I have been quilting for over 20 years. I teach Beginner Quilting, and at the start of every session I tell my students that I am still a student too. Well this past week sure proved that point.
It started off with a quilt top I had pieced a few weeks back for the Modern Mini Challenge with FVMQG. It had gone together soooooo smoothly, and I was rather pleased with it. Nice and square, crisp seams, pristine white. but now, with deadline looming, it needed quilting.
A spiral would look good, I thought. Orange would be fun, I thought.
My feed dogs weren’t feeding, my tension was off, and it was an all-around disaster. Time to get cozy with the seam ripper.
Uh-oh. What are those orange marks left behind? I gave it a serious going over with the lint roller but the marks stayed. First lesson: I learned that spray baste will wrap around the thread, and when that thread pulls through the fabric, lint clings in the little holes, never to come out again. Nothing to do but to take the top apart and replace the sashing.
Next lesson learned: when using steam to flatten those perfectly pressed seams, fabric that has not been preshrunk will, indeed, shrink. I’ll spare you the colourful details. Lots of spray starch was used to stretch those babies back to an almost square shape.
Reassembled and re-sandwiched and time to try again. I’ve heard of using Press’n’Seal to mark quilting lines, so let’s give that a try. I did remember that the big downside of using this product was that the permanent Sharpie marks sometimes were transfered permanently to the quilt top, so I used a Frixion pen instead.
The film did stick wonderfully to the quilt top. Lessons learned: It really does work to mark a nice removable quilting line. It also works wonderfully as a stabilizer; there was no issue of stretching or distortion as I went round and round. And it took all the lint and other debris off the quilt when it was removed.
But wait. What’s this?
Skipped stitches all over. Primarily in areas where the stitching passed over seams. It wasn’t bad, in fact none at all, in the beginning. But it just got worse and worse.
Final deduction: the film, along with the basting spray and perhaps the starch, gummed up the needle, leaving a build-up high on the shank. As it accumulated, it prevented full penetration of the needle and it was unable to pick up the bobbin thread. Lesson learned: stop frequently to remove build-up.
It’s as done as it’s going to get. Look for my quilt in the Modern display at the Creative Stitches Show at the Tradex, Abbotsford, March 28/29. It will be the one called “Murphy’s Law.”
Just don’t look too closely.