Friday, November 20, 2015

The Tape is Rolling

I've been on a quilting binge lately, finishing up some small tops that have been languishing in the closet.
Here's a bug quilt, made with the simple 4 patch pattern from Quilts for Kids.
A close-up, and
the back.  I love the fabrics, but I'm not too thrilled with the quilting.  I use a machine with a built-in walking foot, and usually everything is fine, but this one seems kind of distorted.  I'm not exactly sure what I was doing wrong.  For now, I'm blaming the cheap batting.

 Next is the flannel snowman quilt, in the same pattern.  Above is the top,
And here's the finished quilt.  All three of the snowmen fabrics were donated to our quilt group.  I had the red floral in my stash.
This one turned out better.  I pinned a little more, and I used a different batting.
I used up almost every last little bit of these flannels. 
This one is an Accuquilt cut kit.  I made the kit from my flannels years ago.  We sold a couple of them, but this one was left over.
As usual, my cat has to inspect the quilt.  Hope it passes!  (I'm a little worried about the quilting in the border.  I don't think he's going to give me a blue ribbon.)
You can see why I always wash the quilts before I give them away.
All three of these quilts are part of our charity work at Ties that Bind Quilt Group.

When I went to work on the last of these quilts yesterday, I decided to try something else.  I can't say it's anything new, because I used to do this when hand quilting, but I haven't really done this when machine quilting.

First I pinned the heck out of this little top, and  quilted in the ditch between the blocks.  That made a 6 in. grid.  So far, so good.  Then I got out the masking tape, and did this:
I quilted on one side of each of these taped lines, and carried the line out into the border.
Here's a close-up.  Part of each line was quilting in the ditch, and part was following the edge of the tape.
It worked!  I have straight lines, and no marks on the quilt.
The borders are nice and flat, and the corners are pretty square.
Here's the finished quilt.  The cat was worn out from doing inspections, so he missed this one.  It will go to Quilts for Kids, to be given to a child in a hospital.

There are advantages and disadvantages to marking quilts with masking tape, especially for machine quilting.  This is my list.

1.  No marks on the quilt.
2.  Nice straight line to quilt next to.
3.  Masking tape is cheap, available everywhere, and comes in all different sizes.
4.  If you accidentally put it in the wrong place, you can easily pull it up and re-position it.
5.  It is really fun to pull off the tape and see a nice straight quilted line.

1.  It takes a while to get the tape on the quilt. (Just like when you mask areas before you paint.)
2.  You have to be careful not to sew on the tape, not even the very edge.  If you accidentally do, it will be a pain to take the tape off.
3.  The tape shouldn't sit on the quilt for very long, so you need to tape it and quilt it right away.
4.  The presser foot makes kind of a weird scrunchy noise when part of it is resting on the tape.
5.  A quilt can use up a lot of masking tape!

This is the tape I used on this baby quilt:
Time to buy some more tape!

The absolute worst problem I had with this method was this:  a couple of times the edge of the tape flipped up after the presser foot had passed it, and stuck to the back of the presser foot.  Part of the problem was using small sections of tape, which made this more likely.  Fixing this was easy.  I just stopped the machine with the needle down, detached the tape, stuck it back down, and went on.

I think I like this method.  I want to try it for cross-hatching on a big quilt.

Thanksgiving is next week!  I'm sure we all have a lot to be thankful for.  I know I do.

Happy stitching!

I'm linking to Crazy Mom Quilts today.
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  1. You have been busy! And, while I do not like the idea of wasting tape (I'm so cheap) I do like the outcome, so maybe I'll give it a try after all. It's pretty impressive that you've made so many charity quilts all at once. Thank YOU for being so generous. And have a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday.

    1. Thanks, Mary! Wasting the tape kind of worried me too. I'll have to see how much tape a bigger quilt uses. If it's too much, it might not be practical. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

  2. Very nice charity quilts. I use masking tape on my small handwork projects too.

    1. Thanks, Mindingmomma! (great name).


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