These Stitches Are Driving Me Crazy!
You may recall that a few weeks ago, I was working on a twin-size quilt, and I was happy to get all the blocks sewn to the batting and backing.
Even though I was planning to quilt it with just a simple diagonal pattern, I felt like I should practice before actually working on the real thing. So I took some left over blocks and started a lap robe. The piecing went well and I was very happy with how the corners met. But as soon as I started to quilt, things went horribly, horribly wrong.
Even with a walking foot , I couldn’t get a nice straight line, the stitches were of all different sizes, and the thread kept breaking! Free motion quilting was even worse – it felt like the quilt was hanging up on something and wouldn’t move. Half the time the bobbin thread wouldn’t even interlock with the top thread, and I have never had that happen before.
What caused these problems? Was it the fact that I was using high-loft polyester batting after being used to Warm and Natural cotton batting? Was it that I was using size 40 cotton thread on the top and size 100 polyester thread in the bobbin? Was it that I was using pre-washed fabric for the backing, so it didn’t have sizing to help it slide around? The only thing to do was just keep working on practice pieces until I figured out the problem.
I have now made two lap robes and two small sample pieces, with four types of batting and backing, over three days, and I am still having issues!
Here are the variables I have tried:
- change the needle
- change the type of needle
- take out the bobbin case and replace it
- change the thread tension
- change the presser foot setting
- change the type of bobbin thread
Some things worked better than others, but nothing was really satisfactory.
I finally sat down with the book Quilt as Desired by Charlene C. Frable. It’s my favorite book about machine quilting technique, and I needed a refresher. She suggests using the same size and type of thread for top and bobbin, and that gave me improved results. The top looks much better, but on the bottom I am still getting irregular stitches.
At this point, the only thing to do is just stop. For one thing, I am getting really sick of these fall colors and manly prints. I am going to let these rest for a while, and take my machine in for servicing. Then, things will either go better, or I will know for sure it is something I am doing.
It’s a good thing my dye experiments are going well. I’ve been working with pear leaves and branches and I will be reporting about that soon.
If anyone has any helpful tips, I would love to hear them!