I completed this quilt top in May and have had it on my design wall while I thought about how to quilt it.
Having decided upon a plan, I got down to the business of quilting a few days ago. Unfortunately, a ‘quilting romp’ — as my friend Jenny Lyon would call it — was not meant to be. Instead, it became my job to try, try, and try again, until I found a needle and thread combination that would work for me.
Let me back up and say that I am fastidious about machine maintenance. And not just with regular check ups at the Janome dealer, but between projects at home. Before I begin a new project I always clean and oil my machine, insert a new needle and do a test of the thread to be used on a small quilt sandwich.
So, with a clean and oiled machine, a brand new Superior 80/12 Topstitch needle — my go-to needle — and 100-weight silk thread threaded and tested, I was ready to quilt the center panel of this piece. The center is a cyanotype print on China silk fabric backed with Pellon Shirt Taylor and sandwiched with Dream Cotton® and cotton fabric backing. This is a combination that has been successful for me for many years. Not so this time. At barely 3″ of quilting, the thread did one of those little loops in the needle and skipped stitches. That kind of mess always means stopping, cutting the thread, taking stitches out and tying off before beginning again. After several of those drills, I changed to a Superior 70/10 Topstitch needle. This time I got the same looping in the needle and thread breaking. Yikes. My next step was to get out my back-up machine, an identical Janome 6500. I went through the regular maintenance for that machine and inserted the 70/10 needle and silk thread. More disasters of the same description!
Disheartened, but still determined, I went through my box of needles and pulled out a Schmetz Microtex Sharp needle, size 80/12. This needle has an even smaller eye that the 70/10 Topstitch needle. Finally, success.
So, back to work!