4/29/11

Follow, Thread, Tension, Report Card

That's today's agenda.

Follow: How many of my followers are also following The FMQ Challenge? If you're not, I'd really recommend it. This is a group of brave quilters who have committed to FMQ for 14 consecutive days. It is so much fun. Some of the quilters are quite accomplished and some are beginners and I'm so enjoying watching their progress. If you don't FMQ but you want to, this is a very encouraging site to follow.

Thread: I've been thinking about thread lately as I'm quilting more and more tops, especially with my commitment to a Linus quilt each month. My thoughts on thread are that I don't necessarily have to use the same color in the top and bobbin, but I do have to use threads of the same weight. I can't balance tension consistently between threads of different weights. I know people whose machines will do this, but mine is not one. I'm finishing a Linus quilt where I used a lime green thread in the top and a gold thread in the bobbin. The green thread was regular 70 weight polyester sewing thread, common brand, available anywhere, and the bottom was 50 weight cotton. I started with the tension set perfectly so that none of the green thread showed on the back and none of the yellow on the top. About half way through the quilting, that somehow changed and the green thread started to show on the yellow quilt back. I didn't keep checking that as I quilted and now the back of the quilt looks fuzzy from the bits of green thread showing. Oh, well. It was a lesson learned long ago that I chose to overlook and it came back to bite me.

Tension: So, how do I set the tension on my sewing machines? And, with 10 sewing machines, that's a lot of tension to set. I load the top and bobbin with two different colors of 50 weight cotton thread. 50 wt cotton is what I sew with most often, for piecing and for quilting. I can get huge spools of coats and clark for three or four dollars with a coupon at JoAnns. I keep at least two cones of neutral out for piecing all the time. I set the top tension to the middle. On my old Singers, that's halfway between 4 and 5. Same for my Pfaff. And, my Bernina has a line. Then, I adjust the bobbin tension until I get a perfect stitch. Once a year, I will do this when I service and clean my machines. Other than that, I don't adjust the bobbin tension. Any tension adjustments are made to the top tension. Make sure you're using the right size bobbin for your machine. For years, I was plagued with tension problems on my Bernina because I was using a class 15 and should have been using a class 15J. Who knew? And, when the repairman told me the first time, all I heard was the 15 and because that's what I was using, I blew him off. The next time he told me, it registered.

Report card: Sydney got all A's except in Spanish and there she got a B. Our joy was unmatched. We had the same choir in that sang at the Royal Wedding this morning and released white doves. And, gave her back her straightening and curling irons. Hey, just because she's smart doesn't mean she shouldn't be pretty, right?

Have a great Friday. I'm going to try very hard to leave early today and go home and mark the borders on the MIL quilt. I need that finished so I can move on to quilt something else.

Lane

8 comments:

Paul said...

Not that Sydney has any idea who I am, tell her I said, "Congratulations!"

What an awesome accomplishment!

10 machines!? WOW! I'm considering buying a second machine right now... I need one with a larger throat. FMQ is difficult with a small throated machine.

Take Care,
Paul
www.OutnumberedQuilter.com

LynCC said...

What an awesome report card! Go, Sydney!

Barb H said...

Way to go, Sydney! Woot! Woot! And I think Rob and Lane scored an A as well!

Impera_Magna said...

Way to go, Sydney!!!!

Hazel said...

Way to go Sydney!!!!!!! All three of you have worked hard .

Becky said...

Sydney!!! That is wonderful, honey! Keep up the good work. Lane, I think you should cook her favorite dinner in celebration! I hope you have a very productive and enjoyable weekend!

Pauline said...

Sydney you get a big "Atta Girl" along with many happy faces.

Lane, don't mean to leave you out, you deserve a big "Atta Boy" too.

Coloradolady said...

Way to go Sydney!!!! So proud of you!