Eps 3: How To Deal With A Very Bad Quilt


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Crystal Barnes

Crystal Barnes

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I probably would definitely think this quilt is not good enough. Even with all of its imperfections, I will admit I did wince when I pulled it out of my longarm. I squared up this quilt and used my normal binding method: Machine-stitching the front side of the quilt, and then hand-stitching it on the back. I decided the quilt top was small enough to allow for no binding, so I started stabilizing it by sewing a seam down both sides of the sashing.
I dropped the quilt top on the sewing table near my machine, found a few more pieces of the fabric that I was going to use for the backing squares, and made my binding. The borders were decidedly wonky and uneven, and when I folded up that quilt to store, it was obvious it was nowhere near being square. If I had made those nine Ohio Star blocks larger, 1 on 1 all the way around, it would have been a lot easier to fit into the quilt top, and it would likely look better; I also could have used different fabrics, and made it look intentional.
There were certainly points in the quilt top where the machine and I were out of sync, and that showed up in the quilting, particularly on some of the wishbones, which were re-quilted using high-contrast thread. If I had tried quilting this quilt on my own using my home machine, it would have been really frustrating . I had still not mastered the technique when I started working on actual quilt tops, but I was thankful that I had this quilt top that was not too great to begin working with.
You are going to want a big surface that allows your entire quilt top to lie flat. Use a table or an ironing board, or anything else that will hold the size Shortcake Quilt Throw on both the left and the back of your machine. You do not need to start and finish at the edges...and squeezing your entire quilt across the neck of your machine to reach the middle is REALLY difficult.
You have to quilt in a line of curves, moving from seam to seam, or have to dogleg the seams where they are mismatched . On a regular sewing machine, stitch down the creases that you created on the wrong side of the borders.
Bring each outside edge of the quilt top up to these marks, and then ease in the top down along your reference lines, using pins to hold it in place. If you plan on quilting outside of your top edges, also single-stitch around the edges to hold it down before you pull out the pins. You can perform this technique on the frames, but you will have to use a very heavy cloth underneath your quilt when pressing from above with your iron--you do not want your hands burned by heavy steam, and you do not want the quilt distorted by too much pressure either.
For a safer drying experience, some people prefer using flat drying racks, but if you do not have a gigantic drying rack for your quilt, you can create a bed of thick towels that you lay your quilt over. Even if you are not using the bed...or a quilt...stowing your quilt flat in a dry area of your home at a steady temperature is a good option. You can cover them with another blanket or bed cover to protect them, then check in with them every once in awhile, just like a good parent.
Wash your quilt in the wash cycle of your comforter, using the Gentle Cycle in your front-loading machine, if you can. Use gentle detergent, and dryer it flat, if possible, making sure that the weight of the quilt is supported.
If the sheets are going to be washed a lot and used, it will get covered up by wrinkling which happens when you wash it. Since another quilt is a charity quilt, it will get washed, shrinking up all over, and hiding that piece.
Sometimes, if a quilt is all this way, you may want to add another layer of batting to make it more filled out. Each time I move a quilt, I take out a bit of the batting, then I put it back in underneath the roller, only enough to make that side fairly flat.
Your patterns can only go so wide, and as soon as you have filled up the space between your hands, it is time to stop and rearrange your quilt. To decide whether this solution works for your quilt, remember you cannot squish a lot of extra fabric onto smaller quilts. You might be able to ease in just one inch of excess quilting cloth on a smaller quilt, but you might be able to ease in a few inches on a very large quilt.
Hang your quilts with a flat backing that is even on all sides of the top . As you might guess, the hardest part of the quilt to work on is the middle, since this is where the most bulk is found in your machines throat. Since your eyes are naturally drawn to the center of your quilt, you are going to want to avoid drawing attention to fixing at this point.