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Thread: Utility Quilting

  1. #1
    Super Member KerryK's Avatar
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    Utility Quilting

    I've just recently learned of utility quilting, and am intrigued by it. Have any of you done it, and if so, what did you use in the way of threads and needles?
    Kerry
    ~ American by birth, Southern by the grace of God ~

  2. #2
    Super Member Monika's Avatar
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    Never heard that term. I will be watching this thread. I am sure someone will have good advice.

  3. #3
    Super Member suebee's Avatar
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    Ive never heard that term before. Can you explain it?
    SUEB

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    Super Member KerryK's Avatar
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    The only thing I know is that it is the way some women quilted years ago when they were making a true utility quilt. They hand quilted it, but not in the teeny stitches we like to achieve. Apparently, the stitches were about 1/4" apart, and they were not quilted with a fine thread, but something larger. There is a book called Utility Stitching, and it apparently has been out of print for quite some time. You can find them, but they are $$$$expensive$$$$! So, I'm trying to find out more. Guess this will be educational for several of us!
    Kerry
    ~ American by birth, Southern by the grace of God ~

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    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Kerry, I love your signature statement. Amen!
    One step at a time, always forward.

  6. #6
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    That sounds the same as "Big Stitch" quilting. Basically all it means is using a larger needle, larger thread (such as a fine crochet thread), and making the stitches larger -- about 1/4" long and that distance apart.

    Is this the book you mean?
    http://www.amazon.com/Utility-Quilti...dp/1935726145/

  7. #7
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    I'm doing some quilting with DMC Perle cotton #8. Tried #5. it looked good but was too hard to pull through the fabric.

  8. #8
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KerryK View Post
    The only thing I know is that it is the way some women quilted years ago when they were making a true utility quilt. They hand quilted it, but not in the teeny stitches we like to achieve. Apparently, the stitches were about 1/4" apart, and they were not quilted with a fine thread, but something larger. There is a book called Utility Stitching, and it apparently has been out of print for quite some time. You can find them, but they are $$$$expensive$$$$! So, I'm trying to find out more. Guess this will be educational for several of us!
    I've heard the big, heavier stitches called something else. But my CRS is acting up. I think it was as simple as "long stitches"
    Bad Spellers of the World
    U N T I E

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    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    That sounds the same as "Big Stitch" quilting. Basically all it means is using a larger needle, larger thread (such as a fine crochet thread), and making the stitches larger -- about 1/4" long and that distance apart.

    Is this the book you mean?
    http://www.amazon.com/Utility-Quilti...dp/1935726145/
    Yep, "big stitch", not long stitch
    Bad Spellers of the World
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  10. #10
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    I wonder if this comes from the original Chinese/Japanese type of work where the old "work" clothing was stitched to other old cloth rather roughly to keep warm in the winter.

  11. #11
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    Does it only refer to the top quilting or the patchwork joining as well? If both then I would say it is using and making a quilt from pre used fabric and followed by hand quilted. Both these would have possible been slightly larger stitches being hand stitched.
    Will keep looking at this to see what others say.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  12. #12
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    Quiters used the thread or string used to stitch feed or flouer sacks

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    Senior Member lildinks2013's Avatar
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    http://thecountryfarmhome.blogspot.c...irt-quilt.html
    This shows a bit more on the different types of stitches used.

  14. #14
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    Utility quilts were made of heavier fabric than we use, and not so fancy. As an example, they were carried in a truck or back of a car in case of an emergency, or had to lay on the ground to fix something. I still see them used, however, they are an orange color or tan. Utility trucks carry them.

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    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    in different parts of the country different names are often used for blocks, quilt designs, techniques and types of quilts---here in my 'neck of the woods' the term "Utility Quilt" is the term placed on a quilt that is made for Every day use- used, laundered, *abused* often- Kids every day bed quilts, quilts used outside for picnics, car *travel* quilts- any quilt that is used/abused/loved a lot.... so -- over the years I have made lots of Utility Quilts. I make sure they are stitched well- going to hold up to what ever is going to happen to it. I do not put a ton of applique into a utility quilt- or other time consuming/extreme techniques (although generally they are still pretty neat-loved quilts) I do still use good materials- since I want them to hold up-last through the abuse they will have to go through.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  16. #16
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Denim with flannel makes a great utility quilt. I make a lot of rag quilts to be used and abused. Four stitches per inch is a good utility stitch length using size 12 wt thread.
    Got fabric?

  17. #17
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Besides the vast amount of information available on the web, big stitch quilting has been talked about here many times.

    Here are a few past discussions.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...g-t189856.html
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...e-t218145.html
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...e-t203171.html
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...h-t125351.html
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  18. #18
    Super Member Wonnie's Avatar
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    I have the book ..."Utility Quilting" and it is still available on Amazon.com ranging in price from $25.00 new to $18 and change used. The "utility" stitching is the quilting part. These are the threads suggested for use:
    Valdani pearl cotton #12, crochet cotton #20, DMC linen embroidery floss, DMC cotton tapisserie #4. It's actually a really cool book of 127 pages complete with some quilting designs. This is for hand quilting...not machine. The finished work resembles Sashiko. They are uniform stitches but longer than a quilting stitch with more space between stitches and, in some instances, look really good in contrasting colors. Hope this helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wonnie View Post
    The finished work resembles Sashiko. They are uniform stitches but longer than a quilting stitch with more space between stitches and, in some instances, look really good in contrasting colors. Hope this helps.
    Exactly what I was going to say.

  20. #20
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    I have always heard of utility quilting meaning you use it. Utility means to use. you cover with it, cozy up in it. Others are usually wall hangings. I heard that term from many of the videos.

  21. #21
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    I had always thought that a "utility quilt" was serviceable but not fancy - what the hired help was given to use on their cots.

    (Not meant to be a derogatory statement - but at times 'the help' were given the leftovers - if that)

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    In "Rotary Riot" ( 1991 Judy Hopkins and Nancy J. Martin) in the section on utility quilting (p 111) there are instructions for crow footing (a type of isolated fly stitch, like embroidery) and other tacking techniques. These are different from the big stitch technique previously discussed here. I've had good results with big crewel embroidery needles and size 10 crochet cotton. It's a fun and fast way to finish quilts without tying knots. Hope this helps.

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    I think everybody has the same idea that a utility quilt is a bedcover put together quickly for needed warmth in a cold bedroom. I've heard them called blizzard quilts, too. Squares of wool, corduroy, gabardine, or whatever was available, sewn into a top and layered with whatever was handy. It could have been flannel or an old blanket that was getting thin but not necessarily a cotton batt. Those were usually saved for "good" quilts. True utility quilts were pretty heavy and generally they would have been tied rather than quilted. I've made utility quilts with polyester bonded knit in place of batting because that's what I had to work with at the time. They kept somebody warm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    I had always thought that a "utility quilt" was serviceable but not fancy - what the hired help was given to use on their cots.

    (Not meant to be a derogatory statement - but at times 'the help' were given the leftovers - if that)
    Yes, this. I did some research into this years ago. Women and men would make these types of quilts very quickly, using whatever fabric was available so that there would be blankets available for the cold weather.. The large stitches were used as they were quicker. These quilts were made for every day use, abused, patched etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IrishKaren View Post
    I think everybody has the same idea that a utility quilt is a bedcover put together quickly for needed warmth in a cold bedroom. I've heard them called blizzard quilts, too. Squares of wool, corduroy, gabardine, or whatever was available, sewn into a top and layered with whatever was handy. It could have been flannel or an old blanket that was getting thin but not necessarily a cotton batt. Those were usually saved for "good" quilts. True utility quilts were pretty heavy and generally they would have been tied rather than quilted. I've made utility quilts with polyester bonded knit in place of batting because that's what I had to work with at the time. They kept somebody warm.
    Yup! Dead on.


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