Open Line Friday–On Pins, Thread Fibers, Stiff Quilts

Quilting Pins, Free Motion Quilting

Good Morning, Quilters!  It’s Friday–Open Line Friday here at The Inbox Jaunt.

We have three questions from readers this week.

The first two questions are from Rebecca at The Cheeky Cognoscenti. (Be sure to check out the gorgeous Pineapple Log Cabin on her design wall!)


Does heavy quilting with heavy thread make the quilt stiff?

My experience (and I quilt heavily with 28 weight thread at times)  is the quilt may feel stiff at first, but softens readily as soon as it gets wrapped around someone.

The softening effect could be mechanical–the fibers relax a little when they are manipulated-just from normal use.

Or… it could be body oils?

I do not have any quilts that feel stiff once they are used, and certainly don’t feel stiff once they are washed.

Batting also comes into play here…I use wool or cotton batting.

This is just my experience- We’d love to hear from the group…

What is YOUR experience with quilts/thread/stiffness?



Rebecca’s second question:

What about the old school claim that synthetic fibers (rayon and polyester) should not be used in a quilt because these fibers are stronger than the cotton fabric and the thread will cut into the fabric and damage the quilt over time.

This is a claim I have read as well, but I believe it has been debunked by the experts.  Bob Purcell at Superior Threads has a great article:

Will Polyester Really Tear the Fabric?

In the article, Bob explains that thread rarely tears fabric and if it does it’s because it won “the strength battle”–Cotton thread can do this as well…

He claims that the reason people use cotton thread is mostly tradition.

What do YOU think about thread fiber and heirloom quilts?  Do YOU restrict yourself to cotton and silk or do you use rayon, poly or nylon in YOUR quilts?

NOTE-I just ordered Superior Threads FREE DVD-Thread Therapy with Dr. Bob.  I haven’t seen this video yet, but one of our readers recommended it and I know his other educational programs are spot-on!  As soon as you go to the Superior website the FREE DVD offer pops up.



The third question is from my two sisters, Teri and Pat.  They would like to know if anyone could recommend safety pins for basting.   Pat prefers brass pins–she has found they leave smaller holes, but she can only find them in multi-size packs – with some pins too large and some too small.

Can anyone recommend a finer safety pin and/or a source for brass safety pins in a single size?


If you’re making any fall quilts…

Braided Wheat-One of my favorites

The Oak Leaf and Acorn

The Perfect Pumpkin

Happy Stitching!


PS…All tutorials, information and images are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin and tweet with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

Sewing Safely-An Update

Xray Sewing Machine Needle in Index Finger

Inattentive Quilting-A Cautionary Tale

This week marks the one year anniversary of My Sewing Accident.

Those of you who were around then will remember I stitched through my nail while sewing a Tuesday Tutorial.  (Yes, I finished the tutorial, took photos and wrote the tutorial…dedication!)

It took me two days to decide a trip to the doctor was in order.  To my amazement, an X-ray revealed the needle was still imbedded in my finger.  I was carted off to surgery to remove the needle and the shattered pieces in the bone.  (Read more:  Inattentive Quilting-A Cautionary Tale)

Since that time, I have received hundreds of e-mails from other quilters and seamstresses who have sewn through their fingers too.  There was even a report about a quilter’s cat who got her paw stitched in a sewing machine!

Prior to last year, I had never had a sewing accident.  The scary thing was…I had stitched through the skin on my other hand the month before.  Clearly, my sewing habits required evaluation! (or my family was going to take my sewing machine away!)

By analyzing my work habits, I realized a few things:

  • A sewing machine is a power tool and deserves respect.
  • When using a darning foot for free motion quilting, the needle is more exposed than in regular sewing.
  • My hands were frequently under the needle to reach short threads.
  • The foot pedal on my sewing machine is very sensitive…a small tap-and DOWN comes the needle.

FMQ Knots the LCK Way


I made a few changes to my work habits that have proven to be safer.

I recommend everyone adopt these two safety precautions:

  • Use  tweezers to reach the threads under the needle.
  • Train yourself to remove your foot from the pedal every time you stop sewing.

Xray Sewing Machine Needle in Index Finger


The first few weeks after my injury were difficult.  My finger was very swollen and sore and I lost my nail.  My whole finger was hyper sensitive and that was more uncomfortable than the pain.  In January, I was referred to Occupational Therapy for an exercise program.

One year later, my nail looks fine, but my finger does not have full range of motion and the last digit remains slightly flexed and stiff.  (Nothing that will prevent me from quilting!)

Free Motion Quilting, Trees, PresentsTHE MORAL OF THE STORY

I hope you will learn from my mistake–and the hundreds of quilters who wrote in to tell their similar stories….

Remember: A sewing machine is a power tool.

Use tweezers and get in the habit of removing your foot from the pedal EVERY TIME you stop sewing.  


Because the surgeon was unable to remove all the shards of metal from the bone, I can now brag that QUILTING IS IN MY BONES!  Not many people can say that!

Safe Stitching,


Doodle to Design on Craftsy

PS…All tutorials, information and images are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, Pin, or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!