Wednesday, October 3, 2018

My One Monthly Goal for October: Church Charity Tops Quilted and Delivered

This is the third time I'm linking up with One Monthly Goal over at Elm Street Quilts.  I did not manage to ACCOMPLISH my goals for either of those previous months, but what the heck -- I'm giving it another go.

Just. ONE. Goal...  Hmmm...

OMG for October: Load and Quilt Second Church Charity Quilt Top
Okay, you guys, here's my goal: I have already quilted the first of two charity tops that I volunteered to quilt for my church, and struggled with it dreadfully due to the mix of fabrics in the top itself and the tightly woven bed sheet backing that was provided to me.  After having such a difficult time with the first of these charity projects that were supposed to be quick and easy practice, I've been DREADING the second one...  But at the same time, I really want these off my conscience and out of my house so I can move on to other projects.  


So that's my One Monthly Goal for October -- I'm going to finish loading this charity quilt top, quilt it, and deliver both of the quilts back to the ladies at my church by the end of this month.

Now honestly, I should be able to get this top quilted in one or two days if I don't run into any major problems, so this is also my To Do On Tuesday goal for the week.  It would feel SO GOOD to have this finished by Friday!  But life has a habit of intervening and throwing my lofty plans into disarray.  Also these are not my favorite colors, and that makes it even harder for me to get motivated to begin...  So my "super goal" is to get it done this week, and my "reality check, backup goal" is to get it done by the end of the month.

Thread Selected: Smoother, Slippery Fil-Tec Glide Trilobal Polyester
I strongly suspect that this second quilt top is also made primarily of bed sheets, and some of the squares feel like that same poly/cotton almost twill of the backing bed sheet that I was fighting with on the last quilt, so I've been thinking about what I can do differently to get better results with less frustration this time.  I'm switching to Fil-Tec Glide Trilobal Polyester thread (which reminds me of Isacord machine embroidery thread except that it comes on much bigger cones), in hopes that the slicker surface of this thread will help it to slide through the tight sheeting weave easier and form better stitches.  


I chose a thread color that would blend okay across the quilt top fabrics, but more importantly, it's a close color match to the backing fabric this time.  For this second charity quilt, I'm not using the bed sheet I was given for backing.  Instead, I bought an extra-wide quilting cotton with my JoAnn's coupon in a busy paisley print, and as of this morning that backing is already partially loaded on the quilt frame.  The hope is that if the tight sheeting weave of the quilt top fabrics continues to cause directional tension issues even with a quilting cotton backing and slippery thread, at least the intermittent flatlining won't be as apparent on the back of the quilt when the thread matches the backing AND the backing is a print.  A print backing hides a multitude of sins!


Do You See That Strand of Thread Across the Backing Fabric?  Neither Do I!
I did a partial float for the first of these charity quilts, thinking that having the top rolled up nice and straight on the quilt top roller would help coax it into the straightest, squarest quilt it could possibly be, but I'm thinking I might just do a full float with this one.  My vertical and horizontal channel locks make it easy to check and adjust seams for straightness every time I advance the quilt, for one thing.  But the other factor I'm considering is that pulling the quilt sandwich too taut on the frame can contribute to the needle flex/directional tension problems I've been dealing with.  I know I have difficult fabrics in this quilt top that are already going to be fighting my needle with every stitch.  I wonder whether fully floating the quilt top might give me extra "insurance" by reducing the likelihood that I accidentally have the quilt top too tight in the frame.  I can't pull it too tight if it's just basted in place on top of the batting and backing and not attached to any rollers, right?

The next decision is how am I going to quilt this one once I've gotten it loaded?  My APQS dealer, who was patiently helping me troubleshoot the problems I was having on the previous quilt, suggested that I quilt an allover freehand design from the front of the machine rather than following a pantograph in a situation like this where there are questionable fabrics involved and possible bulk challenges at some of the seam intersections, and that makes perfect sense.  However -- I always have a HOWEVER, don't I? -- my personal learning objective with these two quilt tops was a chance to practice hand guided pantograph quilting.  I don't trust myself to maintain the same quilting density from one end of the quilt to the other with a freehand design, and I can't imagine it would look very good when it was finished, either.  So I hunted through my trove of paper pantograph patterns, looking for something that I could execute quickly AND successfully.  


14 Inch Scribble Pantograph by Anne Bright
I'm leaning towards the 14" Scribbles pattern by Anne Bright Designs.  It's a nice, openly spaced pantograph that will give me good practice on smoothing out my curves, with no tricky backtracking points to slow me down.  It doesn't look very exciting on paper, but some of the simplest pantograph designs surprise me by how much better they look once you see them actually quilted on a quilt.

Okay, so now that I have committed to the entire Internet that I am going to get this quilting done, I need to sign off the computer and get into my studio to do some quilting!  That quilt guild I joined is meeting tonight, too, and I'll feel better about going if I actually accomplish some quilting today!

Today I'm linking up with:





16 comments:

piecefulwendy said...

It's always good to have a back up plan or goal! It's coming along well! That thread color is pretty.

Yvonne said...

I like how you are working through the issues on this ugly duckling charity quilt. I think that pantograph is perfect for it.

I'm sending energy your way to "get 'er done" so you can move on to more fun things. Sometimes the dread of doing something is worse than actually doing it. (Like with housework - at least for me)

Tu-Na Quilts said...

I hear you about tension issues. I once loaded a flannel backing too tight and floated the top but once it was quilted and removed from the bars, the sides waved just like a princess in a parade. I do think it just takes a lot of practice which means a lot of quilts that are less than perfect in order to learn. But once those imperfect quilts are viewed from a distance no one seems to notice the flaws. Good luck on reaching your goal. I have not been very successful in reaching my goals as life gets in the way or other projects need to take precedence.

Patty said...

Great goal! Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and good luck with your project.

Sharon - IN said...

When reading about the sheet as backing, I was thinking it might be a good idea to switch it out with another fabric. I'm glad you had that thought too. Might save some headaches this time around. Hope so! I like the design and thread you will be using. Good luck on your monthly goal!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Sweet Charity!

Vicki in MN said...

Wishing all the best meeting your goal:) I use Glide on top and Sofine in the bobbin and have really good luck with it. But there is just some backing fabrics that are stinkers!!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I have heard many that long arm quilt say they will never use a bed sheet for a backing and as a hand quilter I will not use one either - they just are not soft enough and maybe it is that the thread count is too high? I don't know but I do know I tried one once year ago and never used one again

KaHolly said...

Good luck with your OMG. That’s a big one, and I feel your frustration. But you can do it! Maybe next time, you can contribute in a different way!

Sandra Healy Designs said...

Best of luck with the quilting this time. I hope it goes more smoothly. Changing the backing fabric will hopefully have a big impact. I'll look forward to hearing how you get on.

Sandra Healy Designs said...

Best of luck with this quilt. Fingers crossed it will go more smoothly after the change of backing. I'll look forward to hearing how you get on. I'm sending good quilting vibes your way!

Gretchen Weaver said...

It's just better to grit your teeth and get the quilt finished and out of your house. You can do something special to celebrate and the next time you're asked to quilt charity quilts, say no way if they contain sheets! My church uses sheets too but they knot them for comforters not quilt them.

Lynette said...

Hi, Rebecca! Smart thinking with the backing change - it probably won't resolve all the tension issues with the different fabric types in the patchwork (I tend to think that factor is actually the culprit more than the backing), but totally increases the comfort level for the quilter, knowing any problem areas will be camoflaged. The things I tried on the velveteen backing quilt worked great - I got pretty consistent tension with little tinkering, and no needle problems. Used the 4.5 needle and Glide 40 thread. (And yes, it was straight-up cotton velveteen of the best quality you'd find at JoAnns, and the top was a sateen type cotton that was the front of a duvet they cut apart.)

Susan said...

I'm a super big fan of Glide thread - love how it goes through the machine, very very little lint, and gives off such a pretty shimmer!

Glenda said...

Well all I can say is you have a lot of patience Rebecca? quilting through tightly woven sheeting fabric is no joy. I also like the look of that quilting pattern, makes me think twice about doing one similar, do you draw yours on or do it free hand????? I will be doing mine on a domestic machine. Cheers Glenda

Preeti said...

Understated Elegance. I am sure it will be loved and appreciated.

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