Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Last time I mentioned my Crossed Canoes quilt, I said it was time for some quilting. And I was right!

A couple weekends ago, I got myself set up and started stitching on the centre circle I had drawn:
At first I used my walking foot (above). Then when I wanted to use my quilting guide (You can see a picture of one here. It's the L-shaped bar with the bent tip attached to the back of the presser foot.), I had to switch to my regular foot. It doesn't fit on the walking foot. (Very bad design oversight.) But I quickly realized that the arm of the guide hits the fabric too far ahead of the needle and really doesn't work for curved lines. I needed something that would line up beside the needle.

Not having something like that, after each circle I completed, I drew dashed lines to mark the next circle two inches further out. It was somewhat tedious, but since I was still working near the centre of the quilt, it was manageable.

By the end of the session, I had four circles done:
Unfortunately, I also had quite a few jogs in my sewing:
Not pretty. And I was realizing that hand marking each circle was quickly becoming less practical.

As I was discussing the problem with Troy, we somehow came to the conclusion that I needed a laser pointer attached to my machine, which would shine down exactly two inches from the needle. We can't remember who first voiced it out loud (probably Troy), but it was a brilliant idea.

A brilliant idea I had to try. (I haven't been married to Troy for 11+ years without his certain brand of DIY rubbing off on me!)

So this weekend, I took the laser pointer Troy had and "rednecked" a solution.
I know, it looks really pretty, doesn't it! Troy says it's not really rednecking if it's not duct tape, but I can live without the extra-strength tape residue on my machine.

I had to mount the pointer on an angle since it actually had to light up a spot under the top of the machine. And the second clothes pin is just to keep the light on--it's got a button that has to be held down for the light to stay on. (I don't know if it's allowed in rednecking, but I think I love clothespins more than duct tape.)

I carefully aligned the light so that it was two inches from the needle:
And look at this:
When I put the fabric under the needle, I could line the previous stitching up with the laser and off I went, with my walking foot.

I did five more rounds in about an hour and they're all a lot neater. This is the back:
The green bobbin thread shows up best on the tan fabric. But I have a trick I'm going to play...I'm going to be quilting the whole thing again between these circles with tan thread in the bobbin. Then those lines will show up on the green and it will give the impression of full circles. Can't wait to see it!

And here is a bit of the front:
With such busy piecing, the quilting doesn't show up as much on the front, but I'm still looking forward to seeing the total overall effect.


  1. You should occasionally draw a true circle by hand just to make sure you're not getting weird distorted stretched non-round circles after too many copies.


  2. Actually I have been keeping a close eye on this as I sew. I compare where the circle lies compared to comparable seams and intersections on all sides of the quilt. I've been pleased with how well it's been working out.

    I also looked carefully when I spread out the whole quilt to take a step back and see the larger picture. It looked good to me.


  3. Wonderful solution! I love DIY approaches.


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