Friday, May 30, 2014

Quilty Crime Friday!! Threads!!

Time for Quilty Crimes Friday again!!

This week it's about trimming those pesky threads on the quilt tops and sides before machine quilting.

I have heard from a couple of gals about NOT wanting their quilts to make the cut and be a focus of my posting.  Well....this week's quilt belongs to none other than ME!!  Yep, it can happen to us all, even the machine quilter herself.  My goal for Quilt Crimes is to TEACH so you can learn and we'll all have better quilts.
                      On to the show......

Threads, Threads, Threads!!

A very important part in the construction of a quilt, it really is the tie that binds.  BUT too much thread in misplaced areas can be a very, very bad thing.  

I know that every longarm quilter out there asks that you "TRIM your threads BEFORE sending your quilt".  I'm sure you are thinking about all of the time that it's going to take and what a hassle!!  No problem if your machine quilter just floats right over them, sooner or later they'll come out in the wash or it's no big deal anyway.  Got you pegged, don't I??  

Here's why you (we) need those threads off of your quilt.

I forgot to trim the thread when I stitched the side down.  This long 
thread was laying on top of the quilt and got trapped/tangled 
as the machine was stitching.

Here's a description of the photo....

What a mess!! And even worse when this happens my machine continues to attempt to stitched but since it's tangled it just goes "clunk, clunk, clunk..." and I'm racing to it so I can hit the stop button as fast as I can!!  In the mean time I'm aging 5 years in 5 seconds because if the needle gets stuck in the down position I run the risk of putting a hole in the quilt.  Nerve wrecking, I am telling you!!

In the photo above I've slipped a white card under the thread for a better 
view of it's path.

Now all of that is bad, but since the machine is clunking it tells me the machine is no longer on track and has moved off of the design.  I can get it back on track, after I of course remove the mess that it's created, but trust me on this, it is MUCH, MUCH easier if we just remember to 
and one more just for reference.....
 Okay, that's it for today.
Remember to trim those threads, it IS important and helps
us out.
thanks for checking on me,
love to hear what you've got to say...............

Friday, May 23, 2014

Quilty Crime Friday!!

It's still Friday, late but it's still Friday!!  

Welcome back to Quilty Crime Friday, I just finished this quilt today and knew it was going to be a fantastic follow up to last weeks post.  I'm still on the "WHAT!?!?!?!?!   You really NEED 4" of fabric??  The previous post should have explained why for the top and the bottom, today's post will show you why side to side. 

Here's the right side of the quilt that I was working on today.  The top was 51ish" x 64ish"  and the backing was measured out at 52" x 84".  When I took the quilt in I knew that I was going to have to add fabric to the backing to bring it up to size so I could comfortably work with it.  Can I work with it the way it is....well, yes, but....there are a few risk involved for me as a machine quilter.  

I "float" all of the quilts I receive, some quilters do, so don't, some just depends on the quilt.  When I load a quilt I mark each side with painters tape and as I advance the top I keep the sides at that exact mark or as close as I can get to it.  Yep, that will be a Quilty Crime in weeks to come.  

Photo says right side, but it's actually the LEFT, I didn't want to go back and change it since I'm running so late with the post.  But you can see from both photo's the painters tape marking the spot on my tape of the quilt edge.

When I lift the batting you can see on this quilt/backing I have a little more than one inch to work with.  This is the right side---ugh, sorry about that photo
 being mismarked.

Left side of quilt....guess I should have put stickers on my hands while I was doing this...but you get the idea.  Again, very, very little to work with here.

 As you can see from the next set of photos I am holding the batting and the backing to keep it in place as the hopping foot races across the top.  When the hopping foot hits a seam it can drag just a little and pull the top in the direction the machine is stitching.  With the additional 4" that you give your longarm quilter she uses them to hold the backing in place so the hopping foot does not drag you top.

Once the machine gets to a certain point on the quilt I can let go.  I had to really babysit this one to make sure all was where it should be.

Here's the right side of the quilt and you can see the overstitching that I do when doing edge to edge designs.  I also run the risk of the hopping foot getting caught up in the batting and the extra fabric helps stabilize that too.

Yep, that's a close one.....

End of quilt, again you can see the overstitching that is done to even out 
the design on the quilt.

Not much at all to work with....on either side.....

(and that is the left side...jeeze!!)

Next quilt already running as I'm typing and PLENTY of extra on the sides.  See the little clamps, they are doing their job so I don't have to worry as much about all of the other stuff when I don't have enough backing.

Hope you are enjoying the Quilty Crimes Fridays.  I've heard from a couple of gals about the post.  My intentions are to teach.  I would like you to understand what I see and how it could be done differently or better.  Spending all of the time and money on your quilt, I want it to be the best it can be.  Let's all learn, I'm off for a refresher on the left and!!!

thanks for checking on me,


love to hear what you've got to say......

Friday, May 16, 2014

Quilty Crimes Friday!!

Welcome back to Quilty Crimes Friday!!  I'm sure you all are just sitting on the edge of your chair wondering what the heck is she going to come up with this week? about NOT HAVING THE 4" of fabric that your machine quilter has asked you for on your backing?  Ever wonder why?  Let's talk about it, shall we?

 I've found a couple of PERFECT pictures showing a backing that I worked with a while back.  Take a close look at this photo.  You see the red on the upper right side of the photo?  That's where the backing my customer gave me ended. Notice where the batting and the quilt top are laying on it?  Most likely less than 2" from the edge of that red backing. I've added the blue fabric extending the backing making quilting possible.

Let's address the comments on the photo one at a time....

See how the machine is hitting the system?   At this point I am stitching as close to the top of the backing as possible.  My hopping foot is actually hitting my loading system.  I lose approximately 1" - 1.5" just by attaching the backing to the frame.  

Leader - One side of this canvas material is attached to metal bars on my frame with the other used to either attach to your backing or my loading system.  (Loading system later..)

Stitching Line - See the yellow thread????  That is the ABSOLUTE closest I can get to the end of your fabric with my machine.  Notice how far it is from the end of the fabric?  I am down to at least the 2" - 2.5" mark on your backing, subtract that from the 4" that I've asked for, I'm only working with 1.5" - 2" extra fabric at this point.

Loading System -  This is how I attach a backing to my frame.  There are a few different systems, but this is my method.  When I began longarm quilting I used very, very long pins to attach the backing to the leaders.  It was MISERABLE!!  No only was I continually sticking myself with those long pins, they would snag my shirt or even poke me in the tummy as I was working on the quilt!!  OUCH!!  Not fun!!  One of the greatest advantages to using a loading system is time, Using this system has cut the loading a quilt time by half or more.   As an added bonus there are no more chances of me getting my blood on your quilt from being poked by the pin.

SplittingStitches Longarm Quilting - Oh wait...that's me!!  On to the next photo........

I know, I know, you are thinking.   Hey!!  That's the same photo!! Right???  Well, it kinda, sorta is.  I've zoomed on the hopping foot hitting the loading system.  I can't in a million years get any closer to the edge of your fabric than that point.  It's metal hitting metal.  AND click on that photo...see how far that yellow stitch line is?  I've used 2" of your backing and I might have 2" left.  Not really all that much extra to work with.  You've gotta trust me on this one, the other end looks the same.  

SEE???  See where those 4" are and how they are used on the top and bottom of your backing at my house?  AND that is AFTER the backing has been squared!!  We'll get into that squaring the backing thing in another post. Most machine quilters have some sort of loading system, it just makes our live easier.  Check with your machine quilter about what they use and how it affects those very, very precious 4" of fabric that we are looking for when working with your backings. 

This weeks Quilty Crime, not giving your machine quilter at LEAST 4" on the top and bottom of your quilt!  Makes the job more difficult for us, and don't you just live to make us happy?  (haha!!)

If you are still with me, I want to mention this is the top and bottom of your quilts.  In a later post I'll explain why the 4" on the side are pretty important also, just hang in there with me!!

That's it for today!!

thanks for checking on me....


love to hear what you've got to say............... 


Friday, May 9, 2014

Quilting Crimes - Batting!!

 Welcome to Quilty Crime Friday!

For as many Fridays as I can I will try to post on a "quilty crime".  While there are no "quilt police" there are, in my opinion, things that can be considered a crime in the quilting world.  Hang with me each Friday as I come up with a quilty crime in my little world. 


I am NOT a fan of packaged batting.  It's been rolled up, folded up, stretched and the only thing that looks good is what you can see through the unprinted areas of the packaging. 

All 9,720 square inches of this batting has been rolled, folded and mangled up to fit into that plastic bag by the manufacturer who does not care about it laying flat on your quilt.

when I open the package this is what I see.....and you REALLY need to click on the photo for a closer look!

 Okay, so let's just lay the quilt on top of all of this and get quilting!!

Sorry gals, can't do it.  To get the best results possible for the both of us, I must (gently) tug, pull, press, iron, or whatever other means I can do to get this lumpy, bumpy, ugly stuff to lay flat.

I will do the best I can, but you see this is where I begin.   Do yourself and your quilt a favor and invest in the best batting that you can.  Buy it off of the roll, one folded seam is much easier to work with than all of this.

Yup, packed batting should be a crime!

that's it for today,
thanks for checking on me,


love to hear what you've got to say..........

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Quilty Crimes Friday

You may not have noticed but on the top of my blog header I've got a tab for......

You would not believe some of the things that I see as a machine quilter.  I've put a few photos into a special and I'd like to share them with you.  MOST of the time, it's an accident or over site of  the quilter, but just the same they are things that I get that can make my job.....let's say....challenging.
 I am hoping Quilty Crimes can be my Friday morning post.

 I've still got a few photos of quilts to share so I will continue the Quilter of the Day.  In January of this year I quilted 21 quilts!  Not so many in February, I was a little tired, go figure. Don't get me wrong I LOVE doing this but some days I just want to quilt for me.  And I do have somewhat of a life and family that needs my time and attention.

AND....along the line of machine working, I will be adding another tab
 to my header titled

My Shoppe (I'm hoping) will carry a fun variety of things that I can get the HQ to do and other fun stuff.  So stay tuned for more details.

Okay, that's it for now, I'll try to come back later for the Quitler of the day, until then...

thanks for checking on me,


love to hear what you've got to say............

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Got to love the quilts!!

My quilter today is an amazing piecer!!  I LOVE working with her quilts!  They are pieced so perfectly and either way fun or drop dead beautiful!!  Lourie, great job on all of the quilts!

Here's the first one, being a stack and whack the quilt is so interesting how you can take one fabric and make so many different beautiful blocks...

The quilting design was almost made for this quilt....

Next we have a gorgeous batik....

The colors on this one is stunning!

And for fun, the cow quilt just kept me smiling...again, the perfect quilting design!  The little flowers worked out beautifully!

Lastly, was this bright and fun fish quilt.  Unfortunately, I only got a couple of shots of this one, didn't get the entire quilt, ugh!!  Wish I had a photo to share, the quilt was great!!

that's it for today...
thanks for checking on me,


love to hear what you've got to say..........

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Love those I Spy Quilts!!

Had to go waaaaayyyy back to December to pull these cute little quilts up.  Lee made these for her grands for Christmas...yep, I'm a little behind!   I'm am positive the quilts are being well loved and carried everywhere.

If I remember correctly the girls are between the ages of 2 and 3 years old.  Can't you just imagine two adorable little twins cuddled up in all this cuteness?

I LOVE working on I Spy quilts, seeing all of the fun, fun fabrics makes it a happy quilt for me to have hangin' around.

that's it for today,
thanks for checking on me,


love to hear what you've got to say..............

Monday, May 5, 2014

Quilter of the day...

this cute little black and white quilt comes from Ellen in NJ.  It was a great little quilt that I'm sure will be loved for many years to come.

You can't go wrong with the black, white and red always a good combo to work with.

Polka dots are always fun for a backing...

That's it for today, quick and simple!
Hope you had a great weekend,
Thanks for checking on me!



love to hear what you've got to say................