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Thread: Hand Quilting - error and how to prevent in the future

  1. #1
    Super Member Yvonne's Avatar
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    Hand Quilting - error and how to prevent in the future

    First some background information -
    I have a floor quilt frame that I'm still learning to use. I have worked on two quilts on this frame. The first quilt came off just fine. This second one - not so good!
    The quilt was loaded onto the frame with the three blocks across. I started quilting with the row that has the heart in the center.
    Okay, the problem.
    If you look in the photos you can see it! Hard to miss. The back of the quilt is nice and flat - smooth, just the way it should be. The batting is also as it should be. The embroidery blocks are great. But look at the excess fabric in the horizontal sashing. What did I do that caused that? What do I do to prevent it ever happening again? Any help will be most appreciated!
    I had planned to do some free motion quilting on the sashings after I finished hand quilting the blocks. Should I have done that first?
    Does anyone have any suggestions for fixing this other than ripping out my hard work?
    My current plan is to machine stitch around the outside of the red frame on each block. Baste the outside edge of the quilt and then put it in the washer and dryer and see if there's any shrinkage. (I don't prewash)
    What do you think?
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    Sew much fabric! Sew little time!

  2. #2
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    I'm not a hand quilter so I'm just going to guess.

    My first question is how did you baste it? Pins? Thread? Spray? And was it like this before you put it in the hoop?

    If there was nothing wrong with the basting method, how tight did you have the quilt in the hoop when you quilted the center embroidered designs? Wondering if it was too tight, perhaps you stretched it.

    It looks like there is only a small amount of quilting (corners only?) on just the embroidered squares. If so, I'd remove the quilting that you have in there already, re-sandwich it and if you didn't use enough pins/thread/spray make sure you do this time, then hoop it loosely before you quilt it. you might also consider quilting the center piece, then the sashing around the center, and work your way out - instead of leaving all the sashing until your done.

    It's a shame. Very pretty quilt.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  3. #3
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    First have a good cry, I would. I always start at one end on my frame and move forward as it gets quilted to a new section. The top always seems to advance more than the back. I really don't see any way to fix it without removing all your hard work. Maybe someone else will have a better solution. Sorry!

  4. #4
    Senior Member NDQuilts's Avatar
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    Ok. Some questions before I offer advice. Are you using a frame or hoop? Doghousemom mentioned basting method so I'll skip that. Was your quilt top square before quilting and what are its measurements now? I can give a more helpful suggestions with a few more details about your personal quilting set up. Thanks!

  5. #5
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    What kind of frame? If it's a three rail frame you should start quilting at the top and roll it up as you quilt it. And you need to have your quilting fairly even over the whole top.

  6. #6
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    I think what happened was that the top was stretched when you rolled the quilt between blocks. If you think about it, the outside of a roll is going to stretch more than the inside of a roll. So, basically, you hand quilted blocks with excess fabric in the top between the blocks.

    Machine quilting the sashings first would probably have eliminated this problem. In general, when you are mixing machine and hand quilting, the machine quilting is always done first because it stabilizes the layers.

    I would not wash the whole thing. Instead, I would try to see if I could shrink the top enough to fit the batting better. I'd lay it out on a carpet and pin the batting/backing to the carpet, then spray water on just the sashings. Use a fan to speed drying. You could also try holding a hot iron near the sashing fabric (heat helps shrink fabric), but that would get old quickly. It looks to me as if there is too much excess fabric for this to work, but could be worth a try on just one section first to see if it has a chance.

    What I would do next time is starch the top and backing before layering, spray baste the sandwich together, machine quilt the sashings, and leave the hand quilting for last. I wouldn't use a floor frame for the hand quilting; a lap hoop would do just fine.

  7. #7
    Super Member CoyoteQuilts's Avatar
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    If you were working on a large 3 or 4 rail floor frame the backing was stretched to tight and the top wasn't stretched tight enough. I worked with a Grace 3 rail system several times before getting my mid arm quilter and I had this happen. Every time I loaded the silly thing I had to stop and think which needed to be tighter the top or bottom. I never basted when I finished the quilt while on this frame, but I did pin baste with this frame so I could machine quilt. Basting for machine quilting is much easier on a frame than on the floor ....... Good luck!

  8. #8
    Super Member Yvonne's Avatar
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    Thank you for all the suggestions. The quilt frame I used is a four rail so there was no basting going on before I started. I'm just a beginner hand quilter and wasn't sure what I would do when I started. I didn't want to try and hand quilt all the seams! Seams are scary to me for hand work!!! That was when I decided to do the blocks and then machine quilt the sashings. That was probably a the big mistake right there, huh?!! I have quilted around the inside of each redwork block as well as the corners. It took me forever to get that much hand work completed. I'm slow! I'm not taking it out!

    It is just weird that the top is so bad and the batting and the backing are both so nice!

    My sister-in-law, niece and I looked at the quilt again yesterday and I "think" I can fold over a tuck in the middle sashing strip and top stitch it down and that'll take care of the excess fabric. It's a plan.
    I just am not sure what I did differently with this quilt and my first one. Oh, well. We'll find out when I try a third quilt. I have to make a new top so I can go at this again!

    Thanks again for your suggestions. Any suggestions before quilt three is appreciated!
    Sew much fabric! Sew little time!

  9. #9
    Super Member Yvonne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoyoteQuilts View Post
    If you were working on a large 3 or 4 rail floor frame the backing was stretched to tight and the top wasn't stretched tight enough. I worked with a Grace 3 rail system several times before getting my mid arm quilter and I had this happen. Every time I loaded the silly thing I had to stop and think which needed to be tighter the top or bottom. I never basted when I finished the quilt while on this frame, but I did pin baste with this frame so I could machine quilt. Basting for machine quilting is much easier on a frame than on the floor ....... Good luck!
    Thank you so much! I'm relieved to know that I'm not the first to have this difficulty! I will definitely watch when I load the next quilt. I'm using a Grace four rail system.
    I haven't tried using the frame for pin basting but I think I will. The dining table is just low enough to break my back by the time I've pin basted there.
    Thank you again, CoyoteQuilts.
    Sew much fabric! Sew little time!

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