April 2018: Quilting Tips

Taking care of business

Sheila recognized various members to discuss upcoming events and activities.

Christmas in July, UFO challenge, May block challenge

  • Debbie described Christmas in July events including the planned silent auction and ornament exchange, both of which will take place at the July meeting and the Christmas challenge which spans from June until its completion in December. You can read details of all three activities at BCQG Christmas in July. Also visit the members only section to sign up to participate in the Christmas challenge AND to sign up for food and drink you can contribute to the July meeting.
  • Debbie also reminded members of the UFO challenge for 2018. Check out the guild’s UFO Challenge guidelines and print a UFO listing sheet. You need to get a copy with your UFOs listed turned in to Debbie ASAP.
  • Finally Debbie encouraged participation in the May challenge block using bright, cheery colors with white background fabric to make an 8 ½” inch block using the scrappy heart from Delaware Quilts. Debbie thinks the resulting blocks would make a great charity quilt.


Pam and Amy then talked about charity efforts. Sheila and Pam spent time sorting donated fabrics, and Lisa has donated empty bolts to store fabric yardage for backings. Labels were also available to any member making a charity quilt. Amy encouraged everyone to visit the donation room, and she shared two quilts she has completed using fabric from the donation room including one that incorporates her ugly fabric, so the ugly fabric challenge is on!

Boutique event – Maker Faire

Lisa talked about the Burlington Maker Faire that is coming up April 28 at Holly Hill Mall from 10am-5pm. We hope to have some sewing machines set up and be able to invite visitors to sew. Lisa has offered some 2.5” and 4” squares from her stash that visitors can sew together the way kids did at 4th Fridays events last summer.

We will have boutique items for sale – and probably need to build up our inventory of microwave bowl holders (aka “koozies”). Ann talked about boutique sales and invited members to sew anything they think might sell well at our booth and thanked Enola for agreeing to manage boutique inventory and sales moving forward.

Please visit the sign-up sheets folder in the members only section to sign up to help at the Maker Faire. Also don’t forget the rescheduled sew day. More people indicated they were available on April 21 than on April 14, so the April 14 charity sew day is cancelled, and instead we will sew for charity and/or boutique at the church on April 21 from 10-2.

Raffle Quilts

Terri-Lynne described her experience attending the 87th annual Uncle Eli’s Quilting Party and learning that her mother had won our raffle quilt. On Monday, she and several guild members drove to Raleigh to deliver the Tree of Life quilt to her mother.

Sheila showed off her work on the center for the next raffle quilt adapted from Norah McMeeking’s Bella Roma design. The quilt will incorporate 9-patch batik blocks members made in January 2017.

Tips for Quilters

Miranda and Vernett

For this month’s program, we gathered in a circle to begin a series of programs aimed at increasing our knowledge and skills. For April, Miranda and Vernett led a discussion of threads, needles, and batting choices.

If you are able to volunteer your expertise for future meetings, please contact Vernett who will work to set up stations on different topics members can learn about.


Miranda shared her experiences learning about threads suggesting that choices should be made based on use. Miranda has learned a lot from consulting the recommendations of experts like Harriet Hargrave, Alex Anderson, and Nancy Zieman and participating in Quilter’s Academy courses.

  • Thread labeled for quilting is not necessarily for all aspects of quilting from piecing to actual quilting.
  • It is good to use thinner thread for piecing, and the higher the number on the thread weight, the thinner the thread. Ply, or the number of wrapped strands is also a factor, and higher weights (thinner thread) require more ply/strands.
  • For piecing, 60 weight 3 ply is recommended by Hargrave. An alternative that is not as strong is 50 weight 2 ply. With embroidery or applique, 80 weight thread in the bobbin can be good.
  • Seam width may need to vary with thread weight. While a scant 1/4″ seam may work with heavier threads, it may not be wide enough for a thinner thread and may result in pieced blocks that are too large.
  • Machine brand recommendations should also be consulted since some threads work better on some machine brands. The shaft or scarf of the needle accommodates the thread and can also be a factor in selecting a thread.
  • Mercerization and gassing (single vs. double gassed) can also affect thread quality. Learn more about thread types and terminology and Craftsy recommendations for thread types.
  • Thread must be lighter than the fabric when piecing; for example, polyester thread may chew up cotton fabric and may also shrink differently after a quilt is washed – cotton fabric shrinks and poly thread does not.
  • Quality thread that may seem expensive can seem less so when the quantity of thread per spool or cone is compared. Large cones are economical, and thread can also be purchased on sale.
  • How thread is wound on the spool affects how it feeds; cross-wound thread should be run from a horizontal spool while thread wound straight around on a spool works better when fed from a vertical spindle.


Miranda talked a bit about needles and recommended size 60 or 80 (metric). Chrome or titanium needles are said to last longer, but needles should be changed regularly, some say at the start of each new project. Miranda frowned at the comment made by some members that they use a needle until it breaks! Needles vary in length, distance to the eye, size of scarf (shaft), etc., and needles have a front and back and must be inserted correctly.


Vernett spoke about different types of batting – low, mid, and high loft. She also said that batting has a right and wrong side with the wrong side being rougher – whether the wrong goes towards the back or top of the quilt may depend on how it is constructed with the goal of minimizing bearding. Wool batting is good to show quilting detail. She has successfully used a batting made from recycled plastic bottles at half the price. Harriet Hargrave likes 80/20 batting such as Hobbs 80/20. Hobbs also provides frequently asked questions about batting.

There was a discussion of scrim that is usually polyester, and that reading the fine print on the label is essential since sometimes batting advertised as cotton will in fact be part polyester. There were also testimonies from several members that microwave bowl holders made using batting with any polyester, even as little as 3%, can cause a fire! Some have purchased Wrap ‘n Zap batting made specially for microwaving by the bolt.

Also see our guild tips document for links to needle size charts and how to test fabric or batting for content (cotton vs. poly).

Show and Tell

Terri-Lynne shared a predominantly black and white quilt top she made from a kit from Nancy Zieman. She was able to buy pink backing fabric on the way back from delivering the raffle quilt to her mother. Imagine that – they stopped at a fabric store!

Patty and Bonnie shared their rabbit applique pillows.

Enola shared a holiday UFO as well as her completed quilt made from January’s icy blocks she won.

Lisa R. shared her completed landscape quilt made at the Saturday workshop taught by guild member Teresa. Penny shared a small quilt she made to welcome adoptee Bradley from Haiti to the U.S. as part of our efforts to support Carolina Adoption Services by making “welcome home” quilts. See photos of adoption quilts made by members and quilters at Twin Lakes.

Penny shared her most recent wool applique and embroidery project


Quilt blocksAnn L. took home “Goose in the Pond” blocks in green, purple, and cream from Miranda’s April challenge. Read more about our monthly block challenge and join in the fun next month!

See photos of blocks from all of our monthly challenges.

Penny won the name tag drawing.

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