Quilt Preparation & Batting Information
Short List for preparing your quilt to be long arm machine quilted
Choosing Backing Fabric
You spend a great deal of time considering and choosing fabric for your quilt top and the quilt back fabric needs to be just as carefully considered! It should be a complimentary fabric and colour to your top. Even with batting in between the top and back a mismatched and strong back colour can shadow through to the front. For best results choose a backing fabric that is multi coloured with a busy print such as small floral prints or bold geometrics. Solid fabrics or fabrics that appear solid from a distance are acceptable if using a thread colour that blends with the fabric.
Squaring Up The Backing
Quilts have traditionally been squares or rectangles. In order to achieve this each component of the quilt, top & backing, need to be square. Before cutting or piecing the backing fabric to size, prewash and dry the fabric. I like to machine wash and dry my fabric as soon as I purchase it so that it is ready to use when I need it! To square up your backing, first determine that you have enough fabric for it to be 6-8 inches larger than the quilt top on all sides. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise (shortest edges together) and hold it while standing. Look for any diagonal folds in the fabric and adjust the edges to eliminate the fold. This will probably mean that the long edges do not meet in a straight line. Lay folded fabric on a table and bring the fold to the long edges to result in four layers of fabric. Hold it up again and check to be sure the new fold hangs straight and adjust as needed. Continue bringing up folds to the first edges and adjusting as needed until the width is small enough to lie flat on your cutting surface. Trim off the excess uneven layers on the short edges. (You may lose up to 4 inches overall in this exercise.)
The squared backing needs to be 4 inches larger than the quilt top on all sides. Squaring your quilt backing is something you can do yourself or you can pay extra to have me do it. If you do it yourself you not only save money but you will be sure the back is large enough.
Quilt Top & Border Preparation
You have worked diligently on all your blocks and are ready to add borders. It is very important to not have 'friendly' borders. 'Friendly' borders wave to you and having them on a quilt top is about the only time you do not want to see a 'friendly' wave. This can be eliminated by measuring the length of border needed before attaching it to the quilt. It only takes a few more minutes to measure through the body of the quilt in at least two places, the center and the edge you are attaching the border to. Take the smaller of these two measurements and cut your border fabric to this measurement. Fold your border in half and press, fold in half again and press and if needed fold again in half and press to give yourself easily seen equal sections of border to pin onto the quilt top in corresponding sections. Then sew your border easing in fullness (if any) from either the quilt top edge or the border fabric. If there is a big difference between a measurement taken in the quilt center and at an edge you may want to consider unsewing some quilt top seams and taking in a little bit of excess fabric spread over many seams to bring the two measurements closer together.
There are a wide variety of batting choices today. Basically they fall into a few categories with different manufacturers to choose from. You may want to consider using a dark batting if your quilt top & back are all dark colours and as well if your quilt top has a lot of white in it you should use a bleached batting to enhance the crispness of your white quilt top. I have in stock Hobbs and Quilters Dream battings listed below. You may supply batting you have purchased elsewhere if you choose. The batting needs to be 3 inches larger on all sides than the quilt top.
Battilizer by Quilters Dream
Batting and Stabilizer all rolled up into one product! 70% Cotton and 30% Polyester batting with a special "stabilizer" between the layers. The stabilizer adds a layer of stability and strength that allows the extra "tug" or "pull" of machine embroidery. Perfect for table runners! 24" width $7.98 m
100% Polyester Batting
This inexpensive batting has been used for many years and works well for either machine or hand quilting. Polyester batting will give more 'puffiness' to a quilt. Polyester batting will machine wash and dry without shrinkage and will not take long to dry, a good choice for frequently laundered quilts. It comes in various 'weights' or thicknesses and can be quilted 3 inches to 4 inches apart.
Cotton/Polyester Blend Batting
There are a variety of cotton/polyester blends available at a relatively inexpensive price. Common blends are 70% cotton/30% polyester or 80% cotton/20% polyester. These blends machine wash and dry well with a bit of shrinkage. This can contribute to a 'puckered' antique look which can be desired. These battings come in different thicknesses and are very comfortable to sleep under! This batting can be quilted 3 inches to 4 inches apart.
100% Cotton Batting
Used for centuries, cotton batting stands up to the test of time! For machine quilting, this batting needs to be needle punched with a scrim so it can be quilted up to 6 inches apart without worry. This will shrink when washed and dried but is a very soft product to use and very comfortable to sleep under. Cotton batting will give a flat, traditional look to the quilt. It is slow burning, an important factor in quilts for babies and children. Cotton battings come in either a natural colour or bleached. The bleached battings give a clean, crisp appearance to areas on a quilt with white/light coloured fabric. This batting can be quilted from 2 inches to 10 inches apart depending on the brand.
Cotton/Wool 80/20 Batting
Hobbs Tuscany® Wool Blend Batting is made with fine USA cotton blended with the very best superwash wool. The blend is 80% cotton with 20% superwash wool. It is then carded and resin bonded to help retard bearding. This batting provides superb insulation and the fibers breathe allowing excess heat to dispense away from the body. It can be quilted up to 4" apart and is washable. We recommend washing in tepid water and laying flat to dry. It is great for hand, machine, or longarm quilting projects. Pre-washing the batting is NOT recommended.
Hobbs Tuscany® 80/20 Cotton/Wool Blend Batting 108 " width $13.98 m
Tuscany Heirloom® Wool batting is made with the very best super wash wool, which eliminates most or all of the shrinkage. It is then carded and resin bonded to help retard bearding. Tuscany wool batting provides superb instulation and the fiber breathes allowing excess heat to dispense away from the body. It can be quilted up to 4" apart and is washable. The manufacturer recommends washing in tepid water by hand and laying out flat to dry. It hand quilts like a dream, and is wonderful for machine quilters as well.
Tuscany Heirloom® Wool 108" width $21.98 metre
Quilters Dream® Wool batting-Dream Wool is made with a Scoured and Super Washed Domestic & Fine Merino Wool that has been blended, carded, crosslapped & thermally bonded. The wool is scoured and super-washed for superior cleanliness and to eliminate shrinkage. Quilters Dream's unique processing creates wool batting with exceptionally soft drape, uniformity and strength. Dream Wool is a beautifully consistent batting that is truly a 'cut above'.
Quilters Dream Wool is made with the same distinctive quality, cleanliness and consistency that has made Quilters Dream Batting the one you can always count on! Made with pride in the USA.
Cedarview Farms Ontario Wool Batting
This eco-friendly wool batt product is a wonderful way to create a long-lasting, cozy project. The batt can be used to make duvets, mattress pads, and pillows, or as a filler in a special quilt. The Suffolk/Dorset cross sheep provide an excellent grade wool for fiber arts. Unlike other wool products these batts are not treated with resin. Resin is a substance also used in varnishes, and cement, and has been known to cause allergic reactions, as well as various other health concerns. This wool is processed in the United States, and it is 100% Canadian Wool! Suffolk/Dorset wool is excellent for quilt and bedding purposes as it resists felting, and retains its' springiness even after years of service. It has minimal bearding, as well as minimal shrinkage when washed according to directions.
Ontario Wool Batt Queen 100% Wool 90" X 108" $64.98/batt
Tuscany Heirloom® Silk Batting is made from imported silk filaments with the addition of 10% polyester. It is then carded and resin bonded to help retard bearding (fiber migration) and allowing the batting to be handled like a blanket. It can be quilted up to 4" apart and hand washed in tepid water and lay out to dry flat. It will likely shrink approximately 5%. Beacuse of silk's natural ability to breathe, it is an excellent choice for airy, light weight quilts and coverlets. The Tuscany Silk batting quilts magnificently by hand or machine and is a superb filling material for embroidery. Silk batting is an excellent choice for quilted garments due to 'draping' capability.
Tuscany Heirloom® Silk 96" Width $39.98/metre
Bamboo Blend Batting
This batting blend sold under the brand name of Nature's Touch™ is recommended for both hand and machine quilting with stitches up to 8" apart. It is a blend of 50%Bamboo/50%Cotton. Antibacterial properties and very drapeable.
Nature's Touch 50% Bamboo/50% Cotton - 96" width $16.98 m
Lightly Quilted--Modern Quiltmaking That Honours Tradition