Monday, September 28, 2015

Quilting problem solved

In my last post, The feathers have been flying!, I was complaining explaining how I was again having problems with thread shredding and breaking as I was FMQ spirals. So frustrating since I had absolutely no problem when stitching FMQ feathers and when using the walking foot.  I'd had the machine to the repair guy last June when I was having the same problem, and he found nothing in the machine that would cause the thread breakage. So, on Friday, I decided to ask Professor Google about it.  I ignored the usual advice to rethread top and bottom, clean the machine, and to put in a new needle, because I'd already done that about 637 times already with no results.

One thing I did check was the throat plate. One person said that a burr on the throat plate can cause the thread to shred as it goes into the bobbin area and back up. Sure enough, I found what looks like a chip in the throat plate. I had a second plate handy--one with just a little hole in it for straight stitching instead of the oval opening in my usual throat plate--and I tried using that. Same shredding as before!  So that's not the problem but I'll still get that chip checked out.

The second suggestion was concerning the needle. One person suggested that the needle may be bending a little as I stitch circles, causing the thread to rub against the eye and shred.  She recommended using a 100/16 needle which would be stronger with a larger eye, so this weekend I looked for that size but could only find a jeans needle--like this picture off the Schmetz website but in size 110/18.

When I got home yesterday afternoon, I put in one of these needles and was able to finish all the spirals in the quilt without even one thread breakage.  I think I've found the solution to my problem! It's such a big needle though, it sounds like the machine is sewing with a spike as it goes into the fabric!  Definitely makes a large hole but in a cotton quilt that shouldn't be a problem. If I ever decide to quilt on silk, this large needle will stay in the package. :)

So, last night I finished the quilting on the AAUW quilt shown here:

I need to square it up and trim it today and stitch on the binding after I've made the label. Then I'll get together with my friend, Bonnie, and hand it over to her to do the hand stitching and to donate it to her AAUW fundraiser.  I've decided to name it "Geese in a Swirl" or "Geese A Swirlin'." I'm quite pleased overall with how it came out--not perfect quilting but quite nice all together. As someone said, "If you can't see the mistake while riding by on a galloping horse, it's all right."

Next on the agenda is to make a few sample blocks of Barbara Brackman's Civil War Jubilee quilt shown in this picture.

Image result for moda fabrics civil war jubilee pattern

I took this from Pinterest and it's a little dark compared to the pic on the pattern. I'm coordinating a block exchange for my guild (one of three monthly projects for members to choose from) and we're introducing them at next week's meeting, so I want to be prepared.  I have a large collection of Civil War era repro fabrics and would love to have another bed quilt made from them. 

Other than those 2 projects, I have to get a few groceries--guest arriving tonight for a few days of golfing with Don--and do a little housecleaning before he gets here.  Should be a relaxed kind of day and I hope yours is too.

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