Thursday, June 17, 2010

Smooth as Silk. . .

Have you ever quilted on silk?  I have quilted on painted silk a few times now.  Here is the latest project I quilted for the Bigfork Museum of Art and History's raffle quilt in their celebration of Glacier National Park's 100th Anniversary.
The tricky thing about quilting on silk is that once a hole is made it is difficult, if not impossible, to get rid of.  So boo-boos are a no-no.  I quilted this on my Janome 6500 which has a 9-inch throat.  It is the largest quilt I have done on this machine.  The needle size used was a 75/11 quilting needle and, for the most part, 40 wt. Aurifil thread.

I find that the most difficult part of quilting larger quilts is dealing with the weight of the quilt, keeping it moving under the needle without getting any drag.  One of the ways I deal with the drag issue is to use a product known as "Grip-n-Press" available through Bigfork Bay Cotton Company and other retailers.  This product's non-stick surface allows the quilted item to slide easily on the sewing machine surface while its tacky back keeps the product in its place.  This product can also be used for pressing with fusible web to keep the web off of your ironing board.  Here is its set-up on my machine.
When purchased, drop your feed dogs, place the product on your machine bed where it will be positioned, and drop your needle to put a hole in it.  Remove it from the bed and use a small hole punch to make the hole larger.
With my "Grip-n-Press," I made the hole large enough to use with my feed dogs up as shown here.  I use this product when I am machine appliqueing as I am able to keep my stitching smoother because the fabric moves freely as I stitch circles and curves.  Using my "Grip-n-Press" assists me in keeping my free-motion quilting stitches even.

I cannot stress enough the importance of this product for making my quilting experience enjoyable.  Fighting with the quilt's drag gets tiring and frustrating, especially once you get your stitching rhythm going.

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