Tuesday, November 22, 2016

To Tuck or Not to Tuck

Oh dear.  It is Monday and I haven't written my weekly blog.  There are some weeks when my brain becomes so engaged with other things that I forget to plan the usual things.  I confess I have waffled on sharing this content, but why not?  I write about solutions and almost every quilt presents one or another challenge that needs a solution.

I am quilting with wool batting and that makes the unstitched areas quite puffy.  When properly done the excess quilts out very nicely, but...I had to learn a methodology the hard way.  I was quilting the main motif in an area defined by SID seams  When I got near one of these seams I discovered that I had pushed the fabric out to the edge and now I had too much excess to "quilt it out."  I hope you can imagine because I didn't think to take a photo.  I was thinking too hard about how to solve the problem.  I had two options:  1) remove the quilting and redo, or 2) stitch a tuck in at the seam.

I took the lazy road.  I flattened the excess fabric into a tiny tuck about two inches long so that it met the seam line. Then I stitched tiny ladder stitches by hand to secure it because it had a mind of its own and wanted to stand up.  When it was properly corralled,  I  went over the tuck with micro-stippling, and you would never know about my "no-no" if I hadn't shared the secret with you.

TIP:  I do not recommend doing this tuck trick if you can avoid it.  It is really bad form and cannot be guaranteed to look right.  I should have ripped and re-quilted, but at that particular moment my inner bulldog was tired.  (Who knows, I may yet rip it out, but right now I think I'll leave it.)

Can you see how much puff I have to negotiate?  You can also see that ultimately
it flattens beautifully with the micro-stippling.
This was the first of eight areas of the quilt that are the same, so I needed an avoidance strategy.  My design is mostly feathers so from now on I will start with the upper scroll (see diagram below) and then the end feather and spine of the lower motif.  This nails down the fabric evenly and should prevent excess fabric from bubbling up and becoming a problem.  By the time the feathers are added a lot of fabric has been divided up and shared equally.  This divide-and-conquer technique works beautifully, and I had no problem on the second space of the same design.

Click to enlarge.
The upper part (above the upper aqua seam) I do separately, and do all the circular frames first.  Again division of puff is the goal.  Yes, I have to start and and stop a lot with this design, but I don't really mind.  I tie the threads and bury them as I go to avoid catching stray threads in the stitches.

TIP:  I am a great advocate for tying threads immediately.  I have seen people come back later to tie them and they invariably miss some.  The other problem is that they can get in the way and may end up caught in the stitching.  Stopping to knot and bury along the way gives a mini-break to some of your quilting muscles, and may help reduce fatigue.

Sew a happy seam this week.  I wish you no need to hide fabric tucks.


  1. I cannot see that tuck and I think it all looks great.

    1. Thanks. It really does not show and I am pretty sure I will leave it as it, but prevent it happening again.