Thursday, November 16, 2017

Minky Mishaps

A vendor booth at the Houston Quilt Festival carried woven cotton yardages in 30" squares and furry Minky in 40" squares to be paired to make a baby blanket. The simple assembly involved sewing a cotton and a Minky square, right sides together,  mitering the wraparound corners, and then turning right side out. It sounded easy enough and I knew to pin a lot and be careful since Minky is so stretchy. This is the fabric pairing I chose – the "oh boy" Micky Mouse print was the woven and the black with large white dots was the Minky.

I sewed my four sides together without a problem, from the center out to each  edge. I faced the print down so it was the fabric against the feed dogs. The instructions for the mitering of the corners could use improvement and the diagram had me scratching my head for a bit before I managed to figure it out.

When I turned the blanket right side out, three out of the four corners looked fine. Not great, but adequate. 

The overall blanket looked like the gray Micky Mouse print was centered on the black dotted Minky. This left a big central 30" square with a big uncertainty on how to tack it to the back. I'd heard that Minky creates a lot of fuzz and lint and so I was wary, since this my first experience with it. So far the fuzz aspect of it had posed no problem for me. Never the less, I did not want to put the stretchy Minky on my long arm. Also the lower left corner appeared to pull awkwardly and twist the lower wrap-around band. This fourth corner was a disaster and I did not know why. A blah problematic center and a twisted edge and corner did not make for my proudest moment.

I had already sewn around the edge of the print and so turning things inside out again to fix the fourth corner was not an option. The offset I had somehow introduced on the fourth side did not seem to stem from the top stitching but rather from the corner miter – or so I first thought.

I ripped out the corner and tried just top stitching it from the outside, pushing and shoving it where I thought it should go. Yuck. What a mess! How can you fix something when you do not know what you did wrong?

Oh, well. Maybe I could patch it later. I did still have some Minky from when I trimmed the excess off the mitered corners. I decided to move on to running a few straight lines across the center woven section to hold the back Minky together with the front Mickey Mouse. No matter how I stretched and eased I wound up with an excess lump of woven by each "oh boy" balloon at the right edge after I'd sewn from the left.

I added more and more pins and still a bulge appeared at the end of my stitching line. I surmised that during my other assembly stitching, I had been able orient the woven side against the feed dogs. Since I had to do my quilting lines from the front to see where the "oh boy" bubbled phrases were, the Minky was against the feed dogs. I guessed it did not slide as easily. Its dragging behind probably created the surplus of woven on the front.

I then noticed before the final horizontal quilting line row that somehow the lever that engages the even feed feature of my Pfaff was up. Once I lowered the lever, the final row came out more even. See the stitching at the border by the lowest "oh boy" bubble in the next photo versus the lump to the right of the next "oh boy" bubble further up. I really did not want to rip out the other rows that sported that right lump/bump feature.

I began to wonder just when I had inadvertently disengaged that oh-so important feature, especially for Minky. Aha! The lightbulb moment! I retroactively guessed that I must have bumped and disengaged that even feed feature as far back in the construction as on that fourth side, and that is why it was so uneven and twisted, even though I had pinned it quite generously. And to think I was blaming the Minky when it was my own clueless action. Live and learn. Also, in retrospect, the long arm would have been a better choice for the quilting lines since there are no feed dogs to drag layers unevenly. I do not have the desire to rip out those shifted quilting lines so I will leave them as is for now. That fourth corner? I still have to ponder how to patch that problem. I suppose since I have another 30" square of the Mickey Mouse print and I could give up on the mess and get some more Minky - maybe without the big white dots I liked but surely in solid black. 

I bought this combo because I thought it would work up fast and be a new experience for me. With all my fussing and tugging and correction attempts, it surely was not fast. It was indeed a learning experience, however. I botched it royally and concluded that my first experience with Minky could very well be my last – at least for a while. I really should give it a second chance but I am in no hurry to do so.  Instead I will link up to Let's Bee Social #203.