Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quilting headaches

Well, yesterday ended on a frustrating note. I have come to the conclusion that amongst other things, I didn't pin very well when basting. The first day's quilting went so-so well (except for the two wrinkles) but yesterday was a killer. I had turned the quilt around and was working from the middle out to the edge but it seemed like every row would get a wrinkle and I rip it out and start again more carefully. Somewhere towards the edge the quilt would start pulling terribly against the pin! If I take out the pin there is going to be more slippage. But if I leave the pin in then there is going to be a wrinkle on top. I was stretching the dumb thing off the backing and the whole quilt was pulling on the bias, stretching on the top and wrinkling on the bottom! I took three rows out and re-pinned. No good. The next row was just as bad. HA! And I thought two wrinkles were going to be the extent of my problems!!!

So I dragged the whole quilt off the table and down onto the floor and re-pinned the part I wanted to work on this time with pins every inch or so! Lots and lots of pins!!! Let's just say if gremlins wanted to make my day difficult they did a good job. Cats would sit on the quilt, play with the pins. Pull the pins as I was pinning (more straightening up of the quilt). The lamp fell off the table twice as I was pushing the quilt around. The sewing machine decided it didn't want to work anymore. Probably in protest of the workout I was giving it! The bottom feet stopped working until I took the plate off and got down in there with a lint brush.

So the pin basting might be a lot of my problem. We didn't tape or pin the backing down at all. My friends and I never do and we've been hand basting quilts off of the tatami mats for years and never had this problem!

The polyester batting might be part of the problem but again, this is what we've used for years and and don't think any of us have ever noticed the slippage.

The placing of my sewing machine might be the problem. I have it on a low table which allows the quilt to rest on a table which is level. But the quilt only rests on the left side. It has nothing to rest on behind the sewing machine and I'm sure that must cause some pulling. But as cramped for space as I am I don't think there is anyway I can add more furniture to this room...

I feel a little sorry for my quilt. At least when I am hand quilting I admire my work and imagine how nicely this is going to turn out in a month or two. With the 365 Challenge I look at it as the enemy to be vanquished! Instead of admiring I groan at the new puckers or pulls. My sewing machine doesn't like me and now my quilt and I are at odds too!

I went to bed with a terrific headache last night and don't really know if the re-pinning is going to help things...

Oh, let's end on a happy note. Don't you think my two orangish cats look nice on the colorful 365?


Ivo Serentha and Friends said...

Beautiful cats,greetings from Italy

good luck


Anonymous said...

Hi, Spray adhesive basting works the best for me. With polyester batting, you may need to apply the spray on the fabric of the top and back, not the batting. You'll need to wash the finished quilt to remove the spray. I use my ironing board , adjusted to the height of my sewing table, to support the weight of my quilt so that I don't wrestle with it so much. Love following your blog.
Shelley in Canada.

Lindah said...

The 2 kitties are pretty. I like cats. Your quilt is and will be pretty too, once it agrees to cooperate with you.
I think I would agree that the poly batting is much harder to machine quilt than the cotton. Could you possibly switch to cotton and save the poly for hand work? The cotton tends to "stick" to the top and backing a little more which helps to stablize the 3 layers. Lots and lots of pins. They are a nuisance, but so necessary. A flat area around the needle and sewing area is important, too.
Hang in there. You'll get it.
Looking forward to seeing the finished product!

Mary said...

I just hate it when things aren't going well with a quilt. I always feel I've been doing this long enough to be doing it well and yet there are always those quilts that humble me.

I hope you're able to work out your problems. I usually find that once the quilt is done and I step back from it a bit, it's not as bad as I thought.

meggie said...

I had no luck with pin basting- ever! So now I use a combination of spray baste, & tacking. I have used the method that Keryn (see her in my sidebar, she has the link on her blog as a tutorial) suggests using table tops, for getting the layers nice & neat. Another idea is Sharon Schamber's method.
Try this link. Hope it works.

Those gorgeous kitties!!

mamaspark said...

Your "Quilt Inspectors" are so cute and doing a fine job "helping" you!

The Calico Quilter said...

I pin the dickens out of quilts and still have to fight shifting. But when I use spray baste, the needle gets gummed up, so I don't know the answer. When I use the kitchen table to pin baste a small quilt, I tape the backing to the surface so it's good and tight with no possiblity of wrinkling. You can also pin it to the carpet if you're working in the floor! Also, if I'm doing straight line quilting, I tend to try to make the lines go across the quilt diagonally, if possible. There is less stretching on the top that way. If I have to go lengthwise or crosswise, I proceed very slowly and place my hands on either side of the presser foot area and apply tension on the quilt side to side, not enough to distort but enough to keep the top from getting pushed ahead of the needle. And I agree with the other commenters - poly batting is too slick. Cotton grabs the front and back of the quilt and keeps the sandwich more stable. Good luck!

Linda said...

Just breathe Tanya! Just breathe! I have read all the comments and there's really good suggestions there (personally, I use spray and absolutely love it!), but I've also found that there are days I shouldn't be sewing! Nothing seems to work. And yet, if I go back the next day, everything works really really well. Who knows, eh? Just keep breathing and it'll all work out.
Lurking Linda
ps the cats are, of course, gorgeous!

Amanda said...

Oh Tanya, I can feel your frustration even here in the UK! I know just how you feel, and unfortunately I'm not experienced enough to give you any answers, Perhaps a break from it for a day or two will re-enthuse you to just get it done. It's no use to you now, but for the future you might like to think about quilting in sections and then joining them together - it's so much easier to man-handle smaller pieces.

Anonymous said...

Tanya, Spring is coming. The quilt will get done.

I have a series of folding tables that fit behind my door until I need to enlarge my sewing area. I even lower my ironing board to the table level.

All the tables make my room look goofy. I can put them away in about fifteen minutes.

The old typerwriter tables my dh reworked into wheeled sewing machine tables that have the bed flush with the top mean that I have a lot of options.

Sleep was not coming this evening. Than a cat was sick. It seemed better to just get up and do some work. Been sorting papers for a typing job.

I about gave up on the job and opened the mail; it's a job I try to leave to twice a week. Someone I know sent me the most beautiful, die cut, folding, popup card for Girls Day.

Thank you so very much. I have not seen that sort of quality or intricacy in a pop up card or book since I was a child. It's wonderful. It's on the one, remaining bookcase at eye level. Thank you again, t

Luna said...

So nice to see your beautiful cats on the quilt.
Oh I see in your last post you have snow.

Look what happens last night in my blog!


Shasta said...

Oh I am so sorry about your frustrations. Sometimes quilting seems like a battle for me too, and other days it goes more smoothly. I did have difficulties with polyester batting - it is so slippery. I also try not to have quilting stitches that meet - because when you quilt the horizontal lines, you might have puckering at the corner where the vertical lines meet. Small motifs work better for me or meandering.
And I put phone and cookbooks all around my sewing machine to give my quilt as close to a level surface as I can manage.
Hang in there, Tanya, you'll get through it.

SplendiferousFiber said...

Starch can be your new best friend. Starch the front & back before you put the layers together. Be generous with the stuff.Starching the fabric makes it extra flat and a bit stiff, and helps keep it flat when you are quilting, so the back side has less chance of misbehaving. You can starch the wrong side of the fabric, then iron away. You may need to slightly stretch anything that might stretch when you are sewing and bubble on the top.

Your Toi is the handsomest little guy, and I love the tail over the toes thing he does.

Wendy in Louisiana, who finally started to get it right after ripping out the quilting on latest project twice (aargh)

Team Tabby said...

All of the suggestions are good although I have not tried the spray. I usually baste on a big table and use bulldog clips to keep the backing tight. Or if a big quilt, tape the backing to the floor - again make sure it is tight. Then layer the batting and flimsy and pin like crazy - I use small safety pins.

So sorry your machine quilt experience was so frustrating.