Feeling Fluish

I like adding "ish" to the ends of word. Or sometimes using "ish" as a word. About the only good thing about having the flu is being able to say, "I feel fluish."

Last Tuesday we had our first real snow of the season, and Tuesday night I was up with the first (and only, I hope) stomach flu of the season. There is never a good time for the flu, but this was particularly bad. I have an excellent colleague who sat in on final presentations for my production class, and Charlie stayed home to care for Jaxon. I've felt well enough to go to work beginning on Friday, but still not 100%. I've spent the last week grading finals, and warding off the cold that is attempting to highjack my weakened immune system.

One bright spot in a bleak week, my new winter shoes came:

Snazzy! From Lands' End.

Also, I pieced the top of Jaxon's quilt. This was really quick to sew and I think shows off the prints well.

Here's one corner. I still need to add an inner and outer border.

But here's the bad news...I've been practicing my machine quilting, and I am still only confident with straight lines. Here is the front of my practice FMQ:

And here is the back:

What am I doing wrong? Obviously there is an overall tension problem, but am I pulling too hard on the turns?

Whatever the issue is, I am not going to have it remedied in time to finish this quilt by Christmas, so I think I am going to have to have it professionally quilted. I don't know the first thing -- advice? How should I find a quilter? What should I ask? How much should I expect to pay? I think this top is a quilter's dream -- lots of big patches of fabric to show off quilting, and an opportunity for some fun patterns. But at this point I'd take some nice looking loops if it means having it for Christmas.

Instead of ending this post on a disappointment, I thought I'd share a picture Charlie took this weekend. He was touring here, and this should be familiar to any fans of The Shawshank Redemption. One of my favorites.


Molly said...

I do long arm quilting, but have never tried on my domestic machine, so no tips there except that I am sure it takes a while to get the hang of it. I would ask your local quilt shop about a quilter in your area, and hopefully she can get it done before Christmas. One of the most common mistakes people make when they send a quilt out to a quilter is that they don't make the quilt back big enough. It needs to be about two inches bigger on all four sides. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Molly said...

Oh yeah, and I hope you are feeling better soon. I hate cold and flu season.

jacquie said...

sorry you're not feeling your best. i guess it's never a good time to be sick. i can't help with the tension issues...i think that's a trial and error thing. my fmq is more compact...i guess i'm trying to say my loops are smaller...it helps me get more of a rhythm. i'm still a real beginner so it may be no help at all.

Anonymous said...

The top tension is a bit loose and that is allowing the bobbin thread to pull it to the back. It is also that when people do a rounded shape they tend to swoop quickly around the end part and this causes the tension to pull too. You need to find a consistent speed to move your hands so that the stitches are roughly the same length every where. Persist - you'll get there. like anything it is all just a matter of time and practise.

FerJeniB said...

Can't help with advice for the the quilting. I can only offer to contribute to the funds as we haven't gotten the last of the boy's present yet. Sorry to hear that the flu hit you. I've now got Marcelo's cold! Hopefully motherhood will boost my immune system! - Love and Hugs - J

Jackie's Stitches said...

I took my first FMQ class last weekend. The instructor was forever saying "slow down your hands and hit the pedal". Seems to work for me. My tension and stitches look good. Too bad my actual patterning totally rots! Guess a lot of practice is in my future! :)

Mom said...

I've been thru the school of quilting knocks...move the fabric slower, move your tension towards the negative numbers until loops disappear on backside. Try a thinner batting even. I have a harder time with loopy quilting than just a soft meandering in getting the back to look decent. Check your machine's threading again, even. It's kinda like voodoo in my experience :-)

MJ said...

The only meandering I do is in my head and, periodically (altho I feel guilty), in my car. I've given up quilting, altho I don't mind doing the piercing and layout! You do a much better job than me meandering! Hope you are feeling better now!!

susan said...

oh i applaud you for even trying
i am afraid to try anything other than giant zigzags! hope you are able to work this out. your shoes are sweet

Amanda Jean said...

I'm laughing at our very similar photos!!! that's fun. aren't those shoes great? I HEART mine.

did you figure out your free motion quilting issues??

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