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Topic: Quilting question -- REAL Beginnner!!

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Subject: Quilting question -- REAL Beginnner!!
Date Posted: 11/9/2008 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2008
Posts: 1,181
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Hi all you experienced quilters!

My daughter and I are making a patchwork quilt using fabrics to represent each of the four seasons. We have 5 fabrics for each season, which we cut into 5 squares each, so each panel will have 25 squares. We plan to back the quilt with a solid piece of lightweight duckcloth or poly-cotton (probably two pieces of 45-in fabric sewn along the selvages), though I'm now thinking I could even use a sheet or very lightweight blanket.  We plan to quick turn the quilt. She wants to subject this quilt to HEAVY-DUTY use. It's definitely NOT decorative, but more of a lay out on the floor and watch TV, or wrap up in, type of quilt.

Would it work OK to hand-tie it. I'm concerned that my machine won't handle the bulk, if it could do it at all. Any suggestions on how to do the tying/quilting. I thought about putting a knot at each juncture and then in the middle of each square, but everything I've done is smaller, so I've been able to machine stitch in the "ditch," I think it's called.

Thanks in advance!

Date Posted: 11/9/2008 1:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I"ve never tied a quilt though Ive seen it done and they did fine. Someone told me each intersection  needed to be tied and if you're t ying in the center of the square you should be ok..just check teh batting directions and make sure you're close enough together...cotton batting seems more generous (warm and natural I think is up to 10 inches apart) and some poly battings are 2-4 inches. quilting and tying serve the same purpose 'technically' - keep the batting from shifting all ove rthe place making it lumpy. all my machine quilting is functional (I don't do fancy designs; just want the quilt held together). If you turn the qult so you'r not adding a binding around the edges then the edges will likely wear faster since the edges are handled directly more htan the body of the quilt.

also the batting - I didn't check to see where you live but poly is very lightweight and soft/cuddly/more puffy but is HOT! here in HOuston I save the poly ones for when it gets cold and then I leave the heat off. my dad picks up a poly one to cover his legs with because it's soft and not heavy but he does'nt stay under it for long. cotton breathes better and I use cotton batted quilts year-round but they're a bit flatter.

good luck to you! sounds like a great project. my friend's mom bought a pretty bedsheet and tied one with yarn several years ago and it looked great. just plain squares and 4 patches mixed together.the 'pure'  quilters were shocked because you just don't use bed sheets but I've seen pics of them being used all and they seemed fine! never used duckcloth myself.

when you finish this proejct search for rag quilts.you can take squares of denim and if you want add batting then either  more denim for the back or flannel and you sew across each with an X then join them together with a raw edge seam that will fray when it's washed. another fun project and perfect for dragging around and abusing the heck out of it!

be sure to lay the back out flat and tape it a bit taut(not stretched to death but not too loose either then lay the batting then teh top and smooth out and I'd start in the  middle and keep smoothing it out as I go. and pull the yard through then go back and tie after you're done so you can be sure you didn't mess up.



Last Edited on: 11/9/08 2:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/9/2008 3:34 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 6,362
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A good quality machine will handle the tacking OR a treadle machine will handle it too if you happen to know anyone who has one. 

I used lower quality machines for years, then "splurged" on a good one and was amazed at the difference in sewing through heavy fabrics like denim and twill.  Of course, I am not suggesting that you buy an expensive machine to tack your quilt - it's just a comment.

The issue with backing it with something heavy is that it sounds kind of painful to tie it (to me) but I have have hand/arm problems so maybe that's influencing my thinking :)  Good luck with your projects.  There are some nice cotton battings that should work well.  I have a bunch of Warm 'n Natural - do they still make that one?  It's bonded so it doesn't fall apart.  (I see it was mentioned above - sorry!)



Last Edited on: 11/9/08 3:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/9/2008 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2008
Posts: 1,181
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Thanks! The denim one sounds really cool. I've often thought about doing a quilt with denim on one side and bandanas on the other. As for the weight of the quilt, I'm in PA and we get some pretty chilly nights. My house can get pretty cold, too. A few weeks ago, we had an early cold snap and as I hadn't yet broken down to turn the heat on, the temperature -- inside -- got to 57!!! I finally turned on the heat, but the house never really gets above 65-68 in the winter.

Date Posted: 11/9/2008 4:55 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2006
Posts: 2,077
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I machine quilt mine with just a regular sewing machine. I did one birthed quilt (I assume that's what you mean by quick turn) with poly batting, and I had no trouble machine quilting it, even with that loft. I have a walking foot, which is necessary if you are doing long lines, but if you are doing lots of short segments or curved lines, you don't need one.

I think for the usage you are describing, you'd have to tie it every couple of inches (depending on what your batting calls for), so it may not go with your design if your blocks are bigger. Could work, though. Good luck, and be sure to post pics!

Date Posted: 11/9/2008 6:20 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 6,362
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When I mentioned some machines having problems with the tacking, I meant if a heavy backing was being used. (Just wanted to clarify that!)  Some machines will handle multiple layers of denim or other heavy or tightly woven fabrics and some won't :-)  I think they all handle that stuff they demonstrate on.

Date Posted: 11/9/2008 7:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2008
Posts: 1,181
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As for the bulk, I meant that the quilt is so wide that I don't know that it would fit, even if I rolled it tightly to reach the center of the piece. (It's going to be about 80 inches square, once all the panels are assembled.)

 



Last Edited on: 11/9/08 7:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/9/2008 9:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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http://www.thecraftstudio.com/qwc/tying.htm  link for  tying square knot

Date Posted: 11/9/2008 11:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2008
Posts: 1,181
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I guess I'll have to check the package the batting came in to see how close knots need to be. Fortunately I was a Girl Scout and have ingrained the 11th Commandment onto my brain:

Right over left and left over right. Makes a knot neat and tidy and tight!  :-)

I know how to tie the knot, just not where and whether they will work for this type of quilt.



Last Edited on: 11/9/08 11:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/10/2008 7:33 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2007
Posts: 908
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Hi Carolyn, I just saw this or would have posted a lot sooner for you!

If you use duckcloth, not only will it be too exremely hard to machine quilt, but hand tyeing will be painful!

You may have answered these questions earlier, but I'll ask anyways! :)

What size will the finished quilt be? I have found that anything under a queen I can actually machine quilt, or even tack, it just takes lots of patience. You have to unroll each side evenly when sewing, and the trick to rolling and fitting the other side in is feeding the fabric under the presser foot then rolling it. Does this make sense?

Also, I have never ever had a problem with a quilt that was hand tied as long as I did all 4 corners of each square plus the center. I use a curved needle for sewing, it goes in and out of all layers easily. I've tied with yarn, or quilting thread, or embroidery floss.

An alternative to a batting center is to use an old blanket for the middle. As long as it is not too heavy you can still quick turn it. I've even used old electric blankets before! You just have to remove as many wires as you can before sewing it, but I still have my very first utility quilt that I made for my daughter and in a few places you can sometimes feel the wires. This quilt is very sturdy though. I buy blankets at garage sales now to use for filling, unless it is a good quilt that I am going to hand quilt.

If you do use batting though, I would suggest tieing as close together as you can. A time saver- tie the corners and center. At night when sitting watching TV, pick up the quilt and keep tying knots. Eventually you will have as many as you want, but your daughter wont' have to wait for it to be completely done before using it!

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Date Posted: 11/10/2008 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 253
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Thanks for posting the knot info!  Now I've got the quilt bug. Going to have to go try one.

Date Posted: 11/10/2008 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2008
Posts: 1,181
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Thanks, Brenda! The quilt will be about 75" x 75" once it is done. I'm actually now thinking of switching to a queen-sized sheet cut to size instead of piecing together two pieces of 45" inch poly-cotton. The squares are around 7 inches, so my other concern is that if I tie at each corner, or even if I sew around each square it won't be enough. The batting package says the quilting needs to be about 2-4 inches apart.

It's been a fun project. We completed two of the four panels (Fall and Winter) and will do Spring tonight. That's a very cool idea about using a blanket inside instead of batting. I also have an old king-sized mattress pad that could be cut down to size. What do you think?

I really appreciate all the advice and suggestions I've gotten. I'll try to figure out how to post a completed picture once we're done.

Date Posted: 1/14/2009 8:59 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2008
Posts: 3
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I have tied a quilt using embroidery floss before, and as my grandmother taught me if you spread your hand , not stretching it  you should hit the next spot to  tie.  I used 6 strand floss andsqaure knotted it  after stitching several spots,   what I mean is  you stitch,  move the needle to the next spot, stitch and continue.  when the stand is finished,   cut between the stitches and use those ends to tie each knot.   I goes pretty quickly. I found it best to go from the center out and don't forget to leave a tail on your first stitch to use to tie.

Subject: Thread for tying
Date Posted: 2/7/2009 5:27 AM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 13
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I tie a fair number of the quilts I make, but I'm working in 100% cotton so it's easy to do. I use crochet cotton thread (knit-cro sheen weight) most because it's inexpensive and I can find it used in thrift stores. Actually perle cotton is even better as it's shinier and slips through the layers easily. Never use yarn for ties! For needles make sure they are very sharp and have a nice big eye. I cut a piece of thread about 2 yards long, thread the needle, and make the ties with double thread.

Here's a thought for finishing the tying quickly. Plan a quilting bee, provide an easy lunch for your friends and invite them to come and help with the tying. Be sure you have enough needles on hand and several balls of your thread plus scissors or snips for each person (or ask them to bring their own). Find a big table (I often use the ones at church) or two and spread out the quilt. Everyone sits around the edge and ties as far as they can reach. Tall people can stand up and reach to tie the center. Then you serve lunch and everyone has a nice day to remember.

For your backing, avoid having a seam right down the middle. This looks tacky. Instead run a full width piece down the center, split another length in half lengthwise and sew to each side. You'll like the effect much better--we DO see the backs of our quilts!

Quite frankly, for this large a quilt I would not attempt to birth it. You will inevitably end up with an uneven distribution of back to front. Instead, prepare your backing about 4-5" wider and longer than your top. Layer and tie, then fold the backing up and over the edge making a nice hem which you can stitch on your machine. You can even leave some extra batting inside to make the binding a little puffier. I think you'll end up with a flatter quilt in the end.