Monday, April 27, 2020

If I'm Holding a Seam Ripper, Now is NOT a Good Time!!!

First, the good news: All of the SID (Stitch in the Ditch) quilting with invisible monofilament thread has been completed on my Spirit Song quilt.  That was my main objective in last week's Tuesday To-Do List post.

It feels good to get to the end of the quilt!
...But then, of course, I had to roll right back to the beginning of the quilt because there is more quilting still to be done with threads that we can see!

Back to the Beginning for the Next Phase of Quilting
The best part about doing it this way is that I've gotten so much of the yucky stuff out of the way.  Now the quilt top is completely basted to the batting and backing around the perimeter, and the edges are locked down nice and straight and square from top to bottom.  For the rest of the quilting process, when I advance my quilt, I won't have to spend time lining up seams, checking for straightness, or basting the edges -- I can just roll the quilt forwards and start right in quilting.  I also have nothing hanging over the front edge of the frame anymore, since all three layers haver rolled up together onto my backing roller now.  

Back to the Top of the Quilt After All the SID Has Been Quilted
I kept this top pretty straight and square throughout the SID work, but I did get lazy at the very end and did not check EVERY horizontal seamline with my channel lock, resulting in a slight "smile" to the bottom edge of the quilt once I finally reached it.  Yikes!  Fortunately, it was slight enough that I was able to straighten out the bottom edge of the quilt and then quilt out the resulting fullness in the row of blocks just above the border.

Can You See Those Ripples in the Last Row of Blocks?
They look SO much better after the SID along the seam lines distributed and trapped the excess fullness where I needed it to go:

Much Improved After SID Quilting!
Here's what my quilt looks like right now, if you climb underneath the long arm frame and look up from below.  Kind of like a stained glass window:

View From the Carpeting
SO...  I switched from the 3.5 needle I'd been using for monofilament nylon to a regular 4.0 needle, rethreaded my needle with a yummy shade of variegated YLI 40 weight Machine Quilting Thread with a coordinating shade of So Fine bobbin thread, did some test stitching and tension adjustments to get a nice stitch, and then started quilting my quilt for about 5 minutes.

And I did NOT like it.  Hello, Mister Seam Ripper -- we have to stop meeting like this!!!

5 Minutes to Stitch Equals 45 Minutes to UNStitch
This was not a stitch quality issue or not liking the thread.  I just didn't like the thread for what I wanted to do with it.  I love the heavier 40 weight variegated threads for an edge-to-edge pantograph without backtracking, or for an allover meander or something like that.  I like the heavier thread when the quilting is less dense, with lines of quilting stitches spaced farther apart.  When I started quilting lines that were a quarter of an inch apart, this 40 weight thread just looked like a heavy, clunky rope to me.  

YLI Machine Quilting Cotton, 40 wt, Color V74 Paris Boutique
Also, even though my spool of YLI Machine Quilting Cotton (color V74 Paris Boutique) looks like a pale pastel on the spool, there are some rather dark pink sections and I didn't like how those looked when the quilting line ran across a white background fabric.  Such a shame because I really love that thread -- it's just not giving me the effect I had in mind for this particular project.  
Plan B: So Fine 60 wt, Color Peach Tart

I think I want to quilt the whole thing with So Fine 50 Weight thread in Peach Tart color.  This thread matches one of the lighter shades in the variegated YLI spool, and is a little lighter weight so the quilting stitches won't be quite as prominent.  My quilt top is really busy with all of these different fabric prints, after all, and I felt like the heavier "look at me" thread was fighting with the fabrics and piecing design rather than complementing them, especially where I had a high contrast between the darkest thread color and the lightest fabric color.  So I had to carefully unpick those stitches without ripping any holes in my quilt.

Tools of the Trade: Hemostat Forceps, Seam Ripper, and Curved Thread Snips
In addition to my seam ripper, I also use a hemostat locking forceps to grab onto small bits of thread and pull them out of the quilt, and a curved thread snipper to clip longer lengths of pulled-out stitches.  Since it's time consuming, close work, I am so glad I have my saddle stool so I can be seated high on my perch and lean over the quilt comfortably to reach what I'm ripping out.

Saddle Stool and IKEA Tool Cart
I've also got my little IKEA tool cart handy with other supplies and gadgets just an arm's reach away.  This cart is also a great place to put a glass of wine, you know, to put you in the right frame of mind for ripping out all of the stitching you did today.  Patience comes in a bottle labeled "CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA," but it's best to keep the red wine as far away from the quilt as you can, so long as you can still reach it!

Savor Your Seam Ripping!
I actually had one of my sisters on FaceTime while I was ripping out stitches.  I balanced my iPhone on the right handle of the long arm machine, with the back of the phone touching the takeup lever thingy so it didn't fall off.  Seam ripping is definitely an activity that goes faster when you have your mind engaged elsewhere!

So anyway, when I turned out the lights and left my studio for the day, I was right back where I left things the night before.  I'm threaded up with a peach pastel So Fine 50 weight in the needle and paired it with a peach 60 weight Bottom Line thread in the bobbin, and we'll have to see how that goes tomorrow!

My only To-Do this Tuesday is to finish quilting this quilt, somehow or another, and get it off my frame.  Wish me luck!

I'm linking up today's post with:


·       Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  
·       Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·       BOMs Away Katie Mae Quilts  


·       Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at Clever Chameleon

·       To-Do Tuesday at Home Sewn By Us


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

glad you were able to decide rather quickly so you didn't have way too much to rip out. it does sound time consuming and awkward with it on the frame -

Vicki in MN said...

What a bright fun quilt to be working on!

PaintedThread said...

Ugh - ripping stitches. Thank goodness you'd only stitched 5 minutes worth. You're more daring than I am - I never have read wine that close to a nearly finished project. ;-) May the rest of your quilting go smoothly!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

That is such a gorgeous quilt! I'm looking forward to seeing how you quilt it!

Churn Dash said...

So quick to sew, so long to unpick. Sometime it just has to be done. It's a beautiful quilt and is going to be amazing quilted.


Home Sewn By Us said...

Hi Rebecca! I was 100% CERTAIN that there was another math emergency question to be answered while you were ripping. Alas, your son must have solved all his equations without your great input. Not only does that 5 minutes of happy quilting equate to 45 minutes of un-sewing, it is also back-breaking work since you can't go sit in your easy chair to do it. It's nice that you got to chat with your sister while working on it! I also greatly enjoyed the photo from the carpet. Not that I'd ever know what that looks like because I'm never going to lay on the carpet and take a photo. HAHAHA! Thanks for linking up this week. I didn't forget about the fabric, I promise. ~smile~ Roseanne

Gretchen Weaver said...

Smart girl to come to the decision to not use that thread before you stitched any farther. I LOVE this quilt, she's so beautiful!

SJSM said...

It took many years to look at unstitching a project as just part of the process. It’s easier to look at it that way without a hard deadline looming. I always think things will take less time than they do even though I do mentally add time to unstitch. Once I looked at basting as a useful part of sewing (we have to unstitch that) I could slowly adjust my attitude for taking out mistakes. The thing that upsets me is ruining the fabric. There’s only so many options when that happens and sometimes there are no good options at that point. So if I take something out successfully I am grateful I could do so and move on.

Your quilt is a masterpiece under construction. It will be so as you adjust the process going forward. This is part of the process of creating. As you get more skilled you can see the future of the project and realize by tweaking or changing direction gives the results you envision. So taking out stitches for 45 minutes isn’t a mistake it is part of the process of getting to you goal. Feel good about the decision and that you stopped at 5 minutes. Masterpieces are planned, techniques tried and evaluated and the results show it. You aren’t a sketch artist who is only going for the idea. You are the artist looking for a lasting piece.

Sherrie said...

Your quilt is awesome! I hate ripping out when I make a
mistake, but it's part of the process. Have a great day!

Norma Schlager said...

You are so brave to have RED wine next to your quilt. The colors in this are yummy and I like the border. Is it a Kaffe Fasset? I also loved how it looked from beneath. Another Kaffe Fassett?

Ramona said...

This quilt is a beauty! I'm sorry you had to spend time with your seam ripper, but lesson learned. Now you know you don't like the heavier weight thread in close quarters. Happy Stitching!

Lynette said...

But you *were* further than you had been - you gained some knowledge of thread type interaction for future personal reference! This quilt is so very pretty - your SID looks fantastic. Lots and lots of careful diagonals in there - I know how long that can take!!

The Joyful Quilter said...

I had a similar moment this week, Rebecca. It's SEW good that I was still on the "practice piece" at the edge of the quilt! Glad you got things sorted with this gorgeous quilt. Your SITD is magnificent! I can't quilt a straight line to save my life. Even WITHOUT wine! :P

Mary said...

Your Spirit Song quilt is absolutely gorgeous! I’m new to your blog and found you through Roseanne’s Weekly Progress Update linky party. Reading other comments, it looks like you had a lot of encouragement regarding the time you had to spend with your seam ripper. We’ve all been there and done that! I look forward to seeing this masterpiece completed. Take care, Mary.

Dione Gardner-Stephen said...

I love this quilt everytime I see it. Even from underneath, an unusual view to be sure :) Don't we have such complicated relationships with our seam rippers? Red wine is good for such complicated relationships, although not so much for quilts. :D Brave! Thanks for linking up with the Chameleon's Colour & Inspiration party!