Saturday, December 12, 2015

Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen Day 11 - tension

I went to see the dermatologist this week. If you take your pale skin to the dermatologist and tell him you grew up in sub-Saharan Africa, you can actually see him picking out his next luxury car in his head, while he looks over your skin. I have two patches of dermatitis that bother me. I told him that when I stop using the cream he gave me, one of them breaks out, and if the cat rubs against the other, it breaks out. His advice? Use the cream and don't let the cat rub against your face.

Incidentally, Ms Twitch and I have morning love fests where she rubs her face on my chin and purrs like a tractor. It is so cute. Then the chemist researched it and told me the cat has scent glands in her cheeks. She is writing MINE, MINE, MINE all over me in indelible smells. I feel so used.

My point, yes, I do have one somewhere...Although I would like a magic pill to make my skin issues go away, what actually works is following a routine and avoiding obvious triggers. The same applies to the Sweet Sixteen. See? I got there in the end. It seems to me that most of my problems are going to come down to tension. So good tension routines may help me avoid aggravation. 
I am trying to get into the habit of checking the tension every time I change thread, and checking the bobbin tension every time I load a new bobbin. I also found in the blue sample above that changing fabric made a difference. The tension is terribly tight. This is a Legacy muslin as opposed to the grey Kona I had previously been testing with. In addition I changed the needle (so proud of myself...) and wound some new bobbins. Too many variables!

The bobbin tension is perfect. I am so relieved. I do not want to mess with the bobbin case! So to keep making samples, and keep adjusting the top tension. It is so helpful to have the numbers displayed so I am not guessing at where I am going with the tension, and I can take notes and then go back to the exact same tension point.

This Jamie Wallen youtube video gives very comprehensive advice on setting tension on a long arm.
                                          Back to the Kona to try to find a good tension. 
                             Still too tight, too much thread build up in the corners of the bow ties.
                                                                    Getting better
Trying out an echo inside the bow tie shape. This pattern will be good travel stitching practice too. I sew the kite string first as a wibbly wobbly line, then travel back over it, making the bows.

Eventually I seem to have a better tension and I can start making my kite strings on the actual top. I am getting more relaxed when it comes to the real thing. Practice, practice, practice!
The real deal. One thing I have learned is to pick a pattern that won't drive me nuts when I have to do it over and over. I love pebbles, I love the look, the texture, the pattern, but it makes me crazy to do them for any length of time. I find it stressful to keep staying in the designated area and making adjustments to keep the fill pebble shaped. 

Now I need to decide what to do about the solid color areas. That's a job for another day!

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