Sunday, June 5, 2011

Learning process...

I truly *heart* my new Avante, it is a wondrous machine!  But, boy, am I glad I've done some machine quilting before, even if it's only been on my Janome.  Threading issue, oh, groan!  Here is one little tidbit I learned somewhere in my quilting past, that comes back over and over again to help me.  Even when I think it's wrong, and I stubbornly ignore it, it really is true.  If the stitching is lousy on the bottom, the problem is in the top threading.  If the stitching is crummy on the top, check the bobbin.  I'm sure there are exceptions, but start with that premise!

And by the way, how do you check your quilt bottom when you first start a quilt?  I really, really don't want to crawl under the frame to look!!  

When I'd quilted the first section of the quilt, I felt underneath as I began to roll it.  Oh NO!!!!!!!!!!!  Nubbies.  Rough stitches.  Know what I mean?  So I rolled it along enough so that I could see what the deal was.  I looked at the top threading, looked fine.  After all, I used the method of tying on the new thread to the old and just drawing it through up to the needle.  So I changed the bobbin.  I changed the needle.  I changed the top thread.  I checked the tensions again.  Still lousy stitches.  What the?????

After much angst and wringing of hands, when nothing else worked, I pulled out the top thread.  Re-threaded.  But I hesitated when I came to the thread guide just after the tension guide.  Does the thread go in front of it, then up to the lever.  Or does it go behind it, up to the lever, then around it.  Look at the owner's manual, dummy.  What?  I SAID LOOK AT THE OWNER'S MANUAL!!  Oh yeah, that's how it's supposed to go.  Sheesh.  So, after re-threading the right way, it stitched like a dream.  Imagine that!

So, except for operator error, I finished quilting the QOV quilt.  I had to piece the back -- the fabric along the bottom of the picture was the backing, but it was just *this* much too narrow.  So I added scraps up and down the middle, and it looks kinda cool.  Mr. Happiness feel in love with this quilt!  He usually likes my quilts, or at least comments that "it looks nice," but this time he was enthusiastic about it.  He doesn't often do enthusiastic.  So it's going to be a Father's Day gift to him (he is, after all, a vet, too), and I'll do a different QOV quilt to send off.  

By the way, the corners really are straight -- this was hanging across the Avante when I took the picture.  The whole quilt top is in a previous blog somewhere.

Read the manual, read the manual, read the manual.  If the stitches are bad on top, check the bobbin; if they're funky on the bottom, check the top threading. There you have two quilting lessons in one blog :-)



  1. When all else fails, RTFM! I finally received your B-day present, I was going to send it this week, but would you rather have a creeper (one of those things car mechanics use when they have to go under cars) instead?

  2. WHen someone 'wows' a quilt - it is meant to be. Especially if hubby wows! Would love to see you at your machine. Enjoy your day.

  3. Even with all the craziness of learning something new, your new baby is AWESOME! Have fun! Blogger won't let me post in any other way than anonymous. Linda at Roscoe's Ma

  4. I've only quilted on a frame once, but I had problems with the bottom thread being too loose also. I never thought of looking at the manual! What a novel idea!! Thanks for the suggestion. I may have prevented a lot of headaches if I had tried rethreading the machine!

  5. Yep, always check the manual if all else fails! Isn't it nice when our quilts get an enthusiastic response! The "wow" that! Please thank Mr. Happiness for his service!


  6. For all the agony you went through, your quilt is beautifully quilted. The next one will be much easier! The only easy way I know to check bottom tension is to do some trial stitching on the side margin of the backing where you can turn it up and take a peek.

  7. Ditto Mary! And recheck periodically as you wind quilt onto the take-up roller and can see it. Sometimes, there are things you can pick out and fix, before you move too far along. The fingernail test underneath works too. Also, when there are problems, try using your brush to look for lint pieces in the bobbin area. And Whoop! Whoop! for this week. Lovely summer colours!!