Friday, September 24, 2021

Losing My Love for Straight-Line Quilting / Beauties Pageant 146

My Norway Quilt, pattern by Camille Roskelley/Thimbleblossoms.

This is likely something youd never expect to hear from me: Im starting to lose my love for straight-line quilting. 

For the past eight years, straight-line quilting with a walking foot has served me well. Its complemented my predilection for not-so-traditional quilt patterns. Its enabled me to finish my projects myself, allowing me to take full credit for my creations as well as save money that I might have otherwise spent on longarm quilting.

The quilting is more evident in this picture of the back.

But more often than not, my straight-line quilting proves to miss the mark. Despite loosening my presser foot pressure, starting in the middle of a project and working my way out, and taking my time to spray-baste carefully, I encounter puckering when I quilt grids. Puckering makes me grumpy. : /

One way around this is to quilt parallel lines only and forgo the perpendicular ones necessary for a grid. Actually, thats how I quilted No Negativity and my Norway Quilttwo rather large throw-size quiltsand it worked well. With both of these projects, however, I did start all of the longer lines in the middle and quilted outward, which required burying a ton of threads.

Parallel straight lines complemented No Negativity’s big, bold plus signs.

I also quilted my Pretty in Pluses cover quilt with parallel lines and was pleased with the results.

This is a very Michelle back—I framed out a leftover fat quarter and featured it here.

When I recently sat down to quilt one of my economy block quilts, however, I was excited for the opportunity to practice my free-motion quilting skills. Ultimately, I ended up talking myself out of FMQing because, I reasoned with myself, it would be just as easy to quilt allow the seams with my walking foot. Guess what. Puckering happened. It wasnt horrible and I suspect a trip through the washer and dryer may camouflage the problematic spots, but still, I should have done an allover meander on it.

So thats my rant about straight-line quilting. My love affair with it has come to an end! I hope that means Ill step out of my comfort zone (that is, meandering) and youll see different FMQ motifs here on From Bolt to Beauty soon, but it may just mean that Ill be spending more money on longarm quilting. Ha, ha!

Getting back to Pretty in Pluses ... its available in my Etsy shop!

Getting back to Pretty in Pluses ... I released that pattern last week, and it’s on sale at Quilt Pattern Mart for $9 right now!

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  1. I feel your pain! I always get little puckers, too. Straight lines are great for some projects but not for others, and I am pretty bad at free motion. Have you tried any of the walking foot quilting books? There's a lot you can do with a walking foot beyond straight lines. Check them out and you might fall in love with it. Can't do anything about burying threads, though. That's quilting!

  2. This might sound crazy, but I've started pinning the batting to the backing fabric outside of the quilt top, and I've had a lot less shifting and puckers since I've started doing that. I still keep a close eye on what's happening on the back, but I think it keeps things from shifting to really tie the batting to the backing fabric around the edges. That said, I vote for going for it with FMQing! :)

  3. Your quilts are always beautiful and charming and a joy to see.

  4. Your Norway quilt is so beautiful!!! Michelle, you need a longarm!

  5. Have you tried organic lines with your walking foot. It does work. Another tip for prepping the quilt sandwich -- before the long arm, I always taped or clamped the backing to a table. And then smoothed the batting (which was always part cotton as it stuck to the cotton somewhat) and then pinned the heck out of it. I've found recently that my spray basting didn't work very well on my table runner this month. I have a fairly large space I can do my basting if need be but I would rather use the long arm. Most small ones I use the domestic machine.

  6. I'm sorry to hear you've had problems with your walking foot quilting. My initial thought is that the pressure on your presser foot is too heavy. Do you have the option of lessening the pressure? (Sometimes a dial/button on the top of the machine, or a setting on an electronic machine.) That's often what I suggest to students in my quilting classes when they're having a problem. Sometimes I have to lessen pressure when quilting because the batting is thicker - like Quilter's Dream Puff that I like to use. None of us want to fall out of love with domestic machine quilting, for all the positive reasons you listed, so I hope you find a way to ease the problem.

  7. I have all the same problems lately. Makes me wonder what has changed with basting spray. They just don't seem to hold like they used to. I can't FMQ so it's me and my walking foot.I hate puckers but they've become part of the "design"


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