starting and ending machine quilting lines

mrseldooSeptember 8, 2007

How do you start and end machine rows of straight quilting?

I have not used the backstitch because I think it tends to stand out, but I am thinking of starting. I had used the "0" stitch length or "1" for a few stitches but I have noticed it has started coming out.

How do you secure your lines?



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I usually shorten the length to about .5 for a couple of stitches then back stitch a couple, just incase. It does stand out on some fabrics but that depends on the contrast between the fabric and the thread. I usually try to end a stitch row near/in a seam to try and hide it better.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 10:40AM
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Where possible, I begin and end my stitching at the edges of the quilt so that the binding will cover up and hold the thread ends, and in that case, a bit of back stitching should make it doubly secure.

For the other places, which are going to be visible on the back of the quilt, my machine has a back button that I can program to have it take 3 or 4 stitches in the same place to tie off, but I suspect that being agitated in the washing machine might make those knots come undone.

On my most recent quilt I pulled the threads to the back, tied them in a knot, and then tried something suggested by RosaJoe. She was speaking of hand-quilting, but it works for machine quilting, as well. I had trouble finding her post and think it may have disappeared with time, so I can't give you a link to it, but I had it saved in Firefox's "Scrapbook." Here is the gist of it in my words:

1) Leave thread ends long enough so that you can thread them through a needle. For extra security, I sometimes pull them through to the back and tie each pair in a knot. Anyway, get both ends on the back of the quilt. Then thread a needle and, holding it pointing from your right hand toward the left, wrap the thread tightly around it 3 or 4 times, close to the fabric. Use your left index finger (Reverse these things if you are left-handed, of course.) to hold down the wrapped thread as you stick the needle back into the quilt close to where your stitching ended, and bring it out again on a slant, 1/2" or more away from where it goes in, still on the same side of the quilt. (It seems to me that this is all very similar to the way we make French knots in embroidery.)

2)Now, with your right hand, pull the needle and thread through the material and out. Pull until you hear a little "pop". Clip the thread close to the material and let the end disappear into the sandwich.

If your knots are too big, it will be hard to pull them into the material, but once they are inside it, the hole will close up (You can hasten this by running your nail over it.) and then the thread and its knot will be secure.

If you have a lot of ends, this procedure can be a bother, but I think it is the best way to be sure things won't come undone, while at the same time keeping the back of the quilt looking pretty good.

Haven't had my coffee yet, so I hope I haven't made anything as clear as mud!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 10:49AM
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I gradually decrease the size of the stitches. For example, if I'm using 3.5 (which is what I usually use), I'll go down to 2.5 for 10 or 12 stitches, then down to 1.5 and then down to .5 for the last 8 or 10 stitches. I reverse this process at the beginning of a new line of stitching. It is a bit of a bother to keep making these adjustments, but it seems to work well.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 10:49AM
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Most of the time I meander with no pattern in mind so I just stitch over myself. I may start with a small circle and do it 1 1/2 times and then take off. I end the same way.

When I do a pattern I do the same thing - stitch over the first and last part twice.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 11:33AM
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Whenever possible, I start and end the machine stitching just off the quilt top so the binding will cross and cover the stitching line. This isn't always possible, especially when you stitch a "stand alone" design in a block, for instance. Or you need to change bobbins or threads.

I use a variation of biwako's method. When you start a line of stitching, you have the bobbin thread pulled to the top. Leave long threads. In the case of an entire design, stitch back to the beginning of the design stopping in the same "hole". Pull the bobbin thread through. Now you have 4 threads. Tie a square knot: Take two threads in each hand, tie a single knot, bringing it down as close to the surface of the fabric as you can. Switch the threads to the other hands and tie the second part of the square knot (you can cross the threads over in the same direction when you've switched hands like this). If this is simply a starting or stopping place, youÂll do this with only the two threads, not four.

Now, take a needle with a large eye, insert it into the starting/stopping stitch hole, thread all 4 threads through the needle. Use the needle to pull the threads under the quilt top, into the batting and bring the needle out an inch or so away. Give it a good pull and the knot will "pop" under the surface of the quilt. I pull the thread a bit tight so there's a slight wrinkle on the quilt top, then clip close to the fabric, and the ends disappear under the quilt top.

You can see a video of this method by going to Sharon SchamberÂs YouTube web page (link below). Scroll down a bit and click the "See all xx Videos" link and find the one titled "Tying and Hiding the Knots". She also has videos named tying and hiding the knots 2, 3, and 4 which are different variations of how she deals with knots, but also very much worth watching. I think these are clips from the DVDs she produces and sells. I have learned a LOT from this womanÂs free videos and free tips on her website:

I really should buy something from her. She does have some products I am very much interested in.


Here is a link that might be useful: Sharon Schamber's YouTube web page

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 2:42PM
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