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Thread: Batiks and Sheets

  1. #1
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    Batiks and Sheets

    Generally speaking, batiks seem to be more tightly woven than "regular quiltng cottons."

    So - why the big deal about NOT using sheets because they are "too tightly woven" to be easily quilted as compared to "regular quilting cotton."

    I am not talking about the super tightly woven sheets - just the ones that seem to be about as tightly woven as the batiks.

  2. #2
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    I would like to know too.

  3. #3
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    Me too...espcially percale sheets.
    Penny

  4. #4
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i don't have a problem of putting a patch or two of sheet fabric in a quilt if it is the right color. i don't hand quilt, so the quilting issue is non-relevant to me.
    Nancy in western NY
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  5. #5
    Super Member jbj137's Avatar
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    ***
    *** I have always used sheets and have never had a problem.
    ***
    J J (jbj137)

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  6. #6
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    I have no problem with using a sheet for backing if the feel is right because I machine quilt. If I was hand quilting, I would not use a sheet for I would find it hard to needle.

  7. #7
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    The first misnomer here is that Batiks are more tightly woven. Not exactly. Some batiks (not all) will have a higher thread count in order to take the dyes better and hold up to the wax resist method of dying. Usually a threadcount of around 200. Additionally the wax resist method calls for the fabric to be put in boiling water to melt the wax away. This causes the fabric to shrink up a bit and appear to be more tightly woven. Some batiks are much harder to hand needle than others. And I have heard of and read here, issues of when the batik is longarmed that the needle holes are obvious. Usually a washing will once again "re-arrange" the threads in the fabric to close up the hole. Rarely have I read or heard of a longarm needle actually breaking the warp and weft threads in batiks.

    High thread count sheets (300 or more) to my knowledge are only semi-shunned when longarming when the larger size needles are used. Because there is so much fiber packed together the longarm needle can actually break the warp or weft threads making a hole and weakening the fabric (as opposed to sliding between the warp and weft threads). this is due to the much larger size longarm needle. I suspect a domestic sewing machine needle is fine enough to still slide between the warp and weft until you start getting into those really high thread counts (600+)

    The 2nd misnomer is it is a big deal. I really don't think it is. What I suspect happened is at one point in time a bunch of quilters gave longarmers sheets for backing and the results were less than spectacular and they weren't warned up front. So a few complaining loudly about it, turned to many and more and more longarmers found out so refused to take sheets or warned that the end product could be less than satisfactory. Maybe someone got cited for it at a show. As most quilting folklore happens, word spreads and the beginning circumstances are forgotten and it gets blown into a full fledged infraction by the quilt police.

    Of course it can be done and many longarmers don't have issue with it. and many clients don't care if there are irregularities in the finished product as long as they are warned up front. It does make a very annoying "thwok thwok, thowk" noise. It can play havoc with tension and it can also create snags in the fabric (kind of like a run in nylon only it is only one or two thread widths wide and usually only spans a short distance of a few inches).

    I have never had issue with Batiks or batik wide backs. I have had issues happen with high thread count sheets, no issues with flannel sheets.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Faintly Artistic's Avatar
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    I don't understand statements about sheets being hard to needle. I regularly use sheets, both vintage blends and newer 100% cottons. I also regularly hand quilt...big stitch primarily, but am practicing the smaller stitches as well. I LOVE hand quilting the sheets, some of the older blends are truly like sewing through butter! The newer cotton ones aren't quite as nice, but still doable. Maybe those stitching 10+ per inch don't like them, but I ain't there yet😜. I think batting makes a much bigger difference. That and needles.

  9. #9
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    No reason other than some quilt police somewhere said so. Who gives a rat's patootie what THOSE people think? Use what makes ya happy. Its YOUR quilt.

  10. #10
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    I regularly use ripped-up bedsheets as foundations for my crazy quilts. I learned that from my grandmother. Neither her 50's-era machines nor my modern machines have any problems sewing through them. I stitch scraps down to the foundation (sheet) square, and then add decorative stitches over the top - zero problems.

    The extra layer does add some heft to the finished quilt but that's what I grew up with so it seems pretty normal to me.

  11. #11
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I will second almost everything that Feline Fanatic said, except I DO know of a couple of longarmers who have struggled with certain batiks (thwock thwock thwock). Interestingly, one specific longarming acquaintance of mine refused to give up. She was very experienced but had awful tension issues with the batiks, and she could not get them resolved despite all of her skills. So she did a bunch of online research and experimented until she found a solution that worked - she sprayed silicone fabric spray on the quilt top.

  12. #12
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    I love using sheets for backs. Some are so soft to touch!

    Use sheets...
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  13. #13
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    It seems like the answers to this question also fall into the "It depends on what "exactly" you are using and doing for the results you are getting."

  14. #14
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    I use sheets I usually buy older ones from thrift stores I LIKE THE all cotton ones the best

  15. #15
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    I often use sheets for backing a quilt. There are no seams to mess with, and there are certainly lots of color choices. The sheets hold up well with washing and drying, and I've never had any complaints from those who've received a quilt from me.

    Occasionally there will be a need to use some sheets in the quilt top itself. It's always worked for me. Maybe I'm just not that particular, but I've never had any problems. Historically, quilts were made using what was available, from denims and corduroys to silks and velvets. Some of the most beautiful historical quilts often had fabrics that would not be "approved" by many quilt police.

    I say: "Use what you've got and whatever makes you happy!"
    Sometimes I try to act "normal," but it gets boring so I just go back to being myself.

  16. #16
    Super Member ontheriver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbj137 View Post
    ***
    *** I have always used sheets and have never had a problem.
    ***
    Same here. Use them all the time.
    Jeanann

    Theres nothing wrong with me a little chocolate won't fix.

  17. #17
    Super Member Weezy Rider's Avatar
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    I ran into a sheet that either had weird content or a huge thread count years ago. I'd bought it to do some curtains as it was the right color. Didn't matter what needle I put in the machine, they all popped and spit like I was sewing through steel wool. Take the sheet out, sew some regular garment fabric and no noise, no difficulty with the same needles. I think I bought it at a clearance outlet somewhere, so no telling where it was from originally. The packaging was intact, but didn't list any particulars like thread count or fabric composition. In retrospect, I'm wondering if it didn't have an early effort at fire retarding.

    I've used sheets since and never have run across another one like that!

  18. #18
    Senior Member AVFD215's Avatar
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    I am happy to hear that it was "The committee of them" who said no sheets. I never saw a reason for it, but have never used them.
    Thanks for the info.

  19. #19
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    Hate to be odd man out here, but I have trouble needling thru batiks or sheets, and when I use either one, I just don't hand quilt them......off to the longarmer they go.

  20. #20
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    My DM hand quilted and always used sheets as her backing with no problem.

  21. #21
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    There are some tightly woven percales that are hard to work with, but 100% cottons in medium to light weight present absolutely no problems. I love what Popover said and agree wholeheartedly.
    "The great doing of little things makes the great life." Eugena Price

  22. #22
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    I made a disappearing hourglass using batik and a gently used bed sheet. It turned out really nice and the long-armer did not seem to have a problem quilting it. I could not notice any large needle holes either. Here's a photo.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  23. #23
    Power Poster lynnie's Avatar
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    i have a friend who uses them with no problems. she even has used sheets from Savers and never a problem. she has a Martelli LA.
    put off till tomorrow what you can do today, and if you procrastinate long enough, you may never have to do it.

  24. #24
    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    This is an interesting topic. I was always told not to use sheets, but this could make the no-no rule shake a bit.
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  25. #25
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    I use sheets all the time, either in blocks or as backings.

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