I continue to have problems with the two pieces I’m working on but I’m not surprised. I decided to work out some of my problems “off-line” by preparing a sample piece that is exactly like my quilts. This was no small task. But I did not want to work out any more problems on the actual quilt, so the sample was worth my time.
I still had problems with the bobbin thread coming to the top and showing. Even with perfect tension, if you quilt atop a previous layer of stitches, your tension will go bonkers. This problem is inevitable with this type of design. I had this idea of how to get rid of those pesky show-throughs…..
You can clearly see the bobbin thread coming up despite good tension. How to solve this?
Yup, I got the Sharpie out and just ran over those gray spots. It worked well. I did learn to be mindful to cover the area evenly and to be very careful to not go out-of-bounds. I need to think about the archival impact, if any.
Now I must digress. I have been asked, why don’t I just hoop it? Great question.
I know this may sound odd, but, I just don’t like to hoop. It’s that simple. I will do all kinds of things that are less-than-pleasant to achieve the look I want, yes. But for me, some things are not just tedious, they rob joy from the process. Hooping is one of those things that takes away the joy for me. In this case I would have had to rehoop several times to finish the leaf on my quilt-ick!
I call this blog “Quiltskipper” for a reason. It reminds me that I do this art/quilt thing because it gives me joy. I don’t ever want to catch myself getting caught up in the pursuit of perfection, ribbons, better teaching gigs, competing with others. All those things can rob my joy. So even if I appear to be taking the long way to finish a piece, it’s worth it to me if I arrive at the end full of joy.
I began to block my piece and of course, I stuck myself and began bleeding before I noticed that I bled upon my quilt! I did the spit thing but there was still residue left. At this point I knew I was committed to washing and blocking it one more time. Sigh.
After I washed the piece I began to block another time. When I have a seriously rumpled situation like this I will plop rulers atop the wet, blocked piece to help control the fabric.
Ah, so the mistakes are not done! Note to Self: Do not begin to block a piece without washing your hands after applying foundation. Du-oh.
At this point I realized I had hit a pivot point. Disregarding the make-up stain, I still had a rumpled quilt after 2 blockings. It was clear that this piece just simply might not work. The Really Good News was that now I could experiment with radical or unexpected solutions-what did I have to lose?
I am actually way ahead of my deadlines on these pieces. Come this fall I will be insanely busy prepping for teaching at Houston, my other quilt guild gigs and local teaching engagements….and the house remodel. So I’m motivated to finish these now.
Here’s my chance to try hoopless hooping. I’ve had a few bottles of Terial Magic on-hand, but I had not tried them yet. The manufacturer says that it stiffens fabric to the point where hooping may not be needed for embroidery. You can see here how stiff it makes the fabric-almost like cardboard.
For my test, I heavily stitched both motifs, a surefire way to get ripples. But on the right side, I stiffened the fabric with Terial Magic before stitching. Then I washed it out and stitched the left side without any Terial. You can see that the right side has no wobble despite the heavy stitching. Even after washing the product out, it remains flat. The left side wobbled as expected. It works! No hooping! I’ll use this product in the future.
This is a pivot point. This entire process that I write about here would not need to happen if I used the Terial before heavy stitching! (I wanted to write that whole sentence in caps!)
So, back to blocking:
I thought, what would happen if I just “micro block” (yeah, just made that term up) the areas with problems? There is some real high-tech stuff going on here! This area is particularly troublesome since it is surrounded by heavy stitching.
Okey dokey, that did not work. Well what would happen if I pinned the dickens out of the problem areas? I’ll call this technique “custom blocking” and yeah, I just made that up too!
So here I am at an interlude. I don’t quite know what to do. The last blocking (“custom blocking”) made a world of difference. It hangs well.
I’m not sure I’m happy with it though. I don’t want perfection. It comes at a high price-Loss of Joy. But I’m still a little unhappy with how it hangs. I wonder, should I block it again?
And it needs one last refinement in the design but I’m just not quite sure what to do yet. I’ll have to ponder both issues. I imagine by next week I will have resolved the issues on both pieces and be done. I’ll be linking this up on Friday with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.