Sunday, December 27, 2015

Squeak screeches to a halt

The last few times I've been quilting on my Pfaff GrandQuilter 18.8, it has been misbehaving.  It would occasionally start squealing.  Metal on metal.

I oil this lovely machine religiously, likely over-oil.  So when the squeaking started, I'd add a bit more oil and it would stop squeaking.

Today, there were only whispers of squeaks and mostly good behaviour, right up until it stopped. Quilting along, it has a harsh hum and the needle will no longer go up or down.  The lights indicating whether it is in needle-up or needle-down and if it is in the start stitching position, are flashing. Quickly turn it off so it doesn't burn out the fuse.  And unplug.

Try turning the hand wheel, and nothing moves.  Rock it back and forth and eventually it will move again.

Plug it back in.  Starts OK, and will even perform a needle-up cycle.  But it's working too hard.

Take the cover off the belt at the back - not that I can see anything, and nothing looks out of place.

I was working on my MIL's quilt project that we found earlier in the spring.  Had been hoping to get it finished up and to her before the new year.

Hopefully I can find someone to service the machine.

Sad day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Math Meets Literature

It's finished, bathed, photographed and gifted!  The wedding quilt for my beautiful daughter and her new husband is all packed up and on its way with them to enjoy California.

When I suggested that I would like to make a wedding quilt for them, the request was for something with lots of blue.  The young gent has just finished his PhD in Math, and she studied English and Women's Studies.  They share many passions and are delightful together.

The quilt started with Ricky Tim's "Harmonic Convergence" squares.  I had some blues and some pink/purple to converge, and initially I thought I'd put four different convergences together to make the inner square.  But ugh, all the different beautiful fabrics were just horrid all together.  Those squares will find their way to become pillowcases.  Found a gradated blue batik, and a beautiful pink plume fabric, and made four identical convergences.  The cutting sequences follow the Fibonacci sequence and scraps from the four squares worked perfectly to connect all four together.

The middle round is random triangles, or pieces of Pi.

The outer round is a bookshelf.  The backgrounds are different greys.  The round is 9" high.  Each 'book' or strip represents a number - the number '1' is represented by a blue square 1" high with 8" of grey.  '2' is 2" high purple with 7" of grey background.  And so on and so forth.  "9" is all pale purple, "0" is all grey.  The number sequence ... 3.141592 and so on and so forth.  The first 300 digits of Pi. All around the outer edge.  

I did up a spreadsheet with all of the digits of Pi, and calculated how many of each number so I'd know how many of each I'd need to cut.  

The quilting was so much fun.  I went a little crazy and decided that each number also needed its own quilting design.  SID throughout the 'bookshelf' and 'slices of Pi'. U-turns in the grey between the slices of Pi.  I had picked out a simple quilting design for the QBot to quilt on the central harmonic convergence section.  However, Windows 10 updates foiled my attempts.  I needed to do some sizing of the design, and for that I use 4D QuiltDesigner, which has a dongle that has to be inserted into the USB slot for the application to open.  Windows 10 had already been applied on my computer, and it worked fine.  But there were more updates and those ones rendered that USB dongle unreadable.  I even loaded the software onto another computer and got it running, so I could have done the design. But I got my knickers in a knot and went down a different path.  

I have some beautiful quilting rulers including "Shells and Swirls" from The Gadget Girls (no affiliation, just a fan).  This beautiful swirl reminded me of sine waves, so I used this ruler to create a wavy crosshatch across the convergence centre.

Michelle even got to help put a the binding on!  It was finished, labelled, ends buried and bathed. Photographs, wrapped up and packed up.  Today it is flying to California with the youngsters to their home in California.

The quilt was started shortly after their wedding at the end of May 2015, completed  in December 2015.  It's 101" square.  Kona cotton grey, commercial batik and quilting cotton fabrics.  Warm & natural batting.  Metro thread for the top quilting, Wonderfil's DecoBob in the bobbin.  Final wash with colour catchers and Orvus soap.

I've titled this quilt, "Math Meets Literature".

Michelle helping apply the binding


On display on our front porch - dreary and rainy day



The back - wide backing wasn't quite wide enough so added a strip down the middle.
You can see the wavy crosshatch pretty well on this shot.

Some craziness going on here - a different quilting design
for each different number in the bookshelf round.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Design Dilemma

Design challenge / dilemma / conundrum ... long but a story with a happy ending. The digital design I wanted to put on this section was not sized quite what it needed to be. Fired up the program to tweak these designs, which needs an encrypted dongle, and today the computer won't recognize the dongle. So it won't open the program. I know the updates affected a bunch of device drivers, as I also had to manually update the wireless drivers so the would recognize the house wifi without the wifi having just been restarted so it was broadcasting fresh information. And apparently the update also trashed the dongle drivers.
Installed the software on an older computer (not yet updated to W10, and I'm not going to!!). Dongle works just fine with it. Load the design. I can resize it AOK, but the design is a rectangle, and the space it needs to go is a square, so I'd have to skew the design, and I didn't like it.
Went through the other designs in my library to pick out something different to fit this quilt, but before I start working on tweaking these, I find a few other quilted designs that trigger a thought ... run upstairs, pull out my swags ruler (from The Gadget Girls) and voila! Beautiful, undulating sine waves. PERFECT. I'll turn the quilt and do the other direction to create a sine-wavy organic crosshatch. Happy dance!

Should be able to do a full reveal on this quilt before Chrismas ;)

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