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Quilting > Ask Margarit Archives > Fall 2007

Ask Margrit Fall 2007

Quilting Questions Answered

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Once again we have had some interesting questions submitted by our readers. I'm sure the answers will be of interest to you as well.

Q:  I live in a very warm climate and am looking for a suggestion for batting choices. I am making a large bed quilt, and want it to be as light weight as possible, but still want the depth, texture and dimension that heavy quilting gives. Any ideas?

A:  I would recommend a lightweight cotton batting. If you are machine quilting a batting that is 80% cotton 20% polyester works as well. 100% cotton batting is a little easier to hand quilt. Check and make sure that you can quilt at least 3 to 4 inches apart. A cotton batting will give you the look and feel of the antique quilts. Also, cotton is a natural fiber and will better absorb body moisture.

Q:  With the advent of the charm packs, how do you go about pre-washing them? Do you just forgo that step?

A: I would probably not pre-wash the squares.  However, if you are concerned about the color running, you could soak them in a sink of cold water, gently wring out excess water and let them dry on a towel.  Press and store until you are ready to use them.

Q: I made my daughter a quilt for her wedding. Everyone at the wedding signed blocks with a gel fabric pen. She is divorced now and we were wondering if you know of any way to get the ink out of the fabric or is my only option to tear it apart and replace all of those blocks?

A: The ink in gel pens is formulated differently than other inks.  It is almost impossible to get out.  It is even recommended for use in writing checks and other documents because it is impossible to remove. Regular ink can be removed by wetting with rubbing alcohol or by spraying with hair spray and then rubbing in a detergent.  You can try this method, but I don't think it will work.

Q: I want to make a rag quilt for a king size but have no ideal how to figure it.  I think I would like to use 5 to 7 different colors.  I would like my squares to be between 10 or 12 inches.......but if you have any ideals I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me.

A: If you are using 10" squares you would need to have 11 rows of 11 to 10 squares in each row.  A King quilt is about 110" x 110".  If you want it larger add 1 more 10" square to each row, if you want it smaller subtract 1 - 10" square from each row.  You will need approximately 8-1/2 yards of fabric for each layer in your quilt.  For example:  If you decide to use three layers of fabric in each square you will need 8-1/2 yards per layer.

Q: If I make the Amish nine patch quilt with a traditional black background, what color thread should I use when sewing the nine patch blocks together. Should I use a neutral color for the nine patch itself & then black when sewing it to the background or what.

A: I would use a neutral thread for the nine patches.  Using your neutral thread sew two small scraps of your black fabric together, check the seam and if the thread doesn't show up on the seam from the top side, just use the same thread to sew your squares to the background.  If it does show, use the black thread to sew the squares to the background.

Q: Hi how do I get nice flat 1/4 inch strip around my small embroidered blocks for my baby quilt?  I have no clue what to do. Should It be one strip of fabric, or a piece the same length as the side? How do I join them?

A: Cut the border 1/2" wider than cut measurement. Example: If the border is cut 1" then cut a 1-1/2" wide strip. Sew to top and bottom of the quilt. Lay a ruler on the seam line at the finished measurement plus 1/4". Example: If the border finishes at 1/2" wide, trim the border to measure 3/4". This method will give a straight and accurate edge on which to attach the next border. When using this method add an additional 1/8 yard to the fabric requirement for that fabric.

Q: I am currently working on a red work quilt - I'm in the process of quilting it and wanted to find out if my pencil marking would disappear in water, I quickly rinsed a corner of my quilt (probably a good 1/4th of the total quilt) in the sink.  I did not use soap or anything.  Well, after air drying the quilt I found out the next day that one of my red fabrics has bled and I used this fabric in so many places of my quilt.  Where the bleeding fabric is located, there is a noticeable pink tinge beside it.  What should I do?  I'm still hand quilting this quilt but am no longer too excited because of the damage.  Any help would be appreciated.

A: I know how bad you feel, I had a red run on a pieced quilt I had made.  You might try washing the finished quilt in Synthrapol.  It takes out excess dye and then sets the dye so it will no longer run.  I used warm water instead of the hot water that the manufacturer suggested because my quilt was completed.  I now wash fabric that I know will run before I cut out the quilt.  You may be able buy Synthrapol at your local quilt store.  If you can't find it, I know that you can find it on line at   Good luck and let me know how it turns out.  The red fabric had run all through my white background and the Synthrapol got it out.  I have washed it several more times (you do not need to use the Synthrapol in future washings) and I have not had a problem with the red.

Q: I was wondering how you would back and quilt a wool quilt top. Would you use batting, or eliminate the batting and just put wool on the back and quilt by hand? Thanks for your help.

A: The one thing I can tell you is if you don't want it so heavy that it can crush you, don't use a wool backing unless it is a very light weight wool.  I made a wool quilt and finally decided to use a lightweight cotton batting and a flannel backing.  They do have lightweight wool batting that would work just as well.  I would definitely only use a natural fiber batting with the wool.  If you don't want to use the flannel backing a cotton one should be fine with the wool.

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