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The Do's, Don't's, and How-To's collected from you and other users.  Don't reinvent the wheel.  Take a look at the problems that have already been solved.


List of Tips:

bullet Is it OK to Quilt with polyester thread?
bullet Broken Thread/Broken Needles
bullet Marking Quilts Using Pattern Packs
bulletSewing Machine Oil

Is it okay to use polyester thread in a quilt?

We have all heard the stories about polyester cutting the fabric. The stories we hear are mostly legends handed down from earlier generations. Back in Grandma's time, most of the available thread was cotton and the quilting was usually done along the pieced seams, or "stitch in the ditch." Times have changed and machine quilting has opened up a new world. No longer is quilting done only along the seams. Machine stitching can enhance the beauty of the quilt by adding intricate and complementary designs throughout the entire quilt. Machine quilting does not add stress to the quilt. The stress points remain in the piecing. Some say that polyester thread is too strong and will tear the fabric. If the fabric ever tears as a result of heavy use, most likely it will tear at the seams. The seams are the true stress points of a quilt, not the machine quilted areas.

The solution is to piece with cotton thread, thereby matching the nature of the fabric fibers with the thread fibers. This equalizes the stress points of the quilt. Then, use other threads such as metallics, polyester, and 20 or 30 wt. cotton to decorate and enhance the quilt by creative quilting. If a polyester thread is used in decorative quilting, it will not tear the fabric under normal or even heavy use because there is minimal stress away from the seams. Here's the rule: Piece with cotton and quilt with anything.  (Thanks to Bob at Superior Threads for this input).


We have discussed this with an AQS Certified Quilt Appraiser she agrees with Bob's analysis.  SO... feel free to use polyester threads to quilt your quilts.





Broken Thread/Broken Needles:

There are lots of reasons for broken thread and needles.


There are a few things that are different when machine quilting on a frame. Get a big needle to start with--100/16.


Check your thread path.  The thread has to come straight up off the cone.  This is difficult with the Grace frame and the Juki sewing machine.  The Grace group on Yahoo is a good resource for dealing with this issue.  Or, many of our Grace Speed Lock owners have just removed the platform that the foot control set on.  Either method solves the problem for the Grace frame.  The B-line doesn't have this same problem.


Check the height of your quilt off the bed of your sewing machine.  You should be able to put 1 finger under it.  If it is too high you can break needles.  Too low and you won't be able to move your machine freely.


The other issue is thread tension.  You have to loosen it up.  On the Juki and the Brother I run at about a 2 for a cotton quilting thread.


Now - Quilt those Quilts!





Marking Quilts Using Pattern Packs:


I usually use pattern packs by copying onto Stitchin' Sheets.  But I have discovered another way to mark patterns on a quilt. 

1.  Resize your pattern to fit your quilt.  A Quilter's Assistant (Proportional Scale) takes the math out of the process.

2.  Trace or draw the pattern on to Quilter's Preview Paper using a permanent marker.

3.  Perforate the paper by machine sewing with an unthreaded needle.  Use a big needle (100/16).  Change your needle after sewing through the permanent marker.

4.  Place your pattern (drawing side up) where you want it.   Then use a chalk pounce to mark through your stitching line.  If your chalk doesn't want to stay on the quilt, you can lightly mist quilt with water to help the chalk stick to the quilt!



Sewing Machine Oil


The type of oil that you use on your sewing machine is important.  Be careful not to use an oil that contains paraffin and other “gummy” ingredients.  Look for a clear, non-detergent, non-gumming oil intended for sewing machines.  DO NOT use 3-in-1 oil on your machine.





Got a Question about how to do something related to home machine quilting?


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If we can't answer your question, we'll find an expert who can.


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