Monday, September 12, 2016

Two weeks later...

This is a gigantic Fire Island Hosta quilt, measuring in at 100"x106".  It is perfectly pieced, but immense.  Just the ditching of every pieced seam, which yes, I do...took a whopping 8 hours.  I think that the ditch stitching holds the perfect lines of the piecing.  It also allows me to ditch the entire quilt, and then go back with each individual color thread, rolling the quilt to where I want to be. Ditching is a great stabilizer, to the point where not that much other basting is needed.
 This has a single wool batt.  I used YLI polished poly and Glide threads in a variety of colors -- blues, white, peach.
 All of the fabrics on this quilt are non-prewashed batiks.  Now, this is not a bashing of the maker in any way shape or form.  Many, many people out there still choose for one reason or another not to prewash.  But, I want to try my hardest to convince you why you should change your ways.

Prewashing is good.  <>  Prewashing is good.
 When a quilt has fabrics that have not been prewashed (or presoaked), especially batiks, I absolutely refuse to premark the quilt.  THAT is something I like to do with monstrous quilts so that motifs can be symmetrical (and in case I forgot what I did 50" earlier!  Aquas and deep blues are some of the absolute hardest dyes to get to come out.  You can ask me how I know, but many of you read this blog 4 years ago when my Rainbow Nouveau quilt nearly bled into the non-usable realm.  I won't tough a batik without soaking it in very hot water for many hours, several times.
 One of the other things that happens with batiks -- and this is the one that sends most machine quilters to the hills screaming.  Sometimes, and this is a very unpredictable occurrence, these fabrics because they are supremely tight, can cause thread shredding and tension anomalies.  I have quilted many batik quilts this year, and I even let a few of the backings past my quality controller (normally I request no batik backs) - which caused no issues at all.  This quilt though tested every realm of calm I could muster.  Threads shredded.  Tension was periodically amuck.  And the kicker of them all, about a dozen broken needles.  The needle would hit a seam and just snap.  I just had my machine serviced and retimed a month ago, so this is not a welcome sight!  Luckily, I don't appear to have machine issues now.  The upshot is that because batiks are tight, it is very worth your while to prewash them because they do soften some.  I would even go so far as to say, use a regular cotton backing fabric too.  The Neimeyer quilts have many, many seams and thick intersections, which makes it even harder, as they are typically done in batik fabrics.
My issues translate to added time, mostly, which is not something I relish passing on to any customer. The end result is very gorgeous though.  She asked for dense custom, and definitely got it.  This is my favorite area... 
 The back is pretty too...

I knew I was forgetting something...Seven more hours to quilt a couple of matching pillow shams!  I took a couple days off after finishing the quilt to work on some class samples for next yr though (I call this sanity time!).

 No rest for the weary...Another (is this #5?) one of these is loaded and ready to start tomorrow.  This is definitely a 2-week project.  It will be good to have it out of the way before I go to MQX in 5 weeks though.
Happy Monday!

7 comments:

Leeanne said...

Beautiful! Always interesting to read your thoughts, ideas and tips. You were lucky the broken needles didn't make any holes!

Sherry Meyer said...

Margaret, Your quilting is spectacular on this quilt. I am actually quilting the exact same quilt (102") in the exact same colors right now. I just started on it yesterday, so it will be on my machine for a while. I love your work so much and I really enjoy you blog. Thanks so much for doing it.

ChristaQuilts said...

Yes to pre-washing!! I just wish more people would :-)

kupton52 said...

Looking at your beautiful work is truly a visual blessing. I think I could sit and look at the details of the stitching and design for hours without getting tired or bored. Thank you for your useful insights on batiks, especially as backings. I have 2 batik tops now ready for quilting and considered batiks as backing for both. I also did not pre-wash the batiks so I think I will most definitely soak the tops before quilting them. Blessings from WV....

Jennifer Wright said...

You are very blessed in so many ways; a great family, business, skill and talent. You're work is the greatest that I've ever seen and I enjoy when your emails appear in my inbox. Very inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing and I wish you many more blessings! Have a great day!

momto1 said...

Thank you for always explaining things so well. I don't work frequently with batiks, and I'd heard people recommending pre-washing them, but never with really good arguments for doing so. Your explanation makes perfect sense.

Your quilting is just gorgeous as well. You have such amazing patience to do all that stitch in the ditch detail work. I'm a rank beginner, and find that the hardest part. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pics as well as your good advice.

Carole S.

Sharon said...

Your work is beautiful. I always appreciate also th di formation you share. I was wondering what is your thread of choice when you SID?