Monday, November 4, 2013

Design Wall Monday - and more

Here is what's on my
my UFO goal for November
and inspired by Jo's Country Junctions 

I dug into my half assembled quilt top pile
and pulled out Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay:
partially sewn top with 
partially sewn blocks
and missing bits & pieces in between.
The red carpet underneath is a bit deceiving, but 
15 red string units are missing and about
74 trouble units.
My goal is to complete the top 
as it is shown as pre-layout above
(the final border will be a later decision...).

And here is my trouble unit:

It's a love-hate story for me:
I love the quilt,
but for the life of me 
this trouble unit 
is just about impossible for me to sew:
It bunches up, shrinks, curls, 
gets stuck in the feed dogs
and everything else that could go wrong.
Not to mention a lot of choice words are flying
in just about any language I know ;-)

So any hints and tips you may have,
please help and let me know!
Yep, I know:
my HST is already funky,
I do have better ones, but no photo available...
Happy sewing,


  1. Okay, here's my two cents worth :-) I would press the seam OPEN on the HST, use spray starch on each piece before any sewing, use a 'leader' scrap piece of fabric before sewing on to the actual block, when attaching the triangles to the HST, sew from the 45 deg angle, not the other end,press those seams open as well (reduces bulk),use a smaller stitch length to hold the block together well. I like to make HST's a little larger and then trim down to a perfect HST which does make the next step much easier. Spray starch will help keep the fabric from scrunching up and open seams will help with the issue of the feed dogs eating the block. I would have a few ready to sew, so once you sew through the leader scrap, you then chain sew all of the other pieces with just a thread or two between each one, that will also help with the scrunching problem. Such little pieces need a good sharp new needle too. Plus a nice fine thread. I hope you find this helpful - I'm no expert but these are just the things I have learnt along the way.

    1. Think I had my brain turned off when I typed the above. Of course, I meant 90 deg angle :-)

    2. Helen - thank you so much for your help! Will try all of them!

  2. Love the look of that quilt top. When I'm having scrunching problems the spray starch really works for me as does a fine thread. I've never worked out why HST sometimes fly together beautifully and other times are little horrors. Good luck.

  3. Your Orca Bay looks great against that red carpet -- you may have the border figured out. I'd try changing the needle, too.

    The sewing machine mechanic who services my machines said that feed dogs wear out, though he couldn't predict how long that would take. (Years? Decades?) It makes sense that after feeding miles and miles and miles of fabric between presser foot & feed dogs the teeth on the dogs would wear down.

  4. I think Helen came up with all my suggestions. Another idea is to create a paper piecing pattern for that unit. The paper would stabilize the bias edges for you. I hope these ideas work for you because that quilt NEEDS to be completed. It is just so COOL!! Good luck! (I had to chuckle at the "in just about all the languages that I know"!! Oh, use a Microtex needle - they are the best!!

  5. Oh - Orca Bay is a fabulous quilt!!! Definitely one you'll love when it's finished. :D Another thing you can try - keep some scrap paper by the machine, and lay the tip of it under the leading triangle corner as it goes under the dogs, letting it be under the first few stitches so it can't get sucked into the undercarriage. Easily ripped off afterward!


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