Favourite Fabrics Part 2

In the last blog post, I talked about some of my favourite fabrics that I have collected over the years. Now some might say, well are you ever going to use all of the fabrics you have collected? The answer is more than likely, no. The thing is though, you don’t ask a stamp collector if they are going to use the stamps they collect do you?

I have a few more fabrics that I have collected and thought I would share. Some of these I do hope to use at some point, but then the question is what do I do with the quilts I make with them? Do I create a wall hanging to show the fabric off? What about a bed quilt to have the fabric show there? A lap quilt that gets folded away? Not sure at this point.

I have a lot of fabric and most of it I love (ok there is some I shake my head over), I even have some quilt kits I purchased years ago that I now don’t like all that much. Those are easy to know what to do with, I will just make them up and give them away, more than likely to the church so they can raffle them off. Anyway here are the last 4 fabrics that I bought that I still really love.

Favourite Fabrics

I love this poppy fabric it is by Clothworks and was designed by Pamela Mostek. I don’t remember when I purchased this, only that it’s directional and I have about 2 metres of it. Maybe it will end up on a quilt back, although that seems a shame.

 I guess I love poppies because here is another poppy fabric that I purchased. I was on a road trip with my friend and we both purchased this fabric and some coordinating fabric to make a lap sized quilt. This piece is from the Magic of Oz collection by Wilmington Prints. I should mention here that I don’t usually purchase whole lines of fabric, I tend to find that too matchy for me.  Of course, that was at least 3 years ago now and the fabric is still in my stash. At least I kept all the coordinating fabric together. 

I purchased this next fabric just last year. I was working at The Cloth Castle at the time and I kept resisting temptation but finally purchased at 2.5 metres of it. This fabric is Canadian Scene by Gordon Fabrics and was printed for Canada’s 150th birthday last year. I have no idea what I am going to do with it but I guess that is not really the point.

The last of my favourite fabrics I have to share is this one that is a fairly recent purchase although I don’t remember when or where I purchased it. It is Robert Kaufman North American Wildlife. It reminds me of one of my favourite paintings I have a copy of. I have about 2 metres of this fabric as well.

So as mentioned in my last post, I would really like to find out in the comments if you have favourite fabrics that you collect? Do you use the fabric or does it just sit in your stash?

Happy Quilting

 

Favourite Fabrics in My Stash Part 1

Do you have a fabric stash? If so what is the size of it? My fabric stash is quite large, more than I can use in this lifetime that is for sure. Interestingly, when I did garment sewing I never had a stash. I was strictly a project sewer, I only ever bought enough fabric for the project I was working on. The one exception to this rule was when I went to a fabric store down in Newport Beach California, many years ago, now and they had such a wonderful and varied selection of good quality fabric that I would not be able to get at home that I broke down and bought fabric without a project in mind. This was in the days before shopping online wasn’t even a twinkle in someone’s eye so it was either purchase it when you saw it or regret it forever.

Stash Building

When I first started quilting I really thought I would do the same thing, just buy fabric project by project but I soon found that could get quite expensive. Doing it that way was fine for certain projects but you really had to watch the sales. Soon I began ‘collecting’ fabric on sale or if I was in a different city. Before I knew it I had a stash. I do still add to it but not like I did for the first 10 years of my quilting journey.

As mentioned above my stash is now quite large and consists of fabrics that I have collected from the many places I have travelled.  I thought I would share some of my favourite pieces with you. Maybe one day I will actually use them in a quilt.

This butterfly fabric was a very early purchase. In fact, it is probably around 16 years old. It is a Timeless Treasures fabric from a collection called Rain. I still love this fabric. Although I have never used this in a quilt,  I did use it as a colour palette for a quilt.

 This fabric was one of several that I picked up in Thailand about 10 years ago now. You could purchase packages of 1.5 metres of fabric for about $5.00. They were 100% cotton and were intended for making traditional Thai skirts.

This fabric was added to my stash at the same time as the above fabric. It is hand painted batik fabric from Kaula Lauper, Maylsia. The colours are actually much brighter in real life. I have several different pieces I picked up from a shop we visited that did the painting right there.  The next fabric was added about 6 years ago and I still have 5 metres of it. It is a Christmas fabric from Robert Kaufman Holiday flourish II. I thought I would love to do a large stack and whack type quilt with it. Maybe one day I will, meanwhile, I get to take it out and look at it every once in a while.          This sunflower fabric is from Robert Kaufman from a line called Shades of the Season. I don’t remember when I got this but it is one of my favourites. I have used some of this in smaller items but haven’t used it in a quilt as yet.  I just love how cheery and bright the yellow and orange sunflowers are.

I had a few more fabrics that I wanted to share with you, however, I think I will leave them for a different post. At present, I don’t even have any real ideas of what I want to make with these fabrics, just that they are still some of my favourites. So how about you, do you have some favourite fabrics you have sitting in your stash? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Stash Building

 

 

 

 

Client Canada 100 Quilt

Hello Summer! Summer is probably my favourite time of year. Here in Victoria BC, it doesn’t get super hot so most days in the summer are really pleasant. Summer is when things slow down in the quilt studio at least when it comes to client quilts, so that means I might actually get my unfinished quilt tops quilted. Wow, won’t that be something, I only have about 4 or 5 of them sitting around. Of course, 3 are queen sized and I want to quilt them with more than just an allover design so that means they would be on the frame for awhile hence the fact they have been sitting waiting for an opening. My Mom wants one of them for her bed so that is an incentive to get at least one quilted right there.

Canada Quilt 100 Quilt

Isn’t this quilt stunning! This was made by Linda Chase. It was designed by Kat Tucker and was called 150 Canadian Woman in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday. Linda did a fabulous job piecing this. I love the scrappiness, even though she just used red and white there is a lot of movement happening here.

I used white Sew Fine 50 thread from Superior Threads and used a maple leaf pantograph for the quilting design. We thought using red thread would be too much and we would have been right. For me, I just wanted the wonderful piecing to shine through which is why the white thinner thread was chosen.

Thank you, Linda, for allowing me to quilt this beauty.

Now to quilt some of my own quilts.

 

A Quilt Finish

Yeah, I finally finished one of my own quilts. The first in, oh, I don’t know maybe a year now. This particular quilt I have been working on for some years now. I think I started cutting it out and collecting the fabric back in 2012. Life happened and it got put away until a few months ago when I finally pulled it back out and decided to finish it.

It is my version of Kaffe Fassett’s Bordered Diamonds design. Most of the fabrics in this are Kaffe Fassett but not all. It was a really good exercise in using colour. It really made one think outside the box and look at colour and design in a whole new light.

I pondered how to quilt it as I didn’t want to take away from all that is happening in the design itself. I also didn’t want to use a variegated or monofilament thread so my choices seemed to be limited. I finally decided to just quilt it with a large stipple. I know, I know, how boring right? The poor lowly stipple design, but seriously, sometimes any other quilting design would simply overpower the quilt itself and I felt this was one of those occasions.

The next issue was what to do about thread colour? There appeared to be every colour of the rainbow in this quilt. It was a client of mine that gave me the idea. I had the quilt up on the design wall and we were debating what to do about binding when she mentioned the lime green throughout the quilt. I suddenly remembered reading somewhere about lime green thread blending  with lots of things and I just so happened to have a spool so thought I would check it out.

Lo and behold it worked great! The lime green blended with all of the colours whereas even a beige ended up being too stark. I used Superior Threads So Fine 50 #534 Ferrari in both the top and bobbin.

For the binding I ended up going with a dark forest green, that just seemed to finish the quilt off nicely.

So now that I finally finished a quilt that had been languishing you would think I would keep it right! Nope, I am taking it tomorrow to offer it to my church so they can raffle it off.

Now to go and see if I can finally finish some of the other projects I have that have been sitting around awhile.

Happy Quilting

Changes Happening and a Quilt Batting Primer

6dfa7320b9df7b2d116879a5ca140fd2--quotes-about-giving-up-quotes-about-people-changing

Winter seems to have come early in this part of the world, we even had snow a week ago. One day I am walking the dog wearing just a sweater and two days later we are having to pull out the complete winter gear. Yikes. I hope that is not a sign of how this winter is going to progress.

Well, it’s been awhile since I have posted an update here. I have been super busy working and quilting customer quilts. I have made some changes in my work life these days as I am no longer working at The Cloth Castle. I really enjoyed my time working there, however, I was offered more hours at my other job and it does pay far better. So with that and the fact that I am getting busier with client quilts as well, I made the decision to simplify my life a bit.

It has been a good decision even though I do miss working at the store and meeting all of the customers. I now have my weekends back and it is far easier to schedule in time with family and friends, as well as time for quilting. Now I just need to find some time to quilt my own quilts.

Awhile back I wrote a newsletter on how to choose the right batting for your quilts. This question has come up again so I thought I would repost this article here.

Batting Primer

Batting-Choices-ChasingCottons

 

There are a lot of different types out there and I could probably write a whole book on the subject. Not sure it would be the most interesting book mind you but still…

Each step of bringing a quilt to completion has its own choices, challenges, and delights. Some people love piecing the quilt top but could easily forgo the sandwiching and quilting part of the process. I guess that’s why I know lots of people with a drawer full of unquilted tops.

Batting selection can be boggling these days as there are so many choices on the market. So how do you choose the right batting for your project?

Where to Start?
First off you need to start by asking yourself some basic questions.

What am I making? 
Is this a baby quilt that will be washed over and over, a wall hanging that may never be washed, a bed quilt or heirloom keepsake.

How will I be finishing it?
Will this be tied, hand quilted or machine quilted.

Machine Quilted
If the quilt is to be machine quilted, what kind of quilting is required, loose all over design or an intricate custom quilted design?

The type of batting to be used in your project will vary depending on the answers to the questions above.

Basic Batting Terms
Once you have answered the questions above it is time to move onto what types of batting are available. Here are some simple terms to help you get started.

Loft: High
Loft is the thickness of the fluffed batting. A high loft is anything above 1/2 inch, and the highest lofts come in the polyester battings. These types of battings are typically used for hand tying quilts

Loft: Medium
The fluffed batting is somewhere between 1/4 to 1/2 inches.

Loft: Low
The fluffed batting is somewhere between 1/4 – 1/2 inches. This is the most common loft for machine or hand quilting.

Quilting Distance
Quilting Distance is the distance between rows of quilting stitches which will keep this batting from shifting or bunching. This varies radically depending upon the type of quilting you are using.

Bonded 
Fibers are held together through a bonding agent, similar to a glue. Some bonded battings may not be able to be preshrunk as the glue used may dissolve. Another drawback to this type of batting is that the quilting stitches may need to be really close together.

Scrim
A light, loosely woven fabric, sometimes used to stabilize batting fibres when needle-punching. Often a polyester fibre, it may even be used in batts labelled as all cotton.

Needle-punched
Fibers are loosely felted together by a felting process using tiny needles. This creates a more stable batt, but some hand quilters find it difficult to use as it is quite firm. Most needle-punched batts include a scrim for securing the fibres. They may provide more stability for wall hangings.

Different Batting Fibers 

So now you have decided what the quilt is to be used for, whether you are going to tie, hand quilt or machine quilt the finished top and you have some idea of batting terminology, now it’s time to pick what type of fibre you want your batting to have.

Cotton 
Fiber from harvested cotton bolls.Cotton is stable, soft and washable however it will shrink. Cotton tends to yield a flatter look than a polyester or cotton/poly blend when quilted. The cons of straight cotton batts are that the batting can ‘beard’ or have fibres migrate through the stitching holes of the quilting.

Polyester
Polyester batts have a higher loft than cotton and offer great stability between fibres. Polyester batts are the best choice when you want to ‘tie’ a quilt as it will have the least bunching.

Cotton/Poly Blend
Considered by many to be the best of both worlds, these blends offer the softness of cotton and the stability of polyester. Bonded ones may be easier to hand quilt than needle-punched. Blend percentages vary by product however the most common blend is 80% cotton and 20% polyester.

Bamboo 
The fibres from bamboo are long and strong, but surprisingly soft. Bamboo can be as drapeable as silk, and as soft as fine wool.

Wool
Wool is extremely soft, and the warmest batting option. It is easy to hand quilt and is a good choice for machine quilting as well.

The above types are the most common on the market today although there are others. There is a batting made out of recycled plastic bottles that is called a green batting and I believe it has the colour green as well. There is also silk batting and organic batting. Both of these types are more expensive.

As well as the above there are also thermal battings used for oven mitts and very low loft thermal battings used for placemats.

Batting Colour
Once you have finally decided on what type of batting you are going to use there is one final consideration to make and that is the batting colour. Now some people may not care about this but depending on the project and how the quilt is to be used it may be a consideration.

Battings can come in three colours (4 if you count the green plastic bottle one). These are

Cream or Off White
This is the most popular colour of batting. Both Hobbs 80/20 and Warm and Natural two very popular types of batting are cream or off-white in colour.

Black
Hobbs 80/20 batting also comes in a black colour. You may wonder why anyone would use a black batting, however, consider this, if your quilt project is mostly black and bright colours you don’t want a white or cream batting showing through the needle holes. In that case, you may prefer to use a black batting. Black batting is a little stiffer than the cream because of the black dye however it does soften up with use.

White
Most 100%cotton batting is white and there is a batting called Warm and White that is also very white. You would want to use a white batting if your quilt is more modern with a solid white background colour. The cream batting would dull the bright white look of the quilt.

Conclusion 

I think for batting you may just need to get some small samples and test them out yourselves until you find the brands types you love.

As for me, I have used the following battings.

Hobbs 80/20 (my go-to batting for everything)
Hobbs 80/20 black
Kyoto Bamboo Batting (lovely to work with
Hobbs Wool
Warm and Natural (quilts up nicely)
Warm and White

Well with all of the above I may have just confused you more than enlightened you. I didn`t even touch on fusible batting something which I loved to use when I was quilting using my domestic machine. I never used fusible on baby quilts though.

Click here to receive the free Inspiration Journal pattern and sign up for the newsletter

Inspiration Journal