Friday, May 31, 2013

What I Learned

 Each quilt I make 
can tell a story, 
can teach me new skills
can remind me what not to do.

Having just finished my red and white sampler,
here is my "Beware List."

1. No matter how much you clip threads on the
back of the quilt before you baste it together,
red threads will think it's funny to wiggle into the
middle of a white square.  They'll lay there waiting
to see if you notice.

And when you do, they instantly grow barbs
that embed in the batting, making them immoveable.

I bought this nifty gadget from Clover and hoped
that it would easily snag those red varmints 
so I could drag them out of.

I only got it to work twice.
Don't know if I didn't have the right technique
or those red threads were simply to strong.

Not wanting to poke a hole in the fabric,
I was very cautious with how much wrestling I wanted to do.
So my best solution, was to use a larger embroidery needle
and try to swipe them under a nearby seam.
In most cases, that worked the best.
They're still there, but contained.

2.  Sometime while hand quilting,
you're going to poke your finger and bleed.
Do you bleed on a red square?
No, only on white ones.
Best solution, your own spit.

3. Not all basting safety pins are created equal.
I had bought a few extra at a chain store with a coupon,
thinking, what a deal.
But: not true.
They were flimsy and the worst part
was that they left small black dots wherever
they had poked into the fabric.
When I basted the quilt I tried not to
use a safety pin on the white fabric, but in
a few cases where I did, I was left a reminder.

Guess what?
A small black dot on the white.
I'm assuming it was some petroleum based product to
keep the pins smooth and shiny.

Those pins have all been gathered up and are GONE.
The tiny dots are still there, but aren't too noticeable with
the quilting. Thank goodness.

4.  Sometimes the thread color that you use when
piecing does matter.
When I was piecing the blocks together,
I didn't pay much attention and alternated
between using white thread and red thread,
whatever happened to be on the machine.

When a block consists of only two colors, you can't be changing
the thread every two inches.

But there are places where I stitched white to white and
used a red thread, and darned if I can't see that
red thread casting a pink glow into the seam.
I should have been more careful, or less lazy,
and maybe changed the thread in different circumstances.
Note to self: Sometimes the thread color matters.

5. If you are working on a quilt that has large areas of
white fabric,
every loose hair from any passing
human or animal will instantly become attracted and stick
to the surface of the quilt.
The same goes for every fuzz ball or floating speck in the air.
I am not washing this quilt anytime soon,
So I have spent a lot of time rolling the lint roller over the surface.

And have captured most of those cling ons.

Until Next Time-


  1. Good advice. I didn't know there was a tool to help remove those threads but seems like it didn't work that well. And changing thread colors, I can see where that could be a problem not using white in all white areas or vice-versa.

  2. Thanks for sharing the lessons learned. Hopefully we won't all insist on learning things the hard way for ourselves!

  3. just beautiful. what an heirloom this quilt is. I am so happy for you that its done!
    thanks for your advice !
    I have used a pin to move threads over to the seam allowance do it doens't show up
    will you hand this quilt or will you use it on a bed?

  4. Great post! My takeaway tips: 1) spit on bloodspots; 2) stick with my mantra of no solid white backgrounds! A beautiful quilt and so much work!

  5. Seems I'm always learning something new - which is a good thing!
    Thanks for all your tips.

  6. I just hope I can remember all your good advice when I need it! Great ideas you shared here. Hey - what's your next project?

  7. Thanks for sharing all those wonderful tips today!
    I enjoy your sense of humor thru all your experiences.

  8. Oh, I've been there on the loose threads - what a drag!! I have used the clover thingy and also a needle to open the weave and capture it.
    I've learned the hard way on pins myself.
    The quilting is looking stunning!

  9. Congrats on finishing your quilt! It's so special. I LOVE my thread pic by Clover. Some times it takes awhile to hook on to the stray thread but I've managed to capture it every time. I've found it to be very handy because I'm always picking up strays. Oh, now what I just said doesn't sound good - he he.