Saturday, April 2, 2011

FMQing or the Texas Two Step

So I told you I finished the first Twin Engine quilt, right?  It was a constant battle with my thread fraying and breaking every 4-6 inches.  A nightmare.  I couldn't understand since I duplicated the conditions that had finally let me finish Gracie's Orange Crush quilt.

After some advice on that post, I tried a bunch of different things.  The thread net didn't help, nor did positioning my thread horizontally vs. vertically.  (Thanks, LizA!)  I went to my local JoAnn's to find different needles to see if a topstitch needle would give me any better results than the machine embroidery needles.  I got incredibly lucky to have an actual quilter/employee who asked if I needed help.  I wish I had gotten her name so I could write a letter.  She walked me through exactly what was happening, what I was currently using, and solutions I had already tried. 

She pointed me away from the machine embroidery thread, claiming it is notorious for fraying - this was backed up by the WannaBees on Thursday - and suggested I try the Gutermann all sewing polyester thread.  Like many quilters, I flinched at the word "polyester," but figured I had already started down that slippery slope with the rayon so what the heck?

Imagine my shock when I quilted this entire quilt without the thread breaking a single time!  It was pure joy, and I finished all of the quilting in one day.  The picture above is a little bit of the back where it really shows up.  Now "See Greer Grow" has all but about half of the binding whipped down before it can be called DONE done, and the only quilt I have left to finish is the other Twin Engine quilt. 

Aaaaarrrrrgggghhhh!  I went and bought the identical thread, only in red.  I had taken a picture with my phone of the settings that worked, and made sure they were correct.  I put in a brand new needle out of the same pack as the one that worked, and cleaned my machine.  The fabric from these three quilts was all purchased at the same quilt shop, the batting is from the same piece, and they were all basted at the same time.  How does this happen?

In my search for answers, I did come across this fantastic article from Quilt University.  While the topic is difficult threads, I think there are a lot of different things in here for me to try.  I really want to get back to that bliss of FMQing my quilts.  It takes practice, but the only repetition I'm getting right now is threading my needle! 

One other thing I'm going to try is a Superior Thread.  I'll see a friend at guild on Monday night who's a rep, so I'm hoping she can help.  All the FMQers I envy swear by it, but it's not as easy to find.

Hope you have a beautiful weekend free of frustration. 

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear about your frustrations with the quilting.We live and learn. YOu inspired to try the top quilt, the snowball block and the 9 patch. Such simple blocks but so effective.


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