I brought the new sewing machine into the house on Wednesday, but didn't have time to set it up that day. I got to it on Thursday, and that day I mostly read the book. It is a lot more complicated than the machine it replaced. I am one of those people who needs to get into a new piece of equipment pretty quickly or I'll get stuck, so I got the machine threaded and sewed a test seam or two on Thursday afternoon.
The dealer didn't leave a small spool of thread on this machine, but he left enough thread that I could see the one tricky part of the threading process. The "tricky part" wasn't actually all that tricky, but the directions weren't all that clear either. Being able to see it made a difference.
I like to keep the machine covered with a drape over it, but it is obvious that the one I made for the other machine last year is going to be too small for this one. I need to make another. The drape is to keep the machine from getting dusty. The one time I didn't use it, I was shocked at just how dusty it got. Both machines are electronic and they don't need dust in their moving parts.
The project I started with the old machine is a bed scarf for the end of my bed. It is done with a special ruler. The sewing is easy. The cutting, pressing and marking are not that easy. I've had some problems with it.
The block starts by cutting squares and triangles and sewing them to one another. Then you recut the unit so it is a square of a particular size. Then you sew one long strip of background fabric and the squares together it. This is what that looks like. These center squares are pretty much the same color as the sheets are but if you look closely you can see the triangle of background white.
You then cut the rectangle units apart and sew them to more white fabric. You can see the small unit below.
The bigger unit includes the next two petal units. There will be two more petals, in different colors, to make a larger unit. Then 4 of the larger units will be sewn together to make up a block.
At this point I've got all of the pieces for the petal units cut except for some of the triangles. I wanted to make one sample block before I tried to do all of it.
That is what I am going to be doing next. I've cut and marked enough pieces for a full block and one extra unit. It is much easier to decide where to mark, where to sew and where to cut if there is a unit available to look at, which is why I'm doing it this way.
I know of several ways to make a pieced block. When I made my first quilt I literally drew the sewing line on each piece by drawing around a cardboard pattern with a pencil and then cut them out by hand. And then I hand sewed them with a running stitch. That was how one made a quilt in the early 1970s. At that point I'd never seen a quilt made by anyone else, and I didn't know anyone who made quilts. Like a lot of the needlework I've learned, I was totally self taught out of books. I was successful in that I actually made a quilt that got finished, but there was so much wrong with it I'm amazed that I ever tried again.
These days most people sew their quilts with a sewing machine. They cut the pieces out precisely using a mat and a rotary cutter with a quarter inch seam and don't mark the sewing line. With this project I'm cutting some of the pieces a bit larger than they will end up and I'm using a ruler to mark some of the seam lines. I'm back to sewing on a marked line. Some of the other pieces are cut precisely.
Some of the instructions I'm following, which came with the ruler, are not clear, and some of them are totally wrong, which was frustrating. That is another reason I'm going to be making the first block up totally before I work on the rest of them.
I've also decided I will to be trying out a couple of other methods I know on other projects. I'm not sure I love this particular method.