Sunday, September 6, 2015

Lots of Learning

Sea-themed quilting
Quilting my summer quilt has been quite an experience.  I haven't free motion quilted anything of this size before.  Heck - I haven't made a queen sized quilt since my first one in 2001.  Because this quilt has no batting, I was mostly interested in just tacking it down the front to the back.  So I didn't plan to densely quilt the whole thing - I mostly wanted to add some interest in the melon and cream colored sections.

In quilting this, I learned a bunch of things:
  • Basting was a must.  I started with pins, and the first time I put it under the presser foot, I knew that was a bad idea. 
  • Quilting gloves were a life saver.  I generally hate not being able to feel what I'm working on, but in this case, I was much happier being able to move the material where it needed to go.  Got a lot of mileage from a pair of $2 gloves.
  • Thread breaks on my machine if I pull the needle too close to the front edge of the throat plate.  I still need to learn to keep the needle up to speed and not move too fast.
  • Need to clean out the bottom gears from time to time and make sure the needle is in tight after tipping the machine over.  That was a lesson I won't soon forget.
  • Small areas and small designs are a lot easier to quilt than big ones.  Doing the seaweed on the melon green area was nerve wracking.  In part because I didn't have a good view of the whole area while working on it.  The little 4" squares were so much easier to deal with.
  • Things look a lot better from a distance than close up.  I finished with several bits of seaweed and was sure I'd be ripping them all out.  They were wobbly and not how I envisioned.  But when the quilt was spread out and I took a step back - they looked great.  I bet I couldn't even find the "problem" seaweed at this point.
  • Practice.  Practice.  Practice.  Every design I finished looked or stitched up so much easier than the first bit.  I was panicked when I first sat down to quilt, and by the end, was much calmer, even when starting a pattern I'd never tried before.
  • I think the fully quilted white space looks better than the ones with something in the middle.  I need to remember that for the next project.  
  • High contrast thread shows the quilted design better.  Duh.  I was so unsure of what I was doing, I matched the thread pretty close to the fabric.  Good, because my I-don't-know-what-the-hell-I'm-doing stuff is pretty hidden.  Bummer, because the sections I did well aren't really visible.  I guess I can't have it both ways. 
At this point, I'm quilted, mostly bound.  I have a little bit if cleanup, and need to design and attach a label.  I may actually get it onto the bed for Labor Day!

1 comment :

  1. Great "lessons learned" commentary. I have done the exact same thing with matching thread too closely to the fabric, working my butt off on the quilting, and then not being able to see all my hard work. Drat. Your sea themed quilting is great. Real seaweed IS wavy and wobbly, isn't it? Glad you didn't feel you had to rip, after all.

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