August 29, 2011

Do you See What I see?

Today I worked on the final baby clothes quilt.  This is a near twin of one I made the first year I was quilting.  I accidently made nearly twice as many blocks as I needed so I called it serendipity and made another top.  This one is bigger than the original and measures 90" square.  It has a pieced back as well, which I will show you after I get the binding attached.  For now I've finished the quilting.  Praised be!  And delt with all the threads and trust me there were a lot.

This was my first BIG quilt to quilt on the mid arm frame.  I will say there is theory which I picked up as much as I could reading everything I could get my hands on.  This is real tangible data, but it has no true meaning until reality combines and the key clicks.

Keys to making the key click:

1. There are such a thing as defective needles.  It might look great but if you've changed the thread, adjusted the tension, checked your needle plate for burrs, called in some else who knows more than you, clearly rethreaded the machine a zillion times, and checked the manual...  Guess what?  It might just be that brand new needle.  This one in particular I felt the burr as soon as I removed it from the sewing machine.  Wish I'd thought of that before loosing hours and hours.

2.  When quilting on a quilt frame needle size should be two sizes bigger.  So if you've always done freemotion quilting with a side 90/14  you need an 18.  Don't try to bull you're way past that needle size.  My home machine doesn't care, but the Janome 1600P, goes so fast it cares and will shred your thread.

3.  Thread does matter.  I read somewhere that Janome 1600's likes overlock thread, you know the two strand serger thread?  I'm still trying to figure out if that's true.  But currently I have everything set perfectly for the quilt I just quilted using So Fine Thread.

4.  In a the span of half of a 12" block you should not have any thread breakages.  Certainly not the 3-5+ I was experiencing for the past month.

When everything comes together it's like the best homemade gravy you've ever had smothering the best pot roast you've ever tastes.  I'm sure there are more keys to unlock and mid arm frame tricks to learn.  But I can't tell you how happy I am that after 5 amazing passes last night I stopped at half way and went to bed.  Today I finished the quilt!  Okay I still have the binding - let me know when you find a quilting frame that will sew that on too, I'm sure everyone will want one.

Do you know what that means?  Another quilt from the quilt list will be gracing my living room.  I wonder which one it will be?  Actually I already know, but you'll find that out soon enough.


Vicki said...

Isn't it a wonderful feeling when things come together and it all works. Too bad we just can't plug our brains into an eternal fountain of quilting knowledge that has all the answers for the things that don't work out the first time we try them. Congratulations on another quilting job well done.

Connie said...

Congrats on another quilt getting quilted! It sounds like you are really learning to use your mid arm frame.

QuiltSue said...

It looks amazing, you must be so thrilled. Did you embroider the red hearts first?

stitchinpenny said...

I love the quilt. I also love the leons learned. I have done the burred needle thing and after about an hour of quilting one width of the quilt, I too finally changed the needle. I now do that first.

Caren Kristine said...

Love the quilt! I have my one issues with tension!