when did this become the orange and navy quilt blog? ever since i started working on these 3 different boy quilts that each use some of the same fabrics, i guess. i do like the combo, but it's getting a bit old. i'm itching to work with something else, but am practicing a smidge of self-control by continuing to quilt "way out weston" (what i've named the baby boy simple strips quilt). actually, it's part laziness - i didn't want to change out the foot or thread for something else, either.
people who think they can't draw will describe themselves as "unable to draw a straight line," meaning they can't even do the most basic shape. what does it mean about a quilter that can't stitch a straight line - not able to quilt? it's such a basic shape and concept, with guidelines involved, even, that many a grown woman has been surprised at it's difficulty.
now i realize dear juki was purebred for fmq, which she is brilliant for, but i'm rather taken aback that even with her behemoth of a walking foot, i'm having issues with the basic straight line. i talked about this before when i was trying to get "twirly" together and got a few helpful responses such as, "go slow" or "lengthen your stitch." well, i tried that and everything else i could think of but am still seeking further input for how to straight line with juki.
i'll describe my method as best i can in hopes someone spots my mistakes.
- i quilt full-throttle on the tortoise (juki's slow setting). that's pretty slow because slow and steady wins the race, even in quilting. but maybe i need to ease up further? like an inch a minute?
- i have switched to a larger stitch size: 3, 3.5, or even 4. (no idea how this compares to other machines.)
- i have the presser foot pressure gauge at it's lowest-pressure setting.
- i barely guide the fabric through at all, mainly just lightly holding it up a few inches out from each side of the needle and foot so that it can freely feed through mostly on it's own. if i try to push or guide even slightly, i get ripples. if i let the machine completely feed itself, i get super tiny stitches and little to no movement.
- i started in the middle of the quilt and switch directions each time i begin another row so that i'm not always pushing the top toward the same end of the quilt.
- i pin baste about a fist's width apart in each direction. i do have rather large hands, so maybe i need to pin more closely? i average about 100 pins on a baby quilt, which seems like a lot.
really, it just seems that the quilt isn't feeding through at the same rate despite the walking foot. the top seems to be slightly pushed flat, causing it to spread out rather than go through with the rest of the sandwich or tuck up under the foot. i had the brilliant idea to try using my slider with the walking foot, thinking it would slip through more freely. after the quilt didn't move at all i made that missing synapse connection, realizing that the feed dogs can't reach the quilt when the slider's on. duh.
i'm at a loss what else to do other than keep trying and practicing. i tried to photograph the main issue i'm having.
getting my lines straight is another matter entirely. i was disappointed to find juki's walking foot does not accommodate a guide bar, so i have to find lines to work alongside myself. or mark the top with my hera marker - ugh. i do not want to spend the extra time doing that. this often means i end up outline quilting each of the seams. usually i line up with the foot's edge on either side or some other part of the apparatus, like the edge of the big white box, below.
rachel's "lolly lolly" for some comparison, since it hasn't been washed yet. her lines do look straighter to the eye and there is a teeny tiny bit of ripple, more noticeable on the back. however, her quilting is a lot more dense than mine is so far, so i can't really say how it compares. i'm wondering if my ripples that exist now will turn into unavoidable puckers when i fill in some of the spaces between. i guess all i can do is move forward and find out.