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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.

  11. #11
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    Okay, but if I stitch the batting to the backing the stiching will be transfered to the back. Then when I stitch the top to that whatever I stitch on the top will show up on the back. Am I the only one who sees craziness on the back?

  12. #12
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    would you rather see the craziness on the front?

  13. #13
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    Oh duh! Never thought about that.

    Hey, I just thought of something. Use a different color thread for the backing and batting and once I get the top stitched to the backing and the batting, seam rip the different colored stitches out. Would that work?





  14. #14
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    yes that would work.

  15. #15
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    FVG, are you supporting the weight of the quilt enough so that the machine isn't trying to pull it up from your lap? Too much resistance will give you tiny stitches too. I have to stop ever few inches and readjust to make sure the machine doesn't have to pull the quilt up to it. I've started cutting denim for a quilt, I may back out if it's too much trouble! LOL

  16. #16
    Super Member Celeste's Avatar
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    I really admire you for slogging through this! Some people would put it on their to do later- much later list!

    As for the walking foot, I got mine at a place where they sell and repair sewing machines.

    Just an aside-- I'd do what Patrice suggested!

  17. #17
    Sis
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    When I first began making quillows (quilt folded and tucked in it's own pillowcase), I had what sounds like the same problem you are describing. I found that a "walking foot" for my sewing machine was the answer. It has feed dogs on the foot that lowers and helps feed the layers under the needle at the same time. Since my machine is a Singer, I contacted the Singer dealer. It was very reasonably priced and easy to attach. If you are interested in finding one for your machine I would suggest checking with a sewing machine dealer.It was a one time purchase and REALLY has saved me $ on headache medication. :wink:

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    Sis

  18. #18
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste
    I really admire you for slogging through this! Some people would put it on their to do later- much later list!

    As for the walking foot, I got mine at a place where they sell and repair sewing machines.

    Just an aside-- I'd do what Patrice suggested!
    Well, if it weren't going to be the first birthday gift my friend has gotten in six years...it definatly would be on my "much later list". Speaking of which, one of these days I'll finish my Super Mario mushroom wall hanging (with its 300+ squares).

    I'm going to go with what Patrice suggested for sewing the batting to the backing, top to that, and then taking the stitches used to sew the back to the batting out. That and the other things she suggested. I'm going to start that tomorrow.


    Quote Originally Posted by kathy
    FVG, are you supporting the weight of the quilt enough so that the machine isn't trying to pull it up from your lap? Too much resistance will give you tiny stitches too. I have to stop ever few inches and readjust to make sure the machine doesn't have to pull the quilt up to it. I've started cutting denim for a quilt, I may back out if it's too much trouble! LOL
    I do support the weight of the quilt so that it'll go through easier. Maybe I'm not supporting it enough.

    Ah, I'm sure you'll do fine with a denim quilt. Hey, if I haven't backed out of this quilt by now (me, who has very little quilting experiance), you shouldn't back out of a denim quilt either. LoL.

  19. #19
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    FVG: We are all pulling for you. I admire your toughness. I don't know that I would have stuck with it. Maybe gotten him a Happy Meal and said Happy Birthday :lol: :lol: :lol:

  20. #20

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    Good quilters never say die. They say Tomorrow is another day.

  21. #21
    Carla P's Avatar
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    Yes, and some of us say "I knew it would look better tied... Here Poochie... Look what Mommy made for you...". :lol:

    Hang in there FVG... sounds like you have a game plan now. :D

  22. #22
    Super Member mpeters1200's Avatar
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    My mil and I made a queen size one this Christmas. But we made sure it was tacked, we like the look more.


    ANY TIME that you are quilting a sandwich and it is thick I say that a walking foot is a must. Any place that sells sewing machines will have "quilting" accessories. Walking foot, darning foot, 1/4" foot etc. Also, some smaller shops that sell vacuums or do vacuum repair will also have them. You can also find them on Ebay rather inexpensive.

    The first thing I would do is to refer to the owner's manual of your machine or their website to find out the shank size that you have. That or take your machine to the shop you are buying your walking foot at. It looks like a little box that attaches. It should also have an L-shaped metal thing that attaches to it. It sticks out the side and helps you guide your stitching, but I don't know if I would use that piece with such a large quilt. But a walking foot has moving feed-dog looking things on the top and it helps the ones that come on the machine feed all three pieces evenly.

    The way Patrice said to do it is the best thing I can think of. She also had the suggestion of moving the quilt in your lap or adjusting how you sit every few minutes. You may be overworking your machine if it has to pull the quilt out of your lap too. A walking foot will make your world a whole lot easier!! And if a dummy like me can use it on her first quilt ever, then I'm sure you can!! It's almost like an extra pair of hands helping to get your sandwich in evenly.

    I hope this has helped. Oh and when I bought my "accessory" kit from the sewing machine shop, it was cheaper to purchase all 4 feet in a set than it was to buy them individually. I spent about 50.00 or so, but 2 of the feet I use all the time. Whenever I want to experiment with free hand I use the third. The autobinding foot I never use, but that's okay, I have a hard enough time making it myself.

    Wow..didn't realize I was going to leave a chapter in the book of responses. I saw the pic of what you had so far and it looked wonderful. Just take your time because it's so heavy. Make sure you take frequent breaks so you don't overwork your back or neck sitting in one position for long. Also, when frustrated you may want to go in the back yard and kick a can, but if screaming or swearing I would do that inside. You wouldn't want your neighbors to think that you were either being attacked or that you are a crazy person.... :mrgreen:

    Hope this helps... ((((hugs to you))))

    Melissa

  23. #23
    Super Member mpeters1200's Avatar
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    I posted that on the wrong page!! Sorry. You know you can vent at us at anytime!! All addictions can be frustrating at times right??

    Oh and I was thinking, is your avatar Link from Zelda? Just a question.

    ~M~

  24. #24
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    Yup. That would be Link from Legend of Zelda. I'm a huge Zelda fan. Everytime I go to Hot Topic I try to get one Zelda shirt...I think I have about 5 or 6 right now plus a Zelda hoodie (I haven't been to Hot Topic in a while). And two years ago for my friends (also a Zelda fan) graduation party, I couldn't get him anything so I got two old green T-shirts and made the tunic and cap Link wears and wore it underneath my clothes til we got to his house...he thought it was awesome!

    I would get a walking foot, but there's just not a place in town that would have that sort of thing. And with gas being $3.34 a gallon (last time I checked) its just not possible to go to Hancock's or some place that sells sewing supplies. And I'd have to find out what kind of walking foot would be compatable with my Singer machine, which equals more time spent not working on the quilt. So for this quilt, I'm going to have to do without it.

  25. #25
    Super Member mpeters1200's Avatar
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    Well, you Link is cool. I haven's seen anything Zelda in a long time. I played the original, didn't like many of the others.

    Just remember about your quilt, slow and steady wins the race.

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