Saturday, November 5, 2011

Quilting nightmares

Well, my small goal today was to finish quilting my friend's quilt.  It was partway done, and just a simple stipple, so shouldn't have been that big of a deal.  I had several problems ... it just wasn't going smoothly.  Then all of a sudden, the needle won't pick up the bobbin thread.  Oh no ... I tried rethreading the top, change the needle, changed the bobbin, tried a new bobbin case, nothing worked.  Uh oh ... THE DREADED TIMING!  Okay, here's the deal, if you have a longarm you have to learn how to take care of it yourself.  When something goes wrong, you just don't throw it in your car and take it to your local sewing machine repair store.  Timing is something I have always dreaded having to do at some point ... it has to do with several factors: (1) whether your needle bar is sitting far enough down in your bobbin area when it rotates down; (2) whether your hook is brushing your needle scarf at the right height and isn't too close to it; and, (3) whether your whole hook assembly is sitting far enough forward in the area it is supposed to be.  Does this sound complicated, yes it is and I was scared to death to have to do it.  I don't know why timing gets "knocked out," I just know that I was having some thread issues before this happened.  So I went on the internet, found the Innova Wiki website, found the timing video and took my laptop into the little house where my machine is.  Watched it in parts, and then did what Michael from Innova told me to do on the video, praying all the time that it would work.  Well, I think it worked.  I did finish my friend's quilt, and it looked really good, so I'm assuming it worked.  We'll see when I do the next quilt.  If I start having problems, then I'll know that something is still a little off.  Do I sound doubtful?  Well, after all I have heard about TIMING, that just seems like it was all a little too easy. 

Here's the quilt I did the other day, but didn't have a picture of ... just a simple meander on this one as well.
This was a quilt she had made before she knew that you were supposed to make your backing bigger than your quilt.  It was only about an inch on all sides larger than the top.  I was praying that that would be enough so that I didn't have to shave too much off the edges when I trimmed it.  I added a 5" strip of muslin to all four sides and then loaded it on, being careful to center the top just perfectly.  It worked really well and there wasn't a problem at all with having to cut too much off to make sure no muslin showed on the back.  Her back is so cute that I didn't want to have to cut any of it off .... I should have taken a picture.  It had a flag centered in the middle of the quilt, and was pieced in several places.

Here's the one I finished today

Close up of quilting
I had been excited to do this quilt because she gave me wool batting to use.  I have never worked with wool batting.  It was wonderful ... so soft and the needle moves through it just beautifully.  Oh, I wish it wasn't so expensive ... now I am coveting it!  So the rest of the story on this quilt ... her backing was plenty big enough.  I measured like I always do, the front and then the back.  I had been quilting along and then I got about 6 inches from the bottom and realized on my last roll that I was short on the backing ... what!  Oh no ... so I had to pull the whole thing off the frame, unpinning it, took it upstairs to my sewing room, cut a strip off of the top that was left, measured to make sure it was wide enough, lined it up properly (because of course the backing was striped!), sewed it on.  It all lined up really well.  Took it back to the longarm and loaded it back on, rolled it as tight as I could, but it wasn't as tight as it usually is, finished the last few inches.  What a pain!  I called my friend and left her a message telling her what happened.  I also told her I was reducing the price of the quilting because I screwed up.  That should never happen, not when the customer has given me plenty of backing!  I hope she's okay with that. 

I am glad this day is over with ... I think I learned a lesson today.  While the first time I joined quilts together and did three quilts with only loading one time, this time it didn't work as well.  There was a big difference in size in my quilts, and I didn't feel like I got as good of a taut backing as I usually do.  I don't think I'll do that again unless I have quilts that are pretty much the same size.  Also, I think I would only do it with small quilts.  I need a drink now!

No comments: