“A seam ripper is a quilters best friend” well that and my machine, thread, needles, quilts and on and on and on. It is something that I share with my students. They can use their seam ripper anywhere but in class. And it’s something that I practice.
In this case the seam ripper is my best friend. This little pile on the back of a different quilt I ripped out – this is only from one side of the quilt. I used metallic on the top and cotton on the bottom – for part of it.
One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that cotton,being rather fibery, has a tendency of pulling the metallic to the back. I switched to a polyester and being the dippy quilter I can be sometimes forgot to check the back occasionally to make sure I had balanced tension and ended up removing a whole lotta quilting.
The area I had to unquilt is about 2 – 2 1/2 inches wide by about 50 inches long, rather densely quilted. Multiply that x 4 sides and knowing that my thumb and forefinger were numb at times, eyes tired and shoulder sore makes perfect sense. It is worth every minute! I’m changing the stitch motif and thread type and can hardly wait to get started requilting and then finishing the quilt.
As I unstitched and commented on facebook someone responded that she was glad to see a “pro” have to rip out the stitching. A willingness to unquilt is essential to growing as a machine quilter. When I quilted “Twilight in the Bronx” I unquilted a lot of quilting.
For the quilt I’m currently working on it was clearly a tension issue that had me unquilting. Well that and as I ripped I realized I’d changed motifs a part way through and this is one of those quilts where that change wasn’t working! For “Twilight” it was that the quilting tone on tone black and the detailed quilting wasn’t showing.
As soon as time permits I’ll be unquilting another quilt as well, in part tension issues and in part I want to add another layer of batting to the quilt as it is a show quilt. I started using 2 layers of batting on show quilts when I started “meeting” some of the pros on facebook and getting to know their work and ask questions. Wool, silk and a good poly/cotton seem to be the favorite battings for show quilts. I’ve used bamboo as well. I’ll use either bamboo or wool for the first layer of batting – for the back of the quilt and wool or silk for the top. The bamboo and wool provide structure. The wool and the silk have a soft loft and show the stitching beautifully. Wool and silk have no memory so if a quilt has to be folded for any length of time the fold lines will ease out while their hanging or laying flat.
I also realized I’m in need of a new seam ripper. I like the one I have however I can feel the metal part coming loose from the handle. This is the 2nd time with this same seam ripper that this is happening so a change is in the works. Several people including Bonnie Browning, have recommend the surgical seam ripper and I’ll be getting one when I go to the quilt show in Philly in a few weeks.