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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Now – where are the bicycle clips?

It was time to start machine quilting my burgundy and cream quilt in earnest.  I had done  the easy part when I stitched in the ditch around all the blocks with my walking foot.  No trouble at all, even though this quilt is huge, and probably much too big to be tackling on a domestic machine.  Exceedingly heavy too, especially with the added weight of all those safety pins.  Now, I know I’ve got some bicycle clips somewhere – where did I put them?  Out came all sorts of long forgotten bits and pieces as I searched through the drawers of my sewing cabinet, and wouldn’t you guess, they were in the very last place I looked.  I need them to fasten up the quilt when I roll it up.  Made sure I had lots of filled bobbins, threaded up my reel of variegated cotton, changed the needle and I was almost ready.  One more thing to do, and that was to fit my BSR foot, otherwise known as a “Bernina stitch regulator foot.”  And away I went, quilting freehand meander and swirls.
DSCF5794   Hard at work
I really struggled with the quilting.  The stitches were too big, and that *!#* quilt was so heavy it kept pulling.  The quilt didn’t seem to glide under the needle as it had when I quilted much smaller pieces.  I wasn’t doing very well at all.  What was I doing wrong?  I needed help, so I posted a message on the Southern Cross Quilters internet group and several ladies replied with advice.  It may seem simple, but what really worked for me was to “go slower”. I disengaged the foot pedal and used the stop/start button instead – this ensured I was quilting in much smaller bursts.  And I made extra sure that the bulk of the quilt was supported on the table, with the back not sliding down the wall over the edge of the cabinet.  The front I kept fluffed up on my lap.  These steps really made a big difference, and I am very grateful to all those who took the time to help me.  With the body of the quilt completed, it was quite an easy job to quilt around the borders.  Whew - it’s finally all quilted!  I only just had enough variegated thread on the reel to do the job.  That’s a 500mt reel and I was down to the last little bit.
DSCF5795 Only this much top thread remaining
I’ll never be a world famous machine quilter – not with the stitches sometimes skipping, the needle sometimes  jumping when I stopped and started, and the curves not always as smooth as I would like.  On reflection, I should have probably just quilted straight or slightly wavy  long lines over such a big quilt.  But I’m pleased with what I have done, and I’m sure my niece will be happy with her belated birthday gift. 
DSCF5796 All done
Of course, it’s not quite all finished, there is still the binding to machine on, and stitch down by hand.  I’ll enjoy sitting out on the back deck doing the hand stitching.  Then on to the label.  But I’m almost there, and it’s a really good feeling.  We will be taking a trip up to Hastings sometime in the near future to deliver the quilt.  Now, which UFO shall I tackle next?


Rayna said...

It looks very good to me. I am finding the quilts are getting much to heavy for me to quilt.

fabriquefantastique said...

well done.

Frances Leate said...

When I use Signature or King Tut thread on my Bernina 440 I always have it set up on a thread holder next to the machine or stand it vertically on the alternate thread holder - it seems to make a big difference to the tension.

Deborah said...

I found that new bobbins greatly improved my quilting performance ... But i also find that non quilter dont notice the things were are afraid of other quilters seeing. I am sure your niece will love the quilt

Linda said...

Good for you to persevere. I'm sure that the more you quilted, the better your stitches looked. I've never used bicycle clips. I've quilted many large quilts (without a BSR) and find that "puddling" works nicely. It makes you need to stop and start to reposition your hands, but that can be a good thing. A couple tips... you can help support the weight of the quilt with a TV tray on your left side. Also, I've learned that you can have greater control over your quilt by keep your feed dogs UP! Yes, up. I've quilted with them up, and also lowered. I prefer quilting with the feed dogs lowered, but you might give it a try. Keep quilting. Your stitches will get better with practice.

Julie said...

I totally agree with Linda, practice, practice, practice. I've invested in the package that Leah from The 365 days of quilting blog sells, machingers quilting gloves, the supreme slider and the bobbin genies, they help enormously, but nothing more than practice, practice, practice!!

Katie said...

I also make sure I have a table at my left side to support the quilt. Leah Day at daystyledesigns.com has some video about how she sets up her machine and tables. Helpful. :-)


(third video)