Peace is...a world in which women are inspired to hope and imagine.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

consistent stitches

Have you ever wondered why it's necessary to have consistently sized stitches in quilting? Why it's a prized skill? Why would anyone need to make sure that there are 8-10 stitches / inch for handquilting, and a standard sized consistent stitch for machine quilting? Well, detail oriented artistic types might say because of aesthetics, because an even consistent stitch is lovely to behold. Quilt masters might say because it's indicative of skill set. I put forward another reason. Not that I disagree with either of these, at all. However, what I think quilt classes neglect to teach and online resources never that the more consistently sized the stitch is, the easier it is to rip it out. And I learned that lesson today. Got done quilting "asleep on a cloud" (otherwise known as "fast asleep on cloud nine"), on the main part of the quilt top. Why I did not spread the meander quilting all over the top - that means including the outside border - is beyond me. Now I'm short on thread, and was planning to do something funky on the border. Say, a heart in each corner, and hearts and clouds all along the border. No sooner do I do the first heart and I say...hmmm...not liking that  heart. Do I stop? No, I continue. I do the first cloud, with the thread breaking once, and realize that I'm going to have do some echo stitching around the cloud to get out of it where I need to to go to the next heart. Do I think it looks OK? hmm. not really. and I keep going...the next heart...hard time getting into it, couldn't get out of it to move on the to the next piece...and out it all comes. 10 inches of quilting...straight line between 1 heart to 1 cloud to 1 heart. I just finished. This took me oh, say about 5 minutes to quilt, and an hour to take out. And why was it so hard to take out? because my stitch length varied from very very very tiny, to a gapping half centimetre. omg. And now what am I going to do on the border? Really, am almost out of this lovely thread - variegated with blue, yellow and white - it looks just lovely on the clouds, and gorgeous on the deep blue sky backing. If I run out of thread, that means a trip to Guelph this week...for one spool of thread.

What else have I learned in quilting this quilt? well, that another machine would be great. Sewing machines have what is called a "throat", the distance between where the needle drops down to where the body of the machine in. My Janome sewquist has about a 5" throat, and it's awful hard to squeeze 30" of fabric into those 5 "...and then manuever the material in a manner that will keep the stitch length consistent. Other machines intended for machine quilting have a 10" or 12" throat. Where's my Christmas list??

OK, putting it down for the night to think about the border, and come back with a clear head. At least all the bad stitching is out. If I hadn't done that now, I would have left it for a very long while!

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