Quilt Backing

I have a regular patchwork and quilting group that normally meet on a Friday afternoon but since we are in ‘interesting times’ at the moment we aren’t meeting up. Luckily we are in touch via various social media groups but that still doesn’t help when they have reached a particular stage in quilt making and need some tuition. So the next couple of blogs are for them, and anyone else that needs a bit of help.

A quick talk about quilt backing today. Once you have finished piecing the top of your quilt you need to layer it up with your particular wadding (or batting) and the backing fabric. This can be decoratively pieced making it a double sided quilt but more often people use a single fabric. When working out the backing fabric meterage you need to measure across the width and length of your quilt.

The standard width of quilting fabric is a workable amount of 106cm (42″). This allows for the removal of the selvedge. It is worth checking your chosen fabric for this measurement. You then need to calculate how many ‘drops’ of fabric you will need to cover the back of the quilt, in a similar way to calculating curtain fabric. Unless you are making a lap or smaller sized quilt you will need to join the fabric either lengthwise or across the width. Use a ½” seam and press open.

It is advisable to not run a join or seam down the middle of the backing. This may weaken over time, as quilts inevitably get folded in half, so it can be worth offsetting the seam or cutting down one of the ‘drops’ down the middle and joining it either side of a central ‘drop’ giving two offset seams. If you wish to pattern match you will need more fabric to allow for the pattern repeats of your particular fabric.

There are wider fabrics which can be more economical to use, look for 100% cotton.

Free Pattern for Ring Pincushion

This free pattern has appeared in my blog for the website UKQU before but it’s such a handy and simple thing that I had to share it here too. I find it perfect for appliqué when you have pinned an area, are sewing along and need to remove the pins quickly whilst holding a piece firmly. A quick slip of the pin out and into the ring pincushion and Bob’s your Uncle, you can continue sewing easily without loosing your grip.

The pdf download is available if you would like to keep a copy and all you need is a 4″ square piece of fabric. You can see I fussy cut the square, positioning the heart in the top half of the square. To fill any pincushion there are a variety of products which can actually help look after your pins – worth doing if you’ve invested in specialist ones for particular tasks. Wool fleece, actual wool that I’ve collected from sheep fields, is good as the lanolin helps oil the pins, stopping any corrosion. Crushed walnut shells are said to be great for helping keep your pins sharp. You can buy this online. Wire wool is another option for keeping pins sharp but I have to favour the walnut shells myself. To help fill your pincusion with the shells make a funnel out of paper to pour the shells in through. It helps if you lay some paper underneath to catch any loose bits! To help bulk out the cushion you can then fill with toy stuffing.

Ring pincushion.

We always like a free pattern for a little gift for ourselves or for a friend so why not make up one of these little cuties.

Free Heart Table Runner Pattern

Strictly Quilting – but we may end up wherever our needles take us!

As we are in lockdown at the moment and, finding I have plenty of spare time on my hands, I thought I would tackle some of my scraps. I keep far too much from tiny triangles snipped from making Half Square Triangles to narrow strips. (Yes, I also admit to keeping selvedges too!) It’s about time I used some up. I’ve been meaning to make a little runner for my kitchen Welsh dresser, which has heart cut outs and so inspired this simple, but so cute, Hearts Runner. 

The hearts had inspired the design but I did want it to be a quick make so I searched up different patterns with hearts. There are so many out there but I settled on the Dancing Valentines block, partly because it gave me plenty of hearts but on a smaller scale which is perfect for using some of my scraps. I even used some lovely red shot taffeta on some of them…

It really was a quick make until it came to the quilting! Some projects just don’t go well do they? This fell into that category. I love using smaller projects to practice my Free Motion Quilting and I decided that a variegated pink thread would work really well with a swirly line with some hearts in the centre cream square of the blocks. You know when you start something and begin to think you don’t really like it? Yep, that’s what happened but I thought, just carry on. When I had nearly finished one side I realised that I’d caught some of the backing! It had folded under without me realising. At least I could change from the pink! I unpicked the lot and started again with a cream and a gentle meandering pattern. Much better until the thread broke! I rethreaded and started again only to find, a while later, that the thread was not playing ball and I had huge ‘eyelashes’ all over the back! Jack the Ripper made another appearance and finally I finished! 

I am really pleased with it, the meandering quilting across the cream certainly helps the hearts to ‘pop’. A clever trick when quilting. This would make a lovely gift and would be wonderful for a romantic meal.

The pdf is free to download here:

Until next time and don’t forget – Keep Calm and Quilt On!

Welcome to the new Strictly Quilting Website

Strictly Quilting – but we may end up wherever our needles take us!

Well, I finally got around to setting up a new website. At a time in the world when we need hobbies to keep us busy more than ever. 

I have been keen to build a place where you can find all sorts of ideas for patchwork and quilting from free patterns, ideas and hints and tips to keeping my groups aware of what new workshops I have to offer and what I’m working on. 

Spending most of my career in an office I finally decided it was time to move on, just as COVID-19 hit. Which led me to becoming out of a job for part of the week, time to fill by creating a new website to show what is ‘Under my Needle’ and create new workshops to help develop your skills! 

Workshops are held either at The Cotton Angel, my local quilt shop, or at various locations around the beautiful town of Monmouth. One of my favourites being The Rolls of Monmouth. Set in a stunning location of rolling golf course, one of the finest in Wales, the gothic mansion is where we set up for a day sewing. Teas and coffees are provided all day and lunch can be ordered from a delicious selection from the onsite chefs.

I plan to bring in various tutors who wouldn’t normally be available in our area to learn and develop your skills with likeminded people. From beginners to those more experienced I hope you will find something to tempt you.