Also, I had a chance to try out a new tool: the Line Tamer Template that was recommended to me by my friend, Sunny. (Thanks, Sunny!) It's a sort of a ruler, but it has a slot where the foot on the mid-arm fits, and then you have a guide on both sides of your line. This would be helpful for straight lines. While I was quilting my lines, I found that unless I gave it my full attention, I tended to shift away from my ruler template as I stitched. This tool would prevent that.
The template is available at Four Paws Quilting and you can see a video demonstration by Patsy Thompson right here. After watching the video, it seemed like a helpful tool and so I purchased one for my machine. It arrived on Friday, and the plastic still had a protective film coating on it. After peeling off one side, it became clear (pun totally intended) that this was going to be a bit more tedious than anticipated. The manufacturer left the coating on when the tool was etched, and so the coating on the etched side came off in little bitty pieces that stuck to our fingers as we went. By "we" I mean Mike and me. It took the two of us a full 15 minutes to peel off all those little bits, putting me in a bad mood insofar as the tool was concerned.
Finally, we had it all off, except for the little bits in the circles of the etched letters. We used a toothpick to pick those out. Geez.
So anyway...finally, it was ready to use. I've already finished all the straight lines I was doing in the block borders, but I'm still working on the stitch-in-the-ditch portions of the blocks, and so I lined it up there. You can see that it fits on both sides of my foot. It comes in two sizes, and the 1/2-inch size was correct for my Baby Lock Tiara II.
One thing I'll say right off is that you're going to need nice straight seams for this to work properly. It's nice that it just slips around the corners when you come to them without needing to lift and reposition the template. Also, it has little sand paper feet that keep it from slipping.
This is a great tool for quilting straight lines. I wish I'd had it sooner. For stitch in the ditch, I found it less satisfactory. Fairly soon, I got out of the "ditch" just slightly and then, with the template adhering so securely to the fabric, it was difficult to reposition, and I ended up taking out a small section. Nevertheless, I think this is a worthwhile tool, and I'm certain it will do a good job with straight line quilting. For stitching in the ditch, the old fashioned no-template way worked better for me.
The kitties continue to make a little bit of progress each day. Poor little Maggie has had a hard time of it before coming to us, I'm afraid. She startles easily, and I've noticed that she'll flinch when we reach for her. Hopefully, she'll get over her fear in time. She's scoped out a number of little retreat hidey holes where she can go when she feels insecure, including the space under our guest room bed. Yesterday, she was very bold and took a nap on top of the bed...so I guess that's some progress.
Also, she helped Mike while he worked at his desk. Clearly, she needs to understand that being truly helpful means standing in front of the monitor instead of behind it. Every cat familiar with technology knows that.
Smitty remains very curious about her, but we're seeing a lot less of his raised back furs and fluffed out tail. Like I said...a little bit of progress each day.
Today I'm very optimistic about finishing the quilting on the Quilting Snowladies. If I'm really quick, I might even get the binding sewn on by machine. Only the four corner blocks remain, and they'll go quickly. Each one has just two adjacent unquilted sashings, whereas the other blocks have had three or four. The sashings have been the most time-consuming on this project.
So I'm off to feed the birds, and then I'll get stitching. We have a pretty sunny Sunday here, and it'll be nice to see that bright daylight out Eliza's window. It's too cold to be outside for long.