I promised to show this some time ago, and I haven’t had a moment to do so until now. For what it is worth, I don’t recommend this, but if you are just this side of totally insane like me, here is how to skin a quilt. I will admit that using the longarm for this project made it a bit easier than usual. This was the not the first time I have had to take out major sections of quilting, and this is by far the better way. If you do not have a longarm, the concepts are the same, but you need a big floor space to tape down the backing edge. First let me show you the ‘before’ of the quilt, and why I just had to fix it.
The pattern is by Lynette Jensen in The Thimbleberries Book of Quilts called Cottage Flower. It was one of the first quilts I made, and I quilted it myself with just some not-so straight lines. Terrible quilting. I added some diagonal lines too, I have no idea why.
I just went straight from the flower block across the hourglass block. There is a lot of poorly done SID too, awful in white thread on dark green fabric. Lots of puckers at points where lines of stitching crossed kept jumping out at me every time I looked at it.
The borders were also just straight lines, and some places on the blocks just didn’t make sense. The thing is, I just love these fabrics!
It started to bug me when I began to quilt better, and really bugged me after the longarm was delivered. So, one day I decided that I wasn’t ever going to be happy with this quilt unless I fixed it. The only way to frog this much quilting is to skin it. Start by removing the binding, and loosening the stitching on one end.
I pinned this edge to the longarm leader. I pinned the opposite side to the other leader and rolled it up to create some tension on the backing. Lift up on the top and batting, and slice through the stitching threads with a fine edge, like a scalpel. If you don’t have a longarm, tape the backing edge to a tile or linoleum floor (or a worktable) with a strong tape – like masking or duct tape – to give you something to lift against.
You can see on the left side of the picture below, the backing is going to get a bit torn up. Better that than the top! It is why you lift both the top and batting, so any nicks are in the batting and not your top. It didn’t help that I used cheap muslin as the backing.
Here is the scalpel I used, called a surgical seam ripper. Lethal little bugger, it is wicked sharp and sliced through those threads easily. Just pull up on the batting and top to create a slight bit of tension against the backing.
The scalpel will hook the threads and cut them, allowing you to pull the top and batting away from the backing. You can cut multiple lines of stitching at one swipe with this method. Here is a closer shot I took this morning to help you see what I mean.
Just keep pulling up on the batting and top, slicing through the threads as you go. Believe it or not it only took a day to get the top completely free of the backing on this throw size quilt. I loaded a new backing using a better quality fabric, with a better quality batting, and put a leaf pantograph on the whole quilt.
So much better, isn’t it!! The darker thread gives interest to the white areas, and recedes in the dark patchwork. No more wonky lines in white thread on dark green patches.
Now I enjoy using this quilt, and I am happy with the quilting. The piecing isn’t bad here, especially for a beginner.
I was able to reuse the binding. I love that print, and now I can use the quilt without being annoyed at the poor quilting.
Have you ever been so dissatisfied with something you just had to take it apart and start again?