My quilt “Fortune and Fate” is now almost ready for a facing. I just need to decide if I want to rip out some stitching around fabric that’s ripply before I seal the deal. How did those ripples happen? User error, of course.
I am using wool batting simply because I had a piece just the right size. With wool you expect more puffiness than with cotton batting. I hadn’t planned to do much machine quilting on this piece. There’s hand stitching in and around each talisman, and in the border. The stitching in individual blocks is only through the top and batting. I wanted to hide my knots. In the borders I was able to hide the knots between layers before the final edge machine stitching.
Now, that puffiness has caused some of my “grout” stitching to be less than perfect but I can live with it. Before I stitched the outer edges I pressed the whole quilt to flatten it a bit. I even adjusted the presser foot to lighten the pressure, as I thought that worked better with a quilt sandwich made with wool.
While watching a Modern Quilt Guild webinar by Jacquie Gering on walking foot quilting, I congratulated myself on using my presser foot adjustment when Jacquie talked about it. She noted that quilting ripples, whiskers, and puckers often result from improper presser foot pressure. My smugness turned to consternation when I realized that apparently I have been misusing the adjustment all the years I’ve owned my machine. The real question was, should the pressure be heavier or lighter for thicker fabrics and quilt sandwiches? My intuition said to apply lighter pressure to a thicker fabric sandwich.
A Janome sewing machine blog says, “We recommend setting the pressure to maximum for light weight fabric such as organza and voile, medium for fabrics such as cotton and polyester, and minimum for heavy weight fabric such as canvas and denim.”
That brought me back to my Janome machine manual. Here’s what it says.
My manual says to sew normal fabric at a 3 setting, which is the last setting on my machine, and to set the dial at 1 for extra fine fabrics, which reduces the pressure. This contradicts the instructions given on the Janome blog, which I quoted above – maximum pressure for light fabrics and light pressure for heavy fabrics.
Ack! So, which is it? By the way, I decided to give my quilt a good press with steam and ignore the ripples. It won’t be in any show where such details might matter.
I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.