Good morning. I got a lot of queries about tie offs yesterday when I posted about finishing up my Another Year of Schnibbles project. What are they? What did I mean, that I needed to do them?
Here's the deal. When you do machine quilting, you end up with long threads at the beginning and end of your stitching lines. You do not want to just clip the dangling threads off flush to the fabric, because over time, your stitching will come out. Maybe not all the way out, but enough to spoil the look of your quilting design. So, a secure way to get rid of the long threads and to secure your stitching is to do "tie offs".
I am by no means an expert on this subject. I have not been machine quilting very long, and I am not particularly skilled at it. However, someone who is an expert (Marie at Prairie Queens) showed me her method, and this is how I do tie offs. I did what I could to take decent photos of the process, but it is tricky to do these close up shots! Hope you can get the idea.
So, pretend this is the back of your quilting project:
See those arrows pointing to two of the dangling threads? If you lightly tug on the thread, you should be able to pull through a little loop of thread that is the corresponding top thread that is dangling away on the top side of your project.
See how if you lightly pull on it, the loop starts to appear? You just need to use a pin or your stiletto or something like that to tease that top thread the rest of the way through to the bottom.
So, now you must tie off those threads using a square knot. Don't know how to tie a square knot? Google it, or ask a Cub Scout.
So, now you have two dangling threads tied in a square knot. Think you can snip those tails of thread off and be done? Oh no. We are not finished. We must make that knot disappear.
Get out your needle threader (or you can get an easy threading needle that is slotted at the eye and you can just pull the threads through).
And just so you know, if you want to, you can pull these threads through and do this same process on the topside of your quilt. It does not have to be done on the back side. The tie offs are completely invisible, so you can do it either side of the quilt.
Hope this was helpful, and not too boring. But really, tie offs are tedious.... Seriously? The seventh level of Hell? That would be having to do tie offs through all of eternity. You know those nightmare dreams you have when you are sick, where you do some repetitive thing endlessly? Yup, that would be tie offs. Sorry, that's just me. If you love tie offs, God bless you.