Friday, May 20, 2016

Don't Forget To Breath

How can we forget to breath? Well, it comes about when we start 'holding our breath'. Many times we do this so subconsciously that we can't understand why we have a headache when we've been enjoying what we are doing. This past week has found me investing time in my longarm room. I won't say wasting, or spending, as my intent was to challenge myself to step out of my little comfort zone. Challenge? That would be an understatement! It started when I wanted to do some 'fancy' free motion quilting with shiny threads on my Batik star quilt. The first thing that happened was I panicked and opted for computerized stitching. Then I couldn't get a decent tension with my shiny threads! So, I again opted for my stand by 'pretty' but not shiny thread. I thought all was going well, for the first 30 seconds, and along came the first of numerous thread breaks. Here's what less than 27" of a 9" high design looked like!
As you can see, I was starting over more than I was stitching! I was holding my breath every time the machine went into resume mode. And talk about a headache, in more ways than one. By this time I had tired and sore neck muscles from the stress. So, I did what I hate doing. I turned the machine off. Removed the thread and bobbin. Unpinned a portion of my quilt from the top leader bar, and started to UNSTITCH. Now for those of you who don't quite think that's a pain in the neck, it totally is! When my machine puts in 12 stitches to the inch I can barely see them without using special glasses. Funny, if the machine stitches well and I don't have to unstitch anything, I can see every stitch that wobbles, go figure! That took almost 3 hours to unstitch what took my 1 hour to stitch. 4 hours is usually enough time if I'm letting the computer do the moving of the machine, to quilt an entire queen size quilt!

The next day, by mid afternoon, my confidence had returned enough to get me to try it again. That's when I figured out all of the little issues that added up to my 'forgetting to breath'. This time I still chose to have the computer do the design, but I went for a gentle meander. I also used the same thread as the day before. But, I messed with my tension until I was completely ok with it. A few hours later I had it quilted and trimmed. I cut, pieced, and attached the binding to the front by machine. It now needs to have it hand sewn to the back. But I'm happy with how it looks. 

I realized that with company coming next weekend I needed to get a few things done prior their arrival. Up first was a whole cloth quilt challenge I'd given to the Cobblestone Sandwich Makers. It could be any size. We were to make something from a single piece of cloth on the top and bring it to our June 4th meeting. It was for sharing our decisions as to why we chose that particular piece of fabric, and the size, design(s) used, and thread(s) used. I chose a 40" square of my hand dyed cloth. Did it totally free motion, no computer stitches at all. Lots of learning lessons that I will share with my fellow Sandwich Makers. It is completed. I didn't stress about this. It was to be for fun and learn a few things along the way. I played my music a little too loud, well, actually, a lot too loud for the neighbors! But it was 2pm not 2am! 

This will be going to the beach when my grandkids are here. I'm sure they're going to enjoy seeing their names on it. 

I not only was breathing with this one, I enjoyed it! And I don't have a headache or stressed muscles. 

Saturday is a Palmetto Fiber Arts Quild meeting. I'll be there, I'm challenging each of them with a little project too. I really need to quit coming up with something that sounds like a good idea! 

I hope to post once more before the end of the month, but with family coming, I'm off to the beach with them! We've gotta break in that 'beach quilt'. 

Have a wonderful weekend. And please, remember to breath!  -  Luann


Gill said...

I love your hand dyed cloth - what a great idea to 'write' your grandchildren's names on it!

Lynda said...

Great post as always. I love the dyed cloth. I would love for you to share with us the lessons you learned from it.

Terry said...

Luann, Doesn't that just make you want to scream when the tension is off and the thread continues to break??!! Well, I could have written something else. . .!!! I know with my domestic, I need to slow down, drop the tension on the top, use a large eyed needle and often I can use metallic threads. Notice, I wrote "often." Sometimes, it just won't work! Inhale, exhale, . . .I'm off to breathe now. Thanks for the reminder!--Terry

Monica said...

So much of what we do in textile arts can be so frustrating! And I've unpicked machine quilting, so I know what you're talking about there.
The whole cloth quilt looks wonderful.