Sunday, February 13, 2011

GKFE Followup: Quilting with Knits?

As I mentioned last week, not everything went as expected with the projects I was working on for the Great Knit Fabric Experiment.  When Jen at Stitch Simple mentioned this project to me, in addition to baby blankets the other thing I wondered about was knit backed patchwork as a more natural  (cotton as opposed to man made fiber) alternative to minkee backed baby quilts.  (And a bit more comfortable temperature wise for those living in warmer climates.)

I used Harmony Art organic sateen to make the quilt top above... I used Stitch Simple's pre-wash and pre-cut squares and it went together very fast.  My intention was to quilt an interlock solid backing to it.  With just two layers, you could feel the seams through the knit and I wanted it smooth if it was going to be for a baby so I added a layer of bamboo batting.  And here comes my mistake that I knew better than to do... I pinned all the layers together to quilt.  Of course the basting pins were not ballpoint so they made holes in the interlock knit.  

So this left two alternatives: basting spray or fusible batting.  And I had to wonder what everyone thought about the suitability of using these alternatives for a baby blanket? (Let me know your thoughts in the poll to the right) And especially if a person made it a point to use organic materials...

So I made three small test quilts/swatches and tried out a raw edge binding on each.  Here they all are just crinkly from the dryer.  I wish you could all feel them each, as that really is the deciding factor of this little experiment.

This is a sample of a whole cloth woven quilt with knit back:  This option was very lightweight as expected.

This one is the organic sateen and knit back with Fusiboo, fusible bamboo batting used.

And this last one is two layers of knit with Fusiboo, fusible bamboo batting used.  This would be great to make pre-quilted yardage and then cut out for a baby jacket or infant car seat cover.

Here is just a photo from one of the test quilts, but each quilted up perfectly... no bunching or wrinkling of the knits at all with either method.

If it were for my child, I would prefer the knit backed quilt, if I was comfortable using the fusible batting...I would have to research the chemicals used/residue though.  The quilt without the batting was just two thin and needed a bit of body to drape nicely.  The quilted knits would be great for apparel or gear but I don't think I'd care for it for a blanket. 

And I loved the hip looking raw edge binding...I used a 1.25" wide strip of interlock and a 7mm wide zigzag stitch and it went on very fast! 

Please vote in the poll to the right, I'd love to know what you think about using the fusible batting or basting spray in a baby quilt!


Barb said...

Wow, you have been busy....I don't know about working with knits....that polyester knit was a pain in the bootieeeee long long ago.

Sarah Craig said...

I've not use knit as a backing on baby quilts before (although I've got some stashed away and may give it a try now) but when we make flannel baby quilts, if we don't back them with fleece, we usually layer the pieced top with two layers of whole-cloth flannel, then quilt - it makes it thick enough that the seams aren't obvious, yet still light enough to be flexible. So you might try a layer of flannel instead of batting...

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

I've also used cotton flannel rather than batting.