Here’s a little more “stream of consciousness” quilting on the Swanky quilt:
I drew a loopy little quilt design to coordinate with the border stencil I chose, and then only used part of it! I decided the middle part was okay since it was just four little loopy bits, but the side parts were just too strange looking, like some alien spider thingy maybe. My oh-so-excellent drawing skills were hard at work again!
I found the perfect thread in my stash! Superior Threads Rainbows #808. Just look at it, the perfect combination of colors to go with the Swanky fabrics! I’ve used this type of thread for machine quilting a lot lately, so I was expecting it to be easy to quilt with. It wasn’t, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Hobbs Thermore has been my batting of choice since Hobbs Bonded Fibers was generous enough to donate a queen-size package of it to me when I was at Quilt Market last October. Did you know that Hobbs also makes fibers for industries other than quilting? One of their newest products called Fibertect is “A three layer, inert, flexible, drapable, nonwoven composite substrate for decontamination that is effective in neutralizing and adsorbing toxic chemical agents potentially used in chemical warfare, toxic industrial chemicals, and pesticides.” Wow! Interesting…next time I need to clean house, I’ll know where to go for my outfit!
Anyway, Thermore is my favorite batting right now. From Hobbs: “This unique and patented product was developed as a thin, drapable, migration free polyester batt. ” Yup, that “migration free” part is why. After I tried Quilter’s Dream and it was bearding like crazy, I switched to Thermore and found that Hobbs doesn’t lie. Thermore just doesn’t beard, period.
But like all battings when they come out of the package, it’s a bit wrinkly and crinkly, so I’ve just been laying it on the ironing board and steaming it before basting. Just float the iron over it, not actually touching it, with the steam function cranked up to high and then smooth the wrinkles out with your hand as you go. Flip and repeat for the other side if necessary. You can also pop it into the dryer on low heat for five or ten minutes, but my dryer is two floors down so I use the iron on small pieces.
Since all the quilts I’ve been making lately are pretty small, I’ve been pin basting (with straight pins, not safety pins) instead of my usual trick with the tagging gun. I really like the pin basting because the holes are smaller! It’s also just quicker to pin it than get out the gun and the tags on something smallish.
I think I’ve also solved the “human pincushion” issue when using straight pins. I call these my Basting Buddies! They’re little caps that fit on the ends of the straight pins, so they keep the sharp ends from putting holes in me and they keep the pins from slipping out of the quilt as it’s moved around during machine quilting. It’s just as easy to get these on and off the pins as it would be to close and open safety pins, maybe even easier, and the point quality is much higher on a straight pin than it is on a safety pin, so it’s better for your fabrics.
I love the way the quilting turned out on this little quilt! Simple and easy quilting designs, but totally effective! But the quilting itself was NOT easy. I think this spool of Rainbows thread is some of the original version, and Superior Threads changed the thread slightly a few years ago and made it better. The newer spools that I have are quite easy to machine quilt with; I’d even say as easy as quilting with cotton, but the thread on this particular spool shredded and broke a lot during quilting. It happened so often that I was getting really frustrated with it, and I usually don’t get that way! Well, not about machine quilting anyway! I did get through it, but if I need this color combination of Rainbows thread again, I’ll probably just buy a new spool.
All in all, this was a really fun little quilt to make. I still have some more pictures that I took of the process, some while fitting the border quilting design (since Joyce asked) and some while hand stitching the binding down with a ladder stitch. I’ll share these in the next week or so!