Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Knitting a shawl on the Long-arm

My three quilts for the show are basically ready to go, so yesterday I decided to try something fun and different. My niece is getting married on Saturday, so I started making a "knitted" shawl that is actually just fibers sewn together. I saw this technique on Simply Quilts by Marilyn Badger. You start with a layer of water-soluble stabilizer pinned to the rollers of the quilt table. Then comes the fun- choosing yarns, ribbons, threads and fibers to spread across the stabilizer. I used Silk Tops in ivory, pink, and purple; silk ribbons; some mohair and acrylic yarns, metallic thread, and Angelina fibers. (I had purchased most of these things right after viewing the TV episode, then let them sit forlornly in a bulky box under the Gammill table waiting to be used. ) Next you cover your whole creation with another layer of water-soluble stabilizer, and start sewing over the whole thing with water-soluble thread. (I used Vanish Extra.) Then, you sew a grid every quarter inch with polyester thread (Cotton thread might shrink.) In my case, after I started sewing the grid, I thought there were too many "holes" in the fabric, so I added more yarn and Angelina, and covered with yet another layer of water-soluble stabilizer. So now, I am sewing through this object that looks like a thick hairy shower curtain! Not the desired effect!

The going has not been easy. First problem: I left long tails of the yarns and ribbons at the sides for "fringe." Almost immediately, I got a length of yarn trim wrapped around my bobbin assembly and jammed my motor. I was picturing a trip to Fayetteville or an emergency call to a sewing machine repairman to bail me out. However, my trusty manual said I might be able to unjam the thing by yanking with force on the back wheel of the machine, which I actually had never even noticed before. (I almost always work from the front.) Hey, it worked! After a delightful forty-five minutes of picking thread and trim from the bobbin assembly area, I was back at it.

Next problem: thread breakage. I decided to use Bottom Line in pale pink on top and white in bobbin to tone down the brightness of this creation. But, my thread kept breaking and breaking. Finally I changed to a new needle and that solved the problem. So, last night I finished the vertical grid on the part of the fabric that was available before rolling. (I want this thing to be about 27" by 72"- the wedding is in the mountains!)

Here is how it looks so far:

The funny thing is, now it doesn't look like this shawl will go with the dress I planned to wear. Might be too overwhelming! Time for emergency dress shopping????

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