Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Machine quilting: starts and stops

Had planned to complete the machine quilting on my blue baby quilt at this year's retreat.  Looked like I was almost done, so it seemed like a reasonable goal.

Finished the circles for the center of each block.  Yay!  Thought I was done.  My reasoning?  I used a high-loft polyester batting for a really poufy (is that a word?) look, and I wouldn't want to destroy all the pouf by quilting too much.
Original circle + inner circle for reinforcement

However... Sitting next to a Goddess of Machine Quilting at retreat, I soon realized that I needed to add more quilting in each block.  Her reasoning?  (1)  It is a baby quilt, so will see lots of washings, and more quilting will help to stabilize the seams on all the piecing.  (2)  Polyester batting will tend to bunch up over time with frequent washings, so more quilting will help to prevent that from happening.

So, back to the machine I went.  Not ready to try free motion quilting, so I'm stuck with my walking foot.  Which means lots of turning the quilt.  Grr, not fun.

Why is it so hard to turn this little quilt?
You know what?  I never really looked much at other sewing machines (don't want to get into machine envy, or ask what small fortune this or that machine cost), but I couldn't help noticing that Goddess of Machine Quilting has a lot more room to maneuver under the throat of her machine than I do.  In fact, I went ahead and measured (while she was away from her machine). 

Purchased for Halloween costumes: not ideal for quilting

I have 6 1/2" of throat; her machine has 11+" of space.  It's big enough to park an SUV under there!  No wonder I was fighting so hard to gather and bunch and twist and curse as I was quilting.

Still good pouf.  And yet secure.

And the end result?  Gosh, I really like it.  Can't hardly tell there was any sweat at all in getting that machine quilting done.

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