I need quilty help!

I have made one or two simple quilted blankets over the last year. I had thought I was getting rather good at it but this weekend saw a catastrophe of sorts and I need some advice. My previous quilts were made using patched quilting cotton on top, linen or canvas as a backing and cotton batting. I made them by sewing the top and backing together and flipping them inside-out duvet style with the batting in the middle (mostly to avoid binding etc). I then stitched a border about an inch in and quilted along each of the patch lines.

Mr Kat was looking a little left out of all of the quilt action and so for Valentine’s I bought some fabric and promised him his own blanket. I used some Echino (linen cotton blend) and added some baby cord at either end for the top. I had a very fine woven fabric for the back and some wool/cotton mix batting (2 layers) to add some warmth. As the Echino was a sort of cheat’s quilt design I had planned to sew it up along the dividing lines. This is what happened when I started:

Can you see how it is all bunched and puckered? Not great! I know that I have me an appointment with the seam riper to undo my hopeless quilting but the question is: what next? Where did I go wrong? How should I quilt this project?

I have absolutely no real skills or knowledge so I am appealing to those of you who have taken the time to acquire them to help me sort out this horrible mess!

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  • Reply Julie April 6, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Kat, I don’t quilt, but I can see what is required here – red wine and lots of it. When slightly squiffy it will look perfect. Martha Stewart herself would be proud!

  • Reply Abby April 6, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Can you just iron it lots until it is flat? No idea here, but would be interested to know from someone who DOES have a clue!

  • Reply Amy Lane April 7, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Have you basted it really well and what type of foot did you use on the machine? Not much help I’m afraid – haven’t got round to quilting mine yet! x

  • Reply BertieD April 7, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I clearly have far less of a clue than you – but my novices eye says a walking foot?
    Also I though Friday had inspired you into hand quilting! Or are you saving that for the sofa of dreams?

  • Reply uberVU - social comments April 7, 2010 at 11:00 am

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by BringYourself: RT @that_kat: Latest at Housewife: I need quilty help! Quilters and sewers please have a look and tell me what to do: http://ow.ly/1viwT

  • Reply zooarchaeologist April 7, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I have far less idea than you, is it something to do with type of thread and tension. I had a similar issue when I used a linen fabric to line a dress. Can I suggest you ask my friend anjie, (pompom emporium) she is good at this sort of thing….

  • Reply Janet April 7, 2010 at 11:16 am

    I like the red wine suggestion!
    Don’t iron it after quilting- you’ll squash the warm layers too much.
    A walking foot / duel feed on your machine should do the trick. It’s hard to see from your photo exactly where the problem started. I would begin to stitch along a centre line and then work towards the outside edges in parallel.
    You could tie through at the corner of each square, by hand and not quilt over the whole lot, just anchor the layers together.
    Good luck!

    • Reply Kat April 7, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      @ Julie – I am very tempted to take that advice!

      @ Abby – If only it were that simple :) It would end up flat and crumpled.

      @ Amy Lane – Used my walking foot as usual. All worked fine for the border I quilted. I didn’t baste though which may well have something to do with it!

      @ BertieD – I have great plans for a semi hand quilted curtain (Selvedge inspired) for our front door.

      @ Zoo – Not thread tension, I think it is something to do with the combination of fabrics / batting.

      @ Janet – Thanks for taking the time to have a look. I used a walking foot and worked from the centre out. Problem started when got close to the edge as more fabric & batting than space left if you see what I mean. I may well try tying or unpicking the whole thing and quilting with the anticipation of trimming and binding.

  • Reply Janet April 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I’ve just had another thought. When I do my “quilts” (in a very amateurish and somewhat lazy way – compared to Amish and the like) I make up the front, machine stitch through that and the wadding, to give the quited effect- and then apply the backing RS together. Thus I often avoid binding edges and just turn it out through a small gap. Then I tie layers together at suitable intervals. You might like to look at my Flickr link:
    What would we do without Seam Rippers?

    • Reply Kat April 7, 2010 at 10:41 pm

      @ Janet – I like that idea!! Thanks for sharing your pictures, loving the crazy patchwork.

      @ Amelia – thanks for thinking of me. Definitely not the threads but that would be absolutely my first guess if this weren’t a quilt.

  • Reply Amelia April 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    am total amateur but it would be to do with machine needle/thread tension, plus the same thing happened to me the other day and I was using different thread at the top and different thread in the bobbin and they needed to be the same (according to my mum!) so it might be that!

    Hope that helps.


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