Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Time for a Mystery

After a busy weekend, yesterday I could finally start sewing for Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt, "On Ringo Lake". She announced the colour scheme a few weeks back, and as I have plenty of fabric of all the colours she is using I decided to stick with her scheme. The first clue was released at about 10pm on Friday, so I've been thinking about it all weekend. And I've seen lots of pictures around the internet from people who have finished this clue already, or at least made a good start.

For previous mysteries I've added to the challenge by converting the measurements to metric, or changing the measurements or the colour scheme. This time I considered making a miniature version, but then discarded that idea when I saw the first clue. My challenge to myself this time is to sew all the clues on the treadle machine.

Getting the correct seam allowance was the first challenge. I have a couple of magnetic seam guides, but they won't work for patchwork, as they can't be positioned close enough to the needle. The foot gets in the way.

So I stuck this (used up) gift card to the bed of the machine with some double-sided tape. I had to adjust it after sewing a few strips together, because they weren't quite right.

All seemed to go well, until it was time to assemble the strips into 9-patches. I just could not get the seams to line up correctly:
The machine seemed to push the seams out of alignment no matter how well they were nested when I fed them through. I tried loosening off the pressure on the presser foot, but that didn't solve the problem.

After a day of tearing my hair out, and a lot of thrown out pieces like the one above, I had very few acceptable units:
This morning I started with a new needle, which helped a bit, but I was still getting misaligned seam intersections. I sent a cry for help to the Southern Cross Quilters mailing list, and a very helpful quilter sent me a link to a YouTube video all about presser foot pressure.

That gave me a few ideas. It turned out that when I lessened the pressure yesterday, I hadn't done it nearly enough. So I lessened it as far as possible, then gradually tightened it until I was getting good results.

Here's how far out of the machine the pressure screw ended up when it was sewing nicely:
Much further than it was when I started.

With that problem solved, it took me very little time to complete my desired quantity of this week's units:
As I have done for the last few mysteries, I'm making half of the specified number of units each week.

Bonnie is hosting weekly link-ups as usual each Monday. Here's the first one, where there are already about 150 links:  Monday Link-Up . I particularly enjoy seeing the different colours people are using. Check it out!


  1. I love the way you make these mysteries extra challenging, but still get finished.

  2. Great that you were able to get those seams just right; your 9-patches turned out so nicely. Hugs, Julierose

  3. Thanks for the tip about the pressure! I have a machine that I don't sew on because it makes the seams all wonky. I'll have to try adjusting the pressure and see if that helps.

  4. Your 9-patches look great in spite of the setback. It's good you were able to adjust the pressure. Did you lose much fabric? I think I'd unpick and try those units again.

  5. Thank you! I was also having trouble with my pieces not aligning. I have not given any thought to the pressure. I will try different settings before I continue and see if I can eliminate that issue (and all the extra ripping out).

  6. Ah I read your question on Scquilters....pleased someone could help you as I didn't know how to adjust the pressure ..
    Your 9 Patches look 👀 great now....

  7. Thank you!! I have just bought an antique sewing machine and need all kinds of advices.Enjoy the mystery.

  8. So glad you solved the shifting units issue! I can only imagine how maddening that I'm very impressed you are treadling the whole mystery! You are off to a great start.

  9. I have decided not to partake this time in Bonnie's Mystery. Will look forward to following your blog posts. The colours in her original photo for inspiration are lovely.