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Quilting > Ask Margarit Archives > Spring/Summer 2006

Ask Margrit Spring/Summer 2006

Quilting Questions Answered

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In this edition of Ask Margrit:

Q: I am making simple quilts for my grandchildren, using 4 " squares of fabric. I want to "tie it", after putting batting and backing on, and using a satin binding. How far apart should I tie the ties and what kind of thread do I use? I used cross-stitch thread on the last one I made and, now, have read that I shouldn't have used that kind of thread to tie it. Can you help?

A: My favorite thread for tying quilts is a # 5 pearl cotton, either in a matching or contrasting color. The # 5 pearl cotton is lighter than yarn and the knots don't come untied easily. I usually tie no more than 3" to 4" apart (make sure you use a batting that states quilting can be at least 3 to 4" apart). A good quality polyester batting works best for tying quilts. Pearl cotton can be found in your local embroidery or needlecraft shop and in some quilt and fabric stores.

Q: I am repairing a quilt for my mother. I am using vintage fabric from the same time period, but I will need to "age" it in order for it to fit in with the other fabrics. How do I do this?

A: You could launder the fabric several times to mellow (fade) it. You can also place the fabric in a mild tea bath. Usually the formula is 1 tea bag per quart of water. This is usually done using a black tea, but any tea can be used. Each type of tea will give a slightly different color. Soak the fabric and check color of fabric often until it is one shade darker than desired. When the fabric dries it will be lighter in color than when it is wet. Launder the fabric when finished. Since you are laundering the dyed fabric, you should also launder any other fabric used in that particular project.

Q: I'm new to making rag quilts and I have only used flannel. My question is, can I use 100% cotton instead of just using flannel on my quilts and will it still fray?

A: Yes, you can use 100% cotton in your rag quilts instead of flannel. It will also fray when you launder it. The more you launder it, the more it will fray and the better it will look.

Q: When I cut my fabric with my rotary cutter I sometimes have small pieces of my mat peel away. What am I doing wrong?

A: The screw holding the blade to the handle is too tight. When the screw is too tight you have to press down too hard to get the blade to roll. Loosen the screw slightly and it should solve your problem.

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