Monday, 7 January 2013

A little weight on my shoulders.

Broken Diamonds

Ditch stitching... who knew?

Hello! Hello! How did your year start off? I am pretty pleased personally, I am not a big celebrator of the New Year but I do love when the new year starts off in a positive fashion.
No new projects started except on paper, I really want to get my Dad's quilt, quilted. It's sitting on my machine right now which is why there aren't any fresh pictures, I refuse to move it because I don't want to lose my place on the strip that is currently being ditch stitched. I chose to ditch stitch each strip rather than quilt a pattern over the whole quilt for a few reasons, the main one being all the seams on the foundation blocks, which turned out to be a smart thing for me to do. 
I'll be honest, I had wondered a bit about the pain that a few quilters had mentioned in their blogs, you know through the back, shoulders and neck? I had never experienced that with any of the quilts I had done up and just assumed that they must be quilting much larger and heavier quilts than I was.  Heh! Yep, a larger quilt definitely takes some major acrobatics and contorsionism to quilt and let me tell you, this guy is heavy and rather large measuring at 80 x 80 without allowing for the extra inches of back and batting.
Usually I quilt for hours without a whole lot of breaks and don't have a problem, this particular quilt requires a break every half-hour or hour so I can stretch out my back and shoulders, I got into the habit of stretching out before I start as well, hurting myself is not on my list of things to do this year ;)

Did I tell you I fell in love? Oh truly I did! With bamboo batting of all things, what a dream to use in this quilt.  I tried wool batting and hated it, while the warmth factor was high, it was much too fussy for me and I felt it made the quilt really rough feeling. The poly batting I was using was okay, nothing stood out to set it apart from anything else I have ever used. Cotton batting was about the same as the poly, alright to use but nothing stood out to make me want to keep using it exclusively.
Oh but bamboo batting... I am in love, super soft, fantastic to touch, it doesn't slip as a matter of fact when I put the batt on my backing and smoothed it, it didn't move. When I put the quilt top on the batting "grabbed" it and held it in place while I pinned. 
The quilt top felt extremely soft and smooth after I had it all pinned, don't think I have ever had fabric get softer and smoother after it's been sandwiched.  My husband thought I was crazy I am sure, there I was in the kitchen, talking to myself while fondling the quilt top on the table... if you didn't know what context that was in I am sure you'd be calling the happy jacket people too :D

Have any of you tried Inspira brand needles? I usually use the singer quilting needles or schmetz 80/12's and those brands have worked until I started quilting this quilt. With the 6-8 layers of cloth on the seams and joins the singer needles bounced or didn't go through and pick up the bobbin thread, the schmetz needles also skipped and bounced quite a bit so I switched to the Inspira needles that my Mom had picked up for me, I was leery of using them because they were cheap (10 for 5 or 6 bucks), they were marked universal, and they are size 80. At this point I was thinking I'd have to change to a denim sized needle to get through all the cloth but I thought I'd give them a shot. 
I am now an absolute convert to Inspira, not only did they go through all the layers but the needle did so easily, no funky noises or jams and my stitches look so much better. If you haven't tried them, I do recommend that you do give those needles a whirl, at that price you can switch out without cringing too ;)

That's all for this week!
Stretching out my passions...


  1. Thanks for the info on bamboo batting. I'm still looking at different ones myself. And I will check out the needles. I buy a "different" brand through my machine dealer and they are wonderful. I've got this strange feeling they might be the same brand you are talking about. Mine come packaged in paper, the way needles used to when I was a kid.

  2. Hi...yes, I also use the bamboo batting, particularly for the string quilts as they have a tendency to become a bit heavy (I did mine stitching the strings onto interfacing and then left this in the quilt - nice and stable blocks but did increase the weight. Will have to have a try of the Inspira needles...I have only ever used Schmetz.

    1. I never fail to be amazed at how heavy quilts become when they are getting quilted, I am glad to almost be done the quilting process if it goes on much longer I will end up with shoulders like a linebacker :D

  3. I have been wondering about the bamboo batting and if it does 'grab" the fabric layers it will be so much easier to put those layers together -- I have been struggling with doing quilt layers cause I just am no longer agile enough to do that chore...

    1. I am surprised at how well it 'grabs', I noticed while quilting with poly batt how the layers shift quite a bit (it's given me a few stitch ripping headache's!) and I haven't had that problem at all with the bamboo. It acts kind of like felt, just enough of a grab to help keep things in place :)


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