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Machine Quilting.... Am I the only one?

Machine Quilting.... Am I the only one?

Old 07-22-2013, 01:58 PM
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Default Machine Quilting.... Am I the only one?

I am working on yet another machine quilted top. I pin the layers together about every 3" and it feels perfectly smooth and flat when I start doing the stitching. But I ALWAYS have ripples once I start stitching. Not awful ripples but I can't seem to figure out how to keep that smooth and flat surface during the entire quilting process. If I stitch pretty close together it isn't as bad. I use a walking foot or a darning foot depending upon whether I'm stitching straight lines or curvy lines.

What am I doing wrong? I want the quilt to stay smooth like when I hand quilt. I just don't want it to take months to get it finished.
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:05 PM
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Heavily starching the backing and spray starching the top before layering help a ***lot*** to prevent ripples and puckers. Starch stabilizes the fabric so it doesn't stretch underneath the sewing machine foot. Also, spray basting helps because it keeps all 3 layers in continuous contact with each other (instead of every 3").

I should add that even after layering, spray starching helps. In that case you need to spread out the sandwich on a large flat sheet. Spray starch and let it dry (a fan helps speed this up), then repeat several more times. Do this for both top and backing. It should help.
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:05 PM
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I just had my first little tuck. What did I do differently? - sandwiched that one in a hurry. I use the Sharon Schamber method with the boards and have had very smooth backs, but I did the nursing home quilt in a rush and in the company of others so I must not have paid as much attention. Previously I used 8 top tables put together. I never had a problem but I used a lot of tape to hold the backing in place until it was pinned. Can you release some of the tension on your presser foot to accommodate the thickness of the quilt when doing the straight stitching with the walking foot? I can with all my machines except the Elna.
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:07 PM
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are you using a 'lofty' batting or a thin batting? that can make a difference- if using a lofty batting it helps to lengthen your stitch length a little and if possible ease the foot pressure- you could try spray basting - some people find that makes a difference- I've always thread basted and used to have that problem at times- but once I started lengthening my stitch length and easing the foot pressure it helped a lot.
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:33 PM
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if you use some of the glue sprays it works pretty good you don't get bunches unless you do it wrong
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:23 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I have used glue spray before but am always afraid if I use too much it will cause my needle to skip stitches or get gummy stuff on the needle. That did help with the ripples and tucks though.

I think I'll try lengthening my stitches and using starch. We'll see what happens.
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:36 PM
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​I have given up pin basting. I use either 505 basting spray or Hobbs 80/20 fusible batt.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:27 PM
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I have found spray basting is a help and starch helped me . If not using boards make sure backing is taut when taping down.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:00 AM
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I had the worst problems when I used the boards like Sharon Schamber. I decided my old method worked better for me (clipping or taping to a table and shifting it as needed).
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Old 07-23-2013, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by nanna-up-north View Post
I am working on yet another machine quilted top. I pin the layers together about every 3" and it feels perfectly smooth and flat when I start doing the stitching. But I ALWAYS have ripples once I start stitching. Not awful ripples but I can't seem to figure out how to keep that smooth and flat surface during the entire quilting process. If I stitch pretty close together it isn't as bad. I use a walking foot or a darning foot depending upon whether I'm stitching straight lines or curvy lines.

What am I doing wrong? I want the quilt to stay smooth like when I hand quilt. I just don't want it to take months to get it finished.
You are NOT the only one! This happens to me also. It's so frustrating. I will have to start starching to see if that helps. I already use the basting spray glue. The quilt I'm working on now is doing a little better; I sprayed and pinned.
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