Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Quilting Samples

I've been working on my quilting samples as described in Heirloom Machine Quilting.
The page of examples was on my last post.

I started with the first ones and worked my way through drafting them onto the muslin.  I quickly found that my geometry skills were sorely lacking. I finally figured out how to draw all but 2 of them.  The two remaining ones I will be skipping since I cannot figure out how they work.  They are neither 30, 60 or 45 degree angles and do not run from a corner to corner. So, I have concluded that I would never bother to re-create that much angst by choice.

I changed my presser foot to a wide open foot to help with the puckering (my Dual Feed works with any of my feet), and proceeded to layer the pieces with my new safety pins. Here is my wide foot and pin style. I actually had many more pins in there, but took them out to change method. This was just a "staged" photo!
I did realize I should have quilted only 1 line and moved on to the next set of 3 and then come back and do the other 2, but oh well, that was the least of my problems. So you see that even sewing straight lines, my pins are too wide to get the foot down the line straight without taking out the pin?

This is the major problem I was running into with the quilting. When I got to the pieces that had crossing lines, the first line puckered badly and the whole thing was a bit puckery.  I decided pins were not my friend.  Besides, they were too big to fit between the lines (even in those BIG squares) and I'd have to take them out as I went. I call that a Pain in the Bu..behind.
You see, after reading in the book about how my QuilTak left too big of holes in fabric, I thought I would go for the safety pin method. After doing several pieces this way I cannot see that the pin holes are any smaller than the ones left behind on my QuilTak gun. In fact, there are 2 for every 1 of the QuilTak's.  And, it is SO much easier to baste with the gun and taks. Also, the Taks fit perfectly between lines, even when they are very small squares or lines!  And... The quilting ends up SO much nicer!  Take a look!
 Far fewer puckers all over, and NO bad stuff when crossing lines.  I know you can tell where the middle was in the first example shown, but I dare you to find the 2 beginning cross lines in either of these two samples!
So, I ordered more of my Taks and will be storing away those awful safety pins.  I guess I'm glad I tried it the other way, just to confirm that the QuilTak was just fine. Better even.   I do realize that if I were to use Batik's or other very tightly woven threads that I might have an issue, but at this point, it isn't.

As soon as I have finished all 16 of these, I will get back to my border and my bird quilt project.  Until then.... Have a great Spring Day!


  1. I have never used the quilttaks but have been wanting to try them. One of the teachers at a LQS loves them and encourages people to try them. Glad to hear that you too like them. The quilttak sample looks fabulous!

  2. Looking Good Dawn, I have never heard of quilt taks but i think i understand... they are not unlike the little plastic things that price tags are affixed to clothing with , correct? I will have to check them out, your samples are looking good.

    I too have been fussing about with the puckering when crossing lines. I have reduced the pressure on my presser foot and that helped , and i am also going to do a few lines vertical and horizontal spaced across the quilt to stabilize it before finishing all the quilting. I guess you are more with it than me as i am learning some of this stuff on my quilt while you are sorting it through on practice pieces LOL well I should have been more in tune with it as i have done straight line quilting before and knew some of the hazards,thought i had it all figured (but didn't entirely) I still think of it as part of the learning curve, which is sometimes a gentle curve and other times a right angle!!
    cheers and keep up the great work!

    1. Yes, there are different learning curves! I have done one quilt with straight line in the past, but it was SO long ago, I figured I would start all over and use the method suggested in the book. I'm glad I did because I am definitely working out some issues. Getting my method sorted out. It is taking quite a bit of time though and I'm sure most won't bother with this process.

      I have the QuilTak link in my post, you should check out the web site. Yes, it is like shooting a small price tag piece through the layers. There are several off brands that have copied this original, but many say they don't like them as well. I bought this way back in the mid 90's and have managed to hold onto it in the move. QuilTak has the smallest piece of plastic between them.

  3. Hey Dawn! How wide are those fasteners that you use with the QuilTak? I have a price tag gun that I hardly ever use and was thinking I might could use it for basting. The smallest the fasteners come though is 1/2 inch. I'm not sure if that would work or not. Also, why would you have a problem with Batiks or very tightly woven thread? I'm a newbie. :)

    1. I did just see 1/4 inch as well.

    2. The Taks are 1/4" in length. I'm not familiar with a real price tag gun and how large the needle is. The QuilTak gun boasts that it has the smallest needle width and taks as possible (and smaller than the competitors). Some that use longer taks simply attach them like a safety pin so that both ends are on the top of the quilt, which uses up more of the plastic and keeps the layers tighter. You could always try it on sample pieces! Use good quality fabric so that you know whether or not it is splitting the fabric fibers or just moving them to the side.

      Batiks are very tightly woven, and a larger needle will break the threads rather than inch them away from the needle. You would need to be careful in what ever needle you put through a batik or sateen.

      Of course, you need to be careful on the back side. I used to use a grid underneath so the needle didn't bump the floor or table. Now, I just use my hand to hold up the area.
      Let me know if your gun works! They are so much easier than pin basting.