Friday, January 22, 2010

Quilting Progress

Yesterday, I decided to tackle the problem of the thread breakage I experienced while working on this old quilt top from the seventies. It was so frustrating and making me mad. Pretty soon I was going to have to wash my own mouth out with soap, if you get the idea!

I finally got it to a tolerable level. Here's what I did.

  1. Went up two needle sizes to a 5.0.

  2. Loosened the top tension by only going once around the tension.

  3. Moved the thread guide above the needle.

  4. Put a couple of lines of Sewers' Ease lubricant on the cone of thread and also above the needle.

  5. Sprayed the back of the top, both sides of the batting, and the backing with Silicone spray. Since I float the top, this is all accessible even though the quilt is mounted on the machine.

I'm not sure what solved the problem, but I suspect the larger needle size was the best answer. All of the fabrics used in the stars appear to be from old clothing or curtains. Debbie loves this, because she can recognize some of the dresses and shirts that Grandma Helen made them from. I don't love them because sometimes my needle will go in and just get stuck while the motor makes a loud noise. Twill is not a great fabric to use for these pieced stars!

Anyway, I am now halfway through, save for a couple of the star diamonds that I couldn't quite reach on the last pass.

The curvy line dancing on the stars is helping to disguise the rather wonky piecing, and definitely taming the fullness in the centers.

The next problem is that Grandma had pencil-marked a stencil design in one of the huge white squares between the two rows of stars. Since this was done decades ago, that pencil mark is kind of smeared. It is a huge rose design. I originally thought I might try to quilt that design, and I traced it to put in the other block. But now I think I will try to put a big feather wreath in the squares, and then try to wash out the pencil marks. Anyone have any success with removing pencil marks?

Last night was the monthly meeting of the Capital Quilters Guild in Raleigh. I took all the quilt kits that I had at home for the Quilts on Wheels table. Quite a few were picked up by generous quilters. The guild is also having a charity quilt sew-in day on Saturday.

It is fun to see the quilts coming in that people have donated. Some were made from our kits, but others are from quilters' stashes. We got two lovely quilts that were just beautiful oriental fabrics with an inner and outer border. What a great idea for that fabric that is too pretty to cut!

I also like the scrappy ones, like this one from all triangles.

The color is not right on this one, which actually was much brighter, but it looks like a relatively easy pattern that makes a striking quilt.

We were hoping to go up to our mountain cabin this weekend. I have not been since November. But it has been pouring rain here, and they are having an ice storm up there this weekend. So, we are staying home. Today we are planning to go see The Blind Side, the Sandra Bullock movie about the white Alabama family that takes in a homeless black football player. Charlie will be attending a seminar soon in which the keynote speaker will be Sean Tuohy, the real father of the family whose part was played by Tim McGraw in the movie. He thought he should see the movie before hearing the speaker. Looking forward to our second movie date in one week!


Suzanne Kistler said...

You've already tried erasing, right?

You're in luck. Being a packrat, I have all of my old guild newsletters. In the July 1992 newsletter, I found the "Recipe For Removing Pencil Markings"

I've never tried it, but the "old-timers" swear by it.

3 ounces rubbing alcohol
1 ounce water
4 DROPS liquid dishwashing soap (Bette Beebe used Palmolive)

Directions: Dip a CLEAN toothbrush in the solution and brush onto the fabric. Blot dry.

I hope it works for you!!!

Wendy said...

Since pencil is water-proof, I usually just use an eraser.
Good luck with it. It's looking really good so far!

Unknown said...

all of these quilts are just beautiful!!! I have had problems before with thread breaking and usually when it happens, I have no clue is like the machine hates the particular quilt....the sew ease seems to help a lot.....lately, knock on wood my machine likes the quilts....Did you read my post on being a closet cusser.....?