Problems, of course!
Well I’m rocking along and I’ve gotten to the quilting stage on these two pieces I’m working on. Both are of the same series so I can work on them simultaneously, something I have never done before. I love it when I have A Real Plan and I get to the quilting stage-it’s that “yippeeeee” moment!
But, of course, problems will come. Problems are absolutely predictable. You may remember this description of The Creative Process from a previous post:
1. This is cool!
2. This is gonna be hard.
3. This sucks.
4. I suck.
5. There is hope.
6. This is cool!
I am working step 3 and 4 right now. What was I thinking?
I am working with the same thread combination I’ve been using in my black and white/drought tolerant plant series (I know, I need to come up with a more succinct title):
The problem with this combination is twofold: a very high value contrast (black and light gray), and a wide variance in the thread weight. It’s nigh impossible to get good tension with this combination, but, hair flip, I can do this!
The skinny light gray thread was showing through on top of the black Aurifil cotton. I had to fix that. I thought, I’ll just torque up the bobbin tension and pull that light gray guy back underneath. I tested it and it worked beautifully. But…..
You can’t tell from this photo, but when I began to stitch over previous stitching, that added extra tension and pulled the black thread to the bobbin. It made this hideous nest of black thread on the bobbin side. It HAD to come out.
Maybe you can kind of see how much stitching there was to rip out for each tiny little area. Plus, this is sateen, which means the fabric has long horizontal threads across the surface. It’s really easy to get one of those caught up in your seam ripper, and then you’ve ripped the top of your quilt! (Not that I know…)
My big ole honking magnifying LED lamp was a great asset for this type of intense ripping.
Ah, but we’re not done with the problems:
I knew this would happen. In this series, I begin by quilting the rippley background first. The density of the quilting is even across the surface of the quilt. Then I add the design, which is very heavily stitched. Because the quilting is now unevenly distributed, it creates ripples throughout the quilt. You can see them pretty well here.
Good thing I’m skilled at blocking! Both of these pieces will need to be blocked at least once, but I am confident they will hang well when I’m done. Are we done with the problems already? I’ll be linking up on Friday with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday-there are always great links there.
Cathy Steiner says
Oh NO Jenny!!!
I can’t say I’ve been in this deep of trouble but I think maybe close!!! You certainly are brave to go with these combos. I’m a safer sewer and like to stick with what works for me. I’ve never had good luck in the contrasting threads. Stay happy though!
Trouble comes with exploration I think! The only reason I endure this thread combo is because I LOVE the sheen of silk on the black backing and the matte black on the white front. I don’t think any other combination would make such a statement. Enjoy that happy place with matching threads-go girl!!
Betty Jo Tatum says
Interesting blog, Jenny. I know it will all come out well in the end for you. I know you find, like I do, that it is often fun to try to do things deliberately that are not supposed to work, and then conquer them…but I hope you end up only having to pull out a little thread and not much hair by the time you are done. Cheers!
Thank you Betty Jo. I am still working through it and I don’t know if it will turn out. Even if it doesn’t, the process will inform some future quilt.
Judy Warner says
wow, Jenny. What a challenge. Thanks for sharing. It will help me next time I think I am totally hopeless to know that an amazing quilter has problems too. Hope you get it all sorted out!
I’ll get it sorted out but it may be on the next quilt! Hopelessness must be part of the process for me because it comes up so often.
Carol Baker says
Until I started reading your blog posts, I only saw your completed quilts. I have struggled with steps 3-4 many times, and tend to stop at 4…. Thank you for making your process ‘REAL’ for me. You motivate me to move on and take my UFOs from step 4 to 5 and beyond!!
Oh Carol, we all struggle! I know people who are internationally known artists who struggle like this. I think it is a necessary part of the process.
I just wrote a comment with several suggestions of names for your series. Guess I wasn’t fast enough – had to get up and answer a pesky phone call. Anyway I got a timed out message.
“Monochrome Xeriscape Series” “Xeriscape in B&W” “Dry Garden in Ebony”
If this one times out I’ll give up.
Thank you Helen-I like your suggestions! Now I am thinking of a melding of them-“Drought in Black and White” maybe? Pondering…
Oh, come on, scared of big words? What would your R-tees-tic sisters do? I like Drought in Black and White. “Dry Creek Bed” “CA summer 2015” Just kidding.
I’m chuckling now…. Drought in Black and White-hmmmmmm
“My big ole honking magnifying LED lamp was a great asset….” I could use one of these! Carry on, Jenny!
Oh you NEED one Laura! Really-makes a huge difference.
Margaret Blank says
I’m glad it’s you steering that equipment! It *will* work out, of course…won’t it? Me? I’d be doing satin stitch by hand on those grass fronds. Wouldn’t even attempt a machine!
Thank you Margaret! Of course if I was a little bit more savvy, I would have done those fronds by hand:-/
Judy Murrah says
That’s a lot of work and way too much frustration for me. Good luck.
Thank you Judy! Frustration seems to be part of the process for me, sigh.
OK……I always wondered how the different densities played out on your creations! I am very thankful for the blocking process, also. I just can’t seem to use anything but contrasting threads (top/bobbin) when quilting…….so love the effect, also! I’ve encountered similar difficulties with the 100 wt in the bobbin and 50 on top but I was wondering if it had more to do with the 100 wt being a more “slick” thread. I’m sure you will work through this and come out in the “light of success”!
Wellllll, it ain’t working right now. I have blocked it and it looks grim.
Oh no. If this happens to you, what hope is there for the rest of us?? I’m assuming you’re onto step 5 by now and heading for step 6
On no, actually I am simultaneously working 2-4. I don’t even know if this will work!
Carol Mcdowell says
You are a brave, brave woman – contrasting different weight thread? I think the stars in the quiltiverse have to lined up just so for this to work. I know you can do this!
I have to say when I first saw the photo of the led lamp I thought ” why foes she have toilet seat hanging I her sewing room? Lol! Glad you explained that :-)
How funny Carol, because as I first viewed my photo on the blog when I loaded it, I thought it looked like a toilet seat too! I don’t know if I’m brave or stupid:-/ I just know the look I want and I’ll do what I need to achieve it.
LeeAnna Paylor says
oy!! I just wrote a long comment and the blinkin’ computer ate it. Grrrr. Great post… if I weren’t menopausal I’d remember my comment and retype it. LeeAnna at not afraid of color
Oh I can SO relate! Just let me know if it was my site somehow. Thank you!
Teresa Duryea Wong says
I hate ripping. And I end up doing it all the time… mostly for the same problem. Tension! You should add ripping to your list of the process. This is cool. This is hard. This sucks. This is where I rip. This is so cool. At least you’re not alone!
LOL! Teresa I will add that to the Creative Process steps! I’m still giggling.
the blog just ate my last comment too!!! So am copying it just in case – LOL!!! Anyways – what I want to say is that I read your blog post and I think – OMG Jenny and I are quilt sisters!!! This is the kind of thing that goes on in my studio all the time when I’m doing thread work – especially when I’m under the gun like this week!!! Density Ripples are the plague!!!! hate them!!!! So hang in there sista – #thestruggle
Based on your blog I think we may be Quilt Sisters Nina-Marie! I like your term-density ripples. Amazingly enough, I was able to block them out!
Janet McElroy says
you probably have heard me say this before, but why not use monofilament in the bobbin, then you won’t have any problem of thread show through at all……
It may not make sense to anyone but me, but I LOVE the backs of my quilts. They tell another story. The back of the quilt with the sheen of the silk….divine! I just look for ways to make it hard, giggle. Thank you for the note Janet!