Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Frustration thy name is quilting thread

Abandoning all pretence at housekeeping and good wifeliness after the meatballs extravaganza, I've been passing the waiting time with a little quilting.  Well actually, a big quilting.  Over the weekend I added the borders to my swimming pool quilt and pieced the backing and the binding and on Monday I swept the usual accumulation of detritus off the dining room table and set up the sewing machine.

The boy has been eating his cereal off a very small corner of the table ever since but he has learned to suffer for his art/my art/his snuggly quilts and raised no complaint.

Last time you saw the quilt it looked a little like this:
May 134
Well a lot like this if we're being perfectly honest and acknowledging that yes that is a photograph and not an artist's impression of said quilt.  It was also May, and I looked like this:
Carie 24weeks.5
Such a cute little bump - I bet I could still touch my feet and everything.

Anyway, I digress.  The point is, this swimming pool is not too far off a king size duvet now that it has borders added which makes it the largest thing I've ever tried to quilt with my lil ole machine.

The plan was to free motion quilt the middle in a swirly pattern to look like water, and then straight line the borders to look more like the tiled edging on a pool.  I threaded the machine, loaded the bobbin, loaded the spare bobbins, changed to a fresh needle, remembered to set the bobbin tension a smidge higher, lower the feed dogs and take the stitch length down to zero, and off we went.

For 10 inches of quilting.

Then the top thread broke.

In a shredded, fizzled out sort of way.

I re-threaded, re-set and started again. 12 inches maybe this time.  Then the top thread broke.  Again.

I tried changing the needle, resetting the bobbin, playing with top and bottom tension settings, consulting the manual, all to no avail.  I'm not sure whether I'm going to tell myself that I've proved that I have perseverance in spades, or that I'm just ridiculously stubborn when I admit to you that I quilted half of that quilt, and got to Tuesday afternoon before I admitted defeat and, in a finely balanced judgment call, chose a trip to Quilters' Den in Warwick above cutting the quilt into lots of tiny pieces, burying it under my back patio and denying all knowledge.

Only the facts that it was raining and I haven't got a waterproof that fits and I can't bend over to accomplish the interment efficiently swung the vote.

Happily Anita was full of sympathy and suggested another new sort of needle, as well as helping me pick out a spool of thread from every variety she sells (or thereabouts) so that if all else failed, I knew I'd have something to quilt with.

The new quilting specific needle seemed to work for a little bit but then we were back to the same old problems so I switched thread.  And the sunshine came out after the rain, angels sang and bluebirds danced a chorus line along the whirlygig washing line.

I finished the stippling last night and the border quilting this morning and all that's needed now is a good podcast or two and a few hours to sew down the binding and tidy up the gazillion loose ends and we'll be done.

So my note to self for today (apart from 'try not to be a prat') is: the sewing machine loves not the Cotty thread.  Buy it not no matter how pretty it is.  The sewing machine loves muchly the YLI machine quilting thread.  Buy it all and make the machine purr.  That is all.


  1. I used to like the colour changing thread, do they still make that? You can get needles for metallic threads, they work well with stuff that has a tendency to fray out.

    We are having your meatballs tonight or some sort of a variant thereof. I don't know where we'll eat it, the dining table is full of model railway stuff.

  2. I wanted a bump picture now!

    I'm so glad you got it sorted, I was working on the Oooh she needs a new sewing machine premise,,, *wink*

    Maybe after the baby and its all its costings.


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