Pink Castle Blog

5 Different Ways to Use Solid Fabrics in a Quilt

Posted by Katie Remski on Jan 22, 2018 8:45:00 AM
  

Solid fabrics are undoubtedly essential in every stash, but sometimes it's hard to know how to best utilize them in quilts. Maybe you don't like solids, or only see them as background fabric, or just aren't sure how best to incorporate them into your quilts. Here's 5 of our favorite ways to use solid fabrics!

1. Use solids as a background

Maybe the most common use for solid fabrics, a smooth, unobtrusive background lets the prints shine and provides a place for the eye to rest between blocks. For this quilt made by Brenda using Liberty of London Tana Lawn, the white offers a separation of the very detailed prints so each one can be appreciated without distraction.

Liberty of London Quilt at Pink Castle Fabrics
Chocolatier BOM at Pink Castle Fabrics

2. Make the solids your focus by using a print background

For an interesting twist on tradition, try using a print background and use solids for the feature elements in your blocks. Here in the Chocolatier quilt by AnneMarie Chany, solids make the blocks look graphic and bright while the busy print background keeps the eye moving away from pesky background seams. Look at how the custom quilting shines within the solid spaces!

3. Use a solid where you would have used a print

It can be tempting to pack as many favored prints as possible into one quilt, but adding in a few solids actually gives the prints a greater impact. In this half-square triangle quilt (made by me!) white and blush pink solids are randomly scattered throughout the blocks, allowing the subtle prints and hand quilting to pop. If you want to showcase your most precious stashed prints, adding a few solids next to them will boost their impact.

Good Hair Day Baby Quilt at Pink Castle Fabrics

Aura Quilt Kits at Pink Castle Fabrics

4. Use only solids

Without prints to distract the eye, all-solid quilts look clean and smooth. Solids give you the opportunity to play with color value, hue, and shade to create interesting shapes and even optical illusions. The Aura Quilt by Nydia Kenhle uses a balance of bright and neutral Kona Solids to make her quilt look complex (though it's contstruction is anything but) yet still modern.

5. Use solids for backing/binding

Using one solid fabric as the backing for your quilts lets you emphasize a color from the quilt top, like this stunning emerald green (similar color here.) Sometimes I use solid backings because I want to use a favorite color in a pure, unobtrusive way. Solids also help show off interesting quilting. This photo is the same quilt as #1-- now you can really see the floral quilting! You can also see the binding is the same white as the background, which prevents a hard visual outline around the quilt that can sometimes be distracting. 

Liberty of London Quilt at Pink Castle Fabrics

Thank you to all of you who contributed to our solid fabric survey. Stay tuned for more posts about how to use this essential part of every stash. 

All Solids in Stock!

Topics: Liberty of London, Gen X Quilters, Lecien, solids, Quilting, Fabric, quilt finishing, Kona solids, Robert Kaufman, solid fabric, cotton

Which Batting is Best?

Posted by Katie Remski on Jan 8, 2018 11:28:27 AM
  

Your quilt top is done (hooray!) and it's time to pick the middle layer for your quilt sandwich-- batting! With so many options out there, choosing the right one for your quilt can be overwhelming. It's great if you already have a favorite, but knowing how different batting weights and fibers affect the look and feel of the quilt can make a big difference in your next project. Let's take a look at the most popular varieties. 

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Cotton

Cotton batting is made from natural cotton fibers, sometimes bleached and sometimes not, and is typically thinner and more dense (it has very little loft) than polyester or wool. Cotton batting is a popular choice for quilts that will be used in multiple seasons, as cotton isn't too warm for summer, and is also popular for heirloom quilts that will be stored and used for many years. Cotton has the benefit of being the same fiber as quilting fabric, meaning it will wash nicely, though can suffer some shrinkage. Since cotton batting is thinner and not as puffy as other fibers, it doesn't always "fill out" wide spaces between quilting stitches, making for more crinkly quilts after washing, which can be a benefit or a disadvantage depending on the look you want. 

Cotton is sometimes blended with other fibers such as polyester (which lightens it and reduces shrinkage) or bamboo, silk, or wool for added warmth. 

Wool

If you're looking to make your quilt both puffy and warm, wool batting is for you! Wool has a high, springy loft and makes quilts surprisingly light. Made from processed and combed sheep's wool, wool batting is an excellent insulator making for warm quilts with longevity. You'll want to make certain to only gently wash your wool batted quilts in cold water, as wool has a tendency to felt under agitation and heat (and it may smell a little "sheepy" during the first wash-- no worries, it will be gone once it's dry.) Wool batting's high loft makes for excellent stitch definition in your quilting, making it perfect for closely placed quilting, and looks pleasantly puffy if you choose sparse quilting. Wool is sometimes blended with cotton, silk, or bamboo for added qualities. 

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Polyester

Polyester batting is a man made synthetic fiber and is most often what's found in mass produced duvet covers and quilts due to it's low cost and ability to make quilts both light and puffy with variable lofts (it can be as thin or thick as desired and comes in multiple lofts.) It's also reasonably comfortable in a variety of climates, being warm or cool depending on said loft and doesn't shrink. While these are qualities that are desirable, polyester is not very durable due to the loosely connected fibers in the batt and has the tendency to break and clump inside the quilt with subsequent washings. Polyester batting is still an ok choice for some quilts, but is often better blended with cotton or wool to make it more durable. 

 View Batting Here

Topics: machine quilting, Quilting, quilt finishing, free motion quilting, cotton, batting, wool

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