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Batiks--what I learned!

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I just finished my first batik quilt. It was a king size with batik top and backing. As a relative newcomer to the world of LAer's and for other newbies, I thought I would share what I learned. Thank you Mark from APQS for your help!

The biggest challenge was contending with the numerous layers of batik seams--depending on the area of the quilt, I was going through up to 10 layers of batik--yikes!

1. I will never accept a batik quilt that has a batik back again. Because this was a king size, the backing was pieced so I had 2 seams to contend with.

2. I ran my bobbin tension (I use the TOWA) at 13-14 and tightened my top tension.

3. I loosened my quilt top and quilt back rollers to allow Millie a little more flexibility.

4. I used a pantograph and I slowed way down. I found if I went too fast and when I hit a seam the bobbin tension would go crazy and then I had railroad tracks on the back.

5. So a lot of broken threads and some frogging but I finally finished the quilt in a professional manner, but will only accept a batik quilt that has a cotton backing in the future.

6. Quilting a batik quilt leaves holes in the fabric because the nature of fabric and the customers need to understand that. If you do a batik quilt, Mark had a good suggestion: advise the customer when the quilting is done put the quilt in a warm dryer to relax the fabric to help close the holes.

7. I used a 4.0 needle which I changed twice during the process. I had no problems with broken needles.

8. I used King Tut thread on top and Bottomline in the bobbin which worked well.

I would liken this experience to trying to be artistic and graceful with a jackhammer working on concrete. It wasn't the most pleasant experience I've ever had! Millie was a real trooper and I was proud of her performance!

I read the message boards everyday and appreciate so much the support and advice I get from all of you. Thanks for listening! Now Millie and I are going to take a nice break!

Lisa Potter

Buzzy Bee Quilting

Canby, Oregon

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I have done batik quilts with batik battings and here is what I do to minimize problems.

Use a low loft poly like quilters dream poly or blend like hobbs 80/20

Use a 50 wt thread like masterpiece or so fine

Most importantly switch to a smaller needle. I can go to a 3.0 with out retiming. I almost never use a 4.0 anymore unless I HAVE to use King Tut.

I will sprizt the backing with water and toss in the dryer for about 30 minutes to help soften a bit.

Batik backings are not my first choice, but I would never turn them away. The smaller needle is a must.

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I just finished a beautiful strip pieced batik that even had one of those loose narrow borders running throughout the quilt and all around with a batik backing. I used a panto with quite a dense pattern. Superior Rainbow in the top, bottom line in the bobbin and #4 needle. I can't get the Rainbow not to break or shred with a 3.5 so I have given up on using that size. The women that dropped the quilt off (President of a local guild) is a quilt snob and gave me very specific instructions. Since I had to baste down the narrow border so it wouldn't get quilted in the wrong directions she asked about the holes showing in the border. I used a size 60 needle and lingerie thread on my Pfaff and no problem. Where I did have thread breakage on the LA and had to go back over a few sections there were holes in the fabric, I just use my steam iron and hold it an inch above the quilt and them rub with a soft sponge and it closes up the holes. I wouldn't feel comfortable putting a quilt in the dryer.


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Guest Linda S

You know, people had me feeling panicky about doing batik quilts, but the first one I got had a paper-pieced batik top and a batik backing, plus they wanted monofilament thread. I had no problems whatsoever with it. The seam intersections were a bit thick, but Eowyn handled them like a champ. Did I mention that I love my machine? :D


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  • 1 month later...

Help! I have 2 quilts from the same customer that are beautiful fabrics from Hawaii. I have tried everything I can think of: loosening the rollers, misting the top, changing needles, checking the thread path for both bobbin and top threads, checking for burrs and Nothing seems to work. I've tried Masterpiece and Rainbow with Bottom Line. There are beginning to be a lot of holes and I'm so intimidated, I haven't been near it again for a whole day. Suggestions would sure be welcome!

Susie B.

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Other than the above statements, two other thing to try (well 3).

First- RELAX!

Second- You can lightly mist with water with a little fabric softener in it.

Third- Tell your customer that she must block her quilt. When the fibers are fully wet and then dry during blocking the fibers will shrink back around the thread. Never be afraid to block. This is especially important if it is a show quilt or a wall-hanging.

Good luck!


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