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Thread: using ticking (cotton) fabric for quilt backing

  1. #1
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    using ticking (cotton) fabric for quilt backing

    I have recently made a strip pieced woollen quilt using old clothing & a scarf and I was initially going to back it with a flannelette sheet for warmth.
    Now it is almost finished I wonder about using cotton ticking fabric (did used to be used for mattresses & pillow covers way back). The colours of this quilt are predominantly grey tones with some red tartan fabrics, but I do have several odd strips of turquoise to break it up.
    Does anyone out there have knowledge of using this ticking type of fabric?
    I will be hand quilting the finished quilt - with large running type stitches, probably using a cotton perle type thread - so is this fabric maybe not so suited to this hand stitch, eg if the fabric has a lot of "dressing" in it will it be hard to stitch through?
    I look forward to reading your ideas,
    Lyn

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    the ticking would certainly add to the weight/warmth of the quilt- as for hand quilting it---do you maybe have enough to put together a little 'practice' sandwich with some woolen and the ticking (you did not mention if you are using batting or not-but if so, include that in your practice piece) and see how it is to needle. my initial thought is it wont be so bad because the ticking- although fairly heavy is a looser weave than many other cottons-so should needle ok...using a good new sharp needle will probably make a difference. but before committing- do a practice piece & see- that way if you decide it is not going to go as hoped you are not having to remove stitches and start over on your quilt....be sure & show us pictures when you finish your project- we love looking!
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Not all ticking is created equal. I have seen some here that is as dense and heavy as denim (blue jean material)! Especially if it is the old fasioned kind used for making mattresses. I would not attempt to hand quilt through any ticking that heavy and dense. I have also seen ticking like CKCowl described, very loosly woven, like a homespun that would be very easy to handquilt.

    You mention that what you have seen has a lot of "dressing" on it which leads me to believe you have come across the heavy denim weight of ticking. I would avoid it if you are hand quilting. Would be fine for machine quilting.

    You may be better off going back to your flannelette but you may wish to prewash it before using it as it shrinks quite a bit. And with big stitch primitive quilting as you describe the shrinkage, especially as your top is made from clothing that has definitely been preshrunk, may cause undesireable distortion in your finished quilt. Just something to consider.

  4. #4
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    Make a sample sandwich and see how you can quilt it with the big stitch. If you really struggle with your sample then you can re-think your backing choice.

  5. #5
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Real ticking is very tightly woven. It is used for covering feather pillows and beds. The very tight weave is so the down and or feathers do not come poking through. It is typically stiffer, and very densely woven. I would not use it when trying to hand quilt.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori S View Post
    Real ticking is very tightly woven. It is used for covering feather pillows and beds. The very tight weave is so the down and or feathers do not come poking through. It is typically stiffer, and very densely woven. I would not use it when trying to hand quilt.
    When I was growing up, we had feather pillows. Once a year, Mom would buy enough ticking to recover all the pillows. The old case would be removed, and a new case sewn on. It was a heavy fabric, and we would get our choice of red or blue stripes. If I knew then what I know now, I'd suggest putting zippers in the cases, rather than sewing them shut, then we could have just removed and washed them.

    I think the ticking would be great for a quilt back, but would recommend machine quilting rather than hand quilting.

  7. #7
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    I don't think I'd be able to hand quilt if ticking was the backing. But, you might be able to. I like the idea of a sample first.
    --- Jean

    jdquilts123.blogspot.com

  8. #8
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    wow, quite a few ideas here ... I will be using batting, but its a thinner pellon batting. I think my biggest headache will be the extra seams joining all my strips which will add bulk - because I have added lots of strips pieced together. What I mean here, is that to make the 6 long strips for the single bed size quilt blanket, each of these strips are pieced in cross wise pieces - some of these are whole pieces of 4 or 5 inches wide, other cross strips are pieced with 2 or 3 pieces. I promise to show a picture, maybe in the weekend.
    I will too have a practice run with a smaller block - it could be a painfully slow exercise in hand quilting otherwise LOL

  9. #9
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    I believe you are in for a difficult quilting job. Too heavy and too thick to hand quilt. You might be able to find the ticking look fabric in a thinner fabric. I would not even try and test. I have seen old quilts with ticking and they were tied and not quilted. Too hard a chore for me.

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