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    Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

    Hi...I'm working on my first bed size quilt and am very confused about how tight to pull the backing when doing the sandwiching, as I've read conflicting instructions. I first pulled it "tight but not taut" as the book I was following said to do. Then I only used one package of 50 small curved basting safety pins as I never read in the book how many to use, ran out, so used straight pins--and boy was that a mistake. I kept pricking myself when I tried to machine quilt in the center and it looked horribly bunched up. I can't figure out how to center quilt with my typical machine-- with all this huge amount of material everywhere...is there some rule of thumb of rolling it somehow to fit around the machine better? I felt like giving up!
    SO I undid absolutely everything, and I'm starting the backing from scractch again, this time intending to use around 300 pins as it's a fairly good size quilt--
    My questions are this:

    1)How tight do I really have to pull the backing material?
    I will use t pins to secure it. It's going on the carpet as I have no table or area big enough otherwise.

    2}How do I fit all that material under/around my machine to start sewing from the center?
    There's hardly any room to the right...!

    3}Does anybody recommend the "Kwik Klip" to help fasten the safety pins?

    I have some arthritis in my thumbs and not wanting to make it worse and saw mention of this product on someone's website.

    Thank you for any advice you can offer. I sure appreciate it!

    #2
    Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

    I'm a novice at this but the following link will help you a lot. Leah Day has a site that gives free videos and also You Tube videos on free motion quilting including how to get that big quilt into the machine. Here is the link for that clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc2Y1...eature=related She has lots of others too. Like Jenny she is easy to listen to and her site has other suggestions too.

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      #3
      Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

      I feel your pain. The backing needs to be relatively taut. You need a gazillion pins. They are selling pinmoor to put on regular straight pins and they work well.You need to bunch or puddle the material around your machine as best you can. It takes some getting used to.Have extra tables around your work space to catch the excess material. The kwik klip works very well or you can use a grapefruit spoon to achieve the same results.I also have arthritis and i have to take alot of breaks to relax my fingers.Patience wins all the time,We learn from all ofour experiences Then we can compare notes.

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        #4
        Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

        Working on a large quilt can be hard, but patience will win the day. Teri has great advice, lots of pins, a taunt backing and lots of space surrounding you to support the weight of the quilt, etc. I think the Leah Day videos talk about "quartering" your quilt. Start from the center of your quilt and work to one side and up; then down etc. This way you never have more than 1/2 your quilt in the neck of your machine. I always find I get a huge upper arm and back workout when I quilt a large item. Taking lots of breaks is helpful.

        Hang in there, be patient and go slow. You'll get it done.
        When life throws you scraps, make a quilt! :icon_bigsmile:

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          #5
          Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

          Make sure you pin from the center out too. They say pin a fist apart.
          A large size quilt is hard even for those of us that have done a few before. I actually start from the top right and work a section down and then up again and do it that way. You will always have a bunch of fabric to the left and seems on your lap so the larger your table the better to help support it all. One piece of advice was to try to concentrate on just one area with your quilting. So I do a small area - like 10 x 10 inches that would be in the middle of my spread out hands and then try to rebunch the fabric and concentrate on the next area. I also use the machine gloves that helps to grip the fabric. Some people that might not have them use garden gloves.
          Good luck and do make sure you take some breaks. That's alot of concentrating!

          Hugs,
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/quiltsbytrish
          http://quiltdreaming.blogspot.com
          http://pinterest.com/TrishLapp


          What if you woke up today and the only things you had were the things you thanked God for yesterday? :icon_hug:quilting trish

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            #6
            Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

            I highly recommend the kwik klip. I love it. The back shouldn't be real tight. The pins should be 3 to 4 inches apart About the width of your hand. I roll my quilt up on both sides and secure them with quilt clamps. It's pretty much going to be a pain no matter what you do. Trying to work with a huge quilt on a machine is not fun. Have you looked into the quilt as you go. I am doing a king size this way in three sections and even with the quilt in three sections it can be a bear. My machine embroiders and I have done some baby quilts with quilt motifs on them and they look great so am looking for more quilt design and just going to let my embroidery machine do it for me since I can't afford a long arm. I have done free motion. sometimes I like it sometimes I don't. The smaller the quilt the better I am at it.
            Patrice

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              #7
              Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

              You don't want to pull the backing tight at all. When you release the pin or tape after your done it will go back to its original tension and then the top will be loose. That causes puckers when you cross other lines of quilting. Smooth it out completely so that it is nice and flat and pin or tape it down to the surface. Use pins about every 4 inches.Do not use the real large pins as they allow the material to shift on the shaft. Hope this helps.

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                #8
                Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

                From a previous post I put in "Look What I Found":

                "Karen Kay Buckley, who teaches in this area, quilts her bigger quilts in three sections. I believe she said she cuts the batting in three sections, rolls the right third of the top, quilts the center section. She stitches the batting together, gets everything flat and then stitches the right third. She adds the left section last, turns the quilt about and then quilts the remaining third. -- AND when you see her work, you cannot detect that it was not all done at one time."

                I think this may help you.
                Sometimes, when there's a raging fire,
                it's best not to try to put it out with gasoline.

                "...pal carajo con la negatividad..."

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                  #9
                  Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

                  I started using the Sharon Schamber basting method when doing quilts on my home machine and it has made a big difference. You don't have to do it with thread, you can do the same method with pins if you are going to quilt it right away.





                  I don't roll my quilts into a log when I'm quilting as I find it difficult to maneuver a log through the machine. I get the area I'm quilt really flat and go from there. Everyone develops their own technique that works best with their sewing area.

                  If you can find a local shop that lets you rent out their longarm that might be a better option when doing your next big quilt.
                  Katie's Quilting Corner - Blog, Podcast and More!
                  Don't miss Free Pattern Friday posts!
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                    #10
                    Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

                    This is wonderful information, thanks for sharing it. I'm going to try it with my next quilt, the pins are a problem with my fingers.

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                      #11
                      Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

                      Thank you all so much for responding to my plea for help! I bought the Kwip Klip yesterday, and will try that method on this quilt as I already bought more safety pins.
                      When I work on my next quilt, I would like to try the "Herringbone Stitch" method of quilting and using the trim boards for help. I liked how the lady in the video said she used to have to get her husband to help her pin, before she came up with her new method) and that was causing marriage problems! And I bet HE came up with the trim boards (she said he got them for her at the beginning of the video)...Ha!
                      It looks like a huge improvement as far as less backbreaking, with her method.
                      You MSQC forum ladies are the greatest! :-)

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

                        Originally posted by liketoquilt View Post
                        Thank you all so much for responding to my plea for help! I bought the Kwip Klip yesterday, and will try that method on this quilt as I already bought more safety pins.
                        When I work on my next quilt, I would like to try the "Herringbone Stitch" method of quilting and using the trim boards for help. I liked how the lady in the video said she used to have to get her husband to help her pin, before she came up with her new method) and that was causing marriage problems! And I bet HE came up with the trim boards (she said he got them for her at the beginning of the video)...Ha!
                        It looks like a huge improvement as far as less backbreaking, with her method.
                        You MSQC forum ladies are the greatest! :-)
                        The first time I used her method to baste a quilt my back was thanking me over and over and over. I also didn't have any weird puckers in my backing AND no wings on the edges of the quilts where tape would have been. I tell everyone about it now!

                        Because the trim boards were so long they wouldn't fit in my car easily, I had them cut into four foot sections and attached two of them together with a hinge so I could fold them and put them away. I haven't had to baste a quilt larger than 8 feet yet at home and probably never would now that I have a longarm machine I can rent out.

                        Put painters tape on the ends of the trim boards so they don't snag your fabric.
                        Katie's Quilting Corner - Blog, Podcast and More!
                        Don't miss Free Pattern Friday posts!
                        Pinterest

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                          #13
                          Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

                          Interesting topic! My first quilt I pinned way too heavily and had not thought out ahead of time how I was going to do my quilt stitching, so I had to start and stop every few seconds to remove a pin while I was sewing! I have since learned to figure out how I am going to quilt it first, then make my pin placement in areas I can avoid sewing through whenever possible. I have heard good things about the Pin Moors but have not tried them yet. I do have the Kwik Klip and it makes pinning go faster and easier on the fingertips for sure. I just wish I didn't have to pin at all!

                          My last project I tried a new method for putting my quilt sandwich together and really LIKED it! It is a method I learned about from one of Patsy Thompson's YouTube videos. She uses 505 Basting Spray to assemble her sandwich on a "Spray Basting Wall". If you watch her video you will see that she uses this method not only for smaller quilts but also very large bed sized quilts and she swears by it!

                          Here is her video with the details of the method: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UoUzK19Vww

                          I used the 505 spray and added a few pins in strategic places on my project and it was SO much faster and easier on my hands and back! Patsy also says that not all basting sprays are alike. She has had great results with 505 and even has spray basted projects that still hold together after years of waiting in her UFO box!

                          You do need to have a large wall space or area to do this method however. I suppose you could spray baste a quilt on the floor too if you don't have a design wall. I did not have any problems with over spray and protected my floors below the wall with a sheet like she mentioned in the video.
                          Linda
                          -its not the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away!

                          sigpic

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                            #14
                            Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

                            I love my kwik klip! With carpal tunnel in my left hand it is a pain saver. A sizeable quilt with pins will be very heavy so don't forget to support the quilt as you sew. I managed to machine quilt my daughters queen size quilt with my Bernina. It was a constant stop and go as the space to the right is very tight, but it can be done.
                            Susan

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                              #15
                              Re: Frustrated With First Big Quilt!

                              Yes, Sewbee!! I have watched her videos and they sure are terrific. I will have a few larger quilts to do this fall and I plan on using her 505 method on the wall.

                              Alana
                              Alana
                              To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.
                              alanashideaway.blogspot.com
                              https://www.facebook.com/quiltsbyAlana

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