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Thread: Novice needs help!

  1. #1
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    Novice needs help!

    Hi all, I'm new to quilting and new to this forum Please can I pick your brains. I have pieced together a quilt for my teenage son made out of denim pieces. They are all irregular shapes and odd bits of old jeans etc. I have put a border around it and am backing it onto plain denim. Hopefully you can see in the attached pic. My problem is that I am not sure how to do the quilting. My preference would be to stitch around the individual pieces and then do some sort of zigzag around the border but it will look really odd on the back. Does it matter? Does anyone have a better suggestion? Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Super Member damaquilts's Avatar
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    That must be a heavy quilt with the denim. Great look for a boy though. I would mark a simple crosshatch or something similar.

  3. #3
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    I think that crosshatching or going around the squares would be wonderful and no it won't look wierd on the back

  4. #4
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I would do an overall swirl with stars in blue (or variegated blue) thread.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  5. #5
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Yes I agree....it is going to be very very heavy.....are you sure you want a demin backing ????????
    you are going to have to use a large needle, maybe even a 100 or 120, and really take your time quilting as
    your machine will be going thru two layers of demin and I am assuming batting....you will really need to
    use a walking foot for sure......
    If it was me, I would use a blue print cotton backing, maybe like a plaid rather than demin....just a suggestion.
    Yes that is a real picture of my hometown Temecula, California. We feature premiere Wineries, World Class Golf Courses, Pechanga Indian Casino and Hot Air Balloons

  6. #6
    Super Member Sierra's Avatar
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    To line denim with denim is going to make a very thick and very heavy quilt. Lift it, isn't it very heavy already? You might want to check and make sure your repairman (or any repairman) thinks your machine is up to this kind of work. If you haven't put the backing on you might want to reconsider and put a thinner, but still stong fabric on the back.

  7. #7
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    I have quilted a denim quilt with plain fabric on the back and it was heavy. I did a basic straight stitch down the quilt in rows, alternating directions. I used my old singer treadle because I knew my modern machine would not sew over the welted side seams and pockets I had added. Are you using denim like whole yardage (not pieces)for the back? If you are, you will probably be okay to do very basic rows of stitching although it will be very heavy to work with.

  8. #8
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    You will get a very heavy and warm quilt with 2 layers of denim and batting, but it will wear like iron and be a great gift for anyone. I think you could do just about any type of quilting and have it look good, with the possible exceptions of flowers since it is for a guy. Straight lines will be ok, whether in crosshatching or just along the seams and would be easier since there will be many thicker seams to cross. Make sure you use a thread designed for denim, as it will be stronger.

  9. #9
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    Man, I would LOVE to have a heavy quilt like that on cold nights. I get too hot to quilt something that heavy though. LOL

    I agree that stitching around the squares or crosshatching would be fine, and it'll look great on the back, too. Just make sure you have sturdy thread and the right needle. Also be sure you are sitting at the right height and plan to take breaks because shoving that baby around under your needle is going to be a work out.

    Welcome to the QB, and congrats on your quilt! It looks fantastic!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    I love heavy covers. They feel so nice when it is cold outside. If you have a vintage, or heavy duty machine you should be fine. Even my little singer , which is neithr vintage nor heavy duty, can do it but you have to go slow. Walking foot would be great if you have one, if not JoAnns sells no name ones and they are affordable. Good luck, your son is a very lucky guy to get such a nice quilt. A word of advice, use a strong thread.

  11. #11
    Senior Member batikmystique's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board! You are so smart to make a denim quilt for a boy...it will take anything he can probably dish out. I agree that cross-hatching would look nice. You might also consider tying the quilt instead of quilting it...just not sure if the look you are going for. I'm not sure about what type of thread would be best for tying a denim quilt...perle cotton? Maybe someone else here on the board could help with that. I've heard that a surgeon's knot is the best and that there is a YouTube video for the instructions on how to tie the knot. Your batting will dictate how far apart the knots need to be. I think Warm & Natural states no more than 10 inches for quilting lines, but I would make it closer than that for a tied quilt. Just check the packaging that your batting came in. Try to post a picture when you have it completed...would love to see it!
    Creative clutter is better than idle neatness.

  12. #12
    Senior Member laurlync's Avatar
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    Welcome to the QB!

    Another idea...if you aren't using batting or if you are using a batting that doesn't require close quilting, you could quilt some type of design such as a star in each of the squares. It would require a lot of starts and stops, but you would be avoiding the really thick seams, you wouldn't have to try to move the quilt as much as doing straight stitching all the way across the quilt (repeatedly) and it would look really cool on the back.

    Good luck with whatever you decide!
    Laurlyn
    Innova 26" w/LS

  13. #13
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    I buy a denim thread at Walmart that will be almost invisible on the back. It blends in with any color of denim but you may need several spools because it is just a regular size spool. It is beside the gold thread for denim but the gold thread is very thick while the denim is not. Maybe you could just use it where you don't want the quilting to show and use something else for the rest.

  14. #14
    Super Member Vanuatu Jill's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board from Southern California! I love your quilt! I think, however, I would opt for a cotton backing, not denim, and a thin batting. Can you imagine the weight of the quilt when it's done, and trying to wash and dry it?? I made a purse from a denim-look cotton, and I loved it! Joann's had it and I only bought it a month or so ago. I would also make the quilting simple, say a large meander or simple cross hatching. There seems to be too many small patches in yours to go around each patch! Maybe you could pick some of the larger pieces and do a manly motif in them, but I would make it as simple as possible by a simple all-over design. I have made numerous jeans tote bags from Jeans I got at our new Goodwill store and other places, so have tons of denim scraps from the legs, I think I might attempt a denim scrap quilt as well. Let us know what you do and PLEASE post a photo she its done! Thanks!

  15. #15
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    just had another small thought....you could use fleece in the center instead of batting and then tie the quilt....use a good size curved (half circle) needle....
    Yes that is a real picture of my hometown Temecula, California. We feature premiere Wineries, World Class Golf Courses, Pechanga Indian Casino and Hot Air Balloons

  16. #16
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board. I agree that you may have trouble with the quilting if you have denim on the back and quilt over the block intersections. Every seam you cross means you are going through at least 3 layers of denim (assuming you have pressed the seams open) -- the intersections even more. Sewing machines do funny things when they try to sew over those big clumps of fabric -- some of them get bogged down, some jump over. With the denim top you need to reduce bulk as much as possible for the rest of the quilt.

    That said, I think a nice all over grid pattern (for me it would be on the diagonal) would be nice. If you do free motion, moving a heavy quilt can be really hard on you. If you do a grid pattern with your walking foot the machine is helping you move the quilt around.
    QuiltnLady1

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

  17. #17
    Super Member HillCountryGal's Avatar
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    Welcome to quiltingboard.
    Everyone here has given you good advise. I made a similar type quilt for my grandchildren. Used flannel as backing. And no lining, as here in Texas it doesn't get THAT cold. Did a simple diagional stitch across one and tied the other. Whatever you decide to do, be sure and show us the finished project.

  18. #18
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    No it won't matter sounds nice

  19. #19
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    If you are concerned about how the back will look, you might consider trying a "busy" fabric on the back, something a bit lighter weight as others have suggested, a print that will probably hide the quilting design.

    That said, I also encourage you not to worry about the quilting "on the back" as that is a normal part of doing this work; there's not a way to actually hide it, so mostly we let it fall where it may.

    Welcome here, by the way!

    Jan in VA
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    peacefully colors my world.
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  20. #20
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    Well, from your picture it looks really pretty. I like it! Keep going. The only way to learn is ask this board questions and make your mind up what you want to do. And then get going. Good luck. Son will love it too.

  21. #21
    Senior Member quiltin chris's Avatar
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    I made a denim rag quilt for my sons. I backed them with heavier LQS cotton fabric and no batting. Denim quilts are very heavy and take forever to dry when washed. They do stand up to a lot of abuse which makes them good for a kid or guy quilt. I would recommend backing with lighter weight fabric and do a very simple stitching design. You have a lot of seams to sew over---make it easy on yourself.
    Looks very nice in your picture.

    Chris
    What I make with my hands, I give of my heart.

  22. #22
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    You might want to practice with two layers of denim...and your batting, if you are using any...and see how it feels to you and your machine. As for quilting, I would go with something simple. It won't matter how it looks on the back at all. Probably your thread won't even show if you use a navy blue. Beautiful quilt, by the way.

    Dina

  23. #23
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    My very first quilt was denim using our old jeans. It was for my daughter who was in HS. It started out 10" squares. The back was a lighter weight denim and I tied it off. Sounds good, but by the end I had fought that denim, the squares were wonky, my fingers were sore from tiring with red yarn, but it looked mighty good to me! My daughter is 30 today and the quilt is doing fine. Denim will live forever and is heavy without batting. I didn't do anymore quilting until a year ago.
    MELODY MO/KS

  24. #24
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    Wow! Thank you all for your replies - I hadn't expected such an amazing response. I have read all answers and there is so much useful information. I am pretty committed to keeping the denim backing - it's not a very heavyweight backing but I have sacrificed 4 fingernails in the process of pinning it all together! So...what I have decided to do is to make up a sample piece and have a practise with my machine to see what it can cope with. I shall arm myself with heavy thread and strong needles and see what happens. Unfortunately, I can't take up your suggestions for where to buy supplies as I am in the UK but I can probably source everything here - the internet is a wonderful thing! I am more confident of trying to quilt a geometric pattern so will probably try the cross-hatching. I'll let you know how I get on. hopefully my son will still be a teenager by the time I finish it

  25. #25
    Senior Member ShabbyTabby's Avatar
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    I made one for my son and used denim on the top and no batting just a good flannel on the back and it was plenty heavy and warm. I just stitched around each block and it was fine.
    Families are like old quilts....although they tend to unravel at times...each can be stitched back together with love.

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