Tips and Tools Tuesday – A Clue to How Do…

Hello my friends!

Oh, it feels so good to be writing to you all again! It has been a very long time since I’ve posted anything here. 2020 and the first part of 2021 has felt like an eternity. But, I am back to sewing, designing, pattern writing, and quilting. Woohoo!

One of the projects I’ve been working on (when I wasn’t at my day job, which was considered an “essential” job) is a queen-size quilt for a friend at church.  He asked me to make a quilt for him. He wanted it to look “old timey” and feel “heavy” when he’s under it. Simple squares in straight rows was his pattern choice, and to use bright colored fabrics. “Colors like you’d see on a woman in a pretty Summer dress,” he said. Isn’t that just the sweetest way to describe a color palette?

I pulled a myriad of fabrics and bright colors from my stash that I thought he might like. I numbered them and sent him a photo so he could pick out any numbered fabric that he didn’t care for. Photos just don’t really capture colors correctly. These fabrics are much prettier in person.

Those of you who’ve been reading my posts for any length of time, know that brights are out of my comfort zone. I went ahead and started cutting squares even though I had not heard back from him yet. I”d originally thought of laying them out diagonally, so, I cut 4″ squares and laid them out on my design wall. The more I put up there, the more I liked them! Who knew I could like brights?!! Really like them!!!

The diagonally placed 4″ squares started to feel “not old timey”, so I cut out some 6″ squares and laid them out in straight rows. That looked more “old timey” to me.

When I showed him both layouts, he liked the 6″ straight rows best. I’d cut out enough 4″ and 6″ squares to make a queen-size quilt out of each. That way, no matter which size he chose, I’d make a quilt for me out of the other squares. 🙂 Win, win!

Okay, the quilt top was done, now, how to make it “feel heavy” without “being” too heavy. I layered two completed quilts, one on top of the other, and let him feel the weight of them to see if that was the feel that he wanted. He said, “Just a little heavier than this and it will be just right.”

My mind was reeling with, “Whaaaaaat?” See, I didn’t grow up with quilts. We had store bought blankets and knitted or crocheted afghans. So, I didn’t have a frame of reference for the “heavy” feel he was remembering.

Mind you, there was two quilt tops, two backings, and two battings. How much more could I layer together and still quilt it? I posed the “How would you make this “feel” heavy?” question to members of a few Facebook groups that I belong to. There were many great suggestions. One, was to use denim. I remembered a picnic quilt that I’d made using my husbands old jeans. It…..is……heavy! So, I decided to use a layer of denim in the quilt. I didn’t want the rough texture of the denim as a backing, so I hid it between two layers of cotton batting. I layered the quilt sandwich like this, quilt top, batting, denim, batting, backing.

I knew I couldn’t wrestle all of those layers under the needle of my sit-down domestic sewing machine, so a dear friend let me use her longarm machine to quilt it on. I used an extra large needle. Size 120/19. I didn’t want skipped stitches, so the large needle was needed. It quilted beautifully!

When the quilting was finished, and the quilt bound, it was beautiful! And, a little stiff, due to the denim layer. Yes, it feels “heavy” while under it, just not as cozy as I think a quilt should be. The denim doesn’t let it “drape” and snuggle around you. Drat!

Well, it was a very cold night here in Alabama. (I know, all of you north of Tennessee are laughing at my reference to a “cold” night.) Anyway, my Sweetheart and I needed an extra quilt on the bed. I grabbed one that is much longer than it is wide and laid it sideways on the bed. it hung down quite a ways on either side. I noticed how much “heavier” the bedding now felt. Then it dawned on me, “That’s why some quilts “feel” heavy when you’re under them! They’re huge! The extra width hangs off the bed and pulls downward on the sides.

So, I got busy and made another “Brights” quilt with 6″ squares. My design wall isn’t large enough to hold the 96″ x 96″ top, so this is 3/4 of it.

It has two layers of batting, but no denim.

I quilted it on my friend’s longarm machine and it turned out exactly like he wanted. Heavy and cozy! I used a larger scale of meandering squares for this one as well. Along with the denim layer on the last one, I thought perhaps the dense quilting had also contributed to it’s lack of drape-ability.

This quilt hangs over 18 inches on both sides and the bottom of the bed. It’s more like a bedspread which makes it feel like a weighted blanket when you’re under it. Perfect! ( I folded up the end because it looked really awkward over the posts at the foot of our bed. Plus, I wanted you to see the pretty backing fabric.

Notice the larger scale of the meandering squares that I quilted in this one. This quilt was made with 6-inch squares as well, but, compare the quilting in this photo with the quilting a few photos up. More quilting means less drape. Less quilting means more drape.

This is the backing fabric I chose. Kind of looks like “Colors you’d see on a woman in a pretty Summer dress.”, don’t you think? I purposely did not include any red squares in the outermost row, because I will be binding it with red and don’t want the binding color to get lost in any adjoining red squares.

I’ll post more photos after the binding is finished.

Again, I am so glad to be back doing what I love! Sewing, quilting, designing, and sharing with you!

Today is a good day! Do something you enjoy!

Diane

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