A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.
Yesterday I started working on Gloria’s cross stitch quilt. The first step is to look over the quilt to locate the issues. Issues happen in almost every quilt. It’s just the nature of fabric to have issues. It’s my job to work with the issues rather than fight with them.
This quilt has pre-printed guide lines for the quilting. As you can see the dots are very faint. I’ll need to work out a lighting around the needle that will let me see the dots better.
It can’t be pressed to remove the wrinkles. Pressing would either make the dots permanent or else cause them to disappear before the quilting starts. I’ll have to be careful when working near wrinkled areas to keep from quilting in a tuck.
Next step is to decide on a thread color. At first I thought of using one of these as a blender. Thinking ahead I decided a cream color thread would be better. Why? Well there’s going to be alot of backtracking. The backing fabric is a cream color. Dark color thread on a light background will show up any backtracking that isn’t perfectly lined up on top of each other. Also, by using cream color thread, the back will look like a cream color whole cloth quilt.
Now to put it on the machine. Umm…. there’s no place to do stabilizing. Usually I stabilize by stitching in the ditch around pieced blocks. This quilt has only one seamed area and that’s not gonna stabilize it en0ugh. I basted the layers together instead. I used a hot pink thread for the basting to make it easy to see and remove as I quilt. Hot pink shows up on both the light and dark fabrics.
The reason I baste it together is to be sure it’s going to be fairly squared and even. Many cross stitch fabrics are not squared to begin with so they rarely come out even.
Oops! The batting came up short. What happened? I’m not sure. I’m positive I loaded the batting correctly. Possibly the top had a wrinkle in it when it was measured for a batting size. The wrinkle would be straightened as it’s stabilized which would make it longer than originally thought.
No problem! Simply have to fix it before I finish the stabilizing. I go to my batting scraps and find one that will work. Right length. Check. Right type. Check. Right weight. Check.
How do I know which piece will work without pulling out all the batting scraps? Simple. I write the type, size, and weight on a piece of paper then staple it to a corner of each batting scrap.
Here’s how I repair the batting. Lay the new piece over the batting on the machine and cut a wavy line along the overlap. Why a wavy line instead of a straight line? To prevent a weak spot that could later cause a break line to show on the quilt. Also a curve is much stronger than a straight line for batting.
Remove the small cut strips. I save these strips too. I use them for other crafts.
When the little strips are removed I butt the cut edges together and whip stitch them. I take a stitch about every half inch. Can you see how the cut line is barely visible now?
I want this repair line to be even stronger so I iron two inch stabilizer strips over the whip stitching. I do the ironing right on the bar of the machine.
Once the batting is made longer I finish the basting.
The camera batteries are low and I’m done for the day. Tomorrow I start the quilting.