Phew, busy day yesterday, but definitely productive!  I had my first lesson at David Drummond’s Sewing Machine Centre in Edinburgh.  When you buy a machine from David, it comes with a certain number of hours of free tuition (not to mention a fab servicing deal going forward and many other benefits) so I had 3 hours to use.  For my first 1 1/2 hour session I really wanted to learn the mysteries behind free motion quilting.  Although there’s loads of advice online, a lot of it’s conflicting: feed dogs up/feed dogs down, tension reduced, stitch length etc, depending on the machine used, so I thought I’d ask the expert for my machine.  I can tell you now, that if you have  Brother NX 2000 then it’s the regular straight stitch setting, feed dogs down with foot ‘O’ (I think there’s a foot ‘C’ that works as well, but it’s a closed foot where the ‘O’ is an open foot and you can see what you’re doing better)

Anywho, I got to play on the machine with a variety of ways of holding the fabric in place.  I started with a regular sprung embroidery hoop, which my instructor said was useful for practising small bits of work before hitting the main quilt.  I didn’t get to take that bit of work home (it was just on a scrap fabric sandwich), but I found it remarkably easy, albeit you wouldn’t want to look too closely at the stitch lengths ;o)  We then moved on to trying (on a new scrap bit of fabric) without the hoop.  That wasn’t so much fun as I really struggled to move the fabric about using just my hands, so they got out one of the free motion frames for me to try. This is a kind of 3-sided square (the 4th side is open) with a grip on the bottom, and wee handle bits on either side.  That worked like a dream, and I would have bought one there and then if they’d had one in stock!  Alas, they didn’t (the one I was using was part of a much bigger kit that I didn’t need), although they can order one for me, but my instructor suggested I try the gloves I got at the fair a couple of weeks ago and see how I go with them before getting it (although it was only Β£20, it was nice that they didn’t try and push it on me).  Here’s what I produced, pretty, right? ;o)

You’ll see we were also having a go with a bunch of the decorative stitches, as well as the multi-directional function – that was seriously cool – sew a square without having to turn the fabric?  Hell yeah!  How useful it would have been if I realised that existed when I did my ATS quilt with its square quilting.  Oh well!  There’s so much more in this machine for me to explore, I think it might be a ‘long weekend’ job to sit and really have a play with it all.

After all this, I met up with mum and gran for lunch, and we may or may not have visited a fabric shop and rescued some fabric… The solids are linen/cotton mixes in such yummy colours, I had to get some for some bags.  I was also happily surprised to see some Reunion, so I got that, and the stripes are an end of bolt which will be perfect for binding!

After which, we headed home and after I made dinner, and we’d eaten, I got to work on cutting out and tacking my new bear project.  This morning I got all the machine sewing done on him, so now he’s all set to go to Ireland in a week and a half for a handwork project to unpick the tacking, finish the hand sewing on his muzzle and feet, and then his construction.

That completed, I then moved onto the sashing and binding of my SHQ QAL, ready to go into the draw for completed tops.  It’s also one of my Finish Along finishes – yay!:

And then onto a project for next weekend (which those in the UK/Ireland should understand!)  You’ll just have to wait to see that one though ;o)