Thursday, January 28, 2010

I feel TENSION!!!!

While I have worked really hard on my quilting skills... thread tension remains the greatest challenge. There doesn't seem to be any magic that I've found yet and I don't think I'm alone from judging comments I hear when hanging out helping in judging rooms. Tell me if you have magic cures. In the meantime... testing on quilting sandwiches is really important to set tension. Because I change top thread often, I tend to use monofilament in the bobbin. Yes, I know using the same thread top and bottom might be a good thing to do to minimize visual pop thru on the back.( I've actually noticed more art quilters doing just that).. but I'm not ready to give in to that as a well set tension with monofilament allows the quilt to be a bit softer/lighter. Here's what I do for now.
I first make a practice sandwich of the same materials I will use on my quilt. I load top and bobbin thread and stitch a little... then look at the back.

I'm purposely showing a bad start for learning purposes. I often ( as in this example) am using a 40 wt thread on top. With 40 wt thread, I'm always setting upper tension below the mid point on the upper tension dial. Mid point would usually pull the lightweight monofilament up above the top surface.., so the game is seeing where to set it below mid point.
In this first example... I set it at zero.. the lowest upper tension which you will see is TOO low.
Then look! This looks BADDDDD!
I then step up to 1 and repeat the sew and look process.
Closer but not quite!

Let's try 2!
This is a game replayed whenever a new thread manufacturer or top thread weight is loaded. This would also apply if you DO change bobbin thread. Remember,practice sandwiches are your friend!!!!!

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