Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Hints From The Close Enough Quilter

Otherwise entitled, Things I've Learned About Quilting Along The Way.

I have been sewing since I was 5 or 6 years old. It's a genetic thing in our family. I come from a long line of sewers and crafters.

So I was no stranger to a sewing machine or to the sewing process when I decided to take up quilting a few years ago. I figured it would be pretty straight forward moving from one form of fabric craft to another. Oh, how wrong I was.

Quilting has its own language, its own tricks of the trade, and its own sewing machine know-how. There are also ironing tips to learn, tools you've never heard of before, injuries that crop up as a result of addictive behaviour, and so much more.

As an example, let's discuss this picture in terms of quilting.

First, we have that cute little line of hearts tape attached right to the bed of the machine. Why so, Moda Yoda?

Well, in quilting, all seams allowances come in 1/4", not the 1/2" of clothing patterns. And this 1/4" seam allowance is very important to the quilting process. Lose the 1/4" and you compromise the integrity of the quilt.

The tape on this non-quilting (but still okay for quilt piecing) machine is placed exactly 1/4" from the needle, all the way down the bed. That way, the quilter can follow the edge of the tape with the fabric to achieve the perfect seam (okay, in theory that's what I could do, though it doesn't always work out that way).

Second, what is that scrappy, thread-infested, tiny piece of fabric doing under the foot, Obe-Wanna-Janome?

That, my friend, is a good way to save on thread, keep the thread from bunching up under your first piece in chain-piecing. It is a great way to feed triangles through the feed dogs without their slipping into the hole. It is an excellent method for keeping the thread threaded through the needle rather than losing it to the upward thrust of the machine.

In short, young Fabric Walker, it is sanity itself.

What else might a quilter notice about this picture, Thread-Eye Master? Other than the machine is sitting on a cutting mat with two rulers behind it, not to mention the stack of fabric pieces in the corners, this is not a quilting machine. It is just an ordinary machine (remember the 1/4" tape modification) that is serving very well as a quilting machine.

A quilting machine is like a Millenium Falcon compared to a freighter. If you ever get to the point where you want to make the commitment to a Millenium Falcon, I mean a quilting machine, you'll know you're committed to the Force, er, the Craft.

Happy stitching, M


quiltmom said...
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quiltmom said...

HI Michelle,
You gave some excellent tips for quilters to follow.
There are other ways that you know you have been captured by the quilt bug.
Like, when you are sitting at dinner, and you figure out a design problem you have been having for awhile.
Or when you wake up and remember a quilt that you dreamt about.
And then, there is the never ending growing fabric stash, pattern collections and quilt books that one keeps adding to even though you might never begin to use up all the pieces that you have already collected.VBG
I can safely say that I have a quilting addiction- I love the process of making quilts. I am having a wonderful time on my quilt journey.
I hope you are too..

Tazzie said...

Loved the post - especially the Star Wars speak. My little man is mad for SW - wants to watch it right now!
Happy stitching

Katharyn said...

I think I might need further explanation on the fabric walker.....