“Wow!” my husband said, as he watched me taking quilting stitches out with my new electric seam ripper. And his is an informed opinion, since he has seen PLENTY of seam ripping over the years between my adventures and those of his 3 sisters.
So here’s the story: I designed a quilt made of all equilateral triangles, in all solid colors, several years ago. It was one of those projects that looked better in my head than in reality, so I backed up and started again. (Learning experience #1: this design stinks.)
The Lombard Street pattern by Sassafras Lane caught my eye, so I ordered it, thinking I probably could re-cut my blocks to work. When the pattern arrived, it was just as beautiful as it looked online, and the block size was such that I could, indeed, salvage my fabric. But it is paper pieced–not my favorite technique. (Learning experience #2: check the construction method before ordering!)
In any case, I got the top made and was pleased with the result
Review #1: the Lombard Street pattern had excellent instructions, and came out just as great in person as it looked on the pattern.
I layered the quilt with Quilter’s Dream bamboo batting. Review #2: The batting felt just wonderful, soft and with a good drape. But OH MY did it make a mess of the black fabric! I don’t know how, but it kept giving off lint that completely covered the quilt top. I LOVE Quilter’s Dream batting and use both the poly or the cotton request loft almost exclusively. But this bamboo! Yikes! My trusty lint roller fixed that. Several times. (Learning experience #3: I won’t use bamboo batting again.)
It’s a long story, but after several trials, I decided to use Metrosene poly quilting thread in dark grey, thinking it would blend in with all the fabrics. This strategy has worked well on several other quilts, but not so much this time. I didn’t like the way it looked–when I had the quilting 80% done!!! (Learning experience #4: stubbornness isn’t always a virtue. Sometimes sticking with the task is not the best option 😀
Enter the electric seam ripper. I went online and researched just HOW other people had gotten the quilt stitches out of quilts in similar situations. I read about 3 different electric seam rippers and watched demos on You Tube. I purchased one, put in a AA battery, and got to work.
By the way, removing the backing from a quilt this way, in order to remove the quilting stitches, is called “skinning the quilt” according to my online research.
Review #3: The electric seam ripper worked amazingly well!!! I had the entire top un-quilted by 1 p.m., and I did two loads of laundry, made breakfast and lunch, and put dinner in the crock pot besides! I had to use a traditional seam ripper where I had made tiny stitches at the sharp corners, but otherwise it went very fast. The only holes created were a tiny hole in the batting made with my traditional seam ripper, and a tiny hole in the backing made by the electric seam ripper when I tried to insist that it cut through those very close stitches (it just said no).
The discussions online reported being able to lift the top quilting thread off in one long piece. As you see, that didn’t work for me–maybe when I’ve had more practice? (Oh please, no more practice!) Anyway, the trusty lint roller saved me again.
And this top is going to a long-arm quilter. Done!