Let's start with a question I received about wholecloth quilting before the break:
Can a bed sized wholecloth quilt be pieced from two large pieces of fabric?
This is the tricky thing about wholecloth quilts - finding good yardage that is wide enough for larger quilts.
Typical high quality quilting cotton runs around 40 - 44 inches, and that is simply not wide enough if you're wanting to make a full or queen sized wholecloth.
Sooo....here's the deal: in the purest technical definition of a wholecloth, this is a quilt created from one single piece of fabric. A quilt pieced from 2 or 3 large strips of 40 inch fabric really isn't technically a wholecloth because it's not made from a single large piece of fabric.
few Hawaiian quilt blocks a few years ago and I fused them! I certainly don't consider my blocks traditional, but I think it certainly still counts as a quilt inspired by that quilt design style.
Also keep in mind that it really won't matter whether you create a wholecloth from one big piece or multiple pieces of fabric unless you plan to show the quilt. If you're making the quilt for yourself, for a friend, for a family member that will use it, it really doesn't matter if it's made from 1 piece of fabric or 100. They're not going to judge it!
I've said it before, but I'll say it again just to grind it in a bit further: creating a quilt to show just isn't in the same ballpark as creating a quilt to use on your bed. You have to fastidiously follow every official rule in the book if you want to compete to win. Finding wide enough yardage is not an option, it's a necessity.
When looking for wide yardage, you might be tempted to look at backing fabric. Just be double and triple sure your backing fabric is a nice, high quality fabric. If it's so sheer you can watch TV through it, and full of slubs and thread breaks in the weaving, chances are that's not great fabric for a wholecloth.
The next question from Mary at Can't Stop Stitchin is also related to wholecloth quilting as it deals with marking a quilt top:
How many marking pens do you need to mark a large quilt top?
Full question: How much mileage do you gals get out of one marker? Leah, can you shed some light on this subject? How to store them, use, and mileage we can expect to get from one?
This is a frustrating aspect of liquid marking pens - they just never have enough ink! Depending on the size of the project and how much you're marking, I'd generally expect a single water soluble marking pen to cover around 9 square feet of fabric (36" x 36") if the markings are very close (1/2" to 1 inch apart).
I'm basing this opinion on my experience with The Duchess. Each quarter of that quilt took 3 pens (12 pens total), and yes, I ran out many times. Each time I purchased a new pen, I'd think "I'll finish it up with this one..." only to be back at the store again the next day.
I know this seems ridiculous, but fabric really likes to soak up water soluble ink, and it's better to understand this going into a project rather than have high expectations for a single pen covering an entire queen sized bed quilt. It probably won't cover a quarter of it.
When it comes to storing marking pens, I've always kept mine in drawers or cups, depending on which sewing machine they were next to. If a pen has mostly been used up during a project, but still has a bit of ink left, I'll mark the end with tape so I know not to depend on it for a big project.
Yes, chalk and ceramic pencils do have a bit more longevity when it comes to marking, simply because you can refill the tool rather than just throw it away. If you're working with dark fabrics where a light pencil will work, make sure to have at least 2 refill packs of lead to get you through the entire marking process.
As always - test before starting! Make sure you know how your pen or pencil is erased and test it on your fabric first before marking.
Now let's move on to a question about thread breaks from Pat at Color Me Quilty:
If your thread breaks or your bobbin runs out in the middle of FMQ and there aren't ends long enough to bury in the inside, what do you do?
Do you start stitching a little on top where stopped?
I know some techniques are easier to understand when they are seen rather than written about, so I shot some photos this morning to illustrate this technique.
When your bobbin runs out or thread breaks in the middle of a quilting section, it usually looks something like this:
|Super short thread tails at the end of Stippling make for a trick situation.|
If nothing is close by or if the design you're quilting doesn't contain any of those elements (Stippling doesn't), just rip until you have long enough thread tails to tie a knot and hide them in the middle layer of the quilt.
|Try ripping to the smallest stitch close by as it will form the most secure end to the stitching.|
Step 4 - Start stitching. Looking at the remaining line of stitching, insert your needle into the 2nd to last stitch hole. Pull up the bobbin thread and hang on to them as you start stitching off the line. You will overlap just that one last stitch, which will secure that line and hopefully hide the new thread start as well.
|Can you tell where the thread break happened?|
Yes, this is exactly what I do every single time I break thread, whether accidentally or on purpose, which is why I take pains not to break thread very often. If only machine manufactuers would figure out a way of making machines take a spool of thread in the bobbin as well as the top so we wouldn't run out of bobbins anymore!
Now with all this talk about wholecloth quilts, I have to admit I'm feeling tempted to take a look back at The Duchess. I've been thinking and talking about creating a new, reloaded version of that quilt for more than a year and it's finally feeling like now is the right time.
I'll definitely keep you posted as I dig out the old pattern and start working on this huge wholecloth project this weekend.
Let's go quilt,