A Place to Share Sewing & Quilting Experiences

Today was the big day (well yesterday was really when I got started) that I would do battle with my t-shirt quilt and the quilt frame and get this project well on its way.  I finally (with the help of my very tech savvy hubby) got the pieces in place to upgrade Quilt Motion on my quilt frame.  By Thursday I got the backing on the frame.  I had decided since due to the stretchy nature of this quilt that I would float it on the frame rather than loading it on the front rail.  Even now, I’m not sure if that was wise or not.  I had been so proud of myself for creating the pantographs in advance and putting them on a USB stick to get ready for the quilting.  Then I realized that making a 14″ pantograph was a very silly thing to do since I can only quilt about an 7-8″ height on my machine.  Oops, back to the drawing board.  I measured the length of the quilt and came up with 7″ row height for my pantographs.  I used a simple curly wave design and my favorite variegated King Tut thread.

Now the fun began. I took a deep breath and dove into the quilting.  Row one near the end was a big disaster.  I didn’t pin the quilt top down at the top because I wanted to get the quilting very close up there.  Bad idea.  The foot got caught under the top and ripped the top and broke the needle.  BIG lesson learned.  When I tried the second time to finish the row, I used 505 temporary basting spray and that worked like a charm.  Then in the process of fixing the needle, thread and everything else…my silly laptop decided to reboot due to a Windows 7 update…thank you Microsoft, ugh!  Once I got through my tantrum, I decided to finish the row with two of the motifs.  It didn’t quite line up, but it looks OK.  Of course it had to happen at the top of the quilt rather than hidden in the middle…just my luck.

Before going further, here’s a close up of one of the blocks.  Hopefully you can see the quilting.

"T-Shirt Quilting 1"

After two rows, I stopped working on it yesterday.  I wasn’t completely happy with the look of the back of the quilt either.  I was using that same Gutermann variegated thread I had trouble with on the last quilt.  I have decided it isn’t the same weight as my King Tut I use on the front, so maybe that was some of the issue.  After a row today, I switched to a King Tut in the bobbin and was much happier with the results.  Then issue #2 came on row three.  The bobbin ran out about 3/4 way to the end of the row.  Since the machine didn’t give the out of thread notice (not sure why it usually does) I couldn’t get it out of Quilt Motion without canceling the stitching.  If I canceled I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get back to the same spot.  So, I ran a new bobbin and tried to change the bobbin reaching under the quilt.  This went OK, but the back didn’t look happy.  Once the row finished, I re-threaded the top and the bobbin and had good results.

Here’s a close up of another block.  Unfortunately I didn’t use the camera’s flash, so the coloring on this one is a bit weird.

"T-Shirt Quilting 2"

The rest of the quilt went very well.  When I thought I was getting near the end of the bobbin, I’d run a new one and change before starting a new row…another good lesson learned.  I thought I might have to make the bottom row of the quilt shorter but the spacing worked out well.  I did do some calculations at the beginning, but I really didn’t expect it to turn out.

I was really holding my breath when I took the quilt off the frame.  Due to the stretchy nature of the quilt (even with the blocks interfaced), I was very afraid it wouldn’t hang right.  I wasn’t 100% happy with the left edge of the quilt.  It was a bit wonky since that is where the rows started every time.  Since I have the rip at the top of the quilt (thankfully only about a half inch down), I may just trim off a half to 3/4″ from the outside edge of the quilt to hide the rip and even things up.

OK, I’m a big perfectionist and this wasn’t a perfect quilt, but I have to say I’m pretty happy with it.  It is currently “resting” on my guest bed.  I had the door closed so a certain someone in my household wouldn’t pick it with her claws.  I was in checking on it one last time tonight and taking photos and my little friend decided it was hers to sleep on.  I can’t be mad at her…isn’t she so cute?  She immediately likes to get on any quilt I’m sewing on when it is in her reach.  A few times she’s even tried laying on one while I’m quilting it.

"T-Shirt Quilt Snowy 1"

Well here is one last peek at the quilt.  It was very hard to get a photo of, so with kitty still on it (I think she was giving herself a bath) I took the best shot I could get of it.  Putting the binding on it and creating the label will be a piece of cake.  Here’s “Chautauqua 2001 – 2010”.

"T-Shirt Quilt Snowy 2"

I know this was a long post, but I wanted to share all my “lessons learned” with you all before I forget them.  I know if I used the frame & software on a more regular basis, I wouldn’t have quite the trouble I have.  I may just take a couple months this summer and try to do a bunch of quilting all at once.  I’m stocking up on backings to go with finished tops.  I can dream can’t I?

Until next time, happy sewing & quilting!



Comments on: "Me Vs. The T-Shirt Quilt & Frame" (5)

  1. You had quite an adventure with this quilt!! It looks good! I learn new lessons every time I load a quilt on my frame. You’d think some day I would have learned them all and would have a nice easy time of it!! 🙂

    • I think I need a huge whiteboard over my quilt frame so that I can write down all these lessons learned and not forget them. I guess it is universal…our brains can only hold so much. Enjoy reading about the rebirth of your sewing area. Hope it continues to go well! I know you’ll absolutely love your new cabinet.

      • Hoping to post a “real” update with pictures later on today or tomorrow.

        I’m with you on the whiteboard. Or maybe we should just video the entire process! Guess I’d have to bleep out the bad words, though. 🙂

      • Sounds great. Looking forward to seeing it. I have a bit of a messy space and cheer you on. I share my sewing room with my home office so double the “junk”. I agree…maybe video cameras shouldn’t be used…even with the sound off…may be some rude gestures toward the equipment.

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