Out of the box

A week full of sewing and designing!

I worked on two baby boy quilts and I also managed to sew the blocks together from the massive “Chugging Along” project!


For those who have not seen the picture of the “Chugging Along” train pattern, here is a picture:

Want to see more pictures of this enormous project I worked on for three months? Click here! There is even a giveaway for the pattern set! Click here for the giveaway.

I was so happy to finish this part of that quilt top. There will be more rows in the future, but I need to design those patterns first. That will take some time! 🙂

I also worked on two little baby boy quilts this week: The first one to be finished was the jumbo train!

(Okay, not really finished because there are no bindings yet… I will tell you later why!)

The train is also paper pieced . The pattern (same as the one above) was scaled up by 250% so it ended up being 20 x 20 inches. I added borders to get to 30 x 30 inches.

I tried to FMQ McTavish for the first time! I am happy with the results, even though I still have a lot to learn about the real McTavishing.

Did you know there is a Free Motion Linky Party going on at Amy’s Free Motion Quilting Adventures? We are all trying to get the hang of this beautiful quilting design! Why won’t you join us?

Question: do you think I should outline the train with the darker thread ? Only the left of the train stands out in this picture. Or should I not bother as it is the back?

Do you see the large stitches and the small? This is where my machine “got out of wack” and the tension trouble started. On the second baby quilt (see below) it got much worse! There the top thread kept breaking and the bottom thread was visible on the top even with the tension all the way down to 0!!! HORROR!!!

I tried every trick in the book (changing needles, changing thread, changing tension top and/or bottom etc etc) and finally decided that the machine needed a checkup by a professional, so I sent it out into the world to see my brother-in-law; the best sewing machine repairman in Maastricht! I will be without my Janome for quite some time. 😦 Luckily I have my grandma’s old Pfaff (from 1961) here, so the baby quilts will get a binding in the next couple of days!

The other baby quilt I was telling you about is a wholecloth with a kind of cheater fabric with cute animals and stripes.

A light blue flannel for the backing: very soft and cuddly… can’t stop touching it!

I started the FMQ with a dogwood pattern following the grids in the fabric. I soon tired of this and  went “out of the box”!

The problem I have been having with the tension is not visible on the back, just the front. I hope that the thread does not come off this quilt after washing….

I played around with the FMQ patterns . The dogwood turned into feathers that became swirls and sew on and sew on!  ; -)  It was a lot of fun to just play with the machine again. I had not FMQ for a long time except for this pouch I made for Jennifer in the UK for the “Triple Zip Swap 2014“.

Look at what I received from Mariana from Spain! Isn’t it fabulous???

Fabric, candy, pens, an eraser that smells like chocolate (for real!), tissues with hearts, gorgeous soap and a cute notebook! Mariana even matched the pens with the pouch! How cute is that?!

All of my favorite colours!

Look, look! See how she switched the zipper pulls on the zipps?


This is what she wrote in the little notebook:

And she topped it off with fabric!

Couldn’t be happier with the gifts received!

The next couple of days will be filled with finishing up the last digital patterns of the train set. The weather will be very beautiful tomorrow, so I will try to sneak out of the house for a while and soak up the sun! I hope where you are the sun is shining too!


p.s. I am linking up with all of these:

Free Motion Linky Party  at Amy’s Free Motion Quilting Adventures,

Can I get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric addict

Friday Finish at Richard and Tanya Quilts

Of the Wall Friday at Creations-Quilts, Art, Whatever

The Free Motion Quilting Project at Leah Day’s blog


20 thoughts on “Out of the box

  1. Your FMQ is so awesome……your McTavishing/echo stitching is excellent….it is YOUR version!!!!!! Karen is the “inspiration” for you to make it your own!!!!! I am so sorry about the tension problems (been there/experienced that…ugh!). Did you, per chance, clean out the top thread tension disks well?? Also, the spring in the bobbin casing?? Maybe the stars fell out of alignment??? Your stitching (dogwood/orange peel to feathers to swirls is LOVELY!!!!!! It works!!!!!!!) certainly shows off nicely with the top of the quilt. Great finish!!! I’ve been following the stitch along (Amy’s) from the shadows…..learning lots but no real time to do a ‘commit’ on this one. Just “soaking it in”!!!! Hugs…………………………

  2. Beautiful FMQ on those baby quilts – the tension problems are quite invisible. Don’t worry too much about the thread, even if one or two break it will still be a beautiful quilt, made with love. And remember: Finished is better than perfect.

  3. Great quilting on both quilts! Sorry to hear of the tension/machine woes–that sounds terribly frustrating. And what a fun swap to be in! The bag you made is super cute, and the one you got is super cute!

  4. My first thought when I saw the trains was it was an adorable panel, then I realised you made it! Amazing! I’d want to do it for my boys, but I know by the time I got it finished, they’d be out of the train stage. Hmm…am I so slow I should consider starting now on projects for grandchildren? Hope not!

    Your McTavishing is fabulous and I think you for linking up!

  5. Your quilting looks incredible! Sorry to hear you were having so much trouble with the tension. Especially when you were having so much fun! Hope you can get your Janome back soon! Lovely gifts! What a lucky girl!

  6. Oh my Esther you have been busy!! This is such excellent work. Gorgeous! I love all of the details and those wheels are fabulous. Wonderful use of the fabric. Keep on chuggin’

    • Hello Kathy,
      Thank you very much! It was a lot of fun to jump in with the McTavishing even though I maybe should have started on paper… Next time I will draw some longer curves first and fill them in with shorter c-shapes. It makes it more dynamic I think. Anyway, for the first tries of this pattern I am pretty happy with the results. The babies will be happy with the quilts whatever the stitches look like!
      Have a wonderful Sunday!

  7. Wow, you are amazing!! Love all your projects. I hope I can do as much on McTavishing with Amy’s Linky party as you have done.

  8. love your train pattern – just fantastic. I have a new grandson who will go through a train stage for sure if his grandpa has anything to say about it! your quilting is great – playing is the way to go in my book!

  9. Your chugging along quilt is just amazing Esther!! This is going to be such a wonderful quilt when it’s finished. And the enlarged version of the engine is fantastic! Perfect for a baby quilt!

  10. Pingback: Soy Amado & McTavishing | ipatch

  11. Pingback: Chugging Along – Finished!!! | ipatch

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