Friday, September 09, 2011

problems

Yesterday and today I've been working on machine quilting an almost whole cloth quilt, using organic line quilting. It's not going well and I'm quite frustrated. I'm having a lot of pulling and distorting, especially on the front of the piece. I'm using my walking foot (obviously) and I pin basted every 2-4", so I shouldn't be having problems. I'm not sure what's going wrong.
These are the ends of the quilting lines. I quilted the lines with the X's underneath first, then filled in the empty space afterward. See how the fabric bows at the end? Any suggestions for avoiding this? Or is this pretty common? I know it is for me, but I wonder if there is anyway to avoid it?
I know people suggest quilting in both directions. I did that, but look at the mess that came from it! (Cringe!) I have a very unsightly V shaped texture in the quilt. UGH! Maybe I'm looking too closely at it? OR maybe a perfectionist should not attempt this type of quilting in the first place-especially on solids? There is absolutely no cushion for error. Any suggestions or help (or shoot, even empathy) is appreciated! I'm so frustrated with all of this, but I'm too stubborn to give up. Sigh.

Ok, moving on...I had a few requests for some photos, so I thought I would oblige. 
a photo of my closet. (following up from this post.) It seems a little...revealing...to post this, but really, I have nothing to hide. This is as organized as I get. It's pretty full, eh?

And another request...
a photo of my jarred salsa. (following up from this post.) This one's for you Suzanne!

I also had a few requests for my salsa recipe. Unfortunately, I don't follow a recipe-I just make it up as I go. I get different results every time, and they are mostly good. :)

That's all I have for today. Have a good weekend!

117 comments:

Neicee said...

Ug I know how you feel..Making baby chenille quilts where you layer the fabric then sew every inch and 1/2. Its coming along the same as yours..I have spent weeks removing stitching not sure what to do next... Very frustrating! I feel your pain girl

Neicee said...

Ug I know how you feel..Making baby chenille quilts where you layer the fabric then sew every inch and 1/2. Its coming along the same as yours..I have spent weeks removing stitching not sure what to do next... Very frustrating! I feel your pain girl

sbmeeks said...

I have never done a whole quilt in straight lines but I've done some smaller things like pot holders. So I don't know if my method will help you or not. I start with the entire thing pin basted and then quilt one line down the middle all the way to the edge on one side, then do the other side. Let me know if this helps.

blue.crab said...

Mine tend to look like that too...I'm sure there's a good way to fix it, but I just let it ride. Trim it up before binding, and blame the crinkled look for any puckering....

Jamie Lee said...

I can't wait to read follow up comments and see everyone's advice. I have no idea. My top fabric always pulls a little toward me and never lines up perfectly with the bottom fabric even thought I pin out the wazoo sometimes. Good luck!

Clair said...

No advice on your quilting. But how nice to have homemade salsa. Happy weekend...and don't spill anything on the quilt. :)

Linda at Roscoe's Ma said...

I do my quilts the same way every time. I usually have no trouble but one quilt gave me fits. I changed the needle, the stitch length, cleaned my machine...tried all the obvious things. I eventually blamed it on high humidity for lack of any other explanation. It will be interesting to read some of your other comments. What stitch length do you use? Do you start your quilting at the top of the quilt or quilt from the middle out?
Could it be the stretch in the cross-grain of some of the fabrics that causes the uneven-ness?

Missy said...

When I do my straight line quilting, I start at the middle and work out so I smooth the wrinkles out as I go. I think with your base lines and then going back and quilting in between there was no room for the extra fabric to move to and so it ended up pulling. I'm not an expert, but that's my idea. :-)

GIO said...

Straight lines quilting always tends to wrinkle up... Best way I know and use is starting with the middle line and working in alternate directions towards one end, then when you finish just pick up where you left in the middle and work towards the other end. You have to baste very carefully, stretching the layers without distorting them. Keep in mind that you CAN'T completely avoid the wrinkles, so if you don't like that type of look you'll probably want to try something completely different.

epban said...

I'll be interested to hear any suggestions too! I started quilting my Kona Challenge quilt and had the same problem so I ripped out the lines and then spent hours hand quilting!

Goddess in Progress said...

It happens to me, too. So frustrating! I find it's marginally better when I spray baste as opposed to pins, but not much. Argh. All I can do is alternate so at least it doesn't all get distorted in the same direction.

Amber said...

It's so frustrating, isn't it?! You've almost got a scalloped border going there! :) I quilted my last two quilts this exact same way. I previously learned my lesson, you have to sew every single row in the opposite direction. It gets tiring flipping the quilt around after every row, but so worth it. I also barely even hold onto the quilt, just enough to direct it and help glide it into the machine.

Straight-line quilting definitely give a little bit different look to the crinkly-ness compared to stippling, but I dont think it has much do with what direction you are quilting. It's just the straight lines. And the closer your lines are, the less crinkles you get. I really dont think you will be able to see much of a difference though once it's all washed and you are not staring so closely at it!:) Good luck!!

diana said...

Sometimes it happens to me when I'm sewing too fast. My walking foot is great, but not at high speed. Somehow he doesn't manage to keep up.

It also helps a lot to pull the fabric sideways when sewing.

English is not my first language, so bear with me :). After the x lines are done, start sewing in the middle [not one foot away from left or right], and while sewing, strech the fabric to the left and the right. And go slow.

Quilting QB said...

I actually gave up using my walking foot for straight line vertical quilting and started using my darning foot. I have to mark all of the lines - which is a pain - but keeps them straight. Sometimes stitch length can get inconsistent, but I'll take it over the distortion.

Annie said...

Your problem might be helped by reducing the foot pressure if you can (I always reduce mine for quilting.) When I quilt like this I always sew in the same direction and I start with a few lines going across the quilt to stabilise it then fill in the rest - it doesn't eliminate the creep completely but it does help. I've had a lot
fewer problems since I started reducing the foot pressure. (And I usually do a test piece on scraps first just to check tension etc.)

I also wondered whether you might be moving the fabric through yourself rather than letting the feed dogs do the work ? Those of us who are used to free machine quilting sometimes forget to let the machine take control!

Hope this helps and that you get it solved soon!

Annie

Kwilt Noob said...

I was wondering the same thing as Linda (Roscoe's Mom), could the problem have begun with the cutting rather than the piecing? I have had trouble when fabric wants to be "biased." But really, I have NO idea! I have only done SLQ on one quilt and I thought it was WAY more difficult than it looks!

Zany Quilter said...

I agree...every single row needs to alternate direction. And I'd check to see if you could raise up your foot a little (presser foot pressure regulator--see p. 11 in the Juki manual)...I raise mine up when I'm quilting to accommodate for the bulk of the batting. I also have a Juki and don't have this problem. Then I lower it back down for regular sewing....Maybe give that a shot? It just looks like your walking foot is "pushing" the fabric as you go... Good luck!

Sarah said...

My Mum has always told me to "let the walking foot do all the work for you" which makes sense, that's what it's there for but yet I still pin every 2" or so and I make sure that I hold the pin with my fingernail over it and stitch RIGHT UP TO EACH pin, and yes if I have to hold it taught, I do. Mum never see's my process but she is always happy with the result ;-)
I do each row in an alterntate direction too. When I quilt as the stitches arn't foundation I make them pretty long which helps and sometimes if my item is bulky I reduce the presser foot pressure also. It sucks to unpick especially when there's so much to do, but if you arn't happy then it will be worth it in the long run to ensure that it is a quilt that isn't just shoved in the cupboard. Goodluck.

Margaret said...

Lots of good advice here, and ideas.

One other thing to consider is that some fabrics do stretch more than others. Similarly, each direction of some materials stretches differently.

Suzi said...

So sorry for your frustration! I have had the same problems...until I played with the thread tension AND the presser foot tension - PLUS going in back and forth directions (as previoiusly mentioned). Hope this helps.

Laura at Ruby Grey Studio said...

I'm going to jump in here and (quietly) say something I read in one of my quilting books, but it is opposite of a few comments . . . so... it works for me (and I'm quilting exactly the same way right now my 36 patch) if you sew all the lines in the exact same direction. Let the feed dogs do all the work, and I actually have much better luck with my pressure at normal. I reduced mine and my first 3 lines were horrible. So, what works for me didn't work for others. There are so many variables. The drag on the fabric due to weight or if you are pulling through from the back? I actually hold my quilt up slightly kind of taught so there is NO drag whatsoever and kind of hold it just as it goes through. Saw it in one of my books (not my own idea). Anyway, good luck and hope I didn't make matters worse!

Shannon said...

Well, I'm not really sure how to fix the shifting...everything I would suggest, you've already done. BUT I feel your pain with the quilting woes! I have one quilt that keeps puckering on the back...I have re-basted (torturous!), cleaned the machine, changed the needle, etc and I still get puckers...I have since started quilting another quilt with no issues! UUUGGGHHH! Said quilt is currently in a week-long time out so it can think about what it's done!

Aimee said...

Does your machine have a way to change the pressure on the presser foot? My machine (Janome) has a 0-3 setting inside the little cover that opens outward on the left of the machine above the needle. If yours has that setting option, maybe putting less pressure on the foot would help.

Laura at Ruby Grey Studio said...

One other quick thing, I also read (I love to read) not to quilt in intervals and then fill in because distortion happens. Just start in the middle and work your way down a side then go back and head the other direction. It works for me. Could your tension have changed after you sewed the x's? Stitch length change? Used a different weight thread? Just throwing any variables out there that I've experienced causing problems...

Becky said...

I don't think that you are really doing anything wrong. With that much quilting you have to expect some shrinkage. Also I think that you are not going to notice anything wrong with the quilt after squaring the edges and washing it a time or two.

Heather said...

hey darlin!

i only ever "organic line quilt" my quilts... which is a few ;)

and i will only say that spray basting is the only way i've found to produce perfect results. i also start on one side and move across the quilt, never alternating. i do lightnen up on my foot pressure and keep my stitch length at 3.5 - 4, but other than that... all i could suggest is a difference in machines might produce different results through their feed dogs??? mine has a duel system. :)

hope it helps!
X, H

colleencl said...

I would try loosening your tension and try on a practice piece to see if that helps. Also, I love spray basting as that seems to hold the best. The only spray I'll use is 505. Had to buy at a quilt store because what JoAnn's carried I did not like. Also, remember when you wash you quilt it's going to pucker anyway! Could it be the batting? I've never used that kind before.

Marjorie said...

I've had good luck by sewing one line every 4-6 inches all the way across the quilt then going back in and stitching the "fill" lines between, making it a point to mainain some outward pull (with one hand on either side of the presser foot) to keep the fabric distribution even. And resist the urge to sew at full speed.

audrey said...

I was going to suggest adjusting the pressure on your presser foot. I had that same issue with a pot holder but since it was such a small project made with an orphan block I wasn't too heartbroken to chop the distortion off.

Margaret said...

I really think it is to do with stretch in the fabric. When you pieced the quilt the fabrics might not have been stretching the same way. Seldom we need to check this!!

Alexis said...

When I do SLQ, I always go the SAME direction. I've found switching directions gives me a "v" pattern that I personally don't like. I also go relatively slowly with my walking foot. There is still a texture to it, but it's very uniform and I actually like the look.

Candace: said...

I feel your pain! I just SLQed by first quilt a few weeks ago and the top fabric pulled down. I did discover that I was going fast, so I slowed down and made sure I was pulling the fabric tight to the side as I quilted which seemed to solve my problem. Good luck, I am a perfectionist too; it's hard to have something not "perfect."

amandajean said...

thanks for all the great comments so far!

i have loosened my presser foot tension already, and that isn't doing the trick! if only it were that easy... :)

Brandi said...

No ideas for help. :(

But I am sure it's going to turn out fabulous!!!

Anita said...

Some machines just tend to to straight line quilting better than others. Here's what I do:

~ reduce the pressure on your presser foot. My machine has an indicator with lines and I'm at least a couple of lines lighter than for piecing. If you don't have any way to judge, then you'll just have to test it on a scrap every time.

~ I use garden gloves to quilt and gently spread out my hands so that the fabric is relatively taut where I am stitching.

~ Lengthwise grain will stretch the least. Crossgrain a little more, and bias a whole bunch! I tend to do any bias straight stitching last so that the piece is mostly stable by the time I get to it.

~ My Janome with the built in even feed seems to do a much better job than my Brother & a walking foot. I don't have to work as hard to keep the fabric from moving. Unfortunately.

All that said. Everything looks SO much better after it is washed!!

Nichole said...

So, so sorry. I totally feel your pain. Keep at it even if it is distorted - you'll be amazed at how much better it is after washing. Granted, any kind of quilting is unforgiving on a whole-cloth solid, I think. I've had very similar problems and frustrations (on a pieced quilt), but after I finally got done I trimmed to get the edges straight (they were bowing, just like yours) and then bound and washed it. I do love it now and am glad I stuck with it. Hang in there!

Wendy said...

Your salsa looks really good.....I don't know what might have caused the pull you are getting....just stick with it and in the end I am sure you will love it....

Brenis said...

Oh grr! I know exactly what you're going thru! I just finished a large one with straight line (well more organic than STRAIGHT lol)quilting. I did a baby quilt a month or so ago, and had this same issue, so tried a few different things this go round, that really seemed to help! Instead of putting in stabilizing lines every 5 or 6 inches... i didn't this time and it made a huge difference! I started with one down the middle and worked out to each side. Because the fabric has no where to go with the stabilizers. I too found that easing up the tension (pushing down) on my walking foot helped the puckers... and this time i alternated every single row... stitchign from top to bottom and then from bottom to top, etc.. but the key at least for me, was taking out 2 or 3 pins and smoothing the fabric outward then continuing to sew the line... 2 or 3 more pins, smooth and sew. It's a royal pain in the butt to sew all the way from each end and back again, but the results rocked! By going back and forth the fabric is equally distributed, instead of being slightly inched down with each line.
Now here's the kicker - I ended up with an "extra" 2-3" of top on both sides! (because of smoothing out toward the edges) I was thanking God that I had put 5 extra inches around the entire quilt of backing!! LOL!! Good luck!! And glad to know I'm not the only one that has fought with this!!! :)

Karen said...

one thing i can think of off the bat is basting spray. fabric shift is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY less!!


another thing, are you going off the seam to make your strait line? because it will come out squiggle regardless. i would suggest using a piece of painters tape lined up with a strait line ruler.. even though your stitching always looks amazing it will very and as it echos it will become more obvious.


one more thing; maybe allow more space in between? it might lessen the stippling effect it seems to be having

Peggy said...

When I was at quilt quild the other night, I heard many of the women talking about this and quilting in general. They had two suggestions. One was to baste the quilt with 505 spray and that holds it together and keeps it from moving and shifting. The other was to baste with thread long stitches approximately 1 inch apart going in both directions. Please let me know if this works.

krisgray said...

I had lots of Pickering on my first quilt. Then someone told me to reduce the pressed foot pressure - Voila!!

Karen said...

Sympathy on the quilting... I haven't a clue, so hope to learn something by reading answers others provide... and I think your closet looks great!

crazyqsis said...

http://www.youtube.com/user/SharonSchamberNet has a great way of basting since I started basting this way I do not get much for puckers and shifting she has a two part video on hand basting worth the watch. I have made chenille with sewing straight lines and For that I used spray adhesive that worked well I did not have any distortion on the edges and I alternated directions. hope this helps you in the future.

Ruth said...

Ugh! I quilted two quilts with straight lines. One all the same direction and the other criss-crossing and they came out great! No shift whatsoever! Then...... the next time I tried, it was a huge mess! I even went so far as to take my walking foot apart... I couldn't find a problem so I bought a new one which was even worse! I finally lowered the tension on my machine, especially the top thread and it went back to working ok! I have to say, it shook my confidence enough that I now mostly use my darning foot for all quilting, even straight lines! I just cant stand the idea of all that unpicking if it decides to goof up again!

Elena said...

Yeah, I would try basting spray.

But my first idea was to ease up on presser foot pressure. That really helped me get better results. I also find that starching helps with fabric shift b/c it's nice and stiff.

melissa said...

I have encountered this problem too and i find that if i pull the fabric up taught at the start and put the foot down i dont end up with a big bow at the bottom. Hope this is helpful.

Love your new sewing space !

x

SoSarahSews said...

Put the quilt in the wash, go eat some salsa, put it in the dryer, eat a little more salsa, take it out of the dryer, hold it up and smile-because it will look fine when it's all said and done.

And thanks for posting this. Read through the comments and learned a lot, cause like you, I must eat salsa in between because I have the same problems! (Although, I prefer icecream.) :)

Thimbleanna said...

At least one other person mentioned my thought (I can't read ALL the comments LOL) -- I have this problem if I'm sewing too fast. If I slow down things go much better.

You should also tell your hubby you need a new machine. You know one of those REALLY expensive ones. (You don't really, but hey -- sieze the moment LOL!

Char said...

I always alternate every single row, one up one down through the whole quilt. It usually works for me.

Jenny said...

I'm no expert, and I get some stretching, but I definitely echo the advice here about (1) 505 spray, (2) decreasing presser foot pressure, and -- very important -- (3) float the fabric such that the walking foot is doing ALL the work. Don't force the fabric toward the walking foot NOR impede the progress of the fabric in getting to the foot. I'm like Laura (I think that's who said it), who said she kind of holds up her sandwich. Oh, and (4) I go really slow.

beth said...

My two little cents. ;) I think if you want it perfect you stretch it on a frame and use a long arm OR you quilt by hand. Quilting at home on a machine does not a perfect quilting job make (at least for ME). Don't be so hard on yourself. I've tried quilting straight lines with the feed dogs down and the darning foot on. The lines aren't perfectly straight...but the fabric doesn't seem to shift as much.

ictero said...

I have the same problem. But then I trim up the edges, throw it in the washer/dryer, and then admire the crinkly texture. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ugh! I have no suggestions, but after having similar problems with my BRAND NEW BERNINA 440, I think I'm going to give 505 a shot. It breaks my heart, but my old Janome (which I traded in!), was much more stable for straight line quilting. I've also noticed quite a bit of stretch in my Kona backings, no matter how carefully I smooth and pin my quilt sandwiches. It's so completely frustrating, there are times I swear I'll never quilt again. Hang in there, and let us know what you discover!

Tamara said...

I hate when it happens too and the only way ive found to reduce it is go slower and i use my hands on both sides to "hold" the fabric as its fed through so that both sides are going the same speed as the foot, sometimes one side or the other gets hung up on something, causing it to go slower and then it puckers more. I also get the zig zag if i alternate i dont do that. I tried doing every 5 inches or so then filling in but if there was any pucker, your sunk at that point. If you go row by row, you can readust the next row a little bit to get back in line.

Fran said...

My quilt looked the same way. I ended up losing a lot of the side so that I could even it up. I have also tried going from either side, but got the same result with the zig-zag effect. My quilt looked much better after being washed though so hang in there!

Cory C said...

I asked about this on my blog last year and somebody posted this video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ox8qRhWF3CI which I found pretty helpful. Basically, I had been decreasing my presser foot pressure, but the video helped me realize I could decrease it even more for better quilting results.

Here's the link to that post on my blog if you're interested: http://www.sewinspiredblog.com/2010/11/straight-line-quilting.html

Good luck!

Angella P said...

I think you probably need to get someone to help you pull it tight (all layers) prior to pin basting.

Rebecca said...

Spray basting helps me, plus allowing the machine to do the walking. Then I just cut off the uneven parts and call it a day :o)

Terri said...

I have tried a walking foot and can't see that it does much good, so maybe I don't have it installed correctly. Instead I loosen the pressure on the presser foot, go slowly, and smooth the fabric to the sides (gently) as it goes through the machine. I set the sewing speed as slow as it will go, otherwise I tend to speed up. (As this is happening, I often think I could hand quilt it at this speed, but really that's not true.)

Jodie said...

I suggest swearing followed by a small lady-tantrum.

Debbie said...

I sometimes have the same problem, so am happy to read all these comments & will try some of the tips mentioned. Thanks everyone.

Katy said...

ugh. I had the same problem with a quilt I was making for bake shop. I ripped out half a quilt's worth of quilting, cried (a lot) and eventually finished but I was so unhappy with it I couldn't bear to share it with anyone. It had bowed just like yours, and wrinkled up so badly it distorted the block shapes and it looked a complete b!t£h. But (weirdly) another quilt I made and quilted the same way was fine. No clue why.

Carla said...

I hate frustration, and that is why I hand quilt.LOL Actually find I can finiah a quilt faster by handquilting it and I get a nice soft quilt.

Charleen said...

I reduce tension slightly, slow down, and make sure I am only "guiding" the quilt through the machine. Do you have a differential adjustment? My Elna (made by Janome) has an adjustment if it looks like it's feeding unevenly. I alternate directions occasionally but not with each new line.

Stacey said...

I was just having the same problem. I'm making my second only ever quilt, and it is so beautiful (not perfect, but I love it) and last night had to unpick 2 rows of straight line quilting... Thanks to all your lovely and helpful readers, I'm ready to give it another go... with more pins... and starting in the middle I think :)

PS. Jodie; I did the swearing and not so-ladylike temper tanty and it did help!!!

qltmom9 said...

STARCH (or use a LOT of sizing) the heck out of the bottom layer (backing). I mean make that puppy lie flat and "almost stiff", then smoosh the layers together enough so they stick a bit as you quilt. That is what helped my quilting...which had been MUCH worse than that!

Lucy~

sewfrench.com said...

I'd rather trim off scalloped edges than have the flying Vs. Those Vs don't ever go away. They still taunt me on one quilt... This is why I prefer hand quilting, LOL!
If I ever machine quilt, straight lines again, I will *not* alternate directions!

beth lehman said...

Please give us the "best" answer in another post!! I've been so afraid to try again, even after learning about the pressure/presser foot issue....

linda said...

do you think we might get the recipe for the salsa !!

Jessica Christensen said...

I don't stitch in both directions, because I don't like the way it warps the fabric. I start from the same side every time. I think I get a LITTLE bit of bowing, but not much. And it's probably because you did the anchoring lines first. I don't do that either. I start from the top and work my way down. But when I do get the bowing outward, I just square it off using my gigantic tile grid. (And BTW, your closet looks great. Your stash looks organized, and it is not nearly as out of control as someone else's. Cough, cough.)

The Little Shop of Stitches said...

I completely feel your pain! Machine quilting is my least favorite part of the process. I think the frustrating part for me is that it shouldn't be that hard. I am still longing for a long-arm!

pinsandneedles said...

I have had the same problem SLQ. I alternated directions and I got a 'V' pull in the quilting like you mentioned. Wish I knew the answer but there are some good ideas to try.

MulticoloredPieces said...

Possible solution: pin like crazy. For me, pins work better than basting which always seems to be somewhat elastic. I will pin a line to be sewed every 3/4", sometimes even every 1/2". Check the other side before sewing, and if your machine can handle it, sew over the pins slowly. This takes time because I only do one line at a time, but this is what works for me.
Anyway, just wanted to say that I've enjoyed your blogs, your quilts, your fabrics and congrats for the studio space. I never thought of looking at scraps, WIPs or stash as problems. I try to either use scraps immediately, or fold them back into a larger piece of the same fabric. I've got some room for expansion for my stash (the shelves take up two walls after all) so I collect when the urge hits and I always expect to have 4 or 5 (if not more) WIPs--goes with the terrain!
Great blog!
best from Tunisia, nadia

Sara said...

I think like Amber had said to barely pull on it as you are feeding it through your machine and then also use a lot of STARCH as someone else mentioned. I am going to try the starch idea;)

Best of luck to you and your quilt;)

I am Just One Mom said...

spray baste both front and back to batting; presser foot lessened; I staggered my SLQ starting in the middle and stitching to the edge, then I flip and stitch from the middle to the other edge. next line I start about 2" away from the last center mark, then flip and stitch again to the edge. does that make sense. also, flipping front to back has helped the tension be equalized (top & bobbin threads must be the same)

P├ętra said...

I have a Janome and have had minimal problems with this but I have had them. I think spray basting is a big help and I also think the culprit can be the fabric itself. I have never decreased my walking foot pressure but I do know if I get going to fast that can lead to issues. I hope you find a solution with all this great feedback.

LuLu said...

I live by the quilting philosophy that it all comes out in the wash! Once, it's been washed and dried any little things that bother you won't even be noticeable anymore.

Puntaditas de amor said...

Es terrible lo que te pasa, pero sigue adelante porque tu eres una profesional¡¡¡¡:)

Chris said...

Lots of good suggestions! Thank you for opening this can of worms!

I read through all the suggestions and noticed one thing that has helped me immensely with machine quilting that no one else mentioned:

From your pictures, it looks like your machine sits on top of a small (adorable) table. That set up gives you, what, maybe an area 10"x6" to support the weight of your quilt as it travels under your needle. That's a lot of pull under the foot on three sides.

You can purchase a plexiglas extension for the sewing machine bed (or have someone handy dandy make one for you). It is raised up on little adjustable legs and gives you a much larger work surface, reducing the pull under the foot.

Another alternative is to get a little table that drops your machine down into a small well, thus accomplishing the same goal of evenly supporting the quilt weight as it passes under the pressure foot.
Some people above suggested supporting the weight of the quilt with your hands, but that gets very tiring - the same basic idea of having an extension table. Quilt wrangling is hard on your arms and shoulders.

Chris said...

And thank you for a great blog too! It's grat to see all the stuff you have going on!

Vicki said...

Dangit, I came back this morning to read more of the comments and realized I commented while logged on w/ my husband's profile... so embarrassing. I hope you figure out a good solution!

Unknown said...

I am no expert at machine quilting, but I use both a plexiglass extension (got mine from Nancy's Notions) and lots of straight pins along my stitching line (like someone earlier mentioned - I didn't know anyone else did that!!). It is a slow process, but it reduces the distortion. . .

QuiltinMama said...

Sorry to hear you're having so much trouble. I absolutely HATE a walking foot and won't use one. I only quilt small projects on my Featherweight and have noticed that if I really put the pedal to the metal, I get funky results like yours...don't know if that has anything to do with it or not. I've gone to quilting everything else on my Mom's longarm machine. Hope you find a remedy soon :(

kendascrafts said...

yuck! I feel your pain! I've never been able to quilt like that without the fabric shifting. so frustrating.

mammafairy said...

I have no ideas to help your quilting, everything you do looks fantastic to me- but I am still trying to get on with free motion quilting- practice, I know-
You have my sympathy, for what it is worth, And salsa looks good!

greelyrita said...

Like a lot of people said, this kind of distortion is not always a problem but when it is, I pin every 6-8" all over so I know where all the layers should be when I get there with the sewing machine. I pull on both sides of the layers, not from side to side but from front to back to create tension in the direction of the sewing. My thinking is to make it impossible to create that 'wave' ahead of the sewing. I'm really careful to let the feed dogs do the moving of the fabric, to lessen the foot pressure if still necessary and to make sure the feed dogs don't need to lift the weight of the sandwich (ie, hold it up with an extension towards you or push the machine away from you so that what's about to be sewn can lie on the table between you and the machine.) It's tiring to reach behind the machine to create this tension but it works to solve the problem for me. I hope, if you need to try this, that it works for you.

greelyrita said...

I forgot to say, I have no walking foot and don't spray baste for this.

Mama Pea said...

I can't offer suggestions....only empathy. You know how new to machine quilting I am. I finally took the plunge and am free motion quilting my Ghastlies quilt. I decided to use some polyester embroidery thread for some shine, much like Em of Em Celebrates! does. It's going okay, but every once in a while (actually quite frequently), I get a big thread nest or blob on the front. I think it's skipping stitches and then the thread is gathering. Frustrating. I have a new needle in (topstitch), the bobbin case is clean.... Whatever!

Your closet is neat and tidy and not even close to full, if you ask me!

Brenda said...

Have you checked the "teeth" of your walking foot? You might have worn that puppy out. :D I'm sure it will look great by the time you are done. Your salsa looks wonderful!! I get such a feeling of satisfaction from canning - the same feeling I get from a finished quilt. Hang in there.

Cheryl Arkison said...

Argh! You've done the things I would have suggested though...
Feeling the pressure now, I best get on my whole cloth. Side by side reveal? Can you wait for me?

Salley said...

Your (gorgeous, I might add) little Grandma table HAS to go. Its the dining room table for me which involves lugging the machine a zillion stairs, but what are hubbies for?
Good luck and keep us in the loop.

Lily said...

Hi, I didn't read every previous comment(wow!) but have you tried spray basting? I'm new to quilting, but on my 5th quilt I just finished, it had 120 straight lines which I quilted from one side and did not change direction. I happened to try spray basting on this one and I had NO problems. Good luck!

Sandy said...

Sorry, I didn't have a chance to go through all the comments either. Did you use different thread or is that just the way it was pulling? Sometimes, even thread from the same line but in different colors can turn out to be a slightly different weight. (just like two of the same color shirts) Could that be part of the problem?

Kristen said...

I left a quilt like this halfway quilted for 6 months. I feel the perfectionist pain. This is what I figured out. I only quilt on my dining room table to support the weight of the quilt. I baste with pins. I use a walking foot and I used to get uneven stitches and puckering because of the weight of the quilt yanking the quilt around the needle. When making my straight lines, I constantly adjust the sandwich to make sure the walking foot is doing all the pulling and resist the urge to change machine speeds. It could also be a fabric stretch or thread thing. Sigh... You'll figure it out.:) Maybe that's all been said before including I love that salsa! I think I made a little more than a couple gallons this year myself!

Lettyb said...

Nothing to add in terms of advice, but I know that when you get your edges trimmed, and the quilt bound, you'll love it again - so keep going!!! The colors are yummy and so is the stitching.

Deborah said...

I try and make sure all my piecing has the cross grain going east-west and that my backing has the warp going north-south. Now both front and back have the long grain going the same direction. I quilt in the direction of the warp threads. Even if I am going to do channel quilting with the weft, I have less trouble because front and back are going the same way. Topstitching needle, longer stitch, and walking foot help too. One more thing, make your fill in sections smaller. Good luck!
Deborah

Dinah said...

Hi! I do a lot of qayg projects and have had my share of difficulties! I would advise you to lengthen your stitch length. I always use thin warm and natural batting; even with the thin layered piece, I get all kinds of puckers if I don't go to what is really a "basting" or "gathering" stitch length. On my Elna Quilter's Dream (standard regular sewing machine size) the default stitch length setting is 2.2 and I increase that to 3.0. You would think that the stitches would be long and unsightly, but they aren't because the extra length is absorbed in the thickness of what I am sewing on. I may not be explaining this clearly, but I think if you try making your stitch length longer, you will be pleased with the results. Happy quilting!

Think Outside the Box said...

I'm so glad this topic came up as I'm planning a SLQ in the near future, never imagined it would cause so many problems so I'll be taking into account everything I've read here. Thanks everyone!

Kate said...

I haven't done a lot of quilting, but what I've done is straight line. I always baste my quilts from the center out with needle and thread after I pin it. I've never had a problem with the bowing. Are you using the same weight cottons on the front and back?

Kate said...

One more thing--I have a Viking Emma machine--entry level basic and use the walking foot. I quilt from the center out, I don't skip lines. Good luck!

Hannah said...

Oh do I feel your pain!!! I have never had good luck with straight lines. Last time I had to cut off 6 inches because it bunched up so much. I also don't like the v's that alternating directions gives ... I've decided that the walking foot is the problem, but don't have a clue how to fix it. Bummer, because I love the way it looks.

Live a Colorful Life said...

Well of course I have NOTHING to offer in terms of solving the quilting dilemma. Only empathy...

The salsa looks yummy.

And seriously? You think your closet is full? hehe. I guess I'm comparing your closet and my closet...I apparently need a closet/fabric intervention...

Anonymous said...

lengthen your stitch to 3.5
Use a 90/14 needle
don't start at the same end each time.

quirky granola girl said...

i don't have bright ideas for you, but the inside of your closet looks fabulous. mine is bad right now. the last few times i went in there i took a ton of things out until i found what i was looking for and then threw everything back in really quickly and shut the door. do that 3 or 4 times and the whole mess becomes less stable and now the door won't even shut all of the way. gah. don't want to thing about it. ::humming and looking the other way::

Pixie said...

finish the quilting. wash it. block it stretching hard in all directions. and the resulting texture like you meant it. only brand new unloved quilts are perfect after all...

Caro said...

I suggest you contact Rita from Red Pepper Quilts who is the Queen of straight line machine quilting. Hers always looks perfect. Maybe you need a little longer stitch length too. Good luck.

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

Catching up with what you are doing...such a busy time of year with gardens to preserve!

Kimberly said...

I agree with other posters...what works for me is to pin baste well and then do one line down the centre of the quilt and work out to each edge from there...I do one entire side and then move back to centre and work out...I haven't had any issues with bunching etc. doing it this way...
Good luck!!!!

Di Anna Hull said...

Hi there, I have used this quilting with a lap quilt and I found that the best way to make it work was to use the spray to baste with instead of the pins. It held really well and I didn't have much if any of the fabric shifting like you were showing. Also once you get it done and washed, it will be all crinkly and you will notice it even less.

Anonymous said...

Missy might be on to something starting in the middle and working side to side. I have also heard to sew in one direction as much as possible to minimize creep. Consider using a very good quality back for good body. You can tell when fabric is flimsy. Some people choose to spray starch the back, but starch attracts bugs and I would want to wash the quilt several times to make sure all the starch is gone. I have not used it yet.

As Peggy already said although it is a few hours extra work includes:
- After pin basting, sew a grid six inches apart.
Load a free motion foot and lightweight thread so it is easier
to remove the basting stitches after. I do not drop the feed dogs, I set them at 4 or 5 length (normal piecing setting is 2.5). Start with vertical basting down the middle of the quilt. Move the fabric so as to get long stitches 1/2", 1", or 2" long. Enough to avoid puckering. Then do a row or two horizontally.
Like Anita and Tanara described, make the layers taut just a bit and then proceed to stitch and remove pins as necessary. I also keep in mind my ultimately quilting design and try to place the basted stitches so they will not be in the way. By the way, machine quilting gloves are a must for this process. It makes a world of difference when I machine quilt or baste on a conventional sewing machine.
I keep a close eye on the back looking for puckers as I do the next couple of vertical rows. This grid is approximately 6 inches apart on an 8" log cabin block. If the block is intricately pieced I might go 5" apart. One down side is taking out the basting threads after the quilt is quilted.

- One trick to use during the grid or quilting process: use your
hands to smooth the path of the stitching. At 2:26 minutes in this
Stitching in the Ditch - Part 1 video Leah Day (no affiliation) shows a machine setup.
http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/08/stitching-in-ditch-part-1.html

At 4:25 minutes she gives a really good idea of moving the hands
before stitching the area. I do this when I baste as well. I also
will occasionally pull to create a little tension between the postion
of my two hands to help ease out puckers that start to appear on the top. This helps keep the stitching smooth and even. You can almost see how she does this at 5:21 minutes. See how she places her hands, puts pressure on the
layers, and moves to create the stitch length.

I have a Bernina and my sister had me file just the smallest bit off the bottom of the walking foot so that it would not drag/push/distort. Seemed to help.

Lisa said...

I always have that trouble with hotpads, and you'd think with something that small it would be fine!
I have a long-arm now (or mid-arm, it's an HQ16), and though it fixed this problem- it does take up a lot of space.
Stippling is best, I think, for most quilts on a regular machine. I agree on trimming it up and binding, maybe it will look great after washing! =)

Momma Yen said...

I haven't seen you post in a few days and I am starting to get concerned that either A. Your quilt problem has driven you beyond crazy and into insanity or B. You are in a salsa coma. LOL

Hope you are having a great week hun!

audreypawdrey said...

Love the jars of salsa! I have been intrigued by all the comments, and I hope you share what ends up working for you. I am intimidated by straight line quilting because of issues like these. Good luck!

Vanessa said...

Don't you just hate that?! I had the same thing happen to the one quilt that I did that on! I made a quilt like this one... http://katiedid.squarespace.com/katie-did-journal/2009/1/27/quilt-how-to.html
Only I tried to do it somewhat straight.. a wonky straight, by just eye-balling it and having fun. But the whole thing did exactly like your's!
I pin basted and then started in the middle. I would skip about 6 inches along the quilt and then would go back and fill in and plus alternating thread colors. When I got one side done I started in the middle again and worked my way out to the other end. I changed directions of my stitching and it still pulled in opposite directions.
I did not change pressure foot pressure and it was because I didn't know I could.. so next time I will try that. The spray starch sounds like a great idea.. so I think I'll try that too.
I tried making a potholder last night and it did the exact same thing! Very frustrating! I thought it was cause my batting was too thick so I bought low loft batting today to try it that way. Although I think I'll try the pressure foot first just to see. Anyway, I'm so glad that you broached this subject and that I'm not alone. I thought that since I was fairly new at quilting that it was all my fault.
I know your's will still turn out cause you're a great quilter! Thanks for a great blog!

Dawn said...

many years abck I did a quilt with straight lines and had the same problem, so I asked my dear quilty friend Margaret what to do??...she suggested that if you do both directions( which is the correct way to avoid pull)but to choose every 4th or so line and do it that way...sort of random lines from the middle outwards then fill it in...may help...I did that on a smaller quilt about 6 years ago and it worked...not as much pulling out of shape...
Hope this may help
Hugs Dawn x x
P.s...just read the comment above from Vanessa and it sounds the same way

Suzanne said...

Thank you for the salsa photo! :-) I'm so sorry you had quilting issues. I'm having some right now with thread and it's making me nuts! I can only imagine how frustrating this was for you.

Lisa Lisa said...

I haven't tried straight line quilting but am hoping to with my next quilt. Have you seen Nicole's "10 Tips for Trouble-Free Straight Line Quilting on mama love quilts? She does such nice work :)