Wow...thank you so much for all your top tips on machine quilting. Between them all I think I have worked out where I went wrong and how to improve on the next quilt. I managed to finish quilting the Chinese Coins and smooth and fix the pleats on the back. As I learned so much from your comments and my experience I thought I'd do a summary.
Until next time...
- Several said to try spray basting. I was actually surprised how many of you love that stuff..so that's one thing I'll have to look for at the LQS.
- Pins...seems there is a bit of a love/hate relationship with these. It sounds like you have to either used hundreds or use thread to baste. There is something to the layers shifting during the machine quilting process when you remove the pins and puckers occuring when you try and sew around them. I'm starting to think that pins are ok for smaller quilts, but perhaps something this size (70" square) needs to be well thread basted.
- Along the same theme..basting and how tight that back needs to be is an area of debate. I used the Sharon Schamber method of basting and I don't think I was diligent enough along the first edge. Some tape to hold the leading edge might just give it a bit more smoothness.
- I won't starch the back again...
- Get a grip!!...lots of you mentioned gloves and getting a good handle on the quilt. After reading that I dug out a new pair of gardening gloves..the ones with the rubber dots on the palms..and made sure I was really spreading the fabric as I quilted. Sally (who does the most amazing machine quilting) made a really good point about ensuring you've got hold of that quilt and that you don't let it get away from you. I think Sally got it very right and I do think that was a big part of my problem. I've got to remember to repositions those hands..LOTS!
- Quilt from the centre...seems obvious, but I know there are quilters out there that don't. Again I think the rules change when the quilt is large.
- Lastly...if all else fails, then use Libby's top tip: "use careful label placement or a strategic applique'd heart or star to cover the offending spot"
Until next time...