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

  1. #1
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    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.

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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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.

  3. #3
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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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.

  4. #4
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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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.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  5. #5
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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

  6. #6
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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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.

  7. #7
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    ​I have given up pin basting. I use either 505 basting spray or Hobbs 80/20 fusible batt.

  8. #8
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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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.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  9. #9
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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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).

  10. #10
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    Quote 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.

  11. #11
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    Sometimes in spite of layering, pinning and starching some quilts do not want to lie completely flat. I've come to the conclusion that it is a number of factors. Your choice of batting definitely plays a huge role. Polyester bats will not lay as flat as a 80/20 or W&N. High humidity also affects the fabric and some cottons just like to wrinkle and stretch more than others. If you haven't pressed well or try to hurry with your pinning, it may also affect the outcome. Some of my quilts are definitely flatter and smoother than others but I've never had a new quilt owner yet complain that their new quilt is not as flat and wrinkle free as the ones in the juried show. Do your best to control the variables and quilt on!
    Shelbie from the High County in Southern Ontario

  12. #12
    Senior Member GiGi's Avatar
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    Utilizing a walking foot is not ideal when quilting. There are specific feet to use and each machine brand designates their own. If you must, you can quilt without any foot and slow down; fast speed, slow hands. Hope this helps. GiGi

  13. #13
    Senior Member BertieD's Avatar
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    Would someone explain Sharon Schamber's use of "the boards? Or does she have a website I could go to and see?

  14. #14
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    See the articles about Elmer's School Glue. It will save you lots of frustration!

  15. #15
    Super Member Gannyrosie's Avatar
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    I never thought of starching my backing fabric. I just started heavy starching my fabrics before I cut to make the quilt, but never thought of the backing. Learned something new today. Thanks. I prefer Elmers or any kind of washable school glue verses pins. It has made a difference to me.

  16. #16
    Super Member klgls's Avatar
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    YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! Happens to me to sometimes too. I just take out what I need to to smooth it out - and on the next one make sure I take my time and tape the backing down and pin it good.

  17. #17
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I use Elmer's Washable school glue. I'll never go back to thread or pin basting any quilt that doesn't go to a longarmer.
    Got fabric?

  18. #18
    Super Member sewmom's Avatar
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    I use pins, straight pins with foam on the ends, the boards and thread basting, spray basting and fusible batting and I have ended up with little tucks with any method. I think it's just me. The fusible batting i used on a purse and it took forever- can't imagine how long it would take to fuse a whole quilt! I will try the glue method next and see how well I do with that. I will also try starching more too, because that does help, i didnt do it enough! One thing I do know- little tucks become virtually invisible after washing.
    A time to tear, And a time to sew;
    A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;

  19. #19
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanna-up-north View Post
    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.
    This is where I jump in and give a shout out for Elmers!! Way cheaper, no overspray, easily washes out, holds sandwich firmly.
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
    Done is better than perfect.

  20. #20
    Super Member DonnaC's Avatar
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    BertieD, the best place to see Sharon's method is on YouTube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhwNylePFAA

    She has many, many videos which are all great, but that link is specifically for the use of the boards.

  21. #21
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    I fold the materials and hand press so I know where the center is. Then I open them up and spray baste between each layer VERY LIGHTLY. I start either pin basting or tie stitch basting from the center out about mid way every 3 inches. When I'm done it looks like a sunburst pattern. Then I'm able to get to the quilting and no ripples. I've done a couple small ones this way. Am working on a bigger one and will do the same. May be a little more time consuming but worth it always in the long run. I usually have to take it outside and use a couple saw horses and a large piece of plywood. Can't stand the smell of the spray baste in the house.

  22. #22
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    Washable school glue has been an amazing discovery for me! Following a tutorial from here on the board (and then finding my own best method) was so easy and fast. By applying the glue to the batting and then laying the fabric on top, you are able to see if there are any puckers/folds and deal with them right then. Once the quilt sandwich is dry (I let mine air dry) the layers will not shift or move no matter how many times it gets bunched up for machine quilting. The needle does not get gummy as with spray adhesives, nor is there any problems sewing through the dried glue. It doesn't require any special tips, brushes or cleanup. I will never use any other method of basting a quilt....Washable School Glue is my best quilting friend!

  23. #23
    Super Member ccthomas's Avatar
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    Those that are gluing, do you do dot glue or line gluing? How many inches apart?
    Carol

  24. #24
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanna-up-north View Post
    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.
    The 505 or Sullivans won't affect the stitching. Check out Patti Thompson's youtube video on spray basting. She addresses that topic.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  25. #25
    Super Member misseva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccthomas View Post
    Those that are gluing, do you do dot glue or line gluing? How many inches apart?
    Yes - Seriously I just hold the bottle in my hand and sometimes I make big Ss from side to side then make Ss in a crosshatch pattern. Some ladies use a foam brush, some use dots - just depends on you. Either way you go it's sure to be easier than pinning on basting with needle & thread. Usually try for 2-3" apart.
    TwandasMom

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