Sunday, February 21, 2010

Celtic Knot or Not

If one uses the dining room table for one's sewing machine, the machine has to be put away at frequent intervals. And then sometimes when it is put away, the machine stays put away for days... and weeks ... and months.

Which explains why nothing happened to my Celtic Knot (from Ferret's book) between about September (when I last posted about it) and a week ago. But the sewing machine stayed put away, and I got sidetracked with other things.

Then one of the kids needed the machine, so it got dragged out and crucially, not put away afterwards.

The following morning, the day before half term, it called to me, it's siren call keeping me from all the other possibilities. It was impossible to resist, especially knowing it was my last chance for over a week. I threaded the red thread into place, smoothed out my quilt sandwich and started to sew.

(I should make it clear that I am a novice at machine quilting, so what happened next is entirely my fault. And it was full of pins.)

I sewed a few inches of bias tape in place, and from the top it looked fine.
square of But because I was stopping and starting lots anyway, I used one of the stops to check the back. The back was not fine, the back had lots of skipped stitches.

square of

I cut the thread, and started again in a different place. Soon I checked the back again, and there were still lots of skipped threads. So I rethreaded the machine, and started for a third time - and there were still lots of skipped threads.

Normally, I would stop at this point and do something else.

But I thought back to last summer, and helping Ferret at the Festival of Quilts, an event I still haven't properly blogged.

People visiting the gallery tended to open the conversation with one of several 'standard' comments (although the ways it would diverge after a standard response were endlessly fascinating). One standard conversation started with the visitor saying "it looks so difficult, I don't think I could do that" (or something similar). My answer was a variation on "what Ferret says is that if you start with the bit you can do, your skills will increase and then you'll be able to do things you can't do now."

"Hmmm", I thought to myself, "if I was saying that, then I'd better actually put it into practise".

So I had a cup of coffee and a biscuit, and started again. This time, I just continued, all the way round the knot, slowly and carefully, making sure that what I could see looked fine. It took about 45 minutes to go all the way round, but finally it was done. And I took it out of the machine and looked at the back. And I realised what the problem had been, because there were areas where there was no skipping. The skipping problem happened in the areas with lots of pins! The last bits of sewing were problem free because I had been taking the pins out as I sewed.

I finished off by sewing the other side of the bias tape in place, and declared it done (for the moment). I am actually very pleased with the result: the bias tape does not show up much, because it was cut from the same material as the background, but that was the effect I wanted. square ofThe red stitching shows up well on the blue backing material (although not in the photos) and again that was the effect I wanted. It isn't good enough for a reversable wallhanging, but I am pleased with it as a practise piece.
square of
Oh yeah, what is it meant to be? It's the convection currents inside a star, and the blue is the night sky. I might use yellow instead of red for my next try, but it's sort of what I wanted.

No comments: