Friday, July 17, 2015

Finally Finished, Fourth Of July Banner

Linking up with Heather and her Needlework report.
I haven't posted for almost two weeks, most unusual for me, but I have been working on the same project I last blogged about. I could have chronicled my progress or lack thereof, but I chose not to so you will get it all in one large data dump! If I had worked on it continuously I would have been done sooner but life got in the way!
 There is a lot of thread laid down in this quilt much more than appears in a photo of the back, a few hours of just stitching over and over the same areas. Still it should not have taken quite so long.
I haven't had any issues in the past with metallic thread because I use Superior brand but for whatever reason my machine just did not want to play nice with it. I thought I would describe my struggles hoping it might be helpful to anyone else sewing with metallics on a longarm - the issues are a bit different with a domestic machine.  There are half a dozen things to do/check first is to reduce the speed, usually I quilt at high speed, #7-8 in Cruise Control on my A-1 machine, but I lowered it back to about #5 for the specialty threads.
It is necessary to use thread socks with most specialty threads so that was a given but I fussed endlessly with tension both top and bobbin taking almost all the stress off the thread, and even tweaking the timing and spreading silicon over the spools. I also increased the size of the needle, usually I can sew these threads with the same #16 I use for most others, but Superior recommends #19 for the LA.
When I returned to a trial of Sew Fine it was stitching perfectly telling me that I still did not have the sweet spot for the specialty threads. Finally what seemed to help was to take all tension off the quilt sandwich - normally I do not torque quilts up tight, just firm, but when I sort of allowed it to almost sag a bit the thread breaking was reduced markedly, something to remember for the future that may save me a lot of time.
It's bound with a matching dark blue and includes a sleeve to hang the banner but I have not yet installed the twenty LED lights.
The stripes on the flag are quilted with a neutral SF to give the idea of movement without the glitter.
I persisted over the last 2 weeks with silver and gold threads and a final inspiration with a light over-layer of Pearl Glitter Hologram which for all it's fragility sewed beautifully and adds that extra multicolored layer -I did need to use a thread sock to prevent it unraveling uncontrollably!
The banner from last year only had silver thread and it seemed a bit one dimensional, hence the idea to add other colors and I think it worked nicely. I only used Hologram over the silver since the gold seemed loud enough on it's own!
Gold shows up nicely here. I have tried to leave a few open spaces to place the LED lights and I plan to secure the holes with Fray Check - they must be made to push the bulbs through from the back. 
In this one I was trying to photograph from an angle to show the Hologram thread effect but it's hard to do without a professional's camera, the one below actually does show some flashes of green .
Altogether a happy result and in spite of my uncooperative machine still mostly an enjoyable project.  At the urging of DH I had purchased half a dozen of these kits last year complete with LED lights and they are sitting there patiently waiting, so maybe I will quilt one - or two - a year, they would make nice gifts. I might put this one in the "for sale" album since I have no designated "giftee" at present.
Additional information:
 Bottom Line neutral thread was used in the bobbin at all times, and the batting is two layers, a light poly on top and Quilter's Dream Angel under it for stability.


Lindah said...

This is spectacular!
I can't imagine making holes in it. Yikes!

Sherrie said...

Hi Roslyn,
Awesome quilt! Love all the different colors of threads, makes it really pop. Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great day!


Heather said...

your work on this is spectacular. glad you showed the back view. you should also add a pic of the panel before you started quilting, just for comparison. This is the best depiction of fireworks that I have seen on a quilt.

Thanks so much for sharing this on Needlework Tuesday.