Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Goings-on at the House of Quilts

Molly determined that a stack of folded quilts makes a dandy kitty sleeping bag: I fixed the quilting bobbles and completed the binding on the final (FINAL!) backlogged quilt from all those years ago:
I think forgot just how cute it is, or I wouldn't have let it lie in a cupboard for 10 years with those thread knots and bobbin tension loops unfixed. I will never know what happened with these quilts. The lady was a good longarm quilter and did several for me before the five that came back with all these problems. She was also inexpensive, so I was feeling pretty good about letting her have my quilts. And then these come back in a batch with the machine tension all messed up and loopy thread on the front where the bobbin thread pulled up to the surface. It wasn't like the lady to let work like that go without fixing it, so I still think her daughter was helping her quilt and the daughter didn't have the same work ethic.

The quilter lives in Kentucky near my mother so I would drop off my quilts with her when I visited Mom. It was my fault that this time I picked them up, pulled a corner of each out of the bag for a cursory examination and bundled them into the car. I was leaving town and eager to hit the road. Now I spread every quilt out and microscopically go over it before I leave the premises. Paranoid, I guess. But I don't have any problems with my longarm quilter Sherry's work. It's beautiful.

And remember this quilt made of Benartex Meadowbrook fabrics (see linked post for picture)? I never could decide if that quilt was just OK or pretty, but two years ago I hired the quilting at a local shop. It came out positively the worst quilting job I have ever seen. Dreadful. The thread tension was all wonky and the stitch length varied so much that some of the stitches were over 1/4" long. Ruined, absolutely ruined. I whimpered a little and chucked it in the corner. Finally, I machine sewed on a binding and thought I would make it a charity quilt. But it was so terrible I couldn't make myself give it away. It languished in the closet, and I tried to forget all the work that went into it.

This afternoon I picked it up, spread it out and decided I wouldn't go down without a fight. So I trimmed off the binding and picked out the quilting. ALL OF IT. It took hours. And hours. In fact, it's after 1 a.m. and I just finished. It would have been worse if it had been done correctly but it was a complete mess and I could break the bobbin thread with a stitch picker at 12" intervals and whisk it out without even breaking the thread. Plus, it had been done in a moderate sized meander.

So now it's completely disassembled and I trimmed 1/2" off the edges to straighten them after lopping off the binding. Thank heavens for solid unpieced borders. There was no way I was going to pick out all the stitches securing the binding too. Luckily I found more of the Benartex Meadowbrook backing fabric online. Since the binding was trimmed off, the backing is now the same size as the quilt and smaller than my new (dependable) longarm quilter requests. She likes them to be at least 6" larger than the quilt top all around. And I'll have to buy new batting, a major expense nowadays. It's always a financial shock when I pick up a queen size Quilter's Dream batt, but I love the stuff and don't use anything else. I can salvage the removed batting for small quilts. Anyway, we'll see how it goes. Can't be worse.

If it turns out all right, I might do the same to this one from a Suz Guz Designs pattern (last pictures on the linked post). Another miserable quilting job from another bad longarm quilter that I could fix, if I have the nerve to pick out all the quilting on a whole queen size quilt.


Marla said...

I am so glad you picked out the awful stitching as this quilt is fabulous! How big is each star???

Paula, the quilter said...

I just sent some donation quilts to a new (to me) quilter. Like you, I am less than happy with the quilting. I sent them to this person for a test which this person failed. The commission quilt will be quilted at home.