Pictures added.Turning my first quilt -- Update.. problems with back puckering??

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Hi Everyone,


     I posted a question last week about turning my first quilt.  I couldn't figure out how to edit the title in the reply, so I started a new one.  I had done what Kristina and Jim said (although, I don't think I had it near stable enough in the unquilted portion Kristina).

     I got the quilt turned, but now there seems to be a lot of puckering of the backing.  When I originally put it on the frame, I pinned the selvage edge to the zipper leaders.  Not sure if I had the sandwich too tight for quilting or what (I'm waaayyy new at this LOL).  So, when I turned it, it looks very puckery and I can't pull the sides enough to straighten it out.  I put in one SID row along the blocks (quilting from the body out toward the borders as Dawn suggested in her video) and it is very wonky.  That is getting picked out.

     My question is, should I unpin it and try to stretch it out more along the zippers in the turned direction, or should I put it back to the original way I had it?  Or is there just no saving it?   Good grief what a project LOL.  (hehe, I have even considered spray basting the rest and finishing it on my domestic......don't really want to do that).  Thanks again to you all for your helpful guidance.  Have a great day!  Melissa


I have attached a few pictures (hopefully).  So, reading over all the suggestions and looking again, it seems my quilt is not square on the frame.  Will the following fix it?  


1.  unpin from the frame

2.  Trim batting and backing equally around all sides using the edges of quilt top for squaring (is 3 inches enough or too much)

3.   Pin back to zippers in the turned orientation (and cross fingers LOL).


Thanks so much again for all your

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Sorry to hear you are fighting this. I usually do all my stitch in. the ditch then quilt all I can which usually only leaves the side borders and maybe a block or two to qu ilt after I turn it. And I pin the snotty out of it as I move down the quilt. I know it is frustrating but I'm sure someone will chime in with a solution for you. I have starched and steamed blocks might it work with your backing. Some pictures of your problem might help with a solution.

Sorry not much help. Shirley

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it could be that your backing is not when you turned the quilt to pin it to the leaders, you are no longer square. the selvages are what i pin too...but when you turn the have to find some other straight line to follow to pin to the leaders. this  is probably causing most of your problems.

i find too, that i only turn a quilt if i have it quilted to the point that i am confident it will hold shape. sounds like this may have not been the case with yours. hang in can always frog the areas you just did, and turn your quilt back and repin as original. 

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When you turn the quilt and re-mount it, all of the previous stitching really pulls in the interior portions of the quilt. (When I turn them I pin the actual quilt edge to the rollers, not just the backing. That may be part of the problem.) You'll need to "recreate" the amount of pressure the quilt had when it was on your machine the original way (with the leaders and rollers pulling two sides firmly between them. Now that it's turned, the clamps on the left and right sides need to provide as much support and pressure as the two rollers did. You'll put a lot more pressure on the side clamps after its turned than you did the first time through.


In other words, the side clamps now have to do the job the rollers WERE doing. Post some pictures so we can see what's going on and offer addtional suggestions.

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DAWN C - I was reading along on this thread (thanks for posting Melissa) and it is very helpful.  Just wondering, if you pin the whole sandwhich to the leader when you turn, do you trim the excess backing and batting away first to make that easier?  I just finished up a quilt literally - ten minutes ago, and luckily I quilted the living daylights out of it or I would have had the same problem.

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Thanks everyone!


Shirley, ya, I definitely didn't pin it enough.  Whew, this is a hard lesson to learn LOL.


Kristina, You know, I think that may be part of the cause, I noticed that the top was about a half inch closer to the take up bar on one side than the other.  Maybe the out of square is most of the issue (fingers crossed). The puckers seem to be in a straight line front to back though, and not twisted (LOL, I've done THAT before too). The body of the quilt is all quilted, but I left the setting triangles and border to stitch after the turn.  I didn't pin those though.  Next time (LOL if there is a next time...) I will definitely pin inside each block and extras in the border and not just along the border edge.  If I took it off the frame, would I use a ruler and trim the backing/batting with about 3ish inches all around by using the edge of the quilt top as the guide?


Dawn, that part of the video did confuse me.  If you pin the whole thing to the leaders, won't you be awfully close to them when you stitich the border/binding?  Also, I"m using zippers, so I should pin closer to the edge of the zipper and not to the teeth?   I can definitely see where the side clamps would have to work harder (egads, and I think I had it so tight that it might not ever be right LOL).


Stagecl, when you cut, do you cut the batting and backing the same size, or do you leave the backing longer than the batting?


Pumpkin.... LOL, I keep saying that if we learn from our mistakes, I should be a genius by now.   LOL, soooo not a genius.


Thanks a million everyone!  I'll try to post some pictures tonight when I get home from work.  I so appreciate this forum and the great people on it!  Melissa



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I also think a lot of your problem might be that the backing isn't square, or that your top edge and bottom edge are not aligned properly when you re-pin the backing to the leaders.  Rather than pin basting, I also prefer to machine baste the areas I am not ready to quilt.  I hate pins.  If you are using a puffy batting, that also conributes to the problem.    If you stretch the backing edge while pinning it to the leaders when your originally mount the quilt, that will also cause the ripply backing.  Its kind of a "newbie" issue which I had trouble with in the beginning, but which hasn't been a problem now that I trim the edges of the backing parallel to the quilt edge before re-mounting, and don't stretch the backing as I am pinning on. 

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Great suggestion Dawn.  Using the quilt edge as a pinning guide negates the "out of square" backing problem.  I turned one today that was so bad that I had to unpin the take up leader and repin it about 5" to one side in order to get the border to lay anywhere near flat.  If I had centered the quilt top rather than the back when I pinned it, I probably wouldn't have had that problem.  Thanks for the tip.  Jim

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