Sunday, October 20, 2013

Catching Up the Blog

This is Installment 2 of playing catch-up going backwards in time.  Just a hint of pictures since the quilt has not been awarded yet.

I got seriously bogged down trying to quilt a special Quilt of Valor for a fellow member of my QOV group.  The top was a gorgeous design using Log Cabin blocks and the US Army logo and was very well made.  The back was a mottled (of course) camouflage in very dark blacks, browns, greens and a touch of gold.

My friend wanted gold thread on the front and black or sage green on the back.  I went with the sage because the bobbin thread wouldn’t show on the front in between the gold stitches as much as black would.  I was thrilled that I had no tension problems and absolutely no eyelashes on the back (an earlier problem as I learned my machine).  I wasn’t able to see the sage in the stitching of the gold on the top (I really don’t like thread on top and bottom that doesn’t match), so I thought I was home free.

I wasn’t able to see the backing very well until I rolled it the first time and I saw tiny pokies of a lighter color.  I thought it was the gold thread and that they would pull through into the batting when the quilt was released from the rollers.  Oh, so wrong!

After the second pass, I kept seeing the pokies more and more so I tested darker threads, blacks and browns – first just on the bottom in the bobbin and then having black on both the top and bottom.  The black looked awful on the front side.  And then I saw that, with the black on the top AND bottom, there were still light-colored pokies … what’s up with that?!  It turns out the pokies I thought were gold thread were actually batting coming thru.  Yes, the dreaded “bearding”.

I was devastated.  I had never had this problem before, although I’ve read about it.  I went back and searched all of my quilter’s message boards for a solution, then I started rip, rip, ripping.  And ripping out long-arm quilting is a pain in the old tooshie, let me tell you.  I had to pull out the quilting on about a third of the quilt.
"Ripping Out" is sung to the tune of "Breaking up is hard to do ..."
I was using the batting that the friend gave me, so first I tried turning it over in case it had a right vs. wrong side.  No change.  So then I auditioned battings.  I tried three different brands.  Oh, and the friend inadvertently skimped on the extra backing fabric and top, bottom and sides, so I had sewn on leaders.  I had to keep testing the stitching on the real top and backing since I had different results on the leaders than on her fabric and had to keep ripping it out each time I tried something new.

I also tried adding a piece of muslin the size of the backing in between the backing fabric and the batting.  I couldn’t get both pieces to lay perfectly flat and taut without bunching one or the other, so I gave up on that.

To make a long story even longer, I finally settled on the batting I’ve always used – Hobbs Heirloom 80/20.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was acceptable and probably will be perfect after the quilt is washed.  My reading had told me that it was probably the weave of the fabric that allowed the bearding.

Lessons learned:
I don’t like quilting for others – where I maybe have to compromise my standards.
I like matching thread on top and bottom of the quilt.
I like to be in control, so that if I need to change out the backing fabric, I can.
I like quality materials.
I like to use what I like to use (my beloved Hobbs!).
I don’t like huge quilts – I love the size of children’s quilts.
I will continue to donate my quilting to QOV, but I will pick and choose which quilts I do.
I will never make a business out of quilting for others!  Too stressful for me ... [I didn't plan to anyway ...]

PS  I have completed two other QOVs with absolutely no problems:
Mock Many Trips Around the World made by the group - the light spot is from the camera!

Designed and made by a QOV Group member

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