Monthly Archives: August 2014


Running In Place and How to Fix It!

How’s this for a familiar scenario? You are busily piecing on a quilt and there’s a deadline (either self imposed or otherwise) and every time you come to a seam, the machine can’t quite climb over the several layers of fabric confronting it. It begins to do what I call Sewing-In-Place, which translates to the fabric not moving under the foot as it should, and the machine is packing in stitches one on top of the other instead of spaced out like they should be. The needle has probably jammed a couple of those layers of fabric down into the throat plate of the machine.

Now, what do you do? Well, one choice would be to take the piece out from under the machine foot and start over. The same thing will probably happen again.

The second choice would be to set the needle into the fabric in what we call the needle-down position. Then lift the presser foot and gently lift the fabric so it moves up the needle. Take a long needle—a darning needle or a doll needle works well—and pierce the fabric just behind the machine needle. Put the foot down and start to sew slowly while gently applying a little pressure to the darning or doll needle to coax the fabric to feed as it should.

place doll needle behind machine needle

Place darning or doll needle behind machine needle.

Put Presser Foot Down and Push Fabric Through

Put the presser foot down and use the needle to gently push the fabric as you begin sewing.

This problem most often occurs when the needle hole on the machine’s throat plate is a wide one. That’s the one used for fancy stitches. You can also change the throat plate to one with a single hole as another option.

If this still doesn’t work, please feel free to bring in your machine and project and we will do our best to help you solve the problem. We hope to see you soon!


You Can’t Learn Any Younger

One of the comments I hear most often is “I can’t learn that. It is to complicated.” When I was a kid I can remember saying that to my Dad. His response was always, “You can’t learn any younger.” So, in other words, get busy and learn it if you want to.

The things that I have learned and can teach someone else in the quilting realm I had to take the time to learn first. I suffer from a syndrome that plagues most people. I just want to know something, I don’t want to take the time to learn. Well, that just doesn’t happen. You have to want to learn something, then take the time to learn it. That means taking a class, reading, practicing and having the tenacity to stay with it long enough to learn it. Finding someone who can help you when you get stuck is another powerful way to acquire a new skill. Pretty soon it is easy.

Just think of all the things you have learned in your life: cooking, cleaning, gardening, canning, baking, driving, raising kids, etc. How many of these things did you just know how to do? None. You learned them by doing, failing, watching someone else, usually a parent, and continuing to try until you succeeded. You may not remember the learning process, but if you reflect on your life I think you will find that you had to take the time to learn all of the skills you now possess.

I’m sure you have many more skills to learn in the rest of your life. Maybe one of them will be dealing with textiles of some sort. If there is any way we can help just let us know. We always learn something from those we teach as well. We are all students and teachers at the same time, we just have to slow down enough to recognize just what we are and what we have.


My batting isn’t big enough!!

Have your ever figured and then cut your batting to what you thought was the right size only to be surprised at the last roll of the quilt that the batting is a couple of inches too short?  It happens more often than you think.  The only way to fix this is to add a piece of batting.  There are a few things that you need to watch when adding this new piece so that the join isn’t visible.

Image curtesy of CowTown Quilts.

First, cut a piece the size you need, giving yourself a little wiggle room.  That means you need it a couple of inches bigger all the way around.  Now the next thing to consider is how to incorporate it in the quilt top.  Ask yourself a series of questions.

1.  How close is the join to the edge of the quilt?

Answer:  If your joining point is very close to the edge, you will need to cut the quilted batting back away from the edge so the join is several inches from the edge.  You will want to look at your border quilting design to decide where the best place for a join is.

2.  Will the joined edges of the two pieces of batting have quilting crossing this join the entire length?

Answer:  If the quilting design will criss cross the join, like a feather or stipple, you will just need to butt the edges of the two pieces of batting together.  Use quilt basting spray to assure the edges stay where you want them.  Make very sure that they do not overlap or have gaps between the edges.  The overlapped places will have bumps because the batting in those places will be twice as thick as the rest of the quilt.  The places where the batting doesn’t meet will have thin places because there isn’t any batting there.  You will be able to see these places quite easily.

3.  How do I get the batting edges to stay where I want them until they can be quilted?

Answer:  Use quilt basting spray if the design is dense enough to hold the batting in place.  If the quilting design just won’t accomplish this task, then you will have to whip the edges together.  Do not pull this seam tight as this will create bumps in the batting.  If the seam is too loose there will be gaps in the batting.

4.  What thread do I use for this seam?

Answer:  Use your regular piecing thread to match the batting.  It doesn’t have to be a perfect match, just don’t use a thread color that will show through your top or backing fabric.  I usually use white, off white or black, depending on the color of the batting.

Hope this will get you back on tract again to finish those UFO’s that find themselves plagued with this problem.  Please feel free to bring your quilt in if you need some help with this.