Thursday, July 26, 2018

Scrappy Thousand Pyramids Plan, Pineapple Paper Peeling Progress, and a Batting Query

Scrappy Thousand Pyramids, Something Like This?

I made a bunch more of my scrappy, strippy equilateral triangles a couple weeks ago, but then I stopped to come up with a plan for them.  I'm thinking of a throw size quilt, around 52" x 66", similar to my EQ8 design software rendering shown above.  My triangles finish 7 1/2" tall x 8 3/8" wide, so I'll need 50 full pieced triangles, 8 half pieced triangles, and then 50 whole + 8 half alternate triangles in a mix of solids and prints -- not necessarily the prints pictured, mind you, but whatever odds and ends are gleaned from my scrap hoard. The mottled solids that I used in my EQ8 design are mostly the Moda Grunge Basics, which I absolutely love.  They remind me of artists' pastels.  So much more depth than plain solids, and the variations of shade and intensity within each piece of fabric will enable these better-than-solids to tie all of the colors of my crazy scrap prints together nicely.

Moda Grunge Basics Bundle, Available on Etsy (affiliate link)

As usual, there are affiliate links in this blog post but the links are here mostly to remind myself of where I found all the cool goodies -- the Etsy seller I'm linking to does custom 5-piece bundles of Moda Grunge Basics, either quarter yards or half yard cuts, and you get to pick which 5 colors go in your bundle.  According to the automatic EQ8 yardage calculator, I don't need more than a quarter yard of any one of my solid fabrics for this quilt design, so that's probably the route I'll go.  However, I should probably make all of my pieced triangles first before finalizing the coordinating fabrics.  In real life, I have a lot more variety in the fabric strips going into these pieced triangles than what I bothered to show in my design rendering.  

Two In the Morning Is a Good Time For Triangles

I'm using my 8" 60 Degree Triangle ruler from Nifty Notions and using the lines printed on my ruler to help keep my seams straight and horizontal with each cut, but any 60 Degree triangle ruler will work for this.  I strip piece rough oversized triangle shapes just a bit bigger than my ruler and then trim away the excess.  This allows me use up all different scrap sizes and it yields triangles that are completely unique.  If you don't mind having multiple identical triangles in your quilt and you're working from a jelly roll or have mostly long strap strips, you could also strip piece long strips and then subcut multiple triangles from each strip set.

Behold my cluttered, dysfunctional design wall:

Gridlock On My Design Wall!

This picture of my design wall was taken at 2 AM, when I should have been sleeping, but I was having too much fun sewing strips together and chopping them up into equilateral triangles.  Once I've made all of my triangles I will want to finalize the layout on the design wall, but at the moment the wall is full of:
  1. My Jingle BOM quilt, which needs the center medallion trimmed and the borders tweaked and finished so it can be assembled into a quilt top, ready for quilting.
  2. My FrankenWhiggish Rose Applique project in the lower right corner, which needs LOTS more applique shapes to be prepped, basted and hand stitched before all nine blocks are done.
  3. The Abandoned Skirt Project near the upper right corner, which needs a tricky zipper installation worked out because I decided I need a lining too late in the construction process, and which also needs me to lose another 10 pounds before I'm the size I was when I started making the skirt...
  4. That Schumacher drapery fabric memo in the upper right corner is there for no reason at all.  I forgot to take it down when I was finished with it.
And yet, instead of finishing what needs to be finished with Jingle so I can take it off the wall, I decided to make triangles all night long.  Despite having no room to lay them out.

...Meanwhile, I've been carefully removing the foundation papers from my pineapple log cabin blocks, and contemplating the next steps for that project as well.

Final Layout for My 36 Pineapple Log Cabin Blocks

I am having zero trouble removing the foundation paper, by the way.  The secret-for-success is piecing with a very SHORT stitch length (1.5 on my Bernina) and using a LARGE needle (I use a Schmetz size 90/14 Quilting needle for foundation paper piecing).  This creates larger needle holes in the paper, spaced closer together, and that makes for excellent perforation.  I fold the paper back and forth along the stitching line several times during construction of the block, and once the piecing is done, the paper tears away easier than ripping a check out of your checkbook!

Peek-A-Boo!  Back Side of Pineapple Block, Freed From Foundation Paper

I like to make sure I got every little speck of paper off, too, with no tell-tale remnants to inform the snoopy quilt historians of the future that I "cheated" by using foundation paper piecing.  That's my own business -- let them think I have magical skills of precision piecing and measuring!!  (As if the Internet, full of blog posts spilling my secrets, wouldn't give me away...)  I'll be checking again for stray bits of paper as I join the blocks together at the sewing machine, where I have much better visibility thanks to my trusty Stella Lighting Task Lamp.  


Soft, Smooshy Quilt Blocks With Paper Removed!

I'm about two thirds of the way through removing the papers from my 36 quilt blocks.

OFF With Those Foundation Papers!!

But despite the paper tearing cleanly and removing easily, it is still time consuming since there are 97 bits of paper to remove from every single block.  I'm working on it a little bit at a time, mostly while watching television at night.  And I'm using this time to mull over some of the quilting hurdles that lie ahead.  Such as the fact that no batting manufacturer on Planet Earth makes batting wide enough for me to use a single, continuous piece of batting for this oversized King quilt.  The finished top will measure 120" x 120" once the borders have been added, and King batting is sold either 120" x 120" or 120" x 122".  I need at least 4" excess batting on all four sides of the quilt top, and I prefer to have even more excess batting on the sides of my quilt for checking tension throughout the quilting process.  So it looks like I'm going to have to piece my batting, and I do NOT want the join to be even a smidge noticeable in the finished quilt.  No little ditch, no permanent fold line or ridge; I want that join to be INVISIBLE.  

And so I am asking you the questions that I asked in several quilting-related Facebook groups yesterday:

  1.  Have you ever pieced batting for a special quilt before?
  2. Could you tell where the join was in the finished quilt?  
  3. Did the batting seam wear differently and become more noticeable over time?
  4. What kind of batting did you use?  (I'm leaning towards either Quilter's Dream Wool or Dream Orient batting for this quilt)
  5. How did you join your batting pieces?  Whip stitched by hand, machine serpentine or zigzag stitch, fusible batting tape (don't think wool batting can take the heat, though), serger flatlock stitch, or some other method?
  6. Does it matter whether the batting seam is parallel to or perpendicular to the rollers when I load it on the frame?  I'm thinking vertical/perpendicular to the rollers.
  7. Anything else I need to know before I attempt this?

PSST!!  I'd Love to Quilt for YOU!

By the way, if you or any of your quilty friends has a quilt top or two that needs quilting, I'd be delighted to quilt for you!  My turnaround for edge-to-edge quilting is currently running about 2 weeks, and you can click here to find out how to book your quilt with me.

Well, once again my "quick little blog update" has eaten up an outrageous amount of my time.  I've got other fish to fry, so I'll sign off for now.

I'm linking up with:


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

first I love, love, love the stripy triangles and the pineapple quilt looks so great. I have put batting together and usually use the fuse tape but have on occasion hand basted it. Some zigzag with a machine. I have not noticed afterwards when the quilt is washed and dried where the joining is but truthfully I have not really felt like going over the whole quilt with my hand feeling for it - I do not see it - so it doesn't bother me. You though are such a perfectionist that I don't know if you would be happy with it. I think that hand basting it together in a zigzag type stitch would be best for you as it would be a softer join in my opinion but how hard do you stretch on your bars? I pull pretty tight on mine at times but I have not done a hand basted batting in forever so don't remember how it acted.

Ann said...

Hi, Love the way you did the colors on the pineapple quilt.

I have pieced batting before. I do a fairly big zigzag on my sewing machine, just butting the edges up against each other, not overlapping. I've never had it show in a quilt after quilting. A bigger, looser zigzag has some give to it, so it will flex in the quilting process without having a hard line under your quilt top.

I honestly use this technique often for small quilts and use up the trimmings from my bigger projects.


Gretchen Weaver said...

For me, the important in using a pieced batting is to make sure the backing fabric doesn't show the pieced batting, so don't use light colored fabrics.

Your pyramids and pineapples are so beautiful!!! These are both quilts that take a lot of work but will be worth it in the end. Happy Stitching!!!

grammajudyb said...

I have only pieced batting for use in smaller project. Wallhangings, tablerunner and the like. I usually use the batting iron on tape, but I have used a maching zig zag. I like the tape better!

Tracy said...

I have seen others using a wavey cut on the edges of the batting and joining them with a zig zag. This counter acts the "ridge issue". Quick search came up with this tutorial It would be a bit tougher on the 120" but worth the effort.

Vasudha said...

The pyramids are awesome and the pineapples too!
I've used a pieced batting once - it was W & N cotton - and it was a disaster. I used a thin iron-on interfacing to "tape" the two pieces together. The seam showed up partly under a large white negative space area in the front. I had to do some extra quilting to hide it. Next time, I will spend more time getting a perfect close seam and make sure it is under a busy area.

chrisknits said...

I've never pieced large battings, only small. I do them with a zigzag on domestic machine. I have heard others sing the praises of the tape, but never used it. Good luck with your quests! The triangles will be stunning. The pineapple already is.

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Beautiful triangle blocks, full of gorgeous fabrics, I love them! Your pineapple quilt is amazing too, great layout, and color combo. I have only pieced batting for small quilts, sewing them with very lazy stitches by hand.

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

I forgot : merci pour ta visite et le commentaire en français ;))

PaintedThread said...

Those pineapple blocks are amazing!

I have pieced cotton batting. I overlap the pieces of batting just slightly, then take a straight edge to cut thorough both pieces, so I can abut them cleanly together. I either zig-zag stitch them or use lightweight iron-on interfacing to join them together. I haven't washed any of the quilts a lot that I've done this to, so I don't know how they've worn. But the zig-zag should hold - the interfacing I only use on smaller projects or if I know there will be a lot of quilting over it.

Sandra Walker said...

SO true, sadly so, about blog posts eating up an outrageous amount of time...I still can't figure out how to compress it. I'm fine with 2" around my quilt top, which for me gives me enough tension-checking (said and started to type 'chention-tecking' LOLOL) wiggle room. I spray baste a tiny bit and go for it, haven't had a 'uh-oh' yet, just do it when/where I'm quilting quite heavily too. I've zig-zagged but haven't been too happy, as it tends to be stretchy, no matter what I do, and I've hand-whipped (PITA big time) edges together...would like to try the fusible-type tape or make my own sometime, but still haven't. Anyhow i LOVE your scraps equilateral triangles quilt, might have to do one like it for next year's RSC... Like me you've got several items on the go; I like operating that way. :-)

Preeti said...

The Pineapple Blossom is the MOST labor intensive quilt I have ever seen and yet there is perfection in every seam!!! I have run out of adjectives. I'll wait till you finish it.
I am going to steal the idea of strippy triangles :-)
I have successfully pieced batting, using a zigzag stitch. Not discernible once quilted. As far as wearing is concerned, I don't know since I have been quilting only for a few years. I have always used Warm & Natural batting. I buy the whole roll.

Kris said...

I love the scrappy triangles...even when they take your half the night from sleep. :) Some day I will make a pineapple too.

Louise said...

Your stripey triangles are so great! That one is going onto my (ever growing) to-do list. I can't help much with the batting piecing question except to say that you can buy batting off a roll so that at least one of the dimensions will be longer than 120". I've visited several quilt shops that cut it off the roll for you and had 120" wide stuff. If you could find that then you'd only need one extension seam...

Unknown said...

I hand pieced batting of my last quilt (not because my quilt was too big, but I accidentally cut the batting too small...)
My stitch was not very strong, but I quilted the quilt densely to lock the batting together. In the end I couldn't tell which side the pieced batting located.
So I think, if you are going to quilt the gorgeous pineapples with relatively close-together motives, any method will do the job!

colleen said...

I have pieced warm and natural cotton batting just cut straight edges abutting them machine zig zag.
I have done this with scraps of batting to make doll quilts. Sometimes there are more than one seam. I can't tell where the seams are once the doll quilts are quilted.
These are for donation and have not been washed

LA Paylor said...

you make me want to sew again!
I have joined batting. often for art quilts I join it wherever the cut is. For bed quilts I quilt in big sections which joins it in a way too, after it's quilted of course. Love your projects!!!

Bonnie said...

Weighing in here ... I frequently baste batting by butting the edges together and doing a zig zag. I’ve never had a problem with it stretching. (I sew with a Bernina and it feeds fairly well although I may use a walking foot sometime.) I’ve done this a lot — only problem was the time I used red thread to put it together and it was visible under the light sections a bit. I’m forever trying to finish odd spools and leftover bobbins. Not my best decision. I always try to have the seam run parallel to my rails. That way I don’t have a lump on the take up role. And I don’t have the excess fabric to deal with. If you have to have a vertical seam you can stash some pieces of batting underneath as you roll your backing up and that will help with the excess fabric. Just don’t forget to remove it before you stitch it into your quilt. I love the idea of finding someone who sells batting by the yard that is really wide and you can make it as long as you need. One other thought on pieced batting I doubt you will be able to tell where it’s pieced because of all the seams in the pineapple block anyway. Don’t worry too much about it. I really like you triangles. I might have a ruler that would work. Hmmmm. Sorry for the small book!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

I love your triangle blocks! And that pineapple quilt is like, WOW!!!

I do piece batting together, like others, mostly just for baby quilts. I use to whip stitch quilt batting together. Then I moved on to batting tape. When I ran out of that, I simply started to cut similar sized strips of fusible interfacing I have on hand. That's what I use now. Because it's in the studio, therefore, free, right?!

The join is not visible. No, I can't even find it, once the quilt is quilted. I have pieced together wool. It's too expensive to waste! The fusible batting tape totally works on it. So does fusible interfacing strips. Bamboo is a lot thinner, but I've done that, too. And cotton batting.

No, it doesn't matter if the batting seam is parallel or perpendicular to the rollers. It can even go both ways.

I probably wouldn't do it where there is a lot of solid white fabric, as it might show through. Otherwise, it is a very upcycle thing to do. Best wishes!

Karen's Korner said...

I am always inspired to see what others do with their scraps. Lovely work.

KaHolly said...

Wow, your triangle quilt is going to be incredible! Just like your pineapple quilt! Yes, I’ve joined batting both by hand and by machine. By machine works best, no, the join has never been visible. I’m in a tight budget, and mostly use Warm and Natural or Hobbs 80/20.

Glenda said...

Oh me oh my what a great blog so much to see and enjoy. Loved the random stroppy triangles these are going to be so. Exciting to see grow. Stunning pineapple quilt top to be, beautiful colurs. Today you blog was better than a good magazine. Thanks so much for taking the t8me to share. Cheers Glenda.

Janis said...

Your scrappy triangles look so fun, something I want to try one of these days. And I love, love, love your pineapple log cabin quilt top! Just beautiful. Thanks for the tip on how to get the paper off the piecing a little easier. I've shifted to freezer paper piecing because it was just so difficult to get the paper off the first quilt I paper pieced, and it was Queen sized, yikes.

sewcraftt said...

I just finished joining several strips of batting for a crib size quilt. Using fusible tape and making sure the scrim is all on the same side,I do a wide zig-zag stitch over the tape. I have no problems and it does hold together quite well. Not having a long arm, this little quilt will be quilted on my domestic sewing machine. Yep, I made a pineapple quilt, but I sewed all the blocks by rows, removing paper after adding the next row. I do like your triangles. Trying that next. Thanks for the tutorial.

Donna said...

Hi there. I’ve combine pieces of batting all the time. I use the largest zig zag stitch. Never been a problem. Can’t see the seam and can’t feel it either after the quilting is done. Love your pineapple!