These have been around for a while, and I'd read about them on the internet users' group for my machine. I wasn't convinced this was a necessary gadget, but after fighting with the tension on my machine for a year and a half now, I decided to purchase one on the recommendation of a helpful reader. You can see a video of how they work if you click right here.
If nothing else, it confirmed my suspicion that my bobbin tension was too loose. It will allow me to use different threads and adjust the tension accordingly. I've given up on the idea that it's going to make me rich and famous, but perhaps it will lessen the probability of my throwing a quilt out the window at some future point in time.
With adjustments and testing accomplished, I went back to work where I left off with the quilting. O'Brien's Bakery nearly had me in tears the last time I worked on it, and so I did a little less quilting on this block than I had originally planned. I used a royal blue thread to outline the window frame and the door, and then just moved on.
With green threaded into the machine, I quilted some grass onto this block, and then changed to black thread and quilted over the white lines in the roof to suggest some shingles. It's hard to see in this image, but it gives a nice texture to the roof. Previously, I'd outlined the doors and windows, and so this block was finished.
While I had the green thread on the machine, I outlined the window frames on the block below. I'd already added thatch to the roof, and so this block was finished too.
On the block below, I used the black thread to outline around the black strip at the bottom and the wastebasket. I'd already outlined the windows and door, and that meant this one was complete as well.
My last thread color was the hot pink to outline the door, window and sign for Granny's Kitchen.
That was the last block that needed quilting, and so it was time to go back to the original off white color I'd started with.
While I was maneuvering the quilt around, I noticed that the "curtains" on the Mad Hatters Dingle were peeling up a little. These were made from a vintage handkerchief that belonged to my grandmother. It had been lounging in my mother's cedar chest for decades, and so I brought it out into the light of day and gave it a job on this quilt. I decided to stitch around the edges just to be sure they stayed put. Apparently in the process, I stabbed myself with a needle because I noticed blood on the quilt. Yikes!
Careful inspection of my hands and fingertips revealed nothing, but there you go. That blood came from someone, and since I was the only object in the room with a circulatory system, I used my powers of deduction to conclude that it must be the blood of my own veins. I'm real smart that way. Move over, Sherlock Holmes. Anyway...a little dab of Oxy-Magic on a Q-tip took care of that. Sheesh.
Then, I finished stitching around the edges of the remaining "curtains", and all of the blocks were complete.
With those done, it was time to do the little hearts-a-lot swirlygig (technical quilting term) I had planned for the green stop border.
That went pretty well...surprisingly well, in fact. There were eight of these. I put one wherever the block sashing bumped up against the stop border. These were areas that were untouched by the "Celtic knot" quilting I'd done in the other sashings on the quilt. It's always hard to explain in words, and so I'm hoping the image below will help.
With those done, it was time to quilt the border. After considering many ideas, it seemed the best way was to simply meander among the shamrocks and gold dots on the fabric. It ended up being a wide and wandering stipple, and it looks good to my eye.
Also, I quilted shamrocks into each of the four quilt cornerstones.
And it was finished! Cue the Hallelujah chorus, please!
If you can't see the video, click right here. 'Tis the season, after all.
Quicker than you can say "Bob's your uncle," I yanked that quilt off the machine and took it downstairs where I could spread it out. The best contrasting light comes from the living room windows.
Despite the fighting, blood, sweat, and tears, it's looking pretty good. I flipped it over to see the back. The quilting is pretty hard to see there, but that's okay. This is a memory quilt...like a scrapbook...the front is where the action is.
But wait. That didn't stop the resident quilt inspectors from getting straight to work.
Hey, Smitty, what do you think? Mom finished that quilt with the Irish catnip on it.
[Snuffle, snorf, sniff.] Hm, Gracie...somehow I don't get the same effect I get from the stuff growing in the yard.
Yes, I see what you mean, Smitty. I was expecting better raw materials for horking here, but this stuff isn't even edible.
Well, Gracie...it does have excellent napping potential, and there's plenty of room to hold the entire luscious length of my svelte body.
Smitty, are you making fat jokes again?
Let's just call them "ample jokes" Gracie, and leave it at that. You know I love every substantial mouthful of you.
Okay, well, the quilt inspectors were still hard at work when I sat down here to right this post. Smitty was yawning, considering his options for napping, I presume.
Obviously, it still needs binding, but I am ever so happy to have the quilting finished. There are some other things to do on today's agenda, and so for today at least, I'm going to get on with the rest of my life. Binding can wait for tomorrow.