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Is it heresy

Is it heresy

Old 03-01-2018, 06:54 AM
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Default Is it heresy

...if I use sheets for quilt backing? I hand quilt so I like solid backing so the quilting is more visible. The price is right if I find sheets at Ross or on Groupon.
What do you see as the pros and cons!
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:03 AM
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Not Heresy and done quite often. The only thing I would avoid are the uber high thread count sheets. The weave is so dense it might give you some difficulty needling, much like batiks can be a bit tougher to hand quilt due to their denseness.

I do know a lot of LA quilters don't like to use sheets because the longarm needle is much bigger than a regular SM needle and it can have a tendency to actually break the warp or weft threads of the sheet rather than sliding between them (on the super high thread count ones) . There is also a bit of disconcerting "thwock thwock thwock" sound with every stitch. But for handquilting you shouldn't have that issue.

Many here highly recommend using vintage sheets from thrift stores if you can find them.

I have used flannel sheets too!
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:03 AM
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The cons that I see would be that because the thread count is much higher in sheets than quilt fabric, it will be difficult to hand quilt. Having said that I've heard of lots of people who do go ahead and hand quilt with sheets. I'd say trim a piece off and see how it handles for you, good luck!
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:14 AM
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I am a longarm quilter and use sheets as backing all of the time with no problems. My APQS Lenni can not tell the difference between sheets and quilting fabric. I quilt them all, all cotton, poly/cotton and flannel. I won’t use microfibre sheets as I don’t like the feel of them. Sheets do not warp or break my needle and my needle has not broken or warped the sheet. For me, sheets make a very affordable backing for quilts that are going to be used every day. You would need to choose a sheet that wasn’t as tightly woven for hand quilting or say a lot of bad words trying to get your needle through easily.
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Shelbie View Post
I am a longarm quilter and use sheets as backing all of the time with no problems. My APQS Lenni can not tell the difference between sheets and quilting fabric. I quilt them all, all cotton, poly/cotton and flannel. I won’t use microfibre sheets as I don’t like the feel of them. Sheets do not warp or break my needle and my needle has not broken or warped the sheet. For me, sheets make a very affordable backing for quilts that are going to be used every day. You would need to choose a sheet that wasn’t as tightly woven for hand quilting or say a lot of bad words trying to get your needle through easily.
Shelby you misunderstood my post. The needle doesn't break and nothing is warped. Sheets are woven. Warp is the term used for the threads that are mounted lenghwise on the loom and weft are threads that weave over and under the warp threads which forms the fabric. All woven fabric is made this way. It takes a very trained eye and you have to be looking for it specifically but any longarm needle, which is much larger as you know, can, and often will break either the warp or weft thread rather than sliding between them as most needles do with normal quilting fabric. This is especially true of high thread count sheets which is probably why many people, especially longarmers don't like to use them. You won't see a hole but if you examine carefully you will see what often looks like a "run" in the fabric. Much like us old school garment sewers would find the straight of grain by pulling a single thread. This only happens with high count sheets. Next time you quilt using a high count sheet examine the back very carefully with magnifyer, I suspect you will find a few.
There is no reason you can't continue to use sheets but if you quilt for others it would be a disservice to your clients not to mention the possiblity of this happening and let them make the decision. If you only quilt for yourself and don't care, then it doesn't matter. The damage is so minute it really won't effect how the quilt wears over time. It may be called out in a show.
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:54 AM
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I use sheets when I can get them. Using sheets for backing is nothing new... been done forever!
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:59 AM
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​If you are hand quilting, I would wash the sheet first to make it softer. The stiffness of brand new sheets can make it difficult to get small hand stitches.
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Old 03-01-2018, 08:35 AM
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the very first quilt i ever made, [mumble mumble] years ago not only had a sheet on the back, i used an old blanket instead of "official" batting.
hand quilted it, too.

i didn't say it was easy to HQ.
didn't say there were tiny stitches or a lot of quilting.

just said i managed to finish it. lol

used that sucker for many years until it finally went to the pet shelter.
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Old 03-01-2018, 08:56 AM
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if you like using the sheets and happy how your lovely quilting looks why not I use sheets and do not have any cons about it.
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:51 AM
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Not heresy at all. I use sheets for backing all the time, except I get them at the thrift store or from my used ones that are looking rough around the edges. I even use the vintage blends with no problems. (Audible gasp from the quilting police). I hand quilt and avoid the high thread count sheets. I made some small test samples, hand and machine quilted them and threw them in the washer/dryer to test. Nothing blew up or shrank funny, so I figured I was okay. Cheap backing fabric and no extra seams to hand quilt through.
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