Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Stitch in Time...

A stitch in time saves nine. Translated to...a timely effort will prevent more work later.  This proverb came rushing back to memory after a failed attempt on my part to save time and effort.  While working on As the Spool Turns, rather than take the time to hand applique the undulating vine, which is my preference, I decided to stitch it on by machine using the mock hand applique method.  After carefully selecting a spool of 50 weight DMC that matched the background fabric and Sulky Invisible I got to work.
The mock hand applique stitch looks like a blind hem stitch, only much, much smaller.  With a stitch length of .5mm and a width of 1mm, a size 60 Microtex needle and the threads above, this stitch is virtually invisible...except on the lovely Batik background fabric used in this quilt.  The irritating, I mean, tiny holes produced looked awful!  I had stitched down 60" of the vine before deciding to see how "pretty" it looked.  To my horror all I could see were the tiny holes along the edges of it.  I knew then and there that the vine had to come off and the stitches removed.  Therein lay the problem.  How to remove all those little, invisible stitches.  I set the work aside for a couple weeks until I could face it again.  Yesterday I had a go at removing those pesky stitches. I grabbed a seam ripper and began to chop away at the threads I ended up cutting the threads AND my background fabric. See those little holes next to the big gash?  I was trying to remove the stitches that occupied those tiny holes...

Then I gathered these tools...
Thank you Sandi Moffatt for the adorable scissor fob you gave me at Sock Summit.  I just love it. 

I attempted to wedge the point of the safety pin under a stitch and then lift with the tweezers, which would hold the stitch only part of the time, and clip the stitch with scissors.  It was tedious.  I continued on at a snail's pace.  Then inspiration hit, I was struggling with the tweezers and kept thinking if only I had a tool to hold the treads and pull...
I had those stitches removed in no time.  Then came the task of fixing the gash.  I have used a product called Fray Check for many years.  It is liquid plastic and inert.  Note:  Never attempt to put the tip of the Fray Check to your work and squeeze.  This can result in a disaster.
I always...since the last disaster...squeeze a dab of Fray Check on a plastic bag, gather a small amount onto a toothpick and gently touch the toothpick to the surface of the quilt then I place a protective cloth over the damp area and press to dry.  Works like a charm.

Now for those pesky holes that started all this in the first place. 
I love Best Press.  It is a wonderful product that puts body back into fabrics and can make tiny holes disappear.  I sprayed a little onto my background fabric, pressed and the tiny holes were gone.
Note:  I prewash all my fabrics before they go into my quilts so using best press at this point will not shrink my fabric.  Fabrics that have not been prewashed may shrink when starched.
With holes gone and knowing that the little vine will cover the gash I'm able to continue on. 

Today, with small dabs of Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It!  I will baste the undulating vine to the background fabric and begin to hand applique using my favorite needle and  thimble while listening to an audio-book.

Lesson Learned.

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