Some More Blocks and a New Tool

Four more blocks and their associated sashings went under the needle today. Now, the two middle horizontal rows are complete. Here are yesterday's blocks:

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.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

sunny said...

Had Maggie read this yet? She has an adrmirer in blogland. http://www.crayonboxquiltstudio.com/
I hope you like the Line Tamer. It took me awhile to get the hang of it, but I love it now. I forgot about removing the paper from it. Not fun. Yours must me an updated version, because mine doesn't grip the fabric. I grip with my gloves or I use round little grippers that are intended for use in opening jars.

Lyndsey said...

I love the snow lady blocks. The line tamer looks good. Having taken on the wave pattern quilting on my baby quilt I am getting to grips with straight lines.

Dana Gaffney said...

I'm still loving all of the snow ladies, that ruler would have ended up in a box if I had to peel all of that off. I think Maggie moving to the top of the bed is huge, she has to be feeling more secure, maybe because of that adorable love post from Juno.

Celtic Thistle said...

Loving your snowladies Barbara, the nap taker is my favourite!

How frustrating to have to pick all of that tape off, certainly feedback that the manufacturer could do with hearing :)

Quilting Babcia said...

Your quilt ladies are looking mighty smug and happy with their quilted surroundings. Not to mention Miss Maggie, who is definitely taking blog-land by storm. She's definitely taken on the role of queen of the house!

Debbie said...

Finally an honest review of the Line Tamer! I have read of many who love this one on the Yahoo group...I knew there had to be a learning curve to it. I do little straight line quilting so I never got sucked into one. If I do it is the old fashion SID for me too. Glad the fur wars are settling down...a lot!

Sherry said...

Love the quilted pine trees on your snow lady blocks, they are coming along nicely. I am intrigued by the line ruler. Wonder if it would work on a long arm also? Taking off that protective coating will probably end up a "honey do" I don't seem to have much patience for such things. The photo of Maggie is so sweet. Glad she is beginning to relax a little.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

You have gone right to town on SnowLadies - Binding soon! Now that Maggie has discovered the top of the bed, sure the hidie spots will look less appealing.

Brown Family said...

Angel came to us off the street, too. She was just a baby, 6 months old and was terrified. It took me an hour to coax her inside. She and Wizard fell in love so she adjusted quickly. However, he left us 8 months later. She had a hard time adjusting to that. After 6 years, she has gotten use to family coming over and will make an appearance. Then in the last 6 months, she will come out and meet strangers, and then run back and hide.

THey are funny little creatures.

Love what you are doing with the Snow Ladies!

Kate said...

You've made a lot of progress with the Snow Ladies (it's probably done by now, I'm way behind on blog reading).

quiltzyx said...

Ohh, I hate it too when the "protective" coverings take their jobs too seriously! But I'm glad that you've given it a thumbs up in the end.
I can imagine how Maggie feels about coming in off the streets. Sounds like she's becoming more comfortable every day.