Friday, August 1, 2008

"Taking A Peek" at my Gammill

Yesterday, I almost finished quilting the king-sized log cabin quilt for Eileen. I would say I have about one more pass to go. I worked on it until 6:30 PM, but was just too tired to keep at it. Whether sewing on my Bernina or on the Gammill, I often get back and shoulder fatigue. Better to stop when tired!

Anyway, this is such a large quilt that I have been taking extra precautions to make sure that there are no pleats on the back. The first thing I did was repair my side straps and clamps. I have these long black Velcro strips with clamps on the end. They wrap around the side frame of the table, which has the other half of the Velcro on the top. The clamps attach to the lining and/or batting on the quilt. They help keep it taut. As Linda Taylor taught us in her classes, the clamps are not meant to torture the quilt like the medieval racks- just keep the backing from easing up.

I have managed to break my Velcro straps and even one or two clamps when jerking the straps off to roll up the quilt. So, before this quilt, I stitched the broken sections of Velcro together. For the clamp that was broken in half, I found this fun replacement at the Target store. It is supposed to clamp your towel or beach shirt to the back of your beach chair. I like the fun look it gives to my set-up!

Something else I use to prevent unwanted pleats on the back is this cheap door mirror. Placed on the table, it gives you a view of the underside of the quilt. Look at these wrinkles which could have caused pleats on the back if I didn't check the mirror.

But the best feature of my Gammill for checking the batting and backing is the pivot access.

One of the bars on the front of the machine can be released to pivot up. As my favorite OB/GYN doctor would say before disappearing behind the drape, "Let's just take a peek."

That's what I think of when I lift the top and push the canvas leaders out of the way to see what's underneath the layers. Then you can see the batting layer and smooth it out, and remove any stray threads on the top or batting. This quilt was my first experience with Hobbs Tuscany cotton. It is a very soft, clean white batt. However, I found it to be a little stretchy, and apt to retain puckers. I was able to straighten and smooth the batting before quilting.

Then you can lift the batting to see the lining, or backing layer.

When I took this picture, I had reached a seam in the backing. I do like my backing seams to be wide and pressed open. I prefer the selvage to be removed . I think it adds stretch and can cause puckering. Anyway, here are a couple more pictures of the free-motion quilting on this log cabin.

This afternoon will be a treat. My hubby and I are going to downtown Raleigh to see the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight" at the IMAX theatre. I have never seen a film on one of these huge, sense-boggling screens. Should be fun!


Jackie Russell said...

The clamp is too cute! I love the quilting on this quilt.

Turtles In Northern Florida said...

Jeanne you are my hero for today! That mirror has GOT to be the best idea I have ever seen! Thos clamps too are now on my list.Thanks for posting these ideas!

Lynn Majidimehr said...

Jeanne, those are some great tips, thank you!

Judy S. said...

Enjoyed your step by step explanation, Jeanne. Nice quilting, too!

Unknown said...

You have some nifty quilting tools.

Susan Italo said...

What a brilliant idea the mirror is! Thanks for the tips... and letting us all "just take a peek"!!