, but a friend told me and it's good advice!