Until now, it seemed like I had some major blooper (usually user error) with each quilt. But with more than a dozen quilts under my belt, I had figured out most of the tweaks I need to do to quilt without issues.
I've learned that I prefer Omni thread from Superior Threads for my top thread. It's 40-weight thread that is nice and strong, and shows up well when quilted. I've also found that I prefer So Fine (also from Superior Threads) in the bobbin. It's a slightly thinner thread (50-weight).
I also have the most success with my needle (size 18 rather than 16) rotated slightly to the 5:30 position. And, if I stitch at a speed just a bit slower than the HQ Avante's middle speed, I get the precision I like and no thread breaks or shredding. I've now finished four quilts with no thread breaks. Yay!
So, with my new-found confidence in computerized machine quilting, I've been finishing lots of quilts from my to-do pile.
The first quilt was from a class I took from Amy Smart at January's Winter Quiltfest. Easy quilt -- I could have made it without the pattern or class -- but I enjoy taking classes in hopes that I'll learn something new (even after several decades of making quilts). My Pfaff machine that I take to classes was acting finicky, so I did most of the piecing at home on my Baby Lock, which is too heavy to take to classes. And, ta da! It's done! (But can I just say how much I hate assembling on-point settings? I love they way they look, but don't like putting them together.)
So, I started looking for a quilt top for which I already had backing. (It's been an expensive month due to getting a new water heater and some costly car repairs, so I didn't want to buy backing if I didn't have to.) I decided on a quilt made from a Moda Bonnie and Camille line called April Showers.
I saw the block online and drafted it in Electric Quilt. I quilted it using an umbrella motif designed by Nancy Haacke, Wasatch Quilting.
It will be the perfect quilt for the next great niece born to one of my nieces or nieces-in-law. (Edited to add: I ended up giving it to Hadley (great niece) when she got baptized.)
I've since quilted two more quilts that have been waiting to be finished. They are with my mom, who thankfully hand-stitches down my binding. I'll share them when I get the quilts back from her. (Thanks Mom!)
All in all, it's been a productive past few weeks. Seven quilts quilted and bound!