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Thread: Quilting troubles...

  1. #1
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    My other thread is getting ridiculously long so I'm going to start a new one.

    The denim quilt is driving me insane! Here's the problem. Got done stitching diangle lines though the quilt and when I was ready to start doing diangle lines in the other direction (completing the X's through the squares) that's when I found out the quilt top won't lie flat against the batting and back. There ended up being so much extra bulk in between the stitches that it won't lie flat and the denim wants to...twist up in a wrinkled fashion I guess is the best way to describe it. I realize the quilt doesn't have to be perfect, but, being an artist, I do have a level of quality I'd like to meet.

    I know I can do this quilt. If I can make the top of my prom dress out of vinyl---which definatly ranks in the "Top 5 Scariest Fabrics to Work With"---and then have people ask me where I bought it...I can definatly get this quilt done.

    I'm going to seam rip everything out and start over the sandwiching process (as much as I hate to). Any suggestions (and support) would help greatly.


  2. #2
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    support is a given. suggestions will come in a flood, too, i expect. here's the first of what i'm sure will be many.

    start picking out your existing quilting in the center of the quilt. AND I DO MEAN PICK. DON'T RIPIT. that's only good for frogs.

    do only a little at a time - maybe a 12" square, dead center, first. TIE THAT SUCKER where the blocks join, plus one in the middle of each block. when that's tied nice and flat, pick out the machine quilting for two blocks out, all the way around the part that's tied. tie those blocks. keep working your way outward, smoothing an tying as you go.

    you will accomplish two things: (1) the layers will be secured and flat and (2) you can either be satisfied with the ties and bind it, or machine quilt some (or all) of it again. either snip off the ties as you get to them or quilt around them.

    if you already know you won't be happy unless you machine quilt the whole thing, then use the same system, but put safety pins where the ties would have gone. take them out as you machine quilt.

  3. #3
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    It makes sense, now I know you have the smarts to teach!

  4. #4
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    I sort of get it.

    I also seem to be having trouble controlling three layers of fabric and keeping them in place, no matter how much I pin and spray. My machine seems to be having trouble stitching through three layers of fabric (espessily when I get towards the middle)...I got it set on a 4.5 and in some places it looks like it was set on 1 (very small stitches). It just doesn't want to pull the quilt through very well.

    The only thing that I can think of might make things easier is if I sewed the top to the batting and then the back to that. That way I wouldn't have to fight like crazy to keep three layers from slipping...I'd only have to work with two layers (I guess once the batting and top are sewn together its more like one layer rather than two). At least in theory it would make things easier. What do you think?



  5. #5
    Carla P's Avatar
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    I'm not real sure how you could accomplish the 2 layers at a time unless it is by hand, and even then, I would not encourage it because I have no idea how your quilt would hold up to it in the long run; maybe someone else here can advise on that.

    I think Patrice has given you the best possible solution to the problem. Your quilt will lie flat, it will require the least amount of work on your part, & it will be the least frustrating in the end. Best of all, your quilt will still be beautiful.

    Good luck! :D

  6. #6
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    But I don't have anything to tie the quilt down.

    And honestly, I don't care a whole lot if I have to seam rip the layers apart. I may hate the idea and it may be tedious, but I really don't care a whole lot...if it will help get my friend's belated birthday present done sometime in this century. Besides, most of the stitches aren't tiny (except in the places where the machine didn't want to pull it through so well) so it'll be easy to seam rip.

  7. #7
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    #1 ... you can set your machine to the largest stitch size but if the quilt doesn't flow smoothly between the foot and feed dogs, your stitches will still be anwhere between teeeeeeny-tiny and holy-smoke-those-stitches-are-long! before you put it through the machine again, practice with a sandwhich of leftover denim, batting and backing. figure out how much help the sandwich needs to flow smoothly.

    #2 ... you can tie it with regular thread. just use 3 or 4 strands together.

    #3 ... ripping will not be much faster than picking (use the seam ripper to cut through the top stitch about every half inch or so and pull the top thread out. the bottom thread will come off on its own. you won't mess up the backing or batting that way.

    #4 ... if you want to try quilting batting to one layer first, then quilting the remaining layer to the first two, quilt the batting and backing first. i'd recommend you do it with the batting on top or you'll end up with gobs of batting clogging your bobbin.

    #5 ... either tie or pin before you go anywhere near the machine again. your quilt is too heavy to risk taking shortcuts. you'll just end up with the same problem you have now.

    #6 ... if you have to stop every 5 minutes to scream into a pillow or kick a can around the yard then ... fine ... do that. but take your time with the quilt. pin, tie or baste with needle and thread from the center out. the spray is not going to be enough on something that heavy. to do anything else will just waste more time and end in more tears and frustration.

    #7 ... i ain't makin' this stuff up. i am sharing lessons learned the hard way. use them to your benefit.


  8. #8
    Super Member zyxquilts's Avatar
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    I agree that Patrice's would be the best way to go. Another question/suggestion: are you using a walking foot? (I can't remember what you said in the other post & am too lazy to look it up! :wink: ) If not, have you tried lightening up the pressure on your pressure foot? That might help with the flow of the layers thru' the machine.

    Good luck kiddo!

    :D

    sue

  9. #9
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    Sue: Don't have a walking foot. Where might I find one, by the way? And I don't know how to lighten up the pressure on my pressure foot.

    Patrice: I did have some left over batting and I had cut up some more jeans (possibly for another denim quilt) so I used a little bit of that to make several denim/batting sandwiches to figure out what I thought was the best stitch length. No matter what setting I had it on, they went through nicely with even stitches. But the quilt...when I start off at the edge it will flow through nicely, but once I start to get towards the middle it won't go through as well as it did. Now I don't mind the small stitches because they blend in quite well with the denim and Nick's not going to give a crap if the stitching is even. Its just a pain in the #$%! trying to get the quilt to go through sometimes.

    Why quilt the batting to the backing and not the top? And how should I stitch it to the batting? I mean, when you're stitching through top, batting, back...whatever you stitch on the quilt top transfers to the back of the fabric. But if you stitch the back and then stitch the top to it...you get what I'm trying to say?

  10. #10
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    yes, i get what you're saying. but no matter which side you attach to the batting first, that quilting won't show on the other side. the batting + back will be easier to hand, so adding the top will be easier, too, than it would be the other way around.

    start in the middle and work your way out. a little at a time. i know it sounds crazy but it works better that way. you have to roll up the sides tightly enough to help it fit and flow better through the machine throat (the opening to the right of the needle.)

    it all takes practice. this quilt is going to be a nightmare because you started with something that was bound to be difficult no matter how much experience you'd had before. each quilt you make from now on will get easier.

    i still wish you'd cut yourself a break and at least tie the middle then machine quilt around the outer edges where it'll be easier to handle.

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