The back of the story

If you caught my previous post, I shared my favorite tools and tips for free motion quilting. But, there are two things I didn't cover.

First is the quilt top. Oh, just any old top will do. Except that quilters don't just make any old quilt top, do we? We make fabulous quilt tops and we don't want to mess them up with bad quilting. I'm going to talk more about what makes a good quilt top. It's not all points that match (which I'm not so good at) and color selection (which I rely on Rob for).

Part of a good quilt top is what you don't see. Look at the wrong side of your quilt top. What do your seam allowances look like? Are they pressed every whichaway? Or, are they all pressed flat and turned the same way? Are they turned up at one end and down at the other, making a twist somewhere in between that will be a bump, later?

After you've got all your seams going one way (some seam ripping may be required. don't be afraid.) and the top is ironed flat, it's time to press the wrong side. I'm not talking about ironing the wrong side. Ironing is what we do with the front of the quilt top, back and forth, sliding the iron over until the wrinkles are gone. The back of the quilt top should be pressed. That means setting the iron down and picking it up. There is no sliding it around. I learned this long ago on Alex Anderson's Simply Quilts. There was a guest that talked about the difference between ironing and pressing and I gave it a try and it worked fabulously, so I recommend it.

Press those seam lines down and you won't get stuck on one later. And, they won't roll up under your quilting foot. Yes, that can happen, even when you think they're secure, if they don't lay flat, they'll migrate from one side of the seam to the other and roll up as they make that transition. That makes a bump in an otherwise flat finished quilt. The other thing about the wrong side is threads. Are there threads hanging all over your quilt back. If there are, I recommend that you work all the seam lines with a scissor and trim those back. Because, invariably, after you've sandwiched your quilt, there will be a single black thread that will find its way between your white fabric and your white batting and once it's quilted in, there's not much you can do about it. Except see it every time you look at your quilt.

I'll confess that I was late to the thread trimming party. I made some really messy quilts. And, I looked with envy at the wrong side of my mentor's quilt tops, which were as much a work of art as the fronts. Because of how she handles her fabric before she makes the first cut, and the way she handles it thereafter, she doesn't end up with threads that hang on the back. Me, I try, but I generally have to trim threads before I sandwich the batting.

Okay, so that's my thoughts for the day. I started quilting my MIL's quilt yesterday. Lot's of ditchwork (I hate the ditchwork, but it is necessary) and meandering. I haven't done much meandering and was surprised how much more stressful it was than quilting shapes. With large shapes, I just draw, but with meandering, I have to make it look random. I'm not so good at random.

And, I'm still painting the kitchen. That may become a perpetual project as slow as I'm going.

The kid scored well on a math practice test yesterday. I am sooooo happy. I'm not sure how much more 7th grade math I could handle. Now we're back to working on Spanish full time and Math as required. We will make it to 8th grade. We will! And, we got her hair cut on Saturday. She looks SO GOOD! And, she finally found somebody to cut her hair that she wants to go back to see. So far, it's been random, whoever was there when we got there. But, now we might do appts. She's growing up fast. Seemed like it was really slow and now, she's taken off.

Have a great Monday. Lane


Becky said...

Good tips.....I have to admit I hate trimming the threads.....I need to be more deliberate about it. Would love to see a pic of Sydney's new do! Have a great week.

INKcredible Girl said...

I am sooooooo bad at random !! I am pleased I'm not the only one.

lw said...

I haven't given a lot of thought to the way I'm pressing my seams (except to free the "transitions" where I've screwed up and it rolls from one side to another.) This is a very helpful post.

Can't wait to see Sydney's hair.