Before we get to the “topic of the week” I’d like to share a smile. In Thursday’s class Jean shared a new quilting acronym: SABLE. It stands for “stash accumulated beyond life expectancy” (I definately fit this one)!
Moving along :-)………..this week’s topic is about stops and starts when machine quilting. Coming from a garment background, my first inclination was to backstitch. This meant that each time I began I’d go a few stitches and then reverse over them. Then I would stitch forward over them one more time and an ugly blob would always result. I decided to stop doing that quite quickly.
Then I decided to try the lock stitch on my sewing machine and discovered in a hurry that it didn’t “lock” as well as I wanted it to.
My next impulse was to begin with a very short stitch length for the first 1/4″ and then to slowly lengthen the stitches until I reached the length I desired. I would end this way too and I still use this technique in most of my quilts. It works well for both machine guided and free motion quilting. The short stitches anchor quite well and are not too visable, but there are times I don’t want to be able to detect the starts and stops at all.
In these cases I use a tip from Sue Nickels for knotting off and burying the tails. The trick is to use “Easy Threading” needles.
When the thread is pressed into the “v” at the top of these needles it will pop into the upper hole. Thus no threading! When you’re doing a lot of tails, this is an incredible help that reduces eye strain.
Leave 2″ tails on the top, pop both threads into the needle, insert needle in end of last stitch and pull through to the back.
Tie a square knot on the back tight against the quilt.
Pop tails into needle once again, enter at end of stitching, run the needle between layers for about 1″ and bring tails back out to the back.
Clip threads close to the back and repeat for remaining tails.
PS Cheryl Anderson sent me a great link for quilters who want to do something to help the people of Japan during this difficult time. The project is entitled: “Hearts and Hands for Sendai” and it involves making just one block. Please visit this blog for all the information: http://pinyoncreek.blogspot.com/2011/03/hearts-and-hands-for-sendai.html