Monday, 3 February 2014
Cross Hatched Quilting Without Tears
We’ve all been there. We’ve just finished quilting beautiful straight lines in one direction and are feeling mighty pleased with ourselves. Then we decide to finish off the cross hatched look with beautiful straight lines in the other direction. Except that’s when the problems start. Puckering. It’s like a four letter word, but with 9 letters. Although shortened to puck, it does rhyme with a four letter word that might suit this occasion. Coincidence? I think not.
So! I posted a pic on IG of my recent foray into cross hatched quilting. I was feeling deliriously happy because I managed the whole quilt (okay it’s cot quilt size, but still!) without any puckers. A couple of lovely ladies there asked for some tips. So here I am. Sharing my inexpert tips on cross hatched quilting.
But first, let’s look at the pretty.
Ah that makes me happy. And to think I nearly chickened out and kept it as just diagonal quilting! Thanks Jane for making me see the light.
So. Tips. Or at least here’s what worked for me.
#1: Iron your backing reallllly well. I’ll admit. I’m sometimes slack and don’t iron my backing fabric. Is there any wonder I occasionally battle with the dreaded puckering?! Note to self: Stop being a slacker and iron. It’s worth it.
#2: Baste realllly well. You know how it’s said you shouldn’t have a hand space between pins when basting? Well yeah, that’s what we’re aiming for. And make sure you baste right to the edge. I struggle with basting as I have joint problems and all those safety pins wreak havoc on my joints. But to avoid the puckers, it’s worth it.
#3: Prepare to quilt! I put in a new full bobbin of thread so that I wouldn’t run out partway through the quilting. Then marked the quilt for quilting! I used a piece of tape down the centre of my quilt as my first guiding line. I ran it from corner to corner. Then I set my walking foot with the guiding bar to the width I wanted and got started.
For those new to the guiding bar (which I was recently), it’s a thing of beauty. Okay not so much in looks, but in what it does! My new machine came with guiding bars to attach to either side of the walking foot.
At first I didn’t understand how it went together, then Midge and Gemma enlightened me. See that silver thingamajig? You have to hold that in place on the walking foot, then slide (or shove!) the guiding bar through allll the holes. Then you tighten the screw and it’ll hold the guiding bar in place. Seriously. Magic. When you are quilting you just trace your previous seam with the guiding bar and your next seam will be parallel to it! Cool huh?
#4: Roll your quilt. After marking the quilt with the tape, I then rolled the two sides up, so just the middle strip was visible where the tape was. This made it easier to fit into the harp of the sewing machine and I wasn’t battling with scrunched quilt all over the place. It also lays easily over your shoulder while you’re quilting too.
#5: Quilt in the same direction. I don’t know if this is necessary – but it worked for me. I started on the same side each time and quilted all the way to the bottom, cut threads, moved the quilt back to the top and started over again. (And for the curious – I used a long stitch length – 4.5 on my Bernina). I started from the centre and moved to one side. Then I switched guide bars and quilted the other half of the quilt. I removed the basting pins as I went so by the time I got to the cross hatching part, pretty much all the pins were out. I think it also helps if your lines aren't too far apart - less room for puckering!
#6. Quilt the second lot of diagonals! Same as you did the first time. Make sure you hold the quilt firmly so that you don’t end up with any puckers when you cross your first set of quilting lines. If you do get puckers at the first line you cross, unpick it and try it again as the puckers will only get worse. I also put in another new bobbin of thread for this second part. Glad I did too as the first bobbin was down to a quarter.
That’s pretty much it folks! The above is a picture of how the quilting looks on the front of the quilt. I can’t really show much more as this is a quilt for publication in a magazine (won’t be out til October!) but it gives you a bit of an idea of how it looks.
So those are my tips on cross hatching without pucking it up hehehe. Again, I’m not an expert – this is just how I did it and it worked beautifully for me. Made me stupidly happy to have such a nice cross hatched quilt without puckers – especially when it’s a magazine quilt – oh the pressure!!
If you have any tips on cross hatch quilting or on avoiding puckering, please share them in the comments! Always nice to know any hints and tips!