Disaster averted, maybe.

I am 70% of the way through machine quilting a 90" x 90" bear of a quilt that has to be done in a few months. And I have to produce three 80" x 90" quilts and studies by May 2016- which sounds like a lot of time but it is not. I am 30% of the way through piecing one of them and love the fact that I can really take some time to look at it. But, I feel the limitations of having only one small design wall since I can not look at  a half pieced quilt and a machine quilted piece at the same time.
Half way though quilting the 90"x 90" bear I have been working on, I got completely panicked since the fabric  was not laying as flat as I had wanted it too. With all of my diagonals and crossed pieces, any amount of stretch or give in the fabric is a problem. I set this up so most of the time I am machine quilting on grain or cross grain, but sometimes that does not work out. I pin my quilts to death, but I started getting small creases which were driving me mad. Working so closely I inspect every inch, and was getting despondent that my quilting was sloppy. Saturday night I was afraid that months of work was going down the drain as some of the pieces had more irregular lines than I wanted, and although I often rip out poorly sewn lines, I was freaking out that the whole piece was a disaster. PLUS, I could see that non-quilted areas were bunching up and not laying flat.
I took a deep deep breathe, and remembered the wise words of Sandra Ciolino  who does exquisite machine quilting, and I started to divide areas in half and then in half again, anchoring sections. It worked quite well, and although it takes more time and results in a lot more thread ends needing to be buried. But I can see that these extra steps are well worth it. I solved the problem of the tiny creases by machine quilting over them, but this is adding probably weeks of extra machine quilting to this project. My quilting will be incredibly dense and complicated, but I guess that is the price to pay for not being as precise as I should be.
I keep waiting for this to get easier, but it is not. One laugh is that I have really good arm muscles which are paying off in my exercise and yoga classes, but I have decided that I can not count my quilting as exercise even though lifting 4 layers of 90 x 90 fabric and batting is quite strenuous.
by JudyK