It looks like a spammy ad, but you read that right. You trust me, right? So give me a minute…
On the last quilt I finished, the longarm tension fell apart, leaving a whole quilting pass with looping and nastiness on the back. I picked it all out, about two hours of work for about 10 minutes of quilting. Not a good trade-off.
But even once the thread is gone, all the evidence is not. When the needle punches through the backing fabric to grab the bobbin thread, it pushes the fabric yarns outward and apart. The remaining evidence is a line of tiny mountains, volcanoes, really, with an open crater at the peak. This is made worse by pulling threads back out as they are unstitched. The craters primarily show up on the backing fabric, but they can also on the top. Depending on the fabric pattern, they might not show, but the texture is not smooth, as unpunched fabric would be.
To fix this, or at least improve it significantly, there is a simple solution. Once the quilt is otherwise done, spray the area lightly with water (I have a mister) and then pop the quilt in the dryer for a few minutes on cool. When it comes out, the ugly pores will be mostly closed.
Some people wash their quilts before giving, which would also take care of the problem, I expect. I do not wash, as I like to give a quilt that looks new. This method preserves the new look.
And because above I said “the thread is gone,” and it made me think of “the thrill is gone,” I’ll leave you with a little B.B. King.