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Maximizing on the features of the Opal 690Q to wrap up the sewing marathon

 

It’s the end of the week already. Amazing how quickly times flies when you’re having fun. I’ve had a blast sewing on the Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q. It’s such a great sewing machine.

Today I’m finishing up the sewing marathon and I’ll show you what’s in the bobbin case after I’ve run those five bobbins through the machine.

It’s amazing what I was able to sew with those five bobbins. I’ve also got some more great tips to share with you.

Let’s see what I’ve been up to.

 

Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q
Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q

 

1. Revisiting the placemats

These placemats weren’t part of the five bobbin marathon as I used a different color thread in the bobbin. But I got one side of the binding on so I thought I’d share them with you.

I worked on two sets of placemats this week. Here’s the first set. They’re all quilted and I trimmed them so they were all the same size.

 

Set of four placemats quilted and ready to be trimmed so the binding can be attached.
Set of four placemats quilted and ready to be trimmed so the binding can be attached.

 

Once they were trimmed, it was time to put the binding on. But first, I basted those edges using my quilter’s or tailor’s awl the same as I did on the reversible placemats.

 

Using the quilter's awl to hold the raw edges in place as I baste the edge of the placemats.
Using the quilter’s awl to hold the raw edges in place as I baste the edge of the placemats.

 

I used the Dual Feed Foot to sew the first side of the binding to the back of the placemats. Remember from my previous posts, you want to give that binding a wee bit of a tug as you sew. Keeping a bit of tension on the binding will help to prevent a wavy edge. Check out 3 tattle tale experiments on binding a quilt if you would like more information.

There are a ton of gadgets on the market for keeping your binding in place. I love gadgets, but they become a hassle to store and I usually forget that I have them. I’m perfectly happy to make the figure eight bundle of binding which requires no gadgets. The bundle sits in front of the sewing machine as I’m working. The binding doesn’t twist, no need to remember to use a gadget, and it’s free. Check out my post on Binding a quilt to see how to wind the binding like that. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll do the figure eight with all your bindings.

 

Attaching the binding to the back of the placemat.
Attaching the binding to the back of the placemat.

 

Here’s one feature I love about the Opal 690Q. The presser foot has an Extra Lift function which allows the presser foot to be raised higher than normal. This makes getting the thick corner of the binding so easy to put under the presser foot without shoving it under.

 

Extra lift in the presser foot allows thick items like the binding corner to be inserted under the presser foot with no shoving.
Extra lift in the presser foot allows thick items like the binding corner to be inserted under the presser foot with no shoving.

 

2. Quilt Number One

Here’s the first quilt that I worked on with my five bobbins. The blocks were made, but I needed to add that small frame around each block. The strips were cut at 1″ wide and they were cut to the EXACT length/width to fit the blocks. The seams were all pressed to the small frame.

I used the Exclusive Sewing Advisor and set the fabric to Woven Light to get a stitch length of 2.0.

 

A narrow frame has been sewn to all the wonky star quilt blocks.
A narrow frame has been sewn to all the wonky star quilt blocks.

 

Once the frames were sewn to each block, it was time to add the sashing (white) which was cut at 2½”. I started by adding sashing strips between the blocks to form rows.

The blue frame was now narrower than the width of the presser foot. I could have moved to a different presser foot, but I like this one. It meant that I sewed all the sashing seams with the blue frame on top so I could monitor what was happening with it.

I was very careful and did NOT allow the seam to shift to the right or left. I used my hands or the quilter’s awl to keep the seams under control.

I also did NOT use pins. I “pinned” the ends of the seams with my fingers. That works very well and again, the extension table works wonders for keeping things under control. Using your fingers instead of pins saves an enormous amount of time and increases the accuracy – believe it or not!

 

"Pinning" the end of the seams with my fingers.
“Pinning” the end of the seams with my fingers.

 

Sometimes I ran the presser foot under the seam allowance as shown in the photo above or I ran it on top of the seam allowance as shown below. But you had to be very careful as you approached any cross seams that wouldn’t allow the presser foot to slide past that seam.

 

Use your hands to carefully guide the fabric under the presser foot to help ensure accuracy.
Use your hands to carefully guide the fabric under the presser foot to help ensure accuracy.

 

Then I measured the rows to get the average width (they were all the same thanks to a good understanding of the ¼” seam allowance). I joined the remainder of the sashing strips that I’d cut and I cut the long sashing strips that equaled the width of the row of sashed blocks.

I matched the centers and the ends of the sashing strip to the row of blocks and sewed. I sewed one sashing strip to the top of each row of blocks.

Here’s the beauty of my finger pinning process. See in the photo below how even the edges of the blocks are with the sashing? Everything lines up which is going to make putting the outer border on a snap. If those edges did not line up how would I do that?

I can’t stress this enough – you MUST make the ends of the seam allowances match up. Ease those seams in. If they are off by a lot, then I’d check my measurements. It’s not an option.

 

The edges of the rows are neatly aligned.
The edges of the rows are neatly aligned.

 

Now when you have a row of sashing attached to the top of each row of blocks, it’s time to join those rows. But if you just sew them together, the seam lines may not match up. How to make them match? It’s easy.

Take a ruler and a pencil or other marking device. Line the ruler parallel to your seam line and make a small mark along the edge of the sashing. I’ve moved the ruler below so you can see the mark. Then when you take the next row, match up a seam with that mark. I did pin this seam, but I don’t really have to as I could match the seam with the mark as I’m sewing the seam.

 

Make a mark in the seam allowance that matches the seam line to help line up the seams.
Make a mark in the seam allowance that matches the seam line to help line up the seams.

 

Here’s one of the intersections. You can see that the seams line up quite nicely – the lines may not be perfect, but it’s pretty darn close and that’s all we care about.

Notice that the narrow blue sashing is pretty even. That’s a result of knowing how to achieve an accurate and CONSISTENT ¼” seam allowance. And you have to be alert to keep things under control. Again, you’re guiding, not pushing and pulling.

 

The seam intersections are nicely aligned.
The seam intersections are nicely aligned.

 

I pressed everything to the dark framing so this is what it looks like on the back of the work. Neatness in the pressing area makes for a nice looking quilt on the front. It was a bit fiddly to be sure, but the end result is beautiful. Nothing like a well-pressed seam to get your heart racing. Well pressed seams also work wonders for accuracy and matching up those seams at the end.

 

Well pressed seams on the back of the project
Well pressed seams on the back of the project

 

Here’s the finished quilt top. It looks gorgeous. Now I just have to find some more of that blue for the binding (thank goodness the Toscana is a basic from Northcott so I should be able to find it around).

I still have a LOT of bobbins left after this quilt top was assembled so I moved onto the next project.

 

The wonky star block quilt top is completed.
The wonky star block quilt top is completed.

 

3. Quilt Number Two

The second quilt I worked on was a flannel quilt. Totally scrappy. Matter of fact, this was made from scrap ends that most people would have given away or more likely thrown away. I had no idea how big of a quilt I could make – I just cut up the scraps into rectangles that measured 2″ x 7″.

I figured out a color/value scheme of alternating the light and dark. Four of them would give me a block that measured 6½” wide. I trimmed everything to 6½” square. I ended up with 120 blocks. All those were sewn as part of my five bobbin marathon. Who knew that you could sew so much with five bobbins?

 

120 blocks of flannel scraps trimmed and ready to assemble
120 blocks of flannel scraps trimmed and ready to assemble

 

But the bobbins weren’t empty yet. I wanted to see if I could actually get the quilt top completed before the bobbins ran out.

By the way, I used the Exclusive Sewing Advisor and set my fabric to Woven Medium with a stitch length of 2.5. Flannel is slightly thicker than regular quilting cotton. The longer stitch length sat nicely in the thickness of the flannel. You may need to adjust where you position your fabrics when using the Quilter’s ¼” Presser Foot. The thicker fabrics require slightly more to fold over the seam allowance. Make one block and test. Always TEST.

I moved my fabric just a wee bit to the left of where I would position my fabrics when I sew with cotton.

Once the single rows were sewn together, I sewed the rows together in pairs. No, I did not pin. I matched up the seam allowances, which had been pressed in opposing directions. It was easy to match up the seams and “pin” them with my finger or the quilter’s awl.

 

Using my finger to match the seams and "pin" them until they were stitched.
Using my finger to match the seams and “pin” them until they were stitched.

 

Here’s a tip for sewing a quilt top together. Let’s imagine that you sew all the blocks together to get rows. Then you start at the top and add row one to row two. Then you add row three and then four and so on. By the time you get to the end, row one is likely to have stretched by a lot and the last row which was handled the least will not have stretched at all.

I sew the rows into pairs – one to two, three to four and so on. Then sew the pairs together and finally sew the two halves of the quilt together. You’ll find the finished quilt has not stretched if you do it this way.

 

Sewing the quilt rows together in pairs, the bottom three pairs are sewn together.
Sewing the quilt rows together in pairs, the bottom three pairs are sewn together.

 

Here’s the completed quilt top. It measures 60″ x 72″ which is my generous lap quilt size. Perfect!

 

The quilt top is completed.
The quilt top is completed.

 

As usual, you need to have nicely pressed seams on the back.

 

Seams are nicely pressed on the back.
Seams are nicely pressed on the back.

 

And the edges of the quilt are nicely aligned. No part of this quilt was pinned with physical pins during the construction process.

 

The edges of the quilt are aligned.
The edges of the quilt are aligned.

 

In addition to making the two quilt tops from FIVE bobbins, I got a lot of enders and leaders sewn as well.

 

My enders and leaders from sewing the two quilt tops
My enders and leaders from sewing the two quilt tops

 

You’re not going to believe this, but I had just started to sew this ender when I got the “bobbin low” pop up message. How amazing is that? It was perfect timing.

But can you see how much lint has accumulated from all the sewing I did?

 

Lint that has accumulated from the sewing I did with five bobbins.
Lint that has accumulated from the sewing I did with five bobbins.

 

I took out the bobbin and looked in the bobbin case. Hm – look at all that lint. Do you see why it’s important to do regular maintenance on your sewing machine?

There’s even lint in the feed teeth area. All of these needs to be cleaned out and the needle changed. Then I can wind five more bobbins and well – I’m sure I’ll get a lot done!

 

A lot of lint has accumulated in the bobbin area from using just five bobbins.
A lot of lint has accumulated in the bobbin area from using just five bobbins.

 

I have to tell you about a student of mine. She’s still relatively new to quilting but she knew that it was time to upgrade her sewing machine. I persuaded her to spend a few more dollars and buy the Opal 690Q. The next time I saw her, she was in love. And her sewing had improved a 100 fold. Not only that, but she was speeding through the projects in the class and did way more than anyone else did. That wasn’t the case with her original sewing machine.

Good tips are very helpful, but having a great sewing machine and using it properly can make or break your projects.

If you’re looking for a good second machine that has the SAME features as your larger machine, this is the sewing machine to buy. I’m thinking…

I hope you’ve enjoyed the week with the Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q. I had a lot of fun and hopefully, you picked up a tip or two.

Don’t forget to share your photos with us so we can see what you did with your five bobbin marathon.

Have a great day!

Ciao!

 

This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: How to make and apply reversible binding on your quilts

Elaine Theriault is a teacher, writer and pattern designer who is completely obsessed with quilting. Elaine’s Tech Tips column (originally published in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine) is now available online in e-book format at QUILTsocial.com. When not quilting, she enjoys spending time with her two dogs, Lexi and Murphy, or can be found cycling across the country. Her blog is crazyquilteronabike.blogspot.com.

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