What got me thinking and eventually posting this was; Gemma said that newbies and pros alike were welcome to link in as long as we write about our quilting journey.
I thought I’d tell you what about what I learned while quilting this king sized quilt on my domestic JUKI machine. Hopefully I can refer back here and tell myself what not to do next time! This is my third machine quilted attempt. I made a double sized quilt for my mom last year using a Granny Square pattern with wine glass (wavy-lined) quilting. The second one, was this quilt,
I posted about it here
Funny thing, I used FMQing for this quilt and it was much easier than the straight line quilting.
So… here is what I’ve learned:
1. While basting, I set up a full sized hand-quilting frame. I have back issues and can’t spend that much time on the floor. This seems to work great. It brings the quilt up to table height and makes it much easier to baste. The quilt gets pulled taut then pinned to the wooden rails. The only negative: my family has to crawl underneath to get to the TV room, but I only leave it on the frame until basting is done.
2. Baste, baste, baste! On this quilt I didn’t use enough pins while basting. I have about 115 pins but should have used double that (at least) on a quilt this size. I need to buy more pins!
3. While quilting, work from the inside of the quilt outward. I thought I could cheat a bit and this is what happens:
If the puckering does start to happen, STOP! I kept going in hopes that it would magically disappear when the quilt was done. Duh! Nope, my mistakes are front and centre. Literally! They are on the front and centre of the quilt!
4. After quilting about half of the quilt and having my arms nearly fall off from all the twisting, turning and tugging, I realized I should roll the sides of the quilt. While working on the middle parts of the quilt, I rolled the outer edges of the quilt and pinned it to hold it in place. This made maneuvering the quilt much easier.
5. While quilting, I use Machingers gloves. They help me to grip all the layers of the quilt without hurting my hands. If I hadn’t had these, there would have been a lot more swear words said in the making of this quilt!
6. I used an outline stitch to try to bring out the star pattern. I like the effect but, the starting and stopping nearly killed me!
7. I need to figure out a way to avoid the nests on the reverse of the quilt. I pulled the bobbin thread to the top of the quilt on the start and end of each line of stitching. That works great! I think my tension must be off or something, because I still get the nests when I do either a backwards stitch or small stitches to lock the stitches. NOTE: must figure out how to do this properly!
8. I did straight line quilting in the border of the quilt. I love the texture and look of it but, DON’T move the quilt too much or lift the needle mid-way! This is what happens:
9. I am happy with the binding (sort of). I used the tutorial from Red Pepper Quilts and it seemed to work pretty well for me. I think I will add one more step though. I will iron my binding over after stitching it onto the front of the quilt. I think maybe if I iron it, I’ll be able to pull it over better to conceal the stitch line on the reverse of the quilt. I used Clover Wonder Clips instead of pins to hold the binding in place. I must say, they work great! I do have to remove them before I would normally remove a pin but they still hold very well. No more Pin Pricked Fingers while binding!
10. My corners are mitred! Yay! At least I did that right!
11. I do have one “OOOPS” with the binding:
Somehow the backing fabric snuck out from under the binding. I may rip this out and fix it.
I’ve shown the quilt in all it’s gory mess. This is a difficult thing for me as I tend toward the perfection side of life. I’m learning to relax with things and let it be what it is. As I posted earlier:
I’m hoping once I wash it, the puckering will ‘blend’ a bit with the natural crinkly-ness of the quilt. Fingers crossed!
I’m also hoping by the time I’m finishing my 30th or 300th quilt (God willing!),
I’ll look back on this one with love and laughter at my feeble kindergarten-like quilting.
So, lesson learned. Quilt finished. I think, all in all, it’s a good day!
As stated above, I’m linking with Pretty Bobbins and hope that someone out there will learn from my mistakes.
EDIT: I posted this yesterday but for some reason, lost it somewhere in the wild “WWW” of the blogoshere. I am reposting this and now linking it to TGIFF hosted by Quokkaquilts this week for the wonderful OctoberQuest2.