Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Muddling

Finally! Baby M is behaving! I was really wondering if taking it all apart for the umpteenth time and basting it with thread instead of pins was really going to make a difference, but it did. I've got 4 rows completely stitched, with 2 rows of quilting on either side of the seam. And these 4 rows are going to stay.

I had to go back and watch the videos to make sure I had the method right, and it turns out I didn't. Here is the link to the Sharon Schamber's quilt basting method that I have used in the past and found completely successful. What I had forgotten was that the batting floats between the top and the backing, both of which are rolled onto lengths of board. Once I had that corrected and just relaxed and took my time, all went smoothly.

I have made a couple of changes from the way she describes the method. I was having a bit of trouble getting the winding onto the boards started; the fabric wasn't winding tightly and evenly enough for me. That was easily corrected with a couple of short pieces of painter's tape. The tape just holds the edge of the layer to the board long enough to get the rolling started; there's no pulling or tension on it, so there's no risk of distorting the fabric. And of course it's easily removed at the end.

The other change is that she says to remove the basting thread before you quilt into a space, so you never sew over the thread. I usually leave it in place until the quilting is done. It takes a little more time to remove at the end, but I'm certain that nothing is going to shift even a little bit in the process. If I'm going to quilt very densely I will remove the thread once I have enough quilting done to stabilize the piece, and I will remove a knot that's in the line of stitching. But otherwise I leave it in.

One thing I do to speed up the process is thread several needles onto the spool of thread at once, then pull them off one at a time as I need more thread. I discovered this weekend that I can load several needles onto my needle threader at one time, then slide them off onto the thread all at once. Saves a lot of time hunting for my glasses and getting the light just right to thread the needle. I think at the moment I'm using a heavier thread than Sharon does. She says she prefers tatting cotton. I had a spool of DMC size 30 crochet cotton, so that's what I'm using. I've also used perle cotton in the past.

I guess I've learned my lesson: take the time to thread baste it and forget about the safety pins. Once I had Baby M in the machine I started basting the Thangles quilt, and it's now about 1/4 basted. When I put that one up on the design wall I discovered that the top has some issues. I made it fairly early in my quilting career, and I think it was my first quilt that has the blocks set on point, with setting squares in between. There is some bubbling in those squares, which means they're a little bit bigger than they ought to be. I won't swear that the borders are going to lie flat either. I'm basting this one a bit more closely than I did Baby M in an effort to localize those issues and I'll deal with them as I do the quilting.

Other projects are progressing, but there's nothing very exciting to show. I have 3 rows of blocks put together on the Grandmother's Flower Garden; I can't remember how many rows there are, but it's going to be a big quilt. And there are now 3 rows of cats quilted on Calico Cats.

Next Tuesday my Yarn Sabbath will be over. I thought the other day I should cast on a new project as a way to "break the fast," but of course have no idea what I want to start. I have a week to think about it. I'm sure I'll come up with something.

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