Tuesday, July 24, 2018

More Quilting, and a Question

Since last week, it's been nothing but quilting in my sewing room. Only my Janome has seen actions while my Bernina is wearing it's dust cover.

This is the status of my Bernina Zen Chic quilt-along quilt, and represents about 15 hours of quilting - about halfway done. 

It has been very slow-going as I put a different design in each triangle using a ruler or free handing designs. The designs are repeated so the overall effect is fairly uniform. And the texture... ahh. There's such a nice poofiness with wool batting.

From the back.

My struggle has been at the points, where the seams meet. Because they're thick, I'm forced to tug and drag the quilt under the quilting foot. Tugging causes longer stitches, hiccups, and bobbles. 

I'm revealing clumsiness to show you close-ups of those intersections. They aren't pretty. 

I'd like to believe this is the nature of all kinds of machine quilting... that even with a longarm I'd see bobbles like mine. 

Oh tell me that's true!

Perhaps if I still owned The Whacker, or had a seam clapper, I could smash those seams. But as I have neither, I'll keep tugging away. 

On a different topic, I have a question related to English paper-piecing. It's an aspect of EPPing that few people mention when they're blogging or Instagramming with pictures of their projects. 

What thread do you use for EPPing? 

In this picture you'll see three types I've used:
Top - Aurifil 50-weight, usually in a color that matches the fabric.
Right - Wonderfil Invisifil polyester in a color that matches the fabric.
Bottom - Superior Bottom Line polyester in a blend color like silver. 

Lately, for my Linda Nova (Tula Nova) project, I've been using Bottom Line silver, but I find it annoying. It occasionally knots, and often slips out of the needle's eye. But I keep using it because it's practically invisible.

Do you have a favorite thread for EPP? Do you match thread to fabrics, or use a blend? I'd love to know. Linda


  1. A regular hammer will work just fine. I've done it. If you're worried about dirt or tearing, just lay a piece of cloth over it. I don't do EPP, so can't help you there.

  2. Carry on!! Remember someone is going to LOVE your quilt and when it gets laundered it will have lovely "squiggly wrinkles" that will conceal all
    of the differences in thread length.

    1. Hi Mary! Thanks for your comment! I'm unable to reply to you because you're a "no-reply commenter." I appreciate your encouragement. I am definitely not a quitter, so I will certainly continue. Perseverance is my motto. I doubt anyone will "love" this quilt, as it will likely join the dozens that are stacked in the top of our bedroom closet. And generally, I don't wash my quilts after quilting them. But I appreciate your suggestion of that, to conceal the flaws. Thanks so much!

  3. If your Janome is like mine the FMQ foot has a tiny dial near the top that allows you to raise the foot to a level where it won't drag across those seam intersections. I just discovered it last week when I (finally) got out the manual and there it was! Duh! Was having the exact same issue quilting my newest finish that was just posted. You probably already knew about that dial though. I think that dial gets moved a bit whenever the foot is installed and taken off the machine since the FMQ foot had worked fine when I first got the machine.

  4. I use the superior bottom line thread for EPP. Like you, I found it annoying that it would get tangled and frayed so tried just using Aurifil 50wt or 80wt, but they both still showed and I wasn't happy with those blocks as much as the bottom line blocks.

    I then found that using a shorter piece of bottom line thread and running the thread through beeswax before sewing, really REALLY helped. I bought my little block of beeswax from eBay and it's made a lot of difference for me.

    PS I love the look of your triangle quilt!

  5. I am in awe of your quilting skills Linda! And thank you for your honesty in those longer stitches over the lumpy bits. I really thought it was just me who had difficulty there! So much so that I avoided any machine quilting that had to tackle those pesky points!
    I use Bottom Line too. Like Sharon, I also have been running it through one of those little beeswax blocks. Rene @renecreates sent me some, and I love it! I use it for hand piecing my clamshells too.

  6. I'm back doing hex's/epp and for the most part use Bottom Line but I do run it through the 'little blue box' of wax! ha Helps. If I don't have color that matches I'll grab anything!
    I give you a lot of credit for quilting different patterns in your quilt! Whew! Nicely done...I like the comment on using a hammer..rubber mallet helps too!

  7. I've heard of several other using Bottom Line, but prefer cotton (Aurifil 50wt) When I thread baste the fabric to the papers, I do use whatever Coats & Clark is close by. It seems to be not as fussy when basting quickly. But, I'm not expert on EPP.
    Your quilt is beautiful and you can't help but have thread build up in the intersections and I don't think and any big sitches will be noticed at all!

  8. Wow. So impressed with your commitment to the quilting on this one. Love the variety of designs.

  9. A different pattern in each triangle section? Wow! It's looking good, front and back. Do you use a Supreme Slider or other aid to help with moving the quilt through under the needle? Perhaps that could help. Also, when you mentioned the thread sliding out of the needle, I think I've seen a tip somewhere that said to thread the needle, tie a tiny knot right near the eye- it will slip through the fabric but not slide back out of the needle. Maybe worth a try? Keep on keeping on- your work is always so inspiring.

  10. I use either Bottom Line or Aurifil 50 weight Linda, but I ALWAYS piece mine together with both pieces laying flat. I never butt them together to sew, as I find the stitches always show, and I cant abide that. :-)

  11. I have used Bottom Line, and like it all except for the slipperiness of it. So I'm back to using 50 wt. Masterpiece, carrying around my little donut of colors. Your triangles are wonderful!!

  12. I have used Aurifil 50 for epp but it tangles and break, unfortunately! I have started using superior threads bottom line and the stitches are nearly invisible. It doesn’t tangle either. I got one of the donuts with all different colours, love it!

  13. 15 hours of quilting? Could you bottle some of that skill and patience and send it my way? It looks marvelous.

  14. I’d take a hammer to it! Doesn’t your Janome foot rise and lower? It looks absolutely beautiful! Linda, I use whatever thread I have for EPP. Never saw any need to be too fussy.


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