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Thread: Help, Please :)

  1. #1
    Schoolmarm's Avatar
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    I've made nearly one hundred quilts of various sizes, quilting them all by hand. I am trying to teach myself to machine quilt. I have some charity quilts that I wanted to do and they are required to have machine quilting. My finances are too tight to consider paying someone to quilt it for me. Every time I try I get gathers on the back.
    I've read on the quilting board where they suggest spray adhesive, but I cannot spray chemicals into a quilt I plan on giving to a child who already has health problems. Some hospitals where I donate quilts, request no spray adhesives.
    I've tried the walking foot. I've pinned the quilt. I've rolled, I've scrunched, and Iíve nested. I've tried feed dogs up and feed dogs down.
    I'm using a Necchi4825. I purchased the walking foot and the darning foot. Iíve yet to try to use the darning foot, though.
    I typically lay out my backing fabric on my carpet and T-pin it down. Then add the batting and smooth it down and T-pin it on top of the backing. Then add the top and T-pin it down to the other layers and then start in the center and pin. I pin a pin in every square and the same distance apart on the border. This particular quilt is 5" Around the World" pattern made up in a 45" x 60" toddler bed size.
    I tried quilting up one side of a column of squares and down the other side.
    I tried to quilt around individual squares as if hand quilting. No matter what I do, I keep getting puckers on the bottom side. Iíve tried to stitch in the ditch. I have not tried the free motion quilting yet as the posts Iíve read and the tutorials Iíve watched have listed these other methods as easier. I continue to get unsightly puckers on the bottom.
    I do not live where there are lessons given in machine quilting. I've watched every tutorial I can find. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?
    Iíve included a photo of a similar one that I hand quilted.

    Cowgirl quilt for Emmy Lou
    Name:  Attachment-220467.jpe
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  2. #2
    Super Member butterflies5518's Avatar
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    Thank you for asking, I will be interested to know these as well. I have only done one myself, stitch in the ditch and was terrified of puckers. I just know that there is an easier way - I sent myself into a panic attack working on it. I have not done any hand quilting - way to new newbie for that.

    I love the quilt!

  3. #3
    Super Member cherylynne's Avatar
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    Have you used safety pins to hold the layers together? You just put them all over the quilt and remove them a small section at a time as you get close to them with your quilting.

  4. #4
    Super Member ontheriver's Avatar
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    I guess I'm backwards because I started on FMQ and doing great, thought it was pretty easy, but still can't use that darn walking foot.

  5. #5
    Schoolmarm's Avatar
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    I use a safety pin in every square and on the border. Am I not laying it out properly to sandwich it?
    Quote Originally Posted by cherylynne
    Have you used safety pins to hold the layers together? You just put them all over the quilt and remove them a small section at a time as you get close to them with your quilting.

  6. #6
    Schoolmarm's Avatar
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    Thank you!
    Quote Originally Posted by butterflies5518
    Thank you for asking, I will be interested to know these as well. I have only done one myself, stitch in the ditch and was terrified of puckers. I just know that there is an easier way - I sent myself into a panic attack working on it. I have not done any hand quilting - way to new newbie for that.

    I love the quilt!

  7. #7
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    Just today I learned that one reason for puckers in the back, is if the foot pressure is too tight. Saw this on a website but cant remember where.

    Kat

  8. #8
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    Love the quilt you showed!!! I cant give you any suggestions - I have a fear of puckering so I have never tried it. I will keep an eye out on this post so if I am courageous and try to do one I will know what to do!!!

  9. #9
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    I found when I pin the sandwich, it is too difficult for me to quilt. The pins drag and get stuck on me, the sewing table, and on each other- this causes problems including puckering. Now I only baste the sandwich with needle and thread. It takes a little longer but it eliminates many problems for me. Plus the sandwich is much lighter and easier to move. The best is when I baste with dissolving thread- when I wash the finished quilt the basting is gone. Hope this helps.

  10. #10
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    The very first one I ever did was just diaganal stitching...and I pinned like crazy on both sides of the lines I planned to stitch...pinned thru all three layers.

    It was a lot of work, but it did keep it smooth and I didn't get any puckers.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    I don't know that I could do a good pinning job on a carpet. I use a table or my kitchen floor. When using kitchen floor, I tape the backing to the floor in several places on each side making it a bit taut; add the batting smoothing it from center out with my hands; add the quilt top; & then start pinning. When using a table top of my sewing maching cabinet top, I use the binder clips & pin in sections.

    When machine quilting with walking foot, I start in the center & work out.

  12. #12
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
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    Not sure if it would help or not, but rather than pinning to your carpet, is there a flat place you could tape your backing to? I either use a floor for a smaller piece, or push several tables together to baste a larger quilt. I tape my back to the tables, starting in the center on each side, and then working my way to the corners, alternating sides a few pieces of tape at a time until all is taped down. You don't want to stretch the back too tightly when you tape-you just want a back that is nice and flat. Then I add the batting and smooth out with my hands, and next the top-which is well pressed. I start pinning in the center, smoothing out the quilt with my fingers, and pinning out about every 5" working out in each direction . If you don't want to pin baste, you could thread baste, but also working center out. Hope this helps.

  13. #13
    Super Member Fabaddict's Avatar
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    my suggestion would be to start at the center of the quilt, and using a "stretch and sew" method, pull quilt away and toward you at the same time. I used to work for me before I got my quilter

  14. #14
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    I have the same problem. Maybe I tape the bottom too taunt??

  15. #15
    Senior Member Challys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patchsamkim
    Not sure if it would help or not, but rather than pinning to your carpet, is there a flat place you could tape your backing to? I either use a floor for a smaller piece, or push several tables together to baste a larger quilt. I tape my back to the tables, starting in the center on each side, and then working my way to the corners, alternating sides a few pieces of tape at a time until all is taped down. You don't want to stretch the back too tightly when you tape-you just want a back that is nice and flat. Then I add the batting and smooth out with my hands, and next the top-which is well pressed. I start pinning in the center, smoothing out the quilt with my fingers, and pinning out about every 5" working out in each direction . If you don't want to pin baste, you could thread baste, but also working center out. Hope this helps.
    This is my method as well. Then once it is all pinned, I smooth outward with every seam I sew. Good Luck!

  16. #16
    Junior Member lynn_z's Avatar
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    I always start in the middle, making sure next row is smooth and take it slow. You may also want to make your stitch a little longer.

  17. #17
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Lots of pins!! I pin atleast every 4 square inches.

    Start sewing in the center of your quilt, and sew outwards to the edges.

    Lengthen your stitch length to atleast 3.5 if not 4.0 Shorter stitches can cause drag.

    Good suggestion about releasing some of the pressure off of your pressure foot too.

    Bless your heart for making these quilts for kids :D:D:D

  18. #18
    Senior Member wvhill22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    Lots of pins!! I pin atleast every 4 square inches.

    Start sewing in the center of your quilt, and sew outwards to the edges.

    Lengthen your stitch length to atleast 3.5 if not 4.0 Shorter stitches can cause drag.

    Good suggestion about releasing some of the pressure off of your pressure foot too.

    Bless your heart for making these quilts for kids :D:D:D
    exactly what she said. and go slow. i have found the slower I go the nicer my stitches are

  19. #19
    Senior Member grammy17's Avatar
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    [quote=Fabaddict]my suggestion would be to start at the center of the quilt, and using a "stretch and sew" method, pull quilt away and toward you at the same time. I used to work for me before I got my quilter[/quot

    I have used a large embroidery hoop - oval - on the machine. You have to go slow and move it often. It keep everything tight. And I think a looser pressure on the foot.

  20. #20
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    I use much the same method as Patchsamkim taping my backing to the large tables in the church or community hall. I pin with safety pins but also pin with straight pins down the seams. I use Stich in the Ditch down the seams to anchor everything and then go ahead with the rest of the quilting. I run one machine quilting line right through the quilt both vertically and horizontally to start and then quilt in sections using a walking foot smoothing and stretching with my hands (moving pins if I have to ) as I go. I rarely get puckers using this method. Although as my daughter has frequently reminded me "Mom, the baby won't care about a few puckers!"

  21. #21
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    Another thought, your batting plays a role in puckering. An 80/20 batt lies a lot smoother and flatter than a puffier polyester batting.

  22. #22
    Schoolmarm's Avatar
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    Thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by emsgranny
    Love the quilt you showed!!! I cant give you any suggestions - I have a fear of puckering so I have never tried it. I will keep an eye out on this post so if I am courageous and try to do one I will know what to do!!!

  23. #23
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    I did really well with stitch in the ditch on my first few quilts. Then I did one that puckered everywhere. It doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong. What kind of batting are you using? Poly batting is quite slippery and can be a real pucker pain! I find I'm doing better now with all cotton batting (warm & natural or warm & white). The fabric and batting tend to stay in place better. I still pin a lot.

    FMQ can help reduce puckers because you are kind of easing any fullness in as you go, instead of having it build up to the end of a line of stitching.

    You'll get it, just keep trying until you find what works for you.

  24. #24
    Schoolmarm's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the advice. I will try these and master this project! Thanks!!

  25. #25
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    I always use safety pins to sandwich on a flat surface - no carpet. I start in the middle and remove the pins smoothing as I go and don't get puckers very often at all.

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