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Thread: Quilt backs

  1. #1
    Senior Member margie77072's Avatar
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    Quilt backs

    Ever since I started on the board and started quilting there has been a GREAT emphasis on the back of the quilt. So many of the beautiful quilts I have seen are really a double sided quilt. Each side a beautiful work of art, particularly once the quilting is added. And that's great, really! However, I wonder if our quilting ancestors were as concerned about the back as we are, or were they mainly concerned that the front was the focus and done wonderfully and the back was a secondary concern. In this hurried life, so much emphasis is placed on multi-tasking and dual duty. We are looked at strangely if we make something that is meant to be used only one way. It is wonderful when a quilt can be used front or back and it's still beautiful but it doesn't HAVE to be that way. A nice neat back is okay, even if you had to add to it or whatever. So, I say, fellow quilters....GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.....it's okay for the back to be just functional

  2. #2
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    I agree I think we try to do the quilts too fast and also the backs is probably a good way to use up the fabric that we have since we have to piece it might as well use that to our advantage

  3. #3
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    I've had to add simple piecing to a few backs in order to have enough fabric and discovered I do like the look for throw type quilts, but I wouldn't do it for a bed quilt. The only throw size I did double sided was because I didn't like the front. Another because I ran out of space on the front for all I wanted to do so I put the pictures on the back. I think one fabric backs are just fine.

  4. #4
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    When I finish a top I let it guide me to the kind of back it will have. Sometimes I have changed my mind several times before I choose one. My DM did a lot of hers with sheets but I have never done that with any of mine.

  5. #5
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    I have always attempted to make sure that the back is of equal quality to the front, but I do not feel that it has to match. I did put complimentary fabric on some wall hangings that I gave away. None of mine are double sided. I am not that talented.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    I am from the South....39 miles south of Boston.

  6. #6
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    I back with whatever I have available and however my mood strikes me. There is nothing wrong with making "functional" pretty too. It's not a hardship for me.
    I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health - Voltaire

  7. #7
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    Making the quilt reverisble results in virtually two quilts that only required one batting, one binding, and take up the shelf space of only one quilt.
    In my posting ("declared war on my scrap bag"), I made both sides very different and utilized lots of scraps. It's nice to be able to 'change quilts' by just flipping it over.

  8. #8
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I only pay attention to the back if it's a throw. If it's going on a wall or a bed, I usually go with a nice muslin.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  9. #9
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I would like to have a true double sided quilt, but I'm not able to line things up the way I'd like so the quilting doesn't come out correctly for both sides. Because of that most of my quilts have single piece backs or backs that are pieced from two pieces of like fabric.

    All in all, as with all things quilting, I think people should do whatever makes them smile.

  10. #10
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by postal packin' mama View Post
    Making the quilt reverisble results in virtually two quilts that only required one batting, one binding, and take up the shelf space of only one quilt.
    In my posting ("declared war on my scrap bag"), I made both sides very different and utilized lots of scraps. It's nice to be able to 'change quilts' by just flipping it over.
    i sure can see the advantages of this method
    Nancy in western NY
    before you speak T.H.I.N.K.
    T is it True? H is it Helpful? I is it Inspiring? N is it Necessary? K is it Kind?


  11. #11
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    I use the backing ---for a backing. I want it to be pucker free and not have too many knots and bad areas but I really want the focus on the top. I'm not an heirloom quilter - more of a functional quilter.

  12. #12
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    I like to do a little something on the back with the leftover pieces from the front - nothing fancy, just a personal touch. It is an opportunity for me to design it myself after following a pattern on the front. Don't always do it, but most of the time I will. Definitely shows that it is a handmade item!

  13. #13
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    It depends on how it will be quilted. I am a fan of plain backings when beautiful custom quilting is done. Its like having a whole cloth quilt on the back... and I do use both sides.

  14. #14
    Member jeaniedrain's Avatar
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    I once took a class in which the teacher showed a number of quilts she had done. The quilts were examples of some of the techniques we were there to learn. The fronts of those quilts were works of art that I can only dream of. The backs were ugly. She stated that as long as you use quality fabric, it really didn't matter what the back looked like. I have found that I can't put that kind of back on my quilt. My backs may be plain but I still want them to at least enhance the front.

  15. #15
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    I just use the leftover fabric to piece the back-in the largest pieces possible. If i don't have enough, I have some random fabric I've bought on clearance to add. I don't worry a lot about how the back looks although I love the look of a pieced back. And I love that it uses up leftover fabric.

  16. #16
    Junior Member QuiltnMyra's Avatar
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    Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. My main purpose in making a quilt is to enjoy the process, the whole process, and if the fun extends to the back then that's double the joy - for me anyway.
    Mary B

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeaniedrain View Post
    She stated that as long as you use quality fabric, it really didn't matter what the back looked like. I have found that I can't put that kind of back on my quilt. My backs may be plain but I still want them to at least enhance the front.
    I am with you.. after the time put into a quilt (and I've only ever made two!) I can't fathom not caring about what the back looks like, especially if it was a quilt mean to be used and I'm going to see it often. I prefer to use either a coordinating or contrasting fabric, but it has to be appealing to me somehow... I'd never be happy if I used something I didn't like.

  18. #18
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    The backs seem to give me the most grief in the whole process.....I agonise for ages, put off doing them and all said and done, they are quite boring....nothing remotely clever involved in mine

  19. #19
    QM
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    for me, the back is mainly just functional, although I have made a few reversible quilts. In my guild, the trend is to make a pleasant display of leftovers for the back.

  20. #20
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    Im with Boston! Im not that talented!!:-)

  21. #21
    Member Esmerelde's Avatar
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    When I make quilts for people I always ask them about the back, and my 100% response is "can't you just put something plain on" ie a plain solid colour.

    Now I hate using a solid colour on the back (did it once, never again unless it's a wallhanging) it must have some texture to the colour and preferably a small scale or tone-on-tone design, though I would use something like moda marbles, or makower spray time ranges if pushed. Usually I use batiks, but I like a lot of fabric on the extra wide sections of shops, so don't usually struggle too much for a co-ordinating print

  22. #22
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    I guess it's a matter of opinion. I think pieced backs are awesome-even if they're randomly pieced. I regularly look here. pieced backs on flickr

    I guess if I made someone a quilt with a pieced back and they complained, I would take the quilt back and give to someone who would appreciate it. Or keep it for myself.

  23. #23
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    Here is the reversible quilt I made with each side very different, both sides done all with scraps. Just FYI as a way to use what you've got on hand for a backing.

    These two photos show the reverse of each side.



  24. #24
    Junior Member QuiltnMyra's Avatar
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    And I bet you loved every moment you spent on it! What a stunner. I love, love, love it. But then, I have also to say that to each his own and if you don't really enjoy that process, there is absolutely no reason why you should go there at all. Your quilt will be just as worthy if only the top is beautiful. Enjoy what you do ladies!
    Mary B

  25. #25
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    I quilt for my enjoyment. If I'm making a quilt for someone, I consider their personality and preferences. Otherwise, I do whatever strikes my fancy. I've got several tops waiting to be quilted. Some will have plain backs, some a simple pieced design. I let the quilt "speak" to me and go from there.

    I admire the ability to make a real double sided quilt (such as the one postal packin mama made, shown above), but it's not something I would attempt. I think it's nice that we can all do things in our own unique way while still appreciating the skills of others.

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