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Quilting > Ask Margarit Archives > Late Fall 2005

Ask Margrit Late Fall 2005

Quilting Questions Answered

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In this edition of Ask Margrit:

Q: I recently watched a program on DIY network and the woman on there did a fussy cut for her quilt. I was wondering where I could find the ruler like she had. It had a square cut out of it so that you could figure out what part of the material you wanted. I have just decided to start quilting and thought this would be a great way to make the attic window quilt without making all the Y seams and cuts. I hope you know what I am talking about. If not thank you anyway for your help.

A: You might check with a quilt shop in your area, as several manufactures have metal or plastic templates with cut-out centers. You can also purchase a semi-transparent template plastic and cut out a square of the size you need. Lay the plastic template over the material. You will be to see through the plastic so you can find the motif you wish to cut. With the plastic you can cut any size square or shape you want to use.

Q: I want to make a quilt out of silk ties. What is the safest way to stabilize silk before using it in a quilt design?

A: I have used ties to make a quilt, and I just opened them and pressed them. I did not use a stabilizer, but handled them carefully. If you choose to use something on the back of the ties, use a lightweight iron-on fabric interfacing. The interfacing will keep the silk from fraying, but will not be too stiff.

Q: How can you remove "bearding" from the back of a quilt? It seems that more of the batting comes out the more I try. Please help.

A: The worst thing you can do is to keep pulling, as the batting will just keep coming. Trim the batting close to the surface of the quilt, being careful not to cut the quilt. Then take a thin needle and go through the fabric right next to the bearding and try and catch the batting with the needle and twist it back to the inside of the quilt. I hope this helps. Unfortunately, the batting will probably continue to beard.

For a part of the quilt that is rarely seen, I get a lot of questions about batting. Batting is what makes your quilt a quilt, without it you have a top. No one type of batting is best for every project. There are many kinds available, and I will talk about a few of the most common.

Cotton - Cotton batting comes in 100 % cotton and 80% cotton and 20% polyester. Many are resin bonded or needle punched so that the batting holds together in a way that allows quilting lines to be 4" to 5" apart. When washed, cotton batting usually shrinks 3% to 5% to give your quilting more definition and give it the same feel as antique quilts. Most of the cotton batting can be easily machine or hand quilted. Even if the manufacturers label states that you can quilt up to 8" to 10" apart, I recommend that you not quilt over 4" to 5" apart. Your quilt will wear better; the same is true for polyester and wool.

Polyester - Many of the new polyester batts are easier to quilt and are bonded to keep them from bearding. Polyester gives a higher loft than cotton. Polyester does not shrink when you launder it. If you want an antique or older feel to your quilt then you might want to consider a cotton batting. Polyester also tends to be warmer than a cotton batting.

Wool - Wool is a light and airy batt. As a natural fiber, wool breaths and maintains a comfortable temperature, warm in winter and cooler in summer. The new wool battings are washable and can be quilted up to 4" apart. Wool has a nice loft and almost no shrinkage. Wool and polyester battings will beard if not resin bonded, check manufacturers labels.

Check the archives of this site for new products at spring quilt market for information on new batting products.

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