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

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

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

ONE YEAR UPDATE

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.  

THE GOOD NEWS

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,

Lori

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 lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!

How to Choose Thread for Free Motion Quilting

 

Sewing thread RainbowAre you confused about how to choose thread for free motion quilting?

There are hundreds of threads on the market, and thousands of choices to make…

Today, in  the Build a Rock Solid Routine for Free Motion Quilting Series we will discuss a few ways to narrow the choices.

Sulky trhead

There are three characteristics of thread to consider:

  • Fiber
  • Weight
  • Color

For every quilt or project, choose the fiber, weight and color of thread by asking yourself four questions:Sewing thread RainbowQUESTION ONE

Do I want the free motion quilting to show or do I prefer a more subtle texture effect?

If you want the FMQ to show-CHOOSE:

  • Fiber:  Cotton, Rayon, Polyester
  • Weight:  Heavier weight threads:  40wt and heavier (smaller number)
  • Color:  High contrast- a color that is much lighter or darker than the quilt fabric

If you prefer a more subtle, textured effect CHOOSE:

  • Fiber-Silk, Monofilament Invisible thread, cotton, rayon or polyester
  • Weight-Finer weight 60 or finer (higher number)
  • Color-Match the color of thread to the quilt fabric

Sewing thread Rainbow

QUESTION TWO

Do I want sheen for this quilt?

If you like sheen choose Rayon, Silk, some Polyester threads.

If you do not like sheen choose cotton, monofilament (invisible)

Sewing thread Rainbow

QUESTION THREE

Do I want to use a variegated or non-variegated thread?

If you choose a variegated thread be aware that some threads have even, one inch color changes,  while other variegated threads are more random combinations of color.

Also, check  a long piece of the thread against your quilt to make sure all colors of the thread are having the effect for which you are looking–blended or contrast.

QUESTION FOUR

Finally,(perhaps this should be the first consideration…) Ask yourself:

Does my machine “like” this thread?  Do I have the time and patience to work with this thread?

Sewing thread Rainbow

IN SUMMARY

When choosing threads ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I want the free motion quilting to show or do I prefer a subtle, textured effect?
  2. Do I like sheen?
  3. Do I want to use variegated or non-variegated thread?
  4. Does my machine like this thread or do I have the time and patience to work with this thread?

Then choose the fiber, weight and color based on the answers to these questions.

COMPARISONS

Below:  Two threads-Same fiber (cotton), Same weight (28wt), different color

Color:  The blue shows up more against the white fabric.

Sewing thread Rainbow

 

Below:

Two threads:  Same color, different weight and different fiber

Invisifil is 100 wt polyester

Aurifil: 12 wt cotton

The Invisifil is barely perceptible…

Sewing thread Rainbow

Below:

Two threads, same color.  similar weight–The Sulky on the left has sheen, the cotton Aurifil does not.

Sewing thread Rainbow

THE TUESDAY TUTORIALS:  AN EXAMPLE

  • I want the free motion quilting seen
  • I LOVE sheen
  • I don’t like variegated threads-they visually break up the design
  • I know my machine likes the Sulky Rayon and Aurifil cotton

So I choose Sulky Rayon 40wt thread--It is shiny, slightly heavier and my machine loves it…

I choose Aurifil cotton 50 wt in the bobbin because my sewing machine does not like slippery Rayon in the bobbin.  Also I like a finer thread in the bobbin–more sewing before the bobbin runs out.

CHOOSE FOR YOURSELF–EVERY QUILT IS DIFFERENT

For every quilt that you free motion stitch, go through this decision matrix.  

It is likely that every quilt will be different.  A single quilt may have areas that you want the quilting to be highlighted and other areas where you want the quilting to be more subtle.

Again, this is just a rule-of-thumb.  A place to start.

YOUR TRIED AND TRUE THREADS

Once you find a few threads that you like, stick with those threads as your “Go-To” threads.   Try new threads as the spirit moves you…

Hope this helps YOU think through the choices.

Happy Stitches,

Lori

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

 

The Echo Star–A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Echo Stars, Free Motion Quilting

 

Good Morning, Quilters and Quilt Lovers!  Are you ready for some quilting?  Of course you are!  You have a least a dozen quilt sandwiches ready to go…Read more in BE READY

And you know what needle to use….Read more in The 80/50 Rule for Free Motion Quilting.

You have several choices for batting:  Read Open Line Friday (and all the comments) Batting

So let’s get started with today’s tutorial:  The Echo Star- The Echo Star is a beautiful background filler for any quilt.

It doesn’t need to be perfect to look great AND it’s a lot of fun to stitch.  It looks great on blue fabric, too–a starry night?

THE ECHO STAR TUTORIAL

Begin by stitching a small star.  Don’t worry if it’s not perfect…it will look great no matter how misshapen…

Echo Stars, Free Motion Quilting

 

Next, echo quilt around the star several times….

 

Echo Stars, Free Motion Quilting

 

Once the space is filled in, or the star is begin enough….begin another star.

 

Echo Stars, Free Motion Quilting

 

Echo stitch around the second star several times.

NOTE-Stitch around the star clockwise, then counter-clockwise, never crossing over the line that extends out of the previous star.  This gives the motif a neater look than if it crossed over those stitches.)

 

Echo Stars, Free Motion Quilting

 

Keep adding more stars.  As you can see, in some cases I was only able to add partial stars.  That’s okay, too.

 

Echo Stars, Free Motion Quilting

 

Add a few curls to give the motif a more festive “pop”…

Echo Stars, Free Motion Quilting

 

In no time, YOU’LL be “seeing stars”  or places for stars in all of YOUR quilts…

Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight…

(I wish the icy snow that hit Minnesota yesterday would melt away…is that too much to ask?)

Happy Starlight Stitching,

Lori

PS…Thank you to ALL of you who have sent photos of quilts using the motifs.  I LOVE to see the motifs in action!

NOTE-This tutorial was stitched on Robert Kaufman, Kona solids using Sulky 40wt Rayon on top and Aurifil cotton 50wt in the bobbin on my Bernina 150 (a standard, domestic sewing machine) without a stitch regulator.

PPS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!