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21  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Thin But Warm Batting Options? on: April 20, 2011 12:54:54 PM
Keep in mind that warm and natural/white are cottons. Cotton vs poly is a bit of a trade-off in some ways. Poly is technically warmer because as a synthetic, it doesn't breathe. All body heat remains trapped under the blanket. But that means it can be too hot in the warmer months. Cotton on the other hand breathes-which means it's never as hot and it probably wouldn't be as warm as your current blanket with poly batting (polar fleece is also poly). The warm & x battings are needle punched cottons and thus pretty dense, which definitely increases their warmth. But a denser poly would still hold more heat. All my warmest quilts contain poly batting.

You might also want to consider wool or wool blend batting. It has the advantage like cotton of being natural and is designed to be insulating (that is, to the sheep). This makes it warmer than cotton and more comfortable than poly. It's not exactly common in North America and it makes for a pretty heavy quilt. And you have to be careful not to get cheap scratchy crap. But the quality stuff is definitely an option, though an unusual one.
22  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Idea for a Black and white quilt what do you think? on: April 07, 2011 03:57:51 PM
 I would go with hand-dyed fabrics-the mottling of these fabrics would give the piece a tonality and depth which would soften some of the austerity of unrelieved black and white. Plus if you dye them yourself, you can get exactly the shade range you want. If prints are used, they should definitely be tone-on-tone. That way you won't lose the sharpness.

Are you going to construct the blocks as half-square triangles? That would be the easiest way to do it.
23  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Best stitch (hand or machine) for those really tiny applique pieces? on: April 03, 2011 08:09:18 AM
The quilting stitches are the plain stitches that will hold the quilt together. That is, without tulle, you'd have to make sure that the quilting goes through every piece. The small pieces can be anchored this way without actually being stitched around the edges.

If the pieces are very small, you are right that blind hem on the machine would not work-I meant blind hem by hand. Since you've put fusible web on it and you can't turn the edges, that isn't feasible for this particular work, but I would recommend considering it in the future for the small pieces at least. It takes longer, but you get the smooth edge you're looking for.

The tulle would be there to hold small pieces in place. In this case, you can sew around the pieces rather than through them when you quilt and each piece sits in it's own pocket of tulle (for lack of a better descriptor). Black works best, but it will darken the piece somewhat. It can be cut away from the brightest areas. Tulle could also be laid on only sections that have many small pieces (rather than the entire quilt) as long as it's anchored by quilting and cut to fit the area.

See one of the pieces I did with tulle here. The work was fused, overlayed with tulle, then quilted. I then cut the tulle off of only the white sections after it was quilted. None of the individual pieces were sewn on before quilting-the added border was the only sewing done on the top. On that particular piece I was ironing the binding and melted some of the tulle so it can be tricky that way. But it's a good alternative to sewing each individual piece, and it can add dimension and shading.
24  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Best stitch (hand or machine) for those really tiny applique pieces? on: March 27, 2011 06:51:07 PM
There are a few ways you could do it. You could do the blind hem stitch by hand in matching thread. But since you've fused it I would recommend covering the work with tulle to hold the pieces, then quilting it in place. You could also make sure that when you quilt, you pay attention to sewing the small pieces down with the quilting stitches.
25  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Re: Golden Spiral Baby Quilt on: March 25, 2011 08:17:07 AM
Hah Fibonacci quilt.
Confession: I always preferred squat rectangles to those that followed the golden ratio-this is an exception though. Great work. Smiley
26  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Quilts for Japan on: March 22, 2011 04:12:45 PM
Hey quilters,
Most of you are probably aware of the buzz in the blogosphere about the quilts for Japan, but I don't see it here so I'm posting it. Quilter's Newsletter  is accepting quilt donations to send to disaster victims in Japan (Patchwork Tsushin is taking them also for we non USian quilters). If anyone has time to make one or a few that they haven't been able to gift yet, consider sending them along.
27  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Managing fabric bulk when machine quilting? on: January 18, 2011 04:59:33 PM
I roll and it works fine, even with the really short arm my machine has (that said I really roll it. The log is small enough to be secured with small clips when I'm through). I also support the excess with a machine table and sometimes makeshift extensions of the table. I find you really need a lot of space to quilt by machine-there needs to be a lot of free space behind the machine that is flush with the bed to hold the quilt. I think that's probably the most helpful thing in trying to quilt something large-eliminate gravity as an enemy. Even if your machine doesn't have a table, use boards or whatever to create a large flat surface.

I also plan my quilting so that I work from the centre out to one side systematically, then the other side. That way you're only rolling half the quilt under the arm, while the other half is rolled and supported by the table. Plus I wear nitrile gloves to improve the hold I have on the fabric because I only ever free motion.

I've also in the past quilted at the side of the machine-that is, you're working on the side where the needle is, with the bulk of the machine away from you, going from side to side rather than up and down. It has its advantages and disadvantages depending on your machine, but you have more ability to control where the fabric is going.

If none of that helps, I've always thought John Flynn's frame was really ingenious. Basically the quilt is rolled onto rods, held in place with cross bars and rolled across large pipes while quilting. That is also where I picked up the notion of quilting from the side. Really good method if you have the room to lay the quilt out this way.
28  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: HELP I have a quilt top but it keeps bunching when I try and sew it all together on: January 04, 2011 09:29:55 PM
I baste with spray adhesive. I tape the backing down to the floor so it's really smooth and tight, then layer the batting and top on with spray adhesive between each layer. It takes some practice to get the right amount of adhesive, but it will hold. And if you're the type (like me) who really hates pin or sew basting and so do as little as possible, this may be a good choice for you. Or you could use spray adhesive as a supplement to pin or stitch basting.

Plus when you're quilting, make sure your lines all go in the same direction, so that fabric spread always goes the same way. That is, if you're doing straight lines, you should (for example) start every line on the left side and work right. doesn't matter which direction, just make sure it's always the same. For diagonals, I'd quilt the centre diagonal, then quilt one half and then do the other half-again make sure the lines all move in the same direction.  If you want to do other designs, I'd recommend starting in the middle and working outward. That way the extra fabric will be heading out toward the edges and won't get trapped by previous seams. If you have a machine that allows you to adjust the presser foot, I would also set it to the lowest pressure setting so that it's not pushing on the fabric as hard.
29  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Crazy Quilt on: January 04, 2011 05:48:09 AM
Check out the work of Judith Baker Montano. She is the major personality in contemporary crazy quilting. She has written several books that are helpful in getting started.
30  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Fabric quality question on: August 09, 2010 06:46:38 PM
Yeah we've been getting the crappy end of the stick for years. Prices went up when our dollar went down, but never came back down when our dollar went up. Craft is not a cheap hobby here.

I tend to use the best I can afford. I just like working with quality materials-I'm less likely to have problems with them. And you can sometimes get the better stuff on sale. That said, midrange stuff is just fine. Really cheap stuff is usually that cheap for a reason.
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