Monday, December 19, 2011

With Christmas shopping, baking and general fun taking up a lot of my time lately, I had put aside my machine quilting project.  This photo is the before shot of "Bittersweet Too" taken before I started quilting it.  I blogged a few weeks ago about the difficulties I was having with tension, needle size and the wool batting.  

I think it's a good idea to step away from something that is frustrating you or is just not fun (unless you have a serious deadline breathing down your neck).  It's also necessary to have your sewing machine cleaned and serviced regularly (I do have this done, but it was overdue).  I combined my machine service visit with a fun Christmas lunch and shopping with a good friend.  

Al, who does my machine servicing, said you really should not mess with your bobbin tension (I confessed that I had REALLY messed with it).  This is controversial and I know you can do it with care.  But he did say, just adjust the top tension if needed.  

So, I was ready to give this machine quilting mystery a shot again.  I started with a warm-up to check my tension.  What actually worked for me was to increase the top tension.   I had immediate success and somehow, it all just felt better.  I'm now doing free motion background quilting as shown here:

The results are not too bad!  3 more of these background sections to finish, then on to the borders.  

I have also changed my opinion about wool batting.  While I'd still say it's not exactly what a beginner might want to use, it really is wonderful to work with.  It is so light and just feels great.  It does have more loft and you must be aware of this and plan you quilting accordingly.  But, I do believe I'll choose it again.  Yes, I will continue to machine quilt - my smaller projects at least.  

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