Before I started quilting the rainbow quilt, I found a very small scrap quilt sandwich in with my scraps, and used it to check my my machine and thread.
|This is about 10" x 4-5".|
It was a difficult scrap to tell how bad or good things were (already had the white and red stitching and is quite small). I fiddled with my machine, changed out my needle (I always try to start with a new needle for free motion quilting--it does make a big difference!), but could never get the tension just right.
Well it was late and I wanted to get at least one square quilted, so that's what I did. And then I wasn't happy with the stitching...the tension still wasn't right. But the next four days were spent getting ready and then going camping. So finally today I looked over the stitching with fresh eyes:
|This is the back of the quilt--those loops shouldn't be there.|
|This was the worst spot. I think it was a spot that I had paused at.|
|The stitching on the left is okay, but on the right it's too loose.|
Since I'd tried everything else, I decided to clean my machine. The lint really collects and clogs up things underneath the plate thingy. I think the last time I cleaned it was before the Prayer Quilt (so it would have been back in January). I try to clean it before and/or after every large quilt, but forgot in the whole baby being born and the rest of our life craziness. Anyway, this is was I got out:
|I use the little brush that came with the machine and a small makeup brush to get all the lint out. It was definitely time to clean, look at all that gunk!|
Put everything back together, did a few test lines on the scrappy sandwich and decided it was decent. Then I quilted another square on the quilt (can you tell it was a good nap day? ha) and was happy to see that the tension was about right!
Now I feel good about finishing the free motion quilting. Maybe tomorrow will be another double nap day!