Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tied Up!

One of our newbies emailed to say she was having problems tying her quilt. She was finding it difficult to pull the darning needle, threaded with yarn, through the quilt sandwich.

This is an occasional challenge. The issue isn't always with the thickness of the yarn, it's with the polyester batting. It's not nearly as difficult to pull yarn through cotton as it is through polyester.

Here are a few solutions to this problem:
1/4" to 3/8" stitch length

If you're trying to take a stitch through an intersection (where four blocks meet in a corner), make sure to take the stitch diagonally through the blocks where the seam allowance is not. Feel with your fingertips, to locate the less thick area and stitch through it.

Or, take a tie stitch in the middle of the block where there aren't any seam allowances.

Try pulling on the needle using a "cap snaffler." It's a rubbery type thing used to open jars. Or, use rubber fingers or a thread gripper (found in a sewing store). If all else fails, you can pull the needle with  needle nose pliers. First, wrap the nose tips with duct tape so ridges on the pliers don't damage the needle. 
From top L-R: kitchen "cap snaffler;" thread gripper; needle nose pliers with duct tape on the tips
Instead of using yarn, try using perle cotton. Size #5 or #3 are ideal. Perle cottons come on a ball or a skein.
Red #5 on a ball; green #5 on a skein; gold #3 on a skein
 Size #5 (the top thread) is less thick than size #3 (the bottom thread).
Top light blue size #5; bottom darker blue size #3
If you're still unable to tie, try making a simple sewing machine satin-stitch/short zig-zag stitch in the same places you wanted to put the ties. Be sure to secure the threads by shortening the stitch length before clipping.

I hope this is helpful information! I'm looking forward to seeing some beautiful finished quilts by Nov. 10. Linda


KaHolly said...

Just to add to your excellent advice, I use a curved upholstery-type needle as opposed to a straight needle. Just one more way to make it easier. ~karen

Quiltingranny said...

Love the suggestions. I want to add that I use the thick cotton crochet thread and a large eyed needle, slip the needle right through!