We discussed our quilting mistakes at the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild meeting the other night. I brought a project runner I'm currently finishing. The runner is about 12"x 76" and features 5 inset patchwork circles. I love the project but I wasn't happy with the quilting. Each inset was surrounded by three concentric circles of stitches about 1/8"apart. The first circle is a top stitch to secure the gray front to the red inset. The second and third circles quilt the top, batting and back.
It bothered me for two reasons. First, the close lines of quilting are distracting in contrast to the sparse quilting grid on the rest of the piece. Second, the closeness of the lines highlights any irregularities or inconsistent spacing. And there is plenty of that!
I decided to rip out the two quilting circles, but then realized I only had to remove the inner circle, making the job much easier.
It's already much better, but after the washer erases the trace of needle holes I am going to love this. I did end up with a lot of loose threads to tie off. I've become a bit of a stickler for clean thread ends. It's always best to secure thread ends in the binding, but sometimes your bobbin runs out of thread in the middle of the quilt, or you make mistakes.
I used to backstitch or reduce stitch length to secure the ends, but that always looks messy to me and I know the threads will eventually work themselves free. It was an epiphany when I realized I could pull the top thread to the back, tie a secure knot with the bobbin thread and pull the loose ends and the knot into the batting. Seems obvious, but it was just an article of faith that the top thread stayed on top, and the bobbin thread stayed on the bottom.
In case it isn't obvious, here's what the knot looks like on the back of my runner.