What About Bamboo Batting?

Posted by on September 25, 2017

bamboo

Questions about bamboo batting often arise in class.  That led to a bit of research and I thought I would share what I have learned.

First, experience with bamboo batting showed that it makes beautiful, draping quilts. The fibers are silky, soft and even supple.  It is beautiful with either hand or machine quilting.  However, bamboo fibers are also sensitive to heat.  Be careful in laundering and use warm or cold water.

The first generation of bamboo batting was 100% bamboo.  Experience has shown blends are more long-lived and user friendly.  At present the blends are usually 50% bamboo and 50% organically grown cotton in keeping with the bamboo organic farming.

Bamboo is considered renewable. The crop can be harvested year after year without replanting. Some grow two feet a day.  Bamboo fiber is biodegradable and the crop doesn’t require fertilizer or pesticides.  As a result, many products from bamboo are advertised as environmentally friendly.

Inner parts of bamboo are treated either chemically or mechanically. Most, but not all, bamboo fabrics made today still are processed with chemicals to become a ‘rayon soft’ fiber.  Many bamboo battings are advertised as being antibacterial.  While the fibers from bamboo are, the manufacturing process destroys this characteristic unless it is treated with natural enzymes.

Bamboo batting can wick moisture very well.  This is nice for winter warmth similar to wool batting.

Try using bamboo batting in your next quilt.  Stay with a tried and true manufacturer and use warm or cold water in the washer and drier.  Happy quilting!

myrl

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Loading the Quilt onto the Phoenix Frame

Posted by on August 23, 2017

flcenter

We will be using three of the rails.  Each rail has a ratchet-type action that keeps the quilt taut.  The rail at the back of the table is called the Take up Rail.  Eventually, most of the quilt will be rolled up onto this rail as it is finished.  There are two rails in the front of the machine.  The rail closest to you is called the lower rail or “Belly Bar” because it is at your belly.  The quilt back will be pinned to both the Take up rail and the Belly bar.   The bottom of the quilt top is pinned to the other rail or upper rail. Mark the Centers of your rails and the centers of your leaders. I use a Sharpie and mark the center on the full length of the leader so the center can be seen no matter how far the leader is rolled.  (The lowest rail is used to keep the batting off of the ground and doesn’t have any tension to it.)

Leaders are pieces of fabric that are attached to the ends of the quilt to enable the machine to reach the entire quilt.  The quilt may be basted, pinned or zipped onto the leaders.  Leaders are attached to the rails in various manners.  At Tin Lizzie’s we attach them with Velcro. The leaders should hang off of the rail in the opposite direction than the rail rolls when the ratchets are engaged.

After assuring that the quilt back and batting are at least 6-inches longer and 6-inches wider than the quilt top, mark the center of both the quilt back top and bottom.

Phoenix Frame by TinLizzie18

Phoenix Frame by TinLizzie18

Mark the Center of both the top and bottom of your quit top.  Mark the center of the batting top.

  1. Load the quilt back first.  We will begin with the bottom of the quilt back.  Lay the quilt back across the Longarm table with the right side of the fabric facing the floor and the top draped over the take up rail.  Match the center of the quilt back to the center of the leader on the Belly Bar.  (Remember: Quilt Back Bottom on the Belly Bar.)  Using T-pins  and beginning in the center, pin the quilt to the leader with the pins on the canvas side.  The sharp end of the pins should point out towards the outside of the table.  Carefully, roll the quilt back onto the rail, smoothing out any wrinkles and keeping it straight.   Continue until the top of the Quilt back is touching the take up rail.  Starting at the center, pin the top of the quilt back onto the take up rail leader.  (Make sure that the quit back is under the third or upper rail, not over it.)   Always pin from the center out.  The Quilt Bottom should be coming off of the bottom of the Take up rail and over the top of the Belly Bar.
  2. Next the quilt top will be pinned to the remaining leader.  Lay the quilt top (right side up) over the table with the majority of the top towards the back of the table.  Starting in the center pin the bottom of the Quilt Top to the remaining leader.  (This rail rolls in the opposite direction from the others and is able to be raised out of the way.)  Carefully roll the quilt top onto the upper rail, smoothing and making sure it is going on straight.  Roll it until the top edge of the quilt falls off of the Take up bar.
  3. Drape the unpinned edge of the quilt over the rail you just pinned the top onto.  This rail is able to be lifted out of the way to place the batting.  Lift it now.
  4. Mark the center of the batting and lay it over the quilt back and placing the top of the batting just along the take up railing and even with the pinned edge of the quilt backing.  Place the rest of the batting between the rails in the front of the machine using the lowest rail to keep the batting off of the floor.   Make sure the batting lays flat and smoothly across the quilt back.
  5. Baste the “quilt sandwich” at the top of the quilt just below the take up rail starting at the center marking.   Using the Longarm machine baste from the center marking to the right edge of the quilt, then down along the right side of the quilt.  Go back to the center mark and baste towards the left side of the quilt and down the left side of the quilt.  It may be necessary to smooth the quilt with your free hand as you stitch.  Baste as close to the edge of the fabric as possible or about ¼ inch.  Every time the quilt is rolled baste the edge before quilting.
  6. Tighten all of the rails for a taut quilt.  Remember, rolling too tight will misshape the quilt and causes thread to break.  Taut, not tight.
  7. You are ready to quilt.  The batting and backing of the quilt are cut larger than the top because quilting takes up more of the backing than the top.  You may take advantage of the larger backing to use as a test area to assure that the tensions are correct.
  8. When you need to roll the quilt, release the rails in the front of the machine and carefully roll the take up rail until it is positioned correctly for your next quilting area.  Replace the ratchets on the rails and roll the rails for a taut quilt.  Each time you roll check the layers of the quilt to ensure the wrinkles are smoothed and the batting is flat.
  9. The Take up rail is able to be raised as the quilt becomes more bulky on the rail.  Keep enough room for your finger tips under the quilt.  If the rail is too low the quilt will drag on the machine bed.  If it is too high there may be thread breakage or skipped stitches.
  10. When the quilting is finished, carefully remove the quilt from the leaders.

myrl

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Things That Can Influence Your Quilting

Posted by on July 24, 2017

Huh?  What?  Are you saying there are more things to think about than what thread I use and what design I quilt?????

YES!

There are so many things that come into play when we’re quilting.  The basics are the fabric, needle, thread and batting, and there are sooooo many considerations just with these basics, but then you go into other things like paint on the surface, embellishments, etc.

So, let’s start with these basics.  Thread I won’t go into in great detail, since last week’s blog article was an in-depth article on threads and which needles to use and how to adjust tension for different types of threads.

Needles: The composition and sculpture of the needle is paramount.  At TinLizzie18, we use the Groez-Beckert titanium needles.  They have a scarf that is a bump and a very long groove.  The bump spreads the fibers of the fabric and the batting, paving the way for the thread to pass through with less friction (thus less tension).  The groove protects the thread, also from tension and friction as it passes through the fibers because the thread can nestle in the groove. Less friction means less tension AND less heat.  These needles go up and down through the quilt sandwich thousands of times and they can get hot.  The titanium helps keep the needle cool too.  You should change your needle every 8 hours of quilting time, or sooner if you start hearing it “pop” through the fabric.  That is the sound of a dull needle. Dull needles can cause skipped stitches, poorly formed stitches, fraying or breaking thread and they can even create a “run” in your fabric by pulling a fiber rather than penetrating it.

Batting: Polyester is fluffy and makes it easier to form a stitch within the batting.  It generates less heat, so it is good for metallic and rayon and trilobal poly threads.  100% cotton is thinner and harder.  It is much more challenging to get good tension with cotton because there is less “forgiveness” than with poly.  Remember that tension is a tug of war between the top and bottom threads and ideally, they meet in the middle of the batting, with neither thread showing on the other side of the quilt. Blended battings (cotton and poly, cotton and wool, silk, bamboo, recycled bottles, etc.) are common blends.  They are usually 80/20, 70/30, 60/40, etc.  meaning they are perhaps 80% cotton, 20% poly, or whatever their label says.  It is easiest to get good tension with a 60% cotton/40% poly batting, or a 100% bonded poly that is NOT high loft (a whole other set of problems with that).

Fabric:   The influence of the thread count in the fabric is huge!  Count pertains to the threads per inch in the fabric weave.  Most common is 60 threads x 60 threads woven in each direction.  Batiks are usually 200 x 200 threads, so your needle doesn’t last as long and they cause more drag on your thread, so tension may need to be a little higher.  Also, you’d think a #18 needle to spread those tight fibers and keep the thread cool, but a # 18 on Batik leaves very large holes that are harder to close up unless you wash the quilt.  I typically use a #16 needle, but everyone has their own preferences.  So, the higher the thread count, the tighter the weave, the higher your tension and the faster your tension will get dull….oh my, is it worth it to use batiks???  (YESSSSSSSS, Yes it is!)

Paint: The influence of paint on the surface of your quilt is that it causes the thread to pull harder, so more tension is needed to create the stitch within the batting.  Remember that a larger needle will pave the way for your thread, but it will also leave large holes, so you must pick your battle.

Thread:  Okay, I said you should read the post on thread from last week, but I’ll do a quick summary here:

  • 100% cotton is fluffier, less tension
  • Poly threads are usually lighter, so more tension
  • Slippery threads require more tension
  • Metallic tread on top, loosen top tension and use a smoother thread in the bobbin (poly, but not trilobal)
  • Slippery top thread should have a rougher bobbin thread to hold the stitch
  • Slippery top and bottom threads, consider tying and burying your threads because they will work loose.
  • Always use equal or lighter thread in the bobbin than top thread.  EG King Tut on top & So Fine in the bobbin are a perfect combo, So Fine on top and King Tut in the bobbin, presents a tension challenge.  Doable, but a challenge.
  • Thread should come off the cone according to how it’s wound.  Cross wound comes off the top while stacked should come off the side.

Bobbins: TinLizzies have an M size bobbin.  Aluminum runs smoothly, and is light so it causes less tension and stays cooler.  The backlash spring in the bobbin case is there to stop the bobbin from coasting in any direction, so it prevents backlash, thus it’s name (backlash spring).  USE THE PIGTAIL in the bobbin case!!!  Using the pigtail causes the thread to come off the bobbin in the same direction consistently, regardless of which direction the machine is moving, and you don’t get that wonky stitch when you change direction.  Remember, equal weight thread or lighter weight in the bobbin than on top for the most successful results.

I hope these tips help you along your quilting journey.  Thanks for joining me here at TinLizzie18, where we’re committed to helping quilters of all levels realize their quilting dreams!

lynn

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Choose Your Batting Wisely

Posted by on April 30, 2014

battingDid you know there’s batting made especially for long arm quilting machines?

Two American made products just for long arms have arrived from Fairfield Batting Company of Connecticut, and been sent to TinLizzie18 Retail & Learning Centers for distribution.

One is pure poly batting, double folded onto a 20 yard roll.

The second is a 60/40 blend of cotton and poly on a double folded 20 yard roll. TinLizzie18 has  an exclusive partnership to distribute this specialized batting from our training facilities in:

  • Janesville, Wisconsin
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • San Diego, Ca
  • Atlanta, Georgia

To order just call 1-888-QUILT-18.  CLICK HERE to read more!

Following are just some of the reasons quilters want these two products:

  1. The thickness is perfect for getting two different color threads (top and bottom) to lock the stitch in the batting and not show the other color of thread on the opposite side. This batting is flat yet just thick enough to get quality stitching and easily set your tensions.
  2. The poly batting doesn’t shrink and pucker up a quilt—so you can have that fresh pressed look to the quilt. This poly is tough and has some body to it so it handles easy on the machine and will withstand many, many washings.
  3. The poly also doesn’t retain germs for long as a germ will die on dry poly within 10 hours. Therefore this is the best batting for baby quilts, college dorm rooms, hospitals and elderly.
  4. The poly and the 60/40 hold together well and doesn’t break down and work through the fabric.
  5. The poly doesn’t built heat in the needle like some other battings do so this is the batting you would put into your quilt if you are using threads that are heat sensitive like gold metallic. Any thread that is fussy would stitch into this poly better in my opinion because of less resistance. I use this batting for competition.
  6.  The 60/40 has enough poly blended in so that when you fold your quilts and store them they wont retain a crease like 100 percent cotton does,
  7. The 60/40 is flat and soft and pure white. It has very little shrinkage and is very comfortable to sleep under.
  8. Shipping can sometimes be expensive with rolls this size, but TinLizzie18 has packaged the rolls in easy to ship boxes. They protect the batting in shipping and the shipping expense is less with a box than without a box.
  9. The length of these rolls is perfect also so that you can place both rolls on the batting bar at the same time if your machine is extended to 12 feet. This is very handy to have the rolls off of the floor and easy to pull off as much as you need and place it directly from the roller and into the quilt on the machine.
  10. The price is excellent and you are getting top quality batting that will last for years and years and years in your quilted project. 

 

fairfield

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