I don't sleep well. Not sure why, but as I have gotten older, it is an occasional problem. I wake up really early---around 4:30 AM and cannot go back to sleep. What does a quilter do, they get up and quilt.
So I loaded and finished quilting the minky baby quilt, and learned a couple of things that I thought I would share (hopefully it will make for an interesting post):
- I washed my backing. I originally was going to use minky on the back as well and decided after all the stretching with the top, that wouldn't be a good idea---at least not for me. I decided to use flannel but realizing there might be an issue with shrinkage (minky doesn't shrink), I did what I NEVER do, I washed the backing last night. In warm water and a hot dryer. From this lesson, what I learned had nothing to do with the minky---Joann's flannel is pretty good. What I used was purchased as a "door buster" a couple of years ago (less than $2.00 per yard). When washed, the shrinkage was probably less than 3% if that (I didn't measure before washing). It really beefed up and had the same hand as the expensive "quilters flannel". So, if you purchase flannel at Joanne's, it is pretty good!
- As you can see from the picture of the dark blue square, there was some stretching issues. This was the part of the quilt that I didn't sew with my walking foot on. Lesson---use a walking foot and "GENTLY" maneuver the edges together as you sew. If you click on the picture it will enlarge and you can see how the squares do not line up---that is what happens when you do not have a walking foot that keeps your edges even.
- Pay attention to the nap grain. I didn't do that and so there are some squares that are against the grain...when you smooth your hand over them they nap up instead of smoothing out. I don't think the little baby that gets this quilt will mind, but for some people that would be an issue.
- Use a large meander/stipple. It really helps to "quilt some of the fullness out".
- The top thread color doesn't matter. I used a very light poly thread on top. You can't even see the color. The thread sinks into the nap of the minky.
- Be careful of batting purchased from Tuesday Morning (TW). I purchased a bolt of 100% rayon batting from TW. It was a good price (although with my 50% off coupon from Joanne's it probably wasn't that much of a deal) and I was interested in trying it since it is lightweight. My plan was to use it for my "gifting" baby quilts (I had the word "charity"and prefer "gifting"), since it is 45 inches wide and I will not have to piece or waste a larger piece of batting. Anyway, the batting has these black spots inside the folds. I am not sure if it is oil (rayon is made from oil I think), or some type of other stain, but it looks like it is dispersed everywhere throughout the entire bolt. It doesn't rub off so I think it will be okay---but I am NOT going to purchase anything like this from TW again unless I can unroll it and inspect. I am gong to cut off a piece and wash it and see what happens to the spots.
I am going to bind it in a purple cotton fabric. Picture will follow once I truly complete it.
In the last post I discouraged anyone from using the minky charms---I am going to amend that suggestion by saying, if you tend to lean toward impatience, think twice then. You can do it but you have to be patient and be willing to take out stitching if needed. It does make a rich, vibrate quilt though. I am going to use up the other squares I have, I have 49 left so the next quilt will be smaller, and although I like how the minky quilt looks, I don't think I will make another using small squares, maybe for backing, but not where you have to piece.
Just my "humble opinion.