Quilter's Academy - Volume 2 - Sophomore Year

Vol 3 - Junior Year

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Project 12 - Quilting - A comedy of errors

Tip of the day - don't mark your quilt tops with chalk.

Yes, by the time I came to quilt the hearts, they had disappeared.  This put me in a bit of a quandry, as I use a light box to transfer the designs - well that isn't going to work with a quilt sandwich!  I had a go at making a stencil - LOL - I think I need more practice (or a better craft knife).  I ended up with a template of sorts, which I needed to trace onto my quilt.

The only colour which shows up well on this fabric is white.  I have white chalk pencils and I have a white Clover quilters pencil.  The Clover pencil marks really well, nice and clear, but the thing breaks constantly.  To get a nice line, you need a nice point, but when I sharpened this pencil, the slightest pressure snapped the point off, right back inside the wood.  I had 17 designs to transfer and by the time I got to the last one, a tiny stub of a marker.  Now, usually Clover products are really good and can be expected to work as they are supposed to .... but this pencil!!!??? What's the story Clover?

Needless to say, with a sad pencil and a rough template, the markings on the quilt top ended up being thick and dodgy looking - but that's ok - it gives me a better excuse for dodgy quilting!

Not much of that pencil left!

I've been working on the grid quilting and stitch in the ditch over the last couple of days.  I didn't bother to mark it, simply eyeballing across the inch sized squares.  It turned out rather nicely. 

Grid quilting from the back

It's interesting to compare the last quilt to this one, as both have a large amount of smallish grid quilting right across the top, both done with mono poly thread on top and embroidery thread in the bobbin.  The last one is quite stiff, while this one is really drapey and soft.  I imagine it's the different battings I've used.  The Fairfield, as Harriet promised, is really lovely, cuddly soft and drapey - perfect for a kiddies cuddle quilt.

I trundled myself down to the local sewing store, a copy of Heirloom Machine Quilting in hand and showed the picture of the foot Harriet recommended I use on my Pfaff.  The sales girl was doubtful about it as it's actually an embroidery foot, not a quilting foot and she didn't think it suitable for the job.

Let me tell you, if you have a Pfaff which takes a Fantasy Embroidery Foot go get one right now!  It's fantastic, as close as you can get to not having a foot at all.  I can see the markings, forward, backward and sideways, no problems.

Creative Fantasy Embroidery Foot

So, onto the Free Motion.  I was really getting the knack of this, when I got into all sorts of tension problems.  Inexplicably, between the practice samples and the actual quilt, a gremlin got into the machine and I got loopy bottoms, snapping thread and tangled bobbins.  Sigh.  It took a while to get it all sorted but I got there and got on with the job.  It's a pity the markings were not very good, as I ended up having to double back over previously sewn lines, and I had trouble staying on them.  I was so busy 'looking where I wanted to go' that I didn't notice that back at the needle I wasn't sewing straight.

I'm disappointed in the result, but not disheartened.  Every time I do this I get a little better and learn a lot more about what NOT to do.  :)

The quilting is hard to see in the picture, but that's the whole idea of using a busy print and invisible thread!

I still need to free motion the borders.  Again the chalk markings are gone, but because the quilt edges are loose, I should be able to put them back on using the light box.  And I need a new pencil!



  1. Lesley - try the Bohin mechanical pencil with refills in several different colors, including white. I love it! I was introduced to it by an applique teacher. Very little pressure needs to be exerted. It costs about $12 US, and the refills are about $4 US

  2. Hi Fran, thanks for dropping by. I actually used the Bohin pencil first and it rubbed off! Probably all that handling while doing the grid quilting.


  3. OR try the Sewline pencils. Since I've found these, I've thrown out every other "pencil" or chalk that I owned.