the Right Quilting Materials When Beginning
To begin with, I want to say something as trite
as it is important and that is, "Use the very
best materials that you can afford for any and
all handwork." Extravagance is never smart, but
good quilt materials are not expensive. It's
the sleazy ones, unreliable dyes and starched
cloth that prove expensive in the end.
Wash goods is gauged by the
number of threads per square inch, "68-72" is a
fair grade of percale, "80 square" is
excellent, the weight we usually use and some
of the very fine imported ginghams run to "120
A firm weave is imperative
where one is cutting small triangles and
diamonds where part of each block must be bias.
Imagine trying to fit bias sides of rayon crepe
or voile onto squares and you can see how
totally unfitted such scraps are for quilt
making. Coarse linens, crash weight cretonne
and pongee unless deeply seamed ravel out too
easily to be suitable. Romper cloth and any
others that border onto ticking texture are too
close weave and heavy to quilt well. Cheap
ginghams will shrink enough to pucker in a
quilt top. So to the firm weave must be added
soft texture. "Beauty shine" is a permanent
luster satin of finest quality, which we
recommend for excellent results. The finest
materials certainly do make the loveliest
The dye problem is mastered
with a reasonable amount of care as "vat dyes"
are usual in even very inexpensive goods.
"Commercially fast" the dealer will say, which
means with any reasonable care they will not
run. Very few manufacturers will absolutely
guarantee color, and where they do replace,
they have told us it was often a case of
sub-standard black thread which had spotted
with washing. Quilts are naturally difficult
things to launder. A wisp of silk undies may be
in, out, and dry in next to no time, but a
quilt with cotton filler, top and lining all
stitched plumply together goes in for no such
speedy procedure. When it gets wet it stays
that way long enough to try colors to their
limits. We have had quilt colors, yellows and
reds "bleed" into the white and in subsequent
tubbings clear again to white. For the
"priceless" quilts we suggest the French
There is a long list of
woven cloths advertised from 1715 on,
"Demities," "Fustians," "Muslings,"
"Cambricks," different sorts of "Duck," "Lawn,"
"Searsucker," "Pealong" the ancestor of
longcloth and Nankeen who begat "Blue Denim"!
All of these and many more found their way into
patchwork but the dearest and most suitable of
all was calico. An author, who treats this
history in full, writes that "the mainstay of
the patch worker was from 1700 to 1775
callicoe, from 1775 to 1825 calicoe, and from
1825 to 1875 calico!"
The great majority of quilts
are usually made of wash cotton materials,
although silks are sometimes used in such
patterns as Log Cabin, Grandmother's Fan, or
the Friendship Ring, where one's friends are
called upon to help furnish beautiful bits to
make the patterns as variegated as possible.
Woolens, even good parts of worn garments are
excellent for the heavy type of coverlet, and
such designs as Steps to the Altar, or
Grandmother's Cross are suitable. Woolens are
so apt to be dull, "practical" colors, that it
is imperative to have some certain unit of red,
bright green, orange or such in each block.
While cotton broadcloth,
percales, or fine gingham, the calico prints
and such, are used with muslin for wash quilts,
many women maintain that soft satin really
makes the most gorgeous quilt of all. When the
time comes to quilt you will know why we stress
soft materials and why lustrous satin which
catches light on every little silk-like puff
between quilting designs is so beloved.
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