Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Best Quilt I Never Made


Here it is.  The best quilt I never made.  Almost a year ago I sent the ladies in my two bees, the VIBs and Twice Around the Block, my hoarded collection of Anna Maria Horner's Good Folks along with some Kona Ash.  I told them this quilt was called Ode to the HST.  The blocks had to be made from HST, but other than that, the design was up to them.  Now, I should have ended up with 22 blocks, but due to the kindness of a few ladies, I had 25!  You know what that means right?  I didn't have to make a SINGLE block!!!!!!  I'm ashamed it took me so long to put these together!  I sat down last night and made this quilt top in less than 3 hours from start to finish!  Why oh why did I not do this sooner?!?!?

Love is not a strong enough word for how I feel about this quilt.  I simply adore it!  The best part is that this one is living with me!  I can't imagine parting with it!  Now, I do need a little advice.  My plan was to back this in some AMH flannel, but I've never used flannel to back a large quilt.  I want this quilt to remain very soft and pliable and I don't really care if the quilt is super warm since I'll be using it on the couch.  So I want any advice you guys can offer about using flannel for backing--like should I go with minimal quilting? How would you quilt it?  Should I use batting?  What has been your experience with flannel?  Should I give up my flannel dream and back it in something else?  Speak up!

36 comments:

Judith said...

I can't offer advice on flannel as quilt backing I'm afraid but I just want to say how utterly gorgeous this quilt is. I have myself put together my 25 red and white blocks made by my Brit Bee Ladies for me and it gives me similar feelings of love and joy.

Faith Jones said...

I LOVE how it turned out!!!

I have no idea on the back, I've never done flannel but I do want to soon. For quilting, I think I would lean towards FMQ meandering because there are so many seams, I would hate to see some of them not last the test of time. I also do like a good crinkle. :)

Michelle said...

that is just gorgeous!!! i love it. might have to make an 'ode to the hst' quilt at some point myself!

Kelly said...

seriously, this is one beautiful quilt. i love it! as far as flannel for the back - i've never done it, but i want to, and i had some of the same questions you had, like whether or not to use batting. i'll be interested to see what people say!

Debbie said...

oh dear, I haven't used flannel either, so am anxious to see someone in the know respond. What a terrific quilt thought - the colors are awesome! Good for you!

Fiona said...

I've backed a few quilts with flannel sheets and I LOVE how soft and cozy they are. I have always pre-washed the flannel, but I don't prewash my fabric usually.
The ones I've used batting are really really warm and they are my kids favourite quilts ever. I've done a small one without batting and minimal quilting and it's lovely and soft and drapey, but not as warm.

Whatever you do it will be an amazing quilt!!!

Crystal said...

I use flannel to back every single quilt! I live in Minnesota and it's cold here! While the flannel + batting makes the quilt a little stiff, it's not too bad.

But...this summer I made a quilt that was backed with flannel but had no batting...and I fell in love with the thin drapey-ness of it! It's still warm and soft because of the flannel but it's not stiff like a quilt with batting. It's easy to cuddle in because it's so drapey.

Now I make all my baby quilts this way and think I'll start making more big quilts this way too.

If you want a pliable quilt that doesn't have to be super warm, I'd skip the batting and go for the flannel!

Barbara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barbara said...

The most important things about using flannel are to pre-shrink it and to clean the lint out of your machine frequently. Your quilt is gorgeous.

Andria said...

This is just so beautiful! I have a stash of flannel for backing and was wondering about leaving out the batting, too, so I will be eager to see what you go with!

kelly lautenbach said...

I think flannel's a grand idea... but I'd prewash it and use a light batting. ;) It's such a BEAUTIFUL quilt. So happy to see a couple of blocks I made in there. yay! :)

Chicken Julie said...

I use flannel a lot and I like it oodles - just finished Sprout's quilt in it and am making a baby quilt in it as I type. Prewash your flannel even if you don't prewash you other stuff. I pair it with warm and natural. I prefer minimal straight line quilting with flannel (ie: remember how I ruined my selvage quilt with flannel and dense quilting). Maybe just a double outline on your squares? Or simple diamond quilting right through them? I would not do FMQ, but that's just me. You will love a flannel backed quilt - I pinky promise. And your gals did a a great job for you - this is a stunner!

Kati said...

This is beautiful. It came together wonderfully. I've thought of doing a similar quilt with HST blocks. It works so well in your quilt.

Lindsay Conner said...

What a special quilt!

Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quilts said...

It's a show stopper for sure! What a great quilt full of fun memories from your bee mates too.

I have done one quilt in flannel and did use batting and it was great- really warm and a little heavy. I did straight line quilting on mine too.
Can't wait to see what you decide!

Luv 2 Kreate said...

Oh My GOSH!! This quilt turned out absolutely AMAZING!!! Beautiful blocks...

Sew Festive said...

I used flannel to back a 60x72" quilt, and I used batting and was fine quilting it in an all-over stipple. I thought it was sort of stiff when it was first finished, but I've washed it twice, and the flannel has most certainly softened a bunch since then. I really enjoyed it. I also don't think it's particularly more warm than my other quilts.

felicity said...

That is one fabulous quilt! I agree with Julie - minimal quilting will keep this beauty soft and supple. I would probably quilt 1/4" outside each of the blocks (in the sashing) and then quilt the diagonals. In grey thread.

starshin1 said...

I saw your blog for the first time just now and I am in LOVE with that quilt! It is gorgeous!!!!!! Truly stunning!

Rachel

Jennie said...

The quilt is absolutely beautiful! Good luck with the finishing - I'm sure it will be beautiful and soft and cozy whatever you go for!

Katy Cameron said...

Oh that looks absolutely fab! The ladies did you proud with that collection :o)

Deb said...

That is one gorgeous quilt. Just beautiful.

Have never used flannel so sorry can't help you with that.

Angela said...

Yay!! I'm so proud to be part of this beautiful quilt. The block I made for you is still one of my faves I've done. You will treasure this forever!

Pink Stitches said...

It's beautiful! I love that fabric line :D Glad you finally got it pieced. I've got a few unfinished projects I need to tackle :/

Becky M said...

Seriously gorgeous! that is the kind of quilt that is so fun to sit under and search it for different fabrics and patterns. So beautiful. Sadly, I'm horrible at deciding how to quilt things so i have no advice.

Katie B. said...

I made two quilts backed with flannel recently. I echo what everyone said about prewashing and keeping the quilting simple. This quilt is unbelievably awesome!

Kirsten N said...

Absolutely stunning quilt!! I used batting with a flannel back recently on a quilt and it was fine - I did prewash it and zigzagged the edges first to prevent it fraying too much.

Linda said...

Personally, I'm not at all fond of working with flannel. Even the high quality stuff, which has a slightly denser weave and is the ONLY sort I'd use for a quilt back, can be difficult to work with. I had a newbie in my beginner quilting class who couldn't get her pieces to sew through a lovely Bernina sewing machine without jamming. It turns out the machine didn't like sewing flannel and cotton together. I'd go for a really nice batting - or even better, flannel AS BATTING (be SURE to prewash it!) - and put a cotton backing on it. But that's me, and you asked. Love your quilt top, in any case. It's wonderful!

wishes, true and kind said...

Love the quilt and the title of your post, and so pleased to have played a teensy part in this beauty.

Lindsay said...

I love this quilt!!! It is beautiful. I have never used flannel on as a quilt back, but I have used Minky quite a few times. I use batting with it and it turns out so thick and warm.

Tiffany said...

It's just beautiful!

karen said...

I love this! Love the all HST blocks that are all so different. As for flannel... I had the same questions about batting etc. I've found that you can use your usual low-loft warm and white-type batting with no problems at all... but flannel is heavy so if you're quilting it on your table - top machine, get ready for a wrestling match. :) Plus.... it'll jam your bobbin compartment with fuzz FAST. Clean it before you start, halfway thru and when you're done. It makes a great backing and will be awesome!

bhafer said...

Wow, I love this quilt! I think everyone had covered the flannel issue, prewash being the big one. I have not done a quilt with out batting but I like a warm, heavy quilt.

Unknown said...

That is a beautiful quilt top. I have used flannel alot and have never had trouble with it. I use it for the backs of alot of quilts. I like to put a thin bat in all my quilts also. Please wash the flannel first and you do have to clean your machine alot for it fills with lint. I like the Bamboo bat.

Shanley said...

I try to back everything with flannel and wish more of the fabrics were printed in both cotton and flannel. I lovelace in San Diego but still appreciate the warmth and softness.

**nicke... said...

i would definitely go with flannel, 90's grunge band flannel... ;p but pre-wash it... you will be so sorry if you don't that stuff shrinks soo much!

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