Being in the longarm business, and a member of our wonderfully productive quilt guild, I am called upon to participate in charity quilts. Since I can't actually contribute to the piecing process, I am happy to contribute to the quilting process. In order for me to keep my business balanced with my charity, I schedule one "Soldier Quilt" per quarter.
This is the first one of the year. It is a Lone Star pattern (Radiant Star, I think) with a nice dotty background fabric. As you already know, Lone Stars are famous for having wonky sections in them. Usually it's the large setting squares in each corner, along with the center star itself. This quilt's center star was really nice and flat. And only the top 2 setting squares had extra fabric in them.
Since these discrepancies can change the side borders quite a bit, I pulled out my centering tape measure and made sure each side looked as close to this as possible as I rolled through the quilt:
The quilting pattern I chose was an all-over meander - not too small - so I could take in the extra fabric in the top corners and border:
As soon as I got past that area, every roll of the quilt was just wonderful. I had no surprises at the bottom (except for one - which I'll explain later...).
As far as tension, I have to thank Judy C. for commenting on my last blog post about her rotary tension discs. I changed out my rotary disc tension assembly for my aftermarket tensioner (which acts like the upper black tensioner, but looks like the rotary tension knob), and today my tension was 99% perfect again. Thank you Judy C.!! And just as a precaution, I ordered a new rotary disc tension assembly as well as a new black tensioner. Sounds confusing! But I'll try anything.
The only tension glitch I ran into today was that my slippery Madeira Polyneon thread kept jumping out of the first thread guide before the rotary disc tension assembly. Every time it slipped out, a small loop would happen on top. So I'd have to stop and put the thread back onto the thread guide. After awhile I got tired of that, and decided it was time to be proactive. The is the engineering feat that completely eliminated the problem:
The Tiger Tape, not Elmo.
And now for the surprise: on the last row of the quilt I pulled the machine over to the closest edge of the border to baste it down. Suddenly the machine turned itself off momentarily, and then back on again - making a stitch without my consent. I went to the electrical cords and checked them all, tightening them for good measure. Back to the front I go, and it happens again. I got smart and only turned on the light instead of the power, so the machine would not put the needle into the quilt while I was moving it. Sure enough, whenever I moved the machine head onto the quilt, the power went off. When I moved it back off the quilt, it came back on again! I checked every plug once more. All of them were normal looking to me.
So I laughed and realized that nothing more could be done until my Wonderful Husband comes home tonight. Nothing more, that is, except for a mountain of dishes and a week's worth of neglected housework.