Monday, August 28, 2017

Exploring Bamboo Battings

Did you know that there are now several different bamboo battings on the market?  Bamboo battings have many wonderful qualities.  Bamboo is a renewable resource - when it is cut, it will regrow.   I'm all for renewable resources!  Bamboo also has anti-bacterial properties.  That makes it especially wonderful for children's quilts and projects.

I decided to try out several different bamboo battings and compare them for you.  I selected the following 6 battings from Fairfield, Quilter's Dream and Winline Textiles:

Fairfield Nature-Fil Batting -  50% Rayon from Bamboo and 50% Cerified Organic Cotton
Fairfield Fusi-Boo -  a blend of 20% rayon fiber made from bamboo, 50% cotton, 30% poly fiber.            This batting has a water soluble heat activated fusible resin, so there is no need to baste with this        batting
Quilter's Dream Orient - a blend of silk, bamboo, Tencel and cotton
Winline 50/50 Bamboo - a blend of bamboo and cotton
Winline 100% Bamboo - this batting is 4 oz of Bamboo
Winline's New 6 oz Bamboo - a slightly thicker and softer batting than the 100% Bamboo

I wanted to compare how each batting felt, what the loft was like and how it looked when quilted.  I decided to make a small baby bib out of each batting to test them out.  I also washed the bibs afterwards to see how they held up to washing.

I had a lot of fun making the bibs.  Each bib is out of a different fabric.  I added a fusible applique to each bib to see how the applique looked when quilted, and I quilted each bib differently - just for the fun of it!

Here are the first three bibs- these are before washing.  The pink one is with Fairfield Fusiboo, the second two colored quilt is with Quilter's Dream Orient and the blue one is with Fairfield Nature-Fil.

The second three quilts- the purple one is made with Winline 6 oz Bamboo,  the green one with Winline 50/50 Bamboo and the last yellow one is made with Winline 100% Bamboo.

How did the battings feel to the touch what was the recommended quilting and shrinkage :

Fairfield Nature- Fil  is needle punched and soft. 2-3% shrinkage.  Low loft.  Quilting distance up to 8".  They recommend machine quilting.
Fairfield Fusi-Boo is needle punched, thin and firm to the touch because of the resin, has an estimated 3% shrinkage.  Quilting distance 2-4".  You can hand and machine quilt this  It is really nice to be able to iron this batting to fabric so there is no basting needed.
     *  Fairfield says on it's packaging that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these two battings      will be used to support ecological initiatives.
Quilter's Dream Orient -fibers are blended, carded, crosslapped and finely needlepunched- it is thin,  and very soft with quilting up to 8". Good for both hand and machine quilting. Minimal shrinkage.  It says it is Mid-loft, but it is very thin.
Winline 50/50 Bamboo  -soft with slight bumps due to the needle punching.  2-5% shrinkage on first wash.  Machine or hand quilt up to 8"apart..
Winline 100% Bamboo - softer feel than the 50/50, still with some bumps from the needle punching.  2-5% shrinkage on first wash, machine or hand quilting up to 8" apart
Winline's New 6 oz Bamboo- very soft-silky feel.  2-5% shrinkage on first wash, machine or hand quilting up to 4" apart.  Thickest of the three Winline battings
     *Winline recommends hand washing these bamboo quilts, but they can be machine washed and            dried on the delicate cycle.

How did they quilt and what did the loft look like?  It is hard to tell by the photos now nicely they quilted- so you're just going to have to take my word for it.  

The pink Fairfield Fusi-boo of course ironed very flat.  The quilting lays pretty flat on it and it stayed flat after washing.  It actually has a very nice feel when quilted and I felt worked really well for a baby bib which didn't need any "pouf" in the quilting.  This could be good for certain projects.

The two color/green bib with Quilter's Dream Orient quilted up very nice with a little loft in the quilting.  A very nice feel to the quilted project.

The blue bib with Fairfield Nature-Fill also quilted up very nice with some loft in the quilting.

The  purple bib with Winline 6 oz Bamboo quilted up nicely with some loft in the quilting.

The green bib with Winline 50/50 had a tiny bit of loft and feels a bit thinner- but again this works good in this project.

The yellow bib with Winline 100% Bamboo also quilted nicely.  Some loft and also feels thin, but very soft and drapable.

How did they wash up?  They all washed up well.  I put them all in the washer and dryer.  I did have to do a little ironing on them afterwards.  The Winline 6 oz didn't shrink, but looked a bit like it- and I have to admit, it may have been my fabric that shrunk on that one as I don't prewash my fabrics.   It wasn't very noticeable.  Judging by the size of the washed bibs, I don't think any of them shrunk noticeably- of course they are very small..

I was impressed by all of these Bamboo battings.  If I were to touch these and not know they were bamboo, I'm not sure I could tell them from other battings.  The Winline 6 oz Bamboo did have a silkier feel than the other battings.

I'm finding that a lot of battings today are very thin and don't have much loft so they don't show the quilting very well.  If I go to the bother of quilting a project- I like it to have a little loft so the thread doesn't just lay on top of the fabric.  So...I do like the battings that showed a bit more loft.  Because of this- my favorites of these 6 battings were:  Fairfield Nature-Fil, Quilter's Dream Orient and Winline 6 oz Bamboo.

Every batting whether it is cotton, poly or bamboo has its strengths and we all look for our favorites. When you are searching for a different batting- give a Bamboo batting a try.  I think you'll like them!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Free Patterns

Many of my patterns are offered free in various places online.  At they offer these 23 patterns of mine free.  Maybe you can find one you'll enjoy!

Pastel Hearts Baby Quilt

Springtime Door Banner

Rainbow Scrappy flowers

Pathway to the Stars

Heartfelt Table Runner

Modern Comfort

Morning & Evening Star Mat

Nine Patch Christmas Scrap Quilt

Patches of Sunshine

Happy Scrappy Houses

Garden Stars

Friends Wall hanging

Fall Flourish

Christmas Lights Table Mat

Autumn Door Banner

Baby's Stars Quilt

Toad in a Puddle Table Mat

Winter  Door Banner

Chicken Place Mat & Runner

Plants in My Window

Summer Fixin's

Summer Door Banner

Springtime Table Mat


Monday, August 14, 2017

August Island Batik Challenge- Quilt As You Go

The Challenge this month for all the Island Batik Ambassadors was to make something using the Quilt As You Go technique.  I had heard of this many years ago, but I was surprised as I looked into it for this challenge, that there are several different techniques now that are called Quilt As You Go.  It is interesting and you can pick and choose which works for you and your project.

I picked out a variety of bright Island Batiks to make a table runner.

I picked out a simple block that had either 3 or 4 pieces and printed out the templates.

This method is really basically stitch and flip.  You cut a backing square and batting square- layer therm and sew the pieces to the top.  Sew and flip, sew and flip.  I found I needed to pin the backing and batting to make sure it didn't slip while handling the block and sewing.

Here's a front and the back of one completed block.

You actually have your quilting all done unless you want to add more.  I added more quilting after the top was finished.

Lay out your blocks into rows

I added the sashing strips- one on top of a block and one on the bottom.

That block is sewn to the next block- by sewing the top sashing to the next block, but not the bottom sashing.  Turn the block over and you can fold over the back sashing and sew it down just like you sew a hem.  You are basically finishing each seam this way.  You sew the individual blocks together, then you can sew a whole row of blocks together the same way.

I don't mind doing some hand sewing like bindings, but this seemed like a lot of tedious sewing...

I did add some simple quilting once the top was together.  I used a lovely Blendable thread from Sulky (4126) that had primary colors for the quilting.  I used a Westalee 12 x 3" straight edge ruler and a 3.5"  Simple Circle ruler from Sew Steady for some of the quilting. These rulers are great and so quick and easy to use!

Once you have the ruler foot for your domestic machine you can use a range of quilting rulers.  I also used a curved ruler from Dusty Farrell called Flourish.  The ruler foot I have for my machine is a low shank foot so I have to use the thinner quilting rulers- 3mm thickness.  I was pleased to find out that Dusty Farrell also makes all his rulers in both sizes.  

Here is my finished runner (33" x 11") - front and back. It's very colorful!  

Close up of quilting.

You might want to give Quilting As You Go a try!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Big Book of Table Toppers

Recently Martingale came out with this book - The Big Book of Table Toppers.  My table mat called Basket Weave is one of the 56 patterns in the book.

The book is FULL of wonderful patterns in all shapes, sizes and colors.   Many of them are quick and easy.

Two ladies from my local quilt guild made patterns from the book.

This is Barb Duesler's quilt she made from the pattern Harvest Time by Heather Mulder Peterson.

Elaine Egging (above) made her runner from the pattern Simply Simple by Cindy Lammon.

My sister and I made the runner from the pattern Pie Birds by Kim Diehl.  I made mine a bit smaller to fit the place I wanted to use it.  We spent a fun day going thru a box of her scraps and cutting out strips.  We had enough to make two table runners!

Here is Jody Warner's Pie Bird runner.  Aren't the colors lovely!

I made my runner a little smaller by not adding the last row around each block.  Not the greatest photo- sorry about that!  My sister's photo shows the colors in a better light.

 I used the Circles on Quilts/Spinning Wheel 36 ruler from Westalee with the Westalee ruler foot to do some of the machine quilting.

The quilting doesn't show up well on the scrappy quilt top,  so here is a paper example of the quilting


I'm finding more ways to use these great rulers and I love how much it speeds up your quilting and how little you have to mark to use them.