Tip of the day:
Practice with the good thread, batting and fabric.
I can’t quite stress this enough. I’m going to talk a little more about thread than batting & fabric today however we all get that all three components need to work well together for good quilting to happen.
I get that it is hard for most quilters to use the good thread to practice. First there is the expense, the good thread usually costs more than the thread we’ve been using for oh so long.
Using the right tool for the job makes the job easier. Using a hammer that is too small makes the work take longer as there is not enough weight in the hammer to help drive the nail into the wall. Using a hammer that is too big for the job can also cause for more work as we may have a repair job because there is too much weight driving the nail into the wall and we may end up damaging the wall.
When I teach I bring a boat load of thread with me, various weights and sized so that if a student is struggling I can switch out their thread and let them quilt with one of my threads and see the difference.
There are a lot of good brands on the market I happen to like 2 the best as I’ve had a great deal of success using them. There are a couple of other brands that I’ve used with good results. There are some that will not work at all as they’re not designed for quilting. Different quilters and their machines will have success with different threads.
When I practice, and I do just sit at my machine and practice (I doodle too!) I make a fat quarter sandwich and start machine quilting. Sometimes I have a plan in mind and sometimes I let the quilting happen.
Practicing motifs that I want to master is hugely important.
Practicing motifs in a variety of sizes is important.
Practicing with different threads i.e. cotton, polyester, metallic, will help you get a feel for what these threads do in a quilt.
Practicing with different weights of thread will let you know what threads will be great for background quilting or quilting that you want to stand out.
Practicing with solids, tone on tone and variegated thread will allow you to see how to effectively use them in your quilt.
If you were in my class would you earn a speeding violation?
Lower the upper tension (remember to have the presser foot UP!)
Rethreading is always the first step in figuring out the problem.
Sometimes the bobbin tension needs to be changed. Figure out how to do that and make small, small changes.
Even for regular spools thread stands are a great investment!
Take notes on thread, needle size, batting and tension will make referencing and problem solving much easier later on.
Most importantly have fun. If you’re not having fun, walk away from the machine for a little bit and come back refreshed and renewed.