Monday, 17 April 2017

Happy Easter!

We had the most amazing summer up here in the Far North of New Zealand, and it's only been turning autumn over the two or three few weeks now. We had the remnants of two cyclones passing us (Debbie and Cook), but thankful apart from a lot of rain we personally have been fine. Work had been so busy that while I have been sewing, I didn't seem to find the time to blog about it. With a few days off over Easter there is no excuse now:)

Back in last Jan / early Feb I came across Karin's blog and her posts about using rulers with fmq on the Pfaff Quilt Expression. I have always had problems with my Westalee ruler foot, and her advice encouraged me to try again. Karin had found that the Accents in Design  ruler foot worked better for her. I ended up ordering their foot, too, and after some delays the lovely Carol ended up sending me my foot free of postage - thank you again!
Eventually I got around to trying the foot out. Following Karin's example, I played with tension.  All samples used the same cotton/polyester batting and same homespun fabric front and back, thread is a 50w Aurifil top and bobbin. I started top right, forwards and backwards without ruler, than with ruler, followed by anti-clockwise and then clockwise loops.
Unfortunately I encountered the same skipped stitches issues I have with the Westalee foot. :

Default spring fmq settings, tension 5.2

Default spring fmq setting, tension 5.2, stitch length set to 0

Default spring fmq setting, tension 4.6 - foot sitting too high

As above, but I lowered the foot more

Default fmq setting, tension 4.2
As comparison, this is stitched using my regular Pfaff fmq foot, using the default spring fmq setting but tension down to 4.0 (a bit too loose from the back)
Just out of interest I tried the sensormatic setting but that was even worse.
I am not sure what the problem is, but while I can sort of make it work stitching forward (with and without the ruler), going backwards or stitching curves is out of the question. I think I will give it a rest for a while and see if I can pick it up again in the future.

So what else have I been up to?
  • Finish Press Start (binding, bury threads)
  • Finish Giant Chevron (quilting, binding, bury threads): Still quilting the background arrggghhh about a third to go I think?
  • Finish Opal Essence (quilting, binding, bury threads): 24/40 cubes are quilted, that's the larger part of them done...
  • Complete remaining Vintage Quilt Revival blocks: Just finished block 19 of 20 and made it in two colour ways so I get an extra (I decided to set it as 6 x 7 so I need to extra blocks):
Night time shot, sorry!
A post shared by Monika Kern (@himmelgartenquilts) on

  • Piece Metro Rings top (anything else is a bonus)
  • New little project - just four colour ways to go now (that will be about another 45 blocks)
  • Something 'arty': I had been toying with the idea of creating a NZ inspired landscape, to go with my Whakapapa #1, and I decided that inprov. piecing a flowering Pohutukawa tree would fit the bill. I looked at various images for inspiration (here is my Pinterest board) and sketched the outline of my tree. I divided it up into squares (1" on the drawing, 4" in fabric) and started improv-piecing it:

After spending a bit of money earlier in the year I have been much more frugal for the last few weeks, but this little gadget has come in very handy:
I found it at a craft sale in the Russell town hall when a cruise ship was visiting the Bay of Islands: Beautifully made from Rimu wood, it has a stiletto and a quick unpick, and both hide nicely inside the handle when not in use.

Lastly, I have been lucky to win a FB draw by Sew Armadillo and won this gorgeous little bundle by the very talented Jodi Carlton from Ric-Rac:

I'll have to find just the right pattern for this :)

Well, the sun is shining, I better go and hang out my freshly washed Tokyo Subway quilt to dry! After that I might just have to sneak back into my sewing room???


  1. Well, the quilting problems are a mystery, nothing I have ever come across before. I do like the VQR blocks, and yes - it is very reminiscent of watermelon.

  2. I love that 'watermelon' block... so bright and happy looking.

  3. Hi Monika ... found your blog. What machine do you have? I looked at your pictures and there are a few things I noticed. I think your tension might be too high. I Quilt also with Aurifil 50 wt thread and have my tension sitting at 3.8 for the Pfaff QE 4.2. The ruler foot should be used with the Springfoot FMQ setting which may be your default setting. Also, you need to change your needle setting to +1 so that the needle is in the middle of the foot. Another thing to try is a Titanium 80/12 needle. For some reason the ruler feet work better with a Titanium needle. Maybe this might help.


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