Retrospective – 1994 Queen Anne Star

Welcome to the fourth in my more-or-less monthly series of quilt retrospectives.

1994 Queen Anne Star
1994 Queen Anne Star

Size: 228 x 275 cm (90″ x 108″)
Design: Queen Anne Star by Holice Turnbow
Fabric: Pre-printed wholecloth top
Batting: low-loft polyester (I think it was Fairfield but I’m not sure)
Quilted: by hand, April 1993 to November 1994
Bound: by machine & hand 1994
Valuation: $1745 (1995)

While in San Diego in 1992 I purchased a 29″ Hinterberg maple wood quilting hoop. On being posted to Canberra in 1993 I wanted to do a hand-quilting project but the prospect of either drawing my own wholecloth or piecing something that had plenty of room for quilting didn’t appeal to me. Instead I bought a pre-printed wholecloth kit from the US. I used the lowest-loft polyester batting I could find (to facilitate small stitches) and a plain cream cotton backing.

I started in April 1993 and it took me approximately eighteen months to do the quilting, finishing in November 1994. I remember working on it during the evenings and weekends, listening to audiobooks or music as I sewed. I was living in a ground floor flat at the time, and it was cool enough to quilt even in the summer (it was frigid in the winter and I was very glad that my legs were covered while quilting!).

1994 Queen Anne Star centre detail
1994 Queen Anne Star centre detail

In this early progress shot (scanned from a film print) you can see that I altered the pattern a little — I left out some small embellishments in the centre and added a second row of lines to the plain diagonal grid.

1994 Queen Anne Star border detail
1994 Queen Anne Star border detail

As I neared the finish, I embroidered my name and date in the border cable at bottom right, though I’ve redacted it in this photo. I couldn’t find the strip of the top fabric that had been supplied for binding, so I used a similar fabric which has, unfortunately, become darker with time.

The quilt was exhibited at my local guild show in 1995. It was valued, as part of the submission process, at $1745.

Although it was a kit, I like the design and I like the quilt. I have used it as a bedspread or light summer cover from time to time and it’s very comfortable. Unfortunately the supplied top fabric is of a slightly poorer quality than the backing, and has started to pill.

Lessons learned:
1. If purchasing another pre-printed top, use a light box to transfer the design to a better quality fabric to use as the top (my stitching isn’t good enough to use the backing as the front).
2. When hand-quilting a large project, turn up or wrap the edges to protect the fabric and batting.
3. Use the same fabric for top and binding when doing a wholecloth quilt.

More Ruler Work Woes

I wrote in January that I was having problems with ruler quilting on the tumbling blocks mini.

Fabric bunched up in front of the ruler foot
Ruler foot problems 1

At that time the problem was pressor foot pressure — try as I might, I was unable to get the pressor foot to lift enough to allow the quilt sandwich to move. I was using MonoPoly in the needle and Invisafil in the bobbin and it’s possible that tension issues might have contributed (although I had used those same threads with the walking foot quilting and had no problem at all).

Today I was quilting En Bourgogne and decided to try some ruler work on the B blocks. This time I am using Gütermann polyester in both needle and bobbin. I made a test run at the edge of the batting and the foot moved easily — I didn’t take a photo, unfortunately, and I pulled out the thread before starting on the quilt itself. Confident that the previous problem had resolved, I made a start on one of the blocks in the middle of the quilt. The result was … not good.

Ruler work tension issue - June 2019
Ruler work tension issue – June 2019

(Please click through to see the large photo)

Apart from the issue of moving the quilt while keeping the ruler still (which caused uneven stitching) and the extreme difficulty in getting the foot over seam allowances, the tension was way off — the bobbin thread was being pulled right through to the top. And yes, I double-checked that the pressor foot was down while I was quilting (it’s not easy to tell with the ruler foot). I’m pretty sure that I’m using the correct option within the ruler work menu — it’s a thin cotton batting with not much puffiness, as you can see from the walking foot lines I quilted earlier.

Ruler work setting
Ruler work setting

Has anyone had similar issues with the Janome 9400 or 9450?

I’d take it back to the shop where I had the upgrade installed, but they’ve moved since January and, while the technicians are the same, all the front staff have changed and I’m not confident that there is anyone there who has actually used this machine.

May Achievements and June goals

May goals:

1. AHQ: Four laundry bags for Townsville. Done. I just have to add the cords and print the letters and they’ll be ready to post on Monday. They are being posted directly to Townsville and won’t be on the AHQ blog, so here are the photos:

Laundry Bags for Townsville 1
Laundry Bags for Townsville 1

Laundry Bags for Townsville 2
Laundry Bags for Townsville 2

I’m especially pleased that I was able to sew the linings shut by hand without any thumb or wrist pain, so I should be able to resume hand-sewing in the evenings.

Memo to self: never sew by hand for more than three hours a day in future.

2. Personal: Assemble the Oriental Stained Glass top. Not done. When I started to lay out the top I found that I had managed to make some of the A blocks incorrectly, which was annoying and a little upsetting, so I set them aside to let me think about what to do. Having thought about it, I’d have to disassemble the blocks almost completely to fix the errors but I’m way too lazy for that, so I’ll have to work out a layout that minimises the errors. If anyone asks, it’s a design variation *wink*.

3. FAL: finish the quilting on EB. I’ve made progress but the quilting isn’t finished. I have another five weeks or so before the FAL due date so there’s plenty of time yet (and at least three more Stanley Cup Final games to go).

No additional work this month — partly because of my hands, partly because I was very disappointed that neither of my ice hockey teams made it further than the second round.

June goals:
1. AHQ: I’m not setting one this month — I need a break from deadlines.
2. Personal: Finish the last two Hawaiian blocks. The fabric is stiffened already, so as soon as I trace around the pattern I can cut it, glue it down and stitch it. They are both being done by machine so it’s two days’ work at most. [If I manage that early in the month, I’ll have another crack at the Oriental Stained Glass layout.]
3. FAL: finish the quilting on EB and bind it. No difficulties anticipated.