Tuesday, September 25, 2012

99 Problems...But At Least It's Done (Halloween Table Topper)

Halloween 9patch
Resting under a bowl with the cute toilet paper pumpkins my twins made last year in preschool.  I love how I can mix my projects with theirs for some awesome seasonal decor!

This poor little Halloween Table Topper.
It all started out so promising.  In fact, I  couldn't see any problems occurring with this sweet, little thing.
Halloween 9patch front2

My inspiration was this sweet little doll quilt I saw in the October 2012 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.
I really love the Primitive look for Halloween, even though I don't actually have anything primitive in my own Halloween decor yet!  So the quilts in this photo just spoke to me.
I knew I wanted to make a bigger table topper size quilt for mine, even though the little dolly-sized one is super cute.  So I made mine from 2.5 inch squares.  Maybe my next one will be made from 1-inch squares.
The top came together quickly and easily.  Basting was a cinch.  I did some straight line quilting in the center that I whipped out in minutes.
Then I pulled out my new free motion quilting foot.


Problem #1

This is the first time I have tried out the Bernina Stitch Regulator.  And while it does make my stitches more even (which is totally awesome), it is definitely going to take some getting used to!

Up until now, I have Free-Motion Quilted with a darning foot, controlling the speed with both the foot pedal, and by how quickly I move the fabric under the needle.  That took practice, but I got the hang of it. 

With the Stitch Regulator foot, the ONLY thing that controls the stitching is your movement of the fabric.  The foot pedal does nothing but "turn it on", if you will.  You can floor the pedal, but if you aren't moving the fabric, nothing happens.  It's not until you start steering your fabric under the foot that you get any stitching.

So, after years of muscle memory built up doing the "old-style" way of FMQ, you can imagine how clumsy I felt trying to figure out quilting this guy with my new foot.

Problem #2

One thing that would have helped is if I would have stuck to a design I know and love (and am good at!) - regular old stippling.  But NOOOOO...I had to get all fancy on myself and try something new.  Of course, never taking into account that using the new, automated foot could give me any sort of grief, I went for it.  Not.  Good.
Halloween 9patch close
I know it's hard to see in this photo, but it's the best one I could get of the quilting.  I tried the design called "Jester's Hat".  Even though I was getting a better handle on the design after I figured out a few of my other issues and tried loosening up on the design, I would still hate for anyone to look too closely at my FMQ job on this one!
This picture also shows my Problem #3:
I used black thread on top, and a matching, light yellow thread on bottom.  Yeah, shouldn't have done that.  As you can see, the black thread pulled through to the bottom, and in places, the yellow thread showed through to the top.  However, I was able to fix that once I solved Problem #4, which I will reveal in a moment.
As far as the thread issue, after I was finished and complaining to my sister, she said I should have used mono filament thread.  She is right.  And I didn't even think about it, because I have never used it before to quilt.  Live and learn, right?

Halloween 9Patch2
You can see a little of the yellow thread peeking through the top in this photo.

Problem #4
Again with what I thought was a tension issue, I was getting seriously frustrated.  My husband's Aunt was visiting while I was struggling with the quilting of this poor little thing, and was trying to help me figure out what the problem could be.  Among many suggestions, she mentioned adjusting the pressure foot as a possible solution. 
Duh!   It immediately dawned on me that that was, in fact, the issue.
Part of the direction when sewing with the Stitch Regulator foot on is to adjust the pressure foot height to a certain range, and I had totally forgotten to do that.  And unlike most other functions on my machine, she didn't remind me to do it once I started sewing, either. 
Bad, Mathilde!  BAD!
(But I forgave her.  It wasn't her fault  Why should she have to remind me every time I make a mistake?)
Anyway, even after figuring out all my problems the best I could,  I never quite got a handle on this seemingly simple little project.  Even the binding made me unhappy! 
Problem #99
Not really a problem, but I really wish I would have cut the binding on the bias.  By the time I got to the binding, I just wanted the thing done, and since I technically didn't need to do bias binding (no curves), I didn't.  But I notice it in how straight the rows of polka dots are.  If I had cut it on the bias, I think the dots would have appeared a lot more random on the binding, which would have looked better. 
Le sigh.  Oh, well. I still love it in the end, and I suppose that is all that matters, right?

Halloween 9patch back

Linking up:

Fresh Poppy Design

Creations by Kara


  1. Love it. Of course. Agree about the binding but didn't even notice it until I read that part. Also, you and Jenna make me sick with this stuff. I have been putting off hemming some pants for months because I know I'll screw it up somehow.

  2. Oh, I have those projects too! I personally don't like the BSR, mostly bc I'm used to quilting without it. I find it really hard to focus with a stitch regulator. :)
    I think it looks lovely, though!

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