Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sparkle Spirals

Spirals with Sparkle, YLI #100 silk plus metallic = Sparkle thread. It gives a soft shine, little twinkles of light. Nice for upcoming holiday quilting.

The design, above, is on muslin and was done with a #80 Top Stitch needle and worked perfectly in my Benina 730, tension on top set at 2.50. The thread was ecru with gold metallic. Stitch length an estimated 1.6. Of course in free motion you make your own stitch length.

I wanted to give you a better sample than the one from the post yesterday, so here it is. I ended up playing at my machine all afternoon, and have some lovely new samples for classes.

Keep quilting, your work gets better every day!


Sunshine said...

Hi Dianne,

I've been trying more machine quilting since following your blog. I've started having problems with my free-motion quilting recently: as the needle goes along, the top thread will get undone, that is it doesn't seem to catch the bottom thread and will just skip 2-6 stitches leaving one long stitch behind. Do you know what causes that? Wrong needle, quilt sandwich too thick (it happens when I slip over the seam during stitch-in-the ditch and in tight corners of loops)? It happens at different speeds from medium to fast, never noticed it when going really really slow (doulbe-heartbeat speed :). Hope you can help!

Diane Gaudynski said...

Christine - skipped stitches can result from one or a combination of causes. Try one thing at a time. First, the needle size may be too small for the thread. If the thread is too thick to fit well in the indentation at the back of the needle, it will skip every now and then. Go up one size and see if that helps. A dull needle can cause skipped stitches too.

Sometimes in free motion quilting the batt is too thin for the free motion foot. There is too much room between the foot and the quilt and the machine won't be able to make a proper stitch, connect with the bobbin thread, bring it up successfully, etc., and will skip stitches. See if you can tighten up the pressure on the foot, lessen that space.

It may also be as you suggest, when the batting and seams are too thick it happens. If this is the case, try reducing the pressure on the foot, allowing it to float more easily over the surface, especially in those thick areas.

On my Bernina 200 and 730 I have a dial at the end of the machine head with "default" for straight stitching at the 6 o'clock position.

When I free motion quilt I reduce how tightly the foot sits on the quilt by turning the dial to about 8 o'clock. If I have a big puff that needs working in I set it at 9 o'clock.

Some Berninas have a screen readout with a number that you can adjust (440's, etc.). Some older machines have no adjustment for this, and some have a simple tension type dial, or a + or - sign. You will have to investigate your machine and owner's manual and see if you have this adjustment available on your machine.

Try a new needle, try a different size needle, but it is usually one of these issues or a combination. Good luck! I know it can be frustrating.

antique quilter said...

I love this design, would be perfect for an inner border. I will have to practice doing this. What a fun way to spend the afternoon playing!
you must have some thread collection! HOw do you store your threads?

Diane Gaudynski said...

This is a beautiful, classic design that lends itself to all styles of quilts. It tests your spacing ability, but is very do-able. Drawing a line for the "ceiling" helps, or a space,
such as a 1 1/2" border, and starting in the center of the space also works.

I store my thread in a chest of drawers in the top drawers so I can open them and look right at the thread, don't have to lean over or stand on a stool. Bottom two drawers are for occasionally used items. I also have some covered tins for thread I use a lot, but have learned not to store thread in UV light, or out in the open where it degrades easily and gets dusty.

Sunshine said...

Thanks Diane, I'll try a different needle; I don't think I've ever paid attention to the size of the needle :) Oops. I don't think I have a dial to adjust my foot pressure... maybe the local quilt store will know when they look at my machine. Thanks so much for the tips!