You know the kind. It could be a Sampler Quilt where the blocks are made by many quilters as a gift for the Guild President, or, in this particular case, a classic Round Robin quilt. Either way, when many hands are involved, many different sewing machines with different methods of assuring a quarter inch seam, and varying levels of expertise and experience among the participants, well, things can go slightly awry.
If you have not yet participated in a Round Robin, let me explain. First, you get 4 or 5 friendly quilters to join in. Next, each quilter makes a large block, which will be the center of their quilt. You put that block in a bag with a mess of coordinating fabrics and pass the bag on to the next quilter. She must design and execute a pieced or appliqued border to surround the center piece. On it goes to the next quilter, who does the same. When all quilters have added their borders, the quilt comes back to you as a finished piece. Many hands means many techniques and designs, but with the fabrics all picked out in advance, you can end up with a very well coordinated quilt.
I could tell when I loaded this quilt, that the borders were pulled taut, while the center was, shall we say, somewhat “fluffy.” But, I kept on, smoothing with one hand while driving Honey Bee with the other. Worked great until we got to the end of the center section. Hello, Big Ripple!
Now, I realize that all our customers think we can magically “Quilt that out.” But, honestly, this was a tremendous ripple in my eyes!
I had recently read in another quilter's blog of a similar situation. She had decided to take a pleat along the horizontal seam between two borders. She basted the seam down, quilted over it and then removed the basting, all while still loaded on the longarm.
I asked my customer to drop by so that we could discuss how to proceed, and I described this blogger's solution. Her husband asked what would happen if I just go on, smoothing as I go. Well, okay, I'll try...
This picture shows the final product. Amazing! And, no one was more amazed than me! Even the bottom edge of the quilt is hardly distorted at all. Guess I was wrong, we can “Quilt it out!”