Broken quilting stitches after the quilt is finished
Do you have any advice on what to do if quilt stitches break (after the quilt is finished and in use)?
The stitching on my completed quilt keeps breaking. The quilt is used - on sofas and beds. I have been unpicking and resewing the broken quilting lines, there have been at least 100 breaks now and I feel the task will never ever end.
The original quilting was with thin Aurifil thread (50wt), but I have been re-quilting the broken lines with thicker thread, as I presumed this was the reason the lines were breaking. However, I'm now worried that even the thicker thread lines are breaking.
The greatest distance between lines would be about 4 inches. Here is a picture.
Any help or advice would be so much appreciated, thank you!
Two possible culprits for the thread breaks come to mind.
Neither has anything to do with the thickness of the thread. Aurifil is a good quality thread, one that I regularly use myself. I have not experienced the breakage you are having and here is my reasoning.
If your sewing machine's tension is set too tight, the thread is stressed and stretched as it is stitched. Any extra pull on it (like making a bed or covering up on the couch) adds even more stress. The thread literally snaps.
My favorite 'quick-method' of checking tension is to thread my machine with the same thread (i.e. Aurifil 50 wt, orange cone) in both the needle and bobbin—but use a different color in each
. With a quick inspection on both sides I can easily see if the tension is balanced. The opposite side's thread color does not show.
If tension is off just the slightest, I'll fine-tune it until it's perfect. Grid quilting takes awhile to complete.
Not enough quilting for the size/weight of the quilt
I suspect this is the problem.
As you pick up, fluff, move or adjust the quilt on the bed, you are pulling at the stitching that hold the layers together. The weight and the stress of the movement is distributed amongst all the stitches in the quilt. Some are stressed more or less depending on where they are in the quilt and how much stress is applied in that area.
It stands to reason, that if there are more quilting stitches, each individual stitch takes less stress.
'Maximum Quilting Distance'
Batting manufacturers want to sell batting with high 'maximum quilting distances'.
It sounds like it's less work, right????
The term, however, is deceiving.
'Maximum quilting distance' is the manufacturer's recommendation about how far apart you can quilt and STILL EXPECT THE BATTING TO HOLD TOGETHER
That's the BATTING
Not the QUILT
It's a huge
difference in meaning.
A wall hanging with quilting lines 12" apart is only stressed as much as its stationary weight. Over time, it will probably sag because there's so little quilting in it. I won't, however, expect the stitches to break.
A large bed quilt is heavier and has the added stress of being 'thrown' about to actually 'make the bed' or 'get cozy' underneath it.
What's a quilter to do?
If it was my quilt and I wanted to make it last longer, I'd go back in and add more quilting stitches to it. In particular, if I'm seeing the quilting correctly in the photo, I would completely grid quilt it—filling in between the existing quilting lines to complete the allover, square-grid pattern.
Now, I admit, re-quilting an already finished quilt is really at the low end of my to-do list. You'll have to work around the binding, too. Either tying off frequently or ditch quilting in the well between the binding and top to move to another stitching line.
If it's a tension issue, unfortunately you can expect the current lines of stitching to continue to break.
If it's a need for more stitches to support the weight and function of the quilt, then adding the additional lines (even in the Aurifil 50 wt) should stop the breakage once there's enough of them.
How many stitches is enough?
There's no real formula, though the more the quilt is used and washed, the more stress there is on each individual stitch. The more stitches you'll need.
Ann, I hope this have given you some ideas for dealing with the broken stitch problem.
Readers, as always, your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Just use the 'comments' link below to share them. Thank you!
P.S. I can see why you want to preserve your quilt. I LOVE
the colors and pattern. Good luck to you!