The Free Motion Quilting Project: Question Thursday #33

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Question Thursday #33

It's Question Thursday and this week I have a few questions to answer from quilters, but I also have a few questions to ask as well!

Let's start with a great question from Pat at Color Me Quilty:

Would you iron wrinkled batting?

Full Question: How do you handle really wrinkled batting? The picture above, isn't really badly wrinkled. But sometimes I have pieces of batting that are much worse, especially a curl on the edge of the batting. Do you press it before basting it or do you just try to smooth it out the best you can as you baste?

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Hmm...I admit, this is an issue I haven't run across often. If I had a particularly wrinkled batting, I would first spread it flat for a day on a big table to let most of the deep wrinkles ease a bit.  If I was storing this batting, I'd fold it up carefully and hang it from a hanger in my fabric collection.

If I needed to use it immediately, I'd probably try to iron it using a pressing cloth and first testing on one corner.  Some batting types will melt if hit with an iron that is too hot, so just be mindful of that when ironing your batting.

When it comes time to baste, just make sure to spread it out over the backing and really smooth the stuffing out of it.  Go overboard smoothing with the palms of your hands until the batting is completely flat and kind of sticking to the backing.  This might take 20 minutes for a small quilt or over 1 hour for large quilt.

All that smoothing will pay off because even an intensely wrinkled bat will be forced to smooth out under so much attention.  Just take your time, grab a glass of wine, pop on an audiobook, and by the time you get into the meat of the story, you'll be ready to add the quilt top and start smoothing it down as well!

Now that was the only question I found this week which means I get to ask one of you guys!

I need to know how I should best write this tote bag pattern.  For reference, here's one version of the bag:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

This was created by taking free motion quilted pieces (basically the practice sandwiches we've played with all year), slicing them up and connecting together to form the bag and strap.  If you've been practicing a lot, this is a great project to use up all those quilted panels.

But here's another version of this bag:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

This version is obviously a pretty goddess face on the front.  When I carry this bag I get loads of wonderful comments and personally I love it and think it will make a terrific pattern....but...

WHICH ONE SHOULD I CHOOSE?! I plainly don't want two identical tote bag patterns with the only difference the inclusion of a goddess face design.  Too many options end up being confusing and distracting as well.

Focus.  I just need a focus on this particular project.  So logically I created a third possibility:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
This bag would feature super simple shapes and quilting with words (whatever phrase or poem you liked).  This would be great for anyone just getting into free motion quilting and wanting to practice but not have the stress and pressure of a big quilt.

I also realized that really any surface would do for the front of the bag, so you could use any orphan or leftover block from any quilt.  If you've ever joined a block-of-the-month club and only completed 2 blocks, this would be a great way to use up those UFO orphan blocks:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
ARGH! As you can see, I've managed to take a simple idea - a tote bag pattern - and turn it into a schizophrenic, multi-personality nightmare.

Any advice?  Which bag pattern would you spend money on, if any?

In truth, I'm not even sure myself what this bag should be.  The goddess was fun to make, the practice quilting was fun to make, the wordy wonderland was fun to make, and the idea of finishing up UFO orphan blocks was also a nice idea.

Overall it's a very fun pattern, but what should it ultimately be?!  Too many possibilies and complication - that is the story of my life.

I'm off to quilt something simple and with hopefully only one personality.

Let's go quilt,

Leah

24 comments:

  1. I love the idea of putting quilted sandwiches together, but I think that the Goddess bag is SO different than anything you see out there that it might stand out more.

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  2. I through my batting in the dryer on low with a dryer ball that has a moistened sponge in it. Works every time.

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  3. Leah, I have had great success getting wrinkles out of batting by putting it in the dryer for about 10 minutes. I use Quilter's Dream cotton select.

    Jane

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  4. For some types of batting (low loft, 'flat', cotton and or blends...NOT high loft poly) I mist it lightly with a water sprayer and throw it in the dryer on medium heat for 5 minutes. Voila! Dry and no wrinkles!!

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  5. I use Warm and Natural so don't know about other brands.... I sprinkle the batting just a bit with water and throw it in the dryer for about 10-15 minutes. Comes out soft and smooth and very easy to start layering. Even the fold creases are gone.

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  6. Leah, I would suggest a generic bag pattern then let your loyal fans decide what design to put on the front panel. I'm sure there are some of us that would love the goddess as an add-on but we may have something perfect to use too, just like you suggested...leftover blocks, etc. Just my 2 cents worth. Thank you for being such an educational resource!!

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  7. For the tote bag issue, how much variation is there in the construction? My Libra personality is showing up saying to go for the huge pattern that includes all varieties. But that really isn't practical, so I would focus on the basic bag (option 1) and maybe include the orphan blocks idea. Then you could publish the goddess face later with the footnote that it makes a good wallhanging or tote bag!

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  8. When I'm looking for a bag pattern, I usually look for one with interesting construction. BUT, that being said, the goddess bag has a very interesting element. The Goddess face. You could always add photos at the end to show how you can personalize it more whether it be with the quilting, or leftover blocks. I think the show stopper in this one is the Goddess. However you construct the bag, the face will catch the eye.Hope this helps.

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  9. I agree with others who say that a generic bag pattern would be good, and just show several variations. You could even put both the generic picture and the Goddess picture on the "title" picture. I also tend to like bag patterns that have different sizes, or ways to make it, just to add more confusion ;-).

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  10. I would go with the basic tote pattern, calling out the size of the pieces. This give all the option of personalizing all the way up to the insides! It could be a quilt block, a scrappy use up your junk block or any applique or anything else...just put a disclaimer not to fill that thing up without a dolly to haul it around!

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  11. I'm voting with PegD and Andi, publish a basic bag pattern that includes the the orphan blocks or fmq samplers, then later publish the goddess pattern noting that it could be used as a wall hanging or tote.

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  12. Absolutely adore the Goddess bag - leave it to you to make something so beautiful and unusual. :) Really like your suggestions for using the sample sandwiches, too. You may have to do all of it! You know us, more IS better! Blessings!

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  13. Hi Leah I love the stippled bag !! I would do a generic pattern for the bag for the sizes them as Andi said do the two options. The goddess would be a great project in itself which could then be the bag if wanted. People's taste varies so much that I'd give basic construction. Hope that helps x

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  14. Weighing in on the batting question: I, also, mist the wrinkled batt on both sides then throw it in the dryer on medium heat for 15 to 20 min. (with dryer balls). This takes out wrinkles and the fold marks created. Smoothing it while slightly warm is a plus!!!

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  15. I would do a generic tote bag pattern and add the goddess face as a separate pattern included with the tote pattern suggesting it would be great for the tote bag front. A nice little extra when you buy the tote bag pattern?

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  16. I use 80/20 blend batting and have had luck ironing it on the lowest heat setting on my iron- it has worked well for me several times. As for the bag- I agree with the other comments- I would make the pattern to show how to construct already quilted squares into a finished tote bag, not worry about what the squares look like. I have made tote bags from already quilted squares and finished the edges in a few different ways, but it took some real thought to figure out how to do it. If you focus on that in your pattern and let people use their own imagination as to what quilted squares to use it will be much more versatile and interesting to see the different variations of tote bags that people make!

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  17. Both larger bags are so attractive: it's hard to choose. So, I'm going with the other readers who say to publish the pattern and tout the benefits of using practice FMQ blogs to make it, and then selling the Goddess pattern as a "front or back" option. But do have the Goddess pattern worked out so you can sell it and the tote as a "package" deal.
    Hugs,
    Tina in San Diego

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  18. I lay out wrinkled batting on my bed. Holding my steam iron about 3-4 inches over it, I steam the heck out of it, one area at a time, meanwhile using my other hand to gently flatten the just-steamed area. Within a few minutes, it's all dry and flat and ready to lay out on my backing.

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  19. I'm with PegD, Andi & Joni... offer your tote pattern now [you could even include some pics of variations, but no instructions, just ideas]... then later write up and offer the Goddess pattern. Win win. Good luck... let us know how it goes. Thank you for all the education and inspiration you offer.

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  20. Oooh! I love, love, LOVE the goddess face bag. I would totally do that one.

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  21. I would spend money on the goddess, as it is so unique and not something I would ever come up with on my own. Plus, if I bought the goddess pattern and wanted to use the construction to highlight something else, I could. But I can't do the goddess on my own, and that's worth $$.

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  22. How about calling it "Orphan Block Tote". Then you can also suggest the word one. I love the idea of practice quilting a saying or quote. Gonna try that!

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  23. I think you have a good solid bag construction with some design options...there is a bag designer locally who sells her patterns this way (see http://www.nicolemdesign.com.au/shop/). Her patterns include the basic bag construction along with some modifications ie two handles vs one handle plus on her website she has pictures showing other "finishing" styles.

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  24. Leah, I think the key is in the marketing when it comes to selling the bag. The Goddess is an eye catcher, but if I were a newbie I would be intimidated if that were the sole pattern. I think your best bet is to offer a "variety" of patterns for a single purchase. The tag line "From Simple to Sublime" keeps popping in my head.

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