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Archive for the tag “Batting”

Finished at the last gasp

Kay was getting a little upset as I started putting on the first of my planned borders for the Christmas quilt.  We had two hours before we needed to leave to get to Linda’s house clear across town and I was just starting to put the first of three borders on.  I really meant to do them the day before, but lacked the motivation.

Meanwhile, Kay had a lot to finish and DID do a lot of it the day before with only a little bit remaining on the day we needed to turn it over to the quilter Linda.

As I was sewing on the first border, I looked at the back and realized that a patch was all wonky!  That’s what I get for trying to go too fast… another ten minutes wasted.  I finally got on-track and managed to get all three borders sewn on in less than two hours.  The last border was the toughest and required the most amount of attention with all the seams it had.

We were talking to Linda after we had arrived and were discussing thread colors and quilt patterns and I looked down at the six piles of fabric, their backing, and the batting realizing that this represented six quilts (translated… a LOT of difficult work) and it honestly put me in awe of what we had accomplished.  Two of the quilts Kay had ear-marked for a firehouse, one of the large purple ones to our oldest daughter Amanda for her birthday, and the last three to keep.

As I mentioned before our daughter Samantha had a valid point that we can only use so many at a time.  I really do like having them around the house though… on the backs of our couches, on the bed, and in the closet.  I keep saying 10 more quilts should be sufficient, but don’t feel the slightest bit of bad when I make one for a relative and two for me.  It’s not like we’re charging anyone.

Anyway, I actually wrote all of this to say that by the time I’d finished the Christmas quilt we had to leave immediately.  Yes, I did finish all three borders.  With Kay’s help I had the backing sewn as well.  As we rushed them out to the car I realized that I hadn’t taken the photo of it yet.  Delaying our trip slightly more, I placed the last bundle in the back of the car and snapped a quick shot of all six bundles on their way to the quilters.

Eat your Vegetables

Work has been very tough on my schedule lately, but I’m back to writing again and have accomplished a lot in the last few days.  I’ve wanted to start… okay, I’ve been dying to start a couple of new queen size quilts that I’ve already bought the fabric for.  After telling Kay about this, she not so politely said that I really needed to finish my other projects before starting on new ones.

 

Let’s take stock… I finished my Arbor Lane quilt and even washed it!  I needed to deconstruct my “Spools and Dreams” mini and then sew it all back together.  I needed to start and finish the hand quilting on the Amish mini quilt and then bind it.  I have another Sage Garden quilt that needs to go out to the long arm quilter after I sew the sashing on it and get the backing sewn together.  But what I really wanted to do was to start the two new quilts that I had in mind.

My wife’s response was a little like “Eat your vegetables and then you can have desert”.  Well, as much as I hated to admit it, she is right.  With all of those unfinished projects hanging over my head, I really needed to finish them before I started my new projects.  I’m eating my veggies now in anticipation of desert.

Here’s the “Spools and Dreams” mini with the backing fabric I chose…

Finished with the Appliqué

Ready for the quilterI was under the impression that I would have finished with the appliqué on the Arbor Lane BOTM quilt and moved on to the double quilt I’m making.  Alas, I spent the entire weekend finishing up with the center block and the four side panels.  Then I spent most of today sewing the rest together instead of posting.  The good news is the quilt top has been assembled and I went out this weekend for Joann Fabrics sale and bought the backing for it.  Now it will be sent off to Candy who performs miracles with her long-arm machine.

Today, I get to start the double quilt.  No, there isn’t such a thing in reality, I just call it a double quilt because I’ll be making two quilts with minor variations for two different people.

Finally I’m able to show the quilt top for the Arbor Lane.  A skeptical decision regarding the backing fabric turned out to be a fantastic decision.  I really love how this quilt turned out.  I will be taking it and the schoolhouse quilt for some long arm quilting and I’ll post the pics after it’s finished.

Thimbles and Batting

Have you ever wanted to know which product to use only to go through the process of searching and only have a headache and more confusion for your trouble??  When I first started quilting and figured out how to piece my quilt together through trial and error I was finally ready to put the sandwich together.  Which batting to use?  I went down to the store to find myself inundated with cotton, polyester, cotton/poly, and wool.  Which would be best?  I couldn’t find an answer, not even after I searched extensively online.  No one just came out and said, “this is my favorite!”.  So for anyone searching out there, here’s my opinion for what it’s worth…

Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting is the ONLY batting I have used on any of my quilts.  Another look into what constitutes GOOD batting makes my head spin.  Bearding, loft, composition, and drape… for me it couldn’t be more confusing.  When I start to search this topic through numerous hops on the web, after 2 – 3 pages of information the final answer I read about is they don’t have a straight answer.  Well, polyester is used for some wall-hangings, but is harder with a higher loft to quilt…  blah, blah, blah…

Warm and Natural 100% Cotton

Usually if someone has asked a question or does a web search, they have a specific need in mind.  The bulk of what I make are quilts ranging in size from 12” x 12” up to a King size  of 100” x 120”.  When I ask what batting should I use I not looking for a discourse in batting or a run-thru on the thermal-dynamics of polyester vs. cotton vs. cotton/poly blend.  I’m asking about a personal preference, what would you use if this was a quilt you were making for a family member and why would you select that particular batting.

Microsafe Traditional Loft Polyester

I have noticed that there is far fluffier (read “more loft”) batting out there, but MY personal preference is warm and natural 100% cotton because of the weight and feel of it and it may be kind of goofy, but it says natural (no dyes).  I’ve made enough quilts now that I am relatively sure it will survive my grandchildren tussling and still keep them warm and that’s good enough for me.

Mountain Mist Traditional Loft Polyester

Now on to thimbles…

I have to qualify my remarks first.  I’m a guy and my hands are on the large size, so when picking out a thimble I’m only trying out large ones.  So far I’ve tried out thimbles from Dritz, Clover, and Pons & Foster.  I’ll give you my impression of each one.

I started out using Fons & Porter brass thimble for my hand quilting and after a while was very pleased with the result.  The third day of use however, left me with a green thumb… which is great for gardening, but not so nice when dealing with fabric.

I looked around for an equivalent thimble that kept my finger its natural color and came across the Dritz thimble.  This thimble was fantastic and I did a lot of work with it on my Amish swap quilt.  Alas… after so much use it was cutting into my cuticle on the back side.  I’m not sure if this was due to bad technique, sizing of the thimble, or combination of both.  There was enough pain though to prompt my searching for another.

Enter the Clover thimble, soft supple leather and a steel coin to protect the finger.  This is the MOST comfortable thimble that I’ve used and still use when I want to give my finger a break from the Drizt, but it had a couple of disadvantages for me.  The coin is located on the front of the finger and when I’m using the rocking motion for quilting, I can get more stitches per inch if it’s on the top of my finger.  The other issue is that at times the needle head will get wedged between the leather and the coin.  That can be real annoying when you are on a roll.

The last thimble I’ve purchased seamed like a good idea, it just didn’t work for me though.  The top is solid and the body is elastic.  It stays glued to my finger without any issue and protect it as well… but without the stiffness of the solid thimble I, once again, had trouble with not enough stitches at a time.

So for now i use a combination of the two thimbles, the dritz with its solid performance until my finger hurts, then the soft leather clover to ease the pain.

That is all I have to say on the subjects of batting and thimbles.  I would LOVE to hear everybody’s preferences and opinions.

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