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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.


Embroidery Problems: My Fabric’s Too Small!

One of my friends dropped by the shop a couple of days ago with an embroidery problem.

She had a design that was to go in a specified area and the fabric had already been cut to the size needed–which was smaller than the hoop.

One solution to this would be to mount sticky-back stabilizer in the hoop and stick the piece of fabric to it. That’s fine if it is only one piece of fabric. However, if it is a fabric/batting/fabric sandwich, the bottom piece of fabric will stick to the sticky-back but the batting and top fabric will shift.

Solution two follows: Take a piece of lightweight cut-away stabilizer that is large enough to hoop and machine baste the piece you wish to embroider to this stabilizer. Then hoop the stabilizer. The fabric–or fabric sandwich–you basted to it will not shift. For extra support for the stitches, float a layer of medium weight tear-away under the hoop.

Since some lightweight cut-aways are pretty thin, you may have trouble getting the stabilizer taut enough in the hoop. Try this: Get a roll of that white or skin-toned sports wrap at the drug store and wrap the inner hoop of your hoop set. It sticks to itself when stretched slightly and wrapped. This should fix the problem.

Got a problem with sewing, embroidery, knitting, or crochet? Contact me through the web site. If I know the answer I’ll tell you. If not, I’ll look for an answer. Let me hear from you. Virginia

Summer At The Shop

Lunchtime finds me eating leftovers and checking emails and writing a quick note just to keep in touch.  Our summer is on track to be a busy one.  I have a show in Edmond, Oklahoma on the last weekend in July.  The rest of the summer is earmarked for cleaning, reorganizing, taking stock of UFO’s (Un-Finished Objects) and finishing as many as possible.  (Maybe I can squeeze a short vacation in there somewhere.)  I have always said that having lots of projects in process allows me to have a working demonstration of anything, ready at a moments notice.  Well, even that thought has to have boundaries.  My girls don’t want to inherit that many UFO’s.

We have already done quite a bit of reorganizing in the front hallway of the shop. Extra seating, an antique machine and quilt, and old-fashioned rug looms inspire your creativity as soon as you walk in the door! We have also pulled out some oldie-but-goodie samples and have hung them from the tall ceiling in the show room. Check out the pictures below or come on in to see for yourself!




I also have my first grandbaby coming in September! I am having fun pulling remnants from my stash to make things.  I need to quit pulling things and start making or all I will have accomplished is moving my stuff from one place to another, just sorted differently.

September is going to see an MQX quilt show in Springfield, IL.  This show was held there quite a number of years ago.  Now it’s back.  It will start on Sept 24 with classes.  The vendor mall opens on the 25th and goes through the 27th.  I will be there with Stable Piecing and Legacy batting, and I am helping in the Nolting booth.  If you are looking for a longarm quilting machine this is THE place to see it all.  Nolting is the easiest machine to use and lets your creativity emerge and bloom.

Until next time,


Velvet Tumbling Blocks Quilt Display

We currently have an antique quilt on display at the shop! It’s made out of velvet scraps from DeMoulin’s factory in Greenville, IL. It was machine pieced and hand finished in the 1930’s by a lady named Josephine “Josie” Minges, who worked at DeMoulin Bros. from 1912 to 1957. She specialized in banners and flags at the factory. This quilt sports a tumbling block design and is in great condition. Stop on by to see this wonderful piece of history! It will be on display here until the end of May.


Paducah 2014

Hi Everyone!

You know, I’ve been going to the Paducah AQS Quilt Show every year since 2002 as a spectator and the last two years as a vendor.

The quality and the workmanship shown in the quilts never ceases to amaze me.  As a whole, quilters are creative lot.  One quilt displayed there had countless hours, thousands of yards of embroidery thread, and crystals.  The embroidery was all free standing lace that you could see through. It reminded me of freshly fallen snow just as the rising sun made it glitter like a million diamonds.

I also enjoyed the opportunity to see new ideas and products designed to make our quilting life easier.

At our booth for Stable Piecing, we had lots of friends and customers from our area in addition to shoppers from  all over the US, Spain, Brazil, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands—and I have probably unintentionally forgotten some.  Thank you, one and all, for stopping by our booth and becoming new customers or repeat customers.

Until next time,  VirginiaPaducah Booth

Paducah Quilt Show FLASH SALE!

We have a flash sale going on right now! If you are at the quilt show in Paducah, come to our both in the Pavilion (#4519). If you mention this post, when you purchase enough Stable Piecing blocks to make a queen size quilt, we’ll throw the pattern in for free! Only available through today, Friday! Hope to see you soon!

Hi all, if you purchased a Mariner’s Compass quilt kit at the Paducah quilt show between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning, please give us a call or shoot us an email, as we missed putting the cutting templates in the kit packages. We will be more than happy to mail or email them to you.