Saturday, February 4, 2012

A sneak peek, and some input please!

The Sparkle Quilt top will be finished this weekend! I'm at that tedious adding sashing and borders stage. Ugh. I wish I enjoyed this part more, but I just don't. It may have helped if I had squared up my blocks first....

And now I'd like to ask for some input! I've been collecting a little list of questions, things I'm curious about, things that I often say "I wonder how other quilters do ____ or ____ ". So feel free to answer any or all of these, and let's learn from each other!
  • What sewing machine needle do you generally use for piecing?
  • How often do you use the decorative stitches on your sewing machine?
  • Hera markers by Clover - has anyone in Canada ever found these in local stores?
  • When you free motion quilt, do you use an extension table? I don't have one, in addition my machine does not sit in a cabinet and is not flush with my work surface. I wonder what your feelings/experience are about this. I got some great feedback from Lucy (who FMQ's on her machine as is, no extension table), but I'm sure that everyone's experience is a bit different.
  • What is your preferred basting method? I generally spray baste, but I go back and forth between loving it and not liking it so much. I'm tempted to try pin basting again on my next quilt.

Thanks all!! Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.


amy said...

1) universal 80/12
2) never! ok, once i checked to see what they looked like, lol :) but it doesn't have a ton, so i don't feel bad about that
4) love my extension table - but i would prefer a table to set the machine into, as it's a bit too high right now. your shoulders should be at a ninety degree angle while quilting, so sometimes i get a backache.
5) love spray basting! tho i'm tempted to try safety pins since it worked so well on practice sandwiches

LesQuilts said...

I use 80/12 needles too for piecing and the heavier quilting needles for quilting and working on thicker fabrics or layers, like sewing binding on the quilt
I've used the decorative stitches, but it's not really a great idea for quilting. Lots of issues /c tension, given the thickness of the quilt and the movement of the needle for the stitch pattern. I had a friend who tried this, and she was really sorry.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my extention table and use it ALL the time, quilting and piecing.
And I spray baste. I find too much movement with basted layers, causing puckers on the top or bottom. I have a darning foot so no problems with the quilting part.
Good luck, take care, Leslie

Kate said...

1) I think 70/10ish or so? General, all purpose needles.
2) Almost never...and my machine has about 100 million alternate stitches.
3) Not Canadian, eh. ;)
4) I have an extension table, so I used it the few times I tried FMQ.
5) I'm an old-school pin baster. Probably because the cats LOVE basting, so I just imagine paws sticking to something.

What Comes Next? said...

good luck getting your sparkle quilt finished up!
*I use and 80/12 topstitch needle almost exclusively. I get great results with it for piecing and quilting, and its bigger eye means thee old eyes can thread it easily!
* seldom
* I love my Hera marker and got it locally - if you need me to pick you up one, let me know, they are pretty common around here!
* I do use an extension table but it is not a very big one. My DH has indicated he will build me a table so my machine will be flush.
* I always spray baste - had terrible results with other methods, and hate having to stop and move things out of the way when I'm quilting.

Katie B said...

Can't wait to see the sparkle finished!

I use whatever needle I have. Usually a machine quilting one.

I use the zigzag stitch on my machine, but nothing fancier than that.

Have you checked Amazon? That's where I got my Hera marker. Cheap.

I'm a pin baster. I can't get the hang of spray, and I don't like paying for it!

CJ said...

1. Schmetz Quilting needles 90/14
2. vary rarely. My machine has a LOT of them too.
3. USA born and raised
4.My hubby cut a hole in my table and made a shelf for the machine to sit on. I love having the machine bed flush with the table (except when it is time to change the bobbin).
5. LOVE to spray baste. Quicker, holds great, not so much stopping and starting while FMQing. I do use pins if I have a Minkee backing.

felicity said...

i'm not a huge fan of borders or sashing either! Your Sparkle quilt looks beautiful so far....

1. Your needle really should depend on your thread. Since I use 50wt Aurifil for piecing, I usually use an 80 or 70 Jeans needle.
2. Rarely.
3. I've seen the hera markers locally too. I echo Janet's offer.
4. I have the extension table that came with my Bernina and I use it all the time, whether I'm piecing or quilting. I like having the space to work on.
5. I do both - spray and pin. Spray basting takes waaaay less time but I can't do it in my house (overspray, etc.) so it's a trade off. It is really nice when you're FMQing not to have to work around pins and/or stop to take them out.

Debbie said...

1. my go-to needle is a Schmetz quilting 90/14 (green neck), tho I just got some Schmetz microtex sharp 80/12 and they felt real good.
2. rarely, except I love my serpentine stitch for quilting - as wide and long as it will go.
3. USA here. Amazon is a great ida. LOVE my new hera!
4. an extension table came with my machine, but my sewing table is too small. I would love to try it, but not possible right now.
5. lately I'm into Sulky spray. have loved the results and it's quick!

Debbie said...

p.s. I hate doing sashing and borders - that's why most of my quilts don't have borders!

Unknown said...

1-I tend to use whatever is in my machine when I'm piecing. I know, bad. But if I do change my needle for piecing I typically use an 80/20 universal or microtex (my new fav!)
2-Never. I use the straight stitch, zig zag, and sometimes the stretch stitch.
3-I live in the US. ;)
4-My machine is set into a table and I set my ironing board behind the table (at table height) when I fmq. I can't quilt any other way.
5-I pin baste 95% of the time. I have a can of basting spray that I use for small stuff, but I really dislike it for anything larger than a baby quilt.

Kelsey said...

1- I *think* it's a 90 someting Singer quilting needle. Has a green neck
2- I've used them once when was making a changing pad and was sewing around the outside
3- I'm in the US and have no clue about the pens
4- If I FMQ I go to my LQS and pay to use their longarm and just meander on their big machine. If I straight line quilt at home I move my machine to our dining room table so I have more room
5- If I'm quilting at home I pin baste (If I longarm - no basting!)

Toni said...

I'm awful at borders and sashing, so I avoid them whenever possible!

1. I think I usually use Schmetz size 80s...
2. I use several of the alternate stitches, but for other projects, not quilting. For quilting, I like the serpentine stitch that Debbie mentioned, and I use a 3-step zigzag to join batting pieces.
3. No help there...
4. I would love an extension table or a recessed sewing cabinet, but as I have neither, I rarely fmq. I found it really annoying to fmq because I kept kind of falling off the side of my machine.
5. I'm a pin baster. I would love to try spray basting, but I don't have a good place to do it, and I don't really mind pinning. Though I would like to try spray basting to see if I can do a better job with it as I always seem to get some puckers on the back.

Lucy | Charm About You said...

I pretty much agree with Katie B. on all points!
Hope all the advice is helping and we're going to see some awesome quilting from you ;)... no pressure!

Leanne said...

1. I use a 90/14 needle most of the time with a 50 wt thread. Lately I get the microtex ones.
2. I keep hoping I will have a need for all those many stitches, not yet.
3. I bought my hera marker in Canada, but the shop people did not know what I meant, even when I showed it to them on their shelf.
4. I have a little table that my machine sets down into. I pull it in front of a desk and put another table or the ironing board beside it so my quilt is never falling off a table. Makes a huge difference.
5 I never spray glue, I am very happy with my pins. Some days my knees are not but basting a king size quilt only took one hour from start (laying out the back) to finish. And I don't get puckers when I quilt either.

Heidi Grohs said...

1. Whatever I left in my machine from the last project..I am trying to be better about it.
2. I have had three machines with decorative stitches and I only use the blanket stitch for appliques and I used the others for a small throw pillow in the old patchwork style..otherwise...never.
3. In US.
4. I never had a table for the last 18 years I have been sewing. I have never had a table for it to sit flush in. My newest machine has a table and I hate it! I am just not used to it...I have short arms and I already reach up to sew!
I now have a longarm, and that is niiiice! Right at my height!
5. I used to pin, then I used those Dritz basting gun tacks (which work, but the gun was a pain if it jammed), then I moved to spray baste. Now I can't with the longarm, but if it is a small project...out comes that can!!!

Heather A said...

These are mostly all questions I, too, am curious about so thanks for asking them and thanks to those who responded! Very interesting.

By the way, I'm in Canada ... Saskatoon, SK ... and Hera Markers are available at Periwinkle Quilting our LQS.

I'm just about to try using some of my decorative stitches for the first time. I'm making a quilt using vintage handkerchiefs and I thought some of the decorative stitching would be appropriate during the applique process.

So loving your sparkle quilt!

Jennie {Clover and Violet} said...

Your quilt is looking great! I use 70/10 needles, but need to get myself to the store to try the microtex...I've just heard of them.
I use the decorative stitches on kids clothes, etc, but not when quilting.
I have a 24x24 extension table and it never leaves my machine. I love it! Also, I keep faveic that I'm working with under it. That way it is out of the way and still in sight.
I pin baste. I worry about the fumes of spray in my tiny house with two small children.
Hope that helps!