Technical difficulties

I started the quilting by outlining the deer and tree trunks to stabilize the fabric and the batting. I always try to work around the quilt covering some broad areas very simply and then slowly work in more detailed quilting, working evenly across the quilt. The reason for that is to avoid having areas with really dense quilting that pulls the fabric in, shrinking its surface area, making big poofy open spots that are harder to quilt evenly without getting puckers or creases in the quilted fabric.

I started to outline quilt the scroll work in the sky with gold metallic thread. I put Bottom Line in the bobbin and metallic thread on top, and started quilting. I was very unhappy with the way the thread was bunching up on my starts and stops, then the thread started skipping stitches and breaking fairly often. I changed the needle to a titanium 90/14 which should handle the metallic thread even better than the standard 90/14, but the thread still shredded and broke. My Janome 6600 is very finicky when it comes to thread not matching in the bobbin and top, so that may have been the biggest problem. Since I did not want to put metallic thread in the bobbin, it was going to be a nightmare to quilt the way things were going.

I figured my best course of action at this point was going to be to switch machines. I pulled out my old Pfaff Creative 1475 (17 years young), which has always handled a variety of threads wonderfully, reacquainted myself with it, threaded it up with the gold thread and it quilted like a dream.

I have decided to stick with the Pfaff for now since it is doing so well and have moved on to regular thread again quilting the leaves on one of the trees.

25 Responses to “Technical difficulties”

  1. jojo says:

    Wow – beautiful quilting despite the technical difficulties. How do you baste your quilt? And what camera do you use? I love clicking on the pic to get a close up and it’s soooo in focus and detail.

    PS – your fab book arrived today. So inspiring:)

  2. Judy,

    This is so lovely, despite the difficulties.


  3. lcroswell says:

    I love how those oak leaves pop right off the surface of the tree, like they’re closer somehow and you can see all the detail. It’s beautiful, Judy.

  4. Linda Moran says:

    This is beautiful! I am really enjoying following along on the process.

  5. Kristin L says:

    Looking great, of course. 🙂

    Isn’t it weird how something as simple, or as seemingly inconsequential, as changing a needle, or using a different machine, can make such a big difference? Hey, that’s good justification for having several sewing machines, right?!

  6. Gerrie says:

    The quilting on the tree is gorgeous.

  7. Melissa P says:

    Hurray for the good old reliable machine! Glad things settled down and cooperated.

  8. Stacy Hurt says:

    I so feel your pain with the metallic shredding & bunching up. It’s horrible when you finally sit down to do the quilting & there’s problems. Glad you had another machine to help you out of what could have been disaster!

    It’s looking so marvelous! Great Job! I love the way the leaves pop from the background of the tree!

  9. Jamie Fingal says:

    Love how the leaves POP out on the trees. I am enjoying seeing your progress on this piece. You Go Girl!

  10. Cindy says:

    I have the same old Pfaff & even though I also have a new embroidery machine, it is the main one that I use.

    Quilting looks great. Sure wish I had your talent. I may not but it is certainly fun to see yours in progress. It is encouraging me to go practice more.

  11. Anita says:

    Your quilting has transformed your work into an amazing 3-dimensional piece! Have you tried these?… tensions at or near zero,thread feeding vertically, not horizontally, don’t thread the last loop before the needle. My Janome is happy when I follow these steps.

  12. Quilt Rat says:

    I haven’t had my Janome 6600 long enough to know where troubles lie. So now I know what to be on the look out for.
    Your quilting is wonderful. So many have abandoned the stipple for more fancy fill stitches……but just look how fabulous this is. The stitching is doing it’s job by giving the leaves centre stage.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Judy, this last picture takes my breath away. It is so awesome. It appears you have put your heart into this piece, and the life and energy just pops out to those who view it. You can’t help but connect with it.
    Rhonda M.

  14. Carol Sloan says:

    Hi Judy! I love watching your progress! I sew rusty fabric a lot and my Bernina just has a fit with it. I bought a $90 Project Runway from WalMart and it sews just fine…go figure. Lookin’ good!

  15. Jojo, I baste my quilts using Mistyfuse to fuse the top to the batting. It is fantastic, for this, it is so lightweight you would never know it is there and the fuse holds through all sorts of fabric squishing and moving while quilting.

    I use a Canon digital Elph, and make use of the macro setting for close ups.

  16. Anita, I did all you recommend, to no avail. I think each sewing machine seems to have its own idiosyncrasies, all I know is my Pfaff has always done well with what ever thread I put on it and the janome needs to have matching thread in top and bobbin otherwise there are problems.

  17. Thanks for all the kind words everyone!

    Carol, I have heard from others that the Project Runway Brother is a great little machine, good score!

  18. Melly Testa says:

    This is beautiful Judy. Just beautiful.

  19. cindy shake says:

    The quilting is making this project even more beautiful -which is hard to believe! I had to smile last night because a copy of “O” magazine arrived in the mail yesterday -the one with Ellen and Oprah on the cover and I thought “ha! I already knew about that from my Blog friend Judy!!”

    *I’m also secretly satisfied that my inability to use metallic threads can happen with the pros as well ;o)

  20. jojo says:

    Judy thanks for answering my questions – then I realized you had said earlier that you use Mistyfuse – DOH! Your pictures are heavenly because I can get a sharp, detailed close-up – thanks!

  21. Annie Pazoo says:

    I love this quilt top so much!

  22. Judy….. you shouldn’t have those sorts of problems when quilting on the 6500/6600…… One thought: when the thread started breaking, had you been quilting a while? When the needle warms up (yes, even the titanium Topstitch warm up), it transmits heat to the metal in the metallic thread, and it starts acting up. You don’t need to toss the needle… just swap it out for a cool needle!

    Also, using the Bottom Line with metallic is perfect… if you used metallic in the bottom also, the bobbin thread would grab and snag at the needle thread. It is best to do just what you did… smooth/slick in the bobbin!

    The best thing I’ve found is to use a topstitch needle…MUCH larger eye than a regular. Which kind of needle (not just size) were you using???

    I’m glad the Pfaff is working for you, but I’d love to help troubleshoot the issues with the Janome… it SHOULD (ahem, we all know how that goes!) work…

    Cheers, Sarah

  23. Missy says:

    This is gorgeous! I think this is the most exciting part of making a quilt. It’s the point where you get a glimpse of what the final work will look like, when you get the good kind of goosebumps and the excitement keeps you quilting. Enjoy!

  24. Hi Sarah, it wasn’t a hot needle issue, it was just having problems and I just didn’t want to mess with it any more, I have a short deadline on this one.

  25. I am amazed at the detail of your work, the tree is beautiful!

Drop me a note