When good quilting goes bad …


This weekend, I gave a presentation to my guild in NYC. I talked about lessons I’d learned as a longarmer. In the lecture, I like to show some of my less-than-perfect quilts so that people can learn from my mistakes.

I made this quilt about a year ago. It took a great deal of time. Look at the number of tiny flying geese and you’ll get an idea of the number of pieces and the hours involved in making this quilt.

Since I had a longarm, I knew the perfect pantograph. It was a stars (of various sizes) joined together by loops. I knew it would be perfect and proceeded to longarm the quilt in a short period of time. Voila! My masterpiece was done!

From the moment I took it off the longarm, I knew I’d made a mistake. One of the guidelines in quilting is to match the time spent quilting with the time you spent making the quilt top. The pantograph would have been perfect for an easy child’s quilt, but the effort in this quilt demanded custom quilting. However I decided not to rip it out (my ripping skills were not as practiced back then!) and to bind the quilt. And I have hated it ever since.

This weekend, I took the quilt with me to the presentation. I explained that this quilt demanded a much better job of quilting. As I was showing it to people (who agreed), I made the decision to rip out the quilting and start again. Re-quilting will not be that easy. I’ll have to sew muslin around the four sides of my quilt so it will be ready for the longarm. I’ll also have to save my binding, since I don’t have any fabric left. But I don’t care. This quilt demands custom quilting and it will get it.

For now, I have a nice ripping project for those cold nights in front of the TV! I will post the quilt when I get it finished.

(If the full quilt photos aren’t visible, please visit my blog at quiltnotes.wordpress.com)

Shadow Stars Quilt




2 responses »

  1. oh wait!!! Since you know you’re going to need to sew on temporary extensions to all sides in order to re-load the quilt on the longarm … why should you need to remove the binding?? Why can’t you just topstitch the extensions to the binding??

    Since you’re going to be custom re-quilting it (oh my … such dedication .. but boy, do I understand your predicament!), you’re going to be working from the front of the frame. You will be able to see exactly where you are quilting and therefore will be able to avoid quilting on the binding.

    The custom quilting wouldn’t be going off the edge (as in a panto), so again, leaving the binding on shouldn’t be a problem; you’ll just have a LOT of tails to tie and bury. (or however you secure the tails).

    The only drawback that I can think of is there would be a build-up on the sides where the binding is, when you start to advance the quilt on the take-up rail. You’d have a bump on the edges and a sunken area where the quilt is between the bindings. BUT … it seems to me that a temporary workaround could be done by placing long, narrow pads of batting up against the take-up rail as you are about to advance the quilt. The batting strips would even out the area between the binding bumps. You’d need to do this every time you advance the quilt … but it would solve the problem. I think. It sounds like it might.

    Just creatively thinking, trying to help to avoid *all that ripping*!. :-)


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