Questions I Get Asked

Part two

I assembled all my blocks, but I'm having trouble now because I don't have a work bench or floor space big enough to put them together on.

You can drape it over your bed, just be careful not to sew or pin the covers underneath. I've done qults this way when I had no other space.

I have a book by Singer titled "Quilting by Machine" and I have read it cover to cover, but I can't figure out how to make my sandwich without it becoming wrinkled and the batting pulling apart.

First, you have an excellent book. I think it's one of the better ones on the market.

If you pieced the batting you can sew it together with a large running stitch or overhand stitch to keep the pieces from shifting.

To keep the sandwich from shifting or bunching you can either baste as you have been doing, or pin closely (every 4-6 inches) with safety pins.

I used the envelope or pillow case way of finishing the quilts because it was the way I was instructed. I hand basted the batting to the top with long stitches and it didn't pucker at all. But I don't see how to do it with this large quilt.

You can do the basting. I wouldn't do the turn-inside-out thing with something this large. The two methods for large quilts are traditionally either to add a separate binding (like bias tape binding, but you cut your own strips to match your fabric), or folding the backing over to the front, kind of like you'd fold a book cover over the front of a book. One of those finishing methods should be in the Singer book.

I feel so overwhelmed by the whole process. I can't be the only person in the whole world feeling like this. Any help you can give me will be appreciated.

You WILL get better with practice. If you are unsure of your methods with the large quilt, try making a sample piece out of just one block. I've talked to a lot of "famous" quilters and you'd be amazed at how many of them did things because they didn't know what they were really supposed to be doing. But, since they are the only person who knows it was a mistake, they just kept their mouth shut and let folks figure it was something special they did on purpose.

Could you please send me some information on pricing of Procion Dyes.

Hello. Sorry. I don't sell Procion dyes. I have no idea what they'd cost. Your best bet to locate this kind of information is either through the manufacturer, or through a craft or fabric shop owner, who can also order what you want. Online you should try Dharma Trading Company, at

I am interested inreceiving a catalog of your craft products. Please send to ...

Folks, I don't sell anything off my web site. Sorry. This is a personal web site to showcase my quilts and textile info. Messages asking me for prices, catalogs, and so forth will be ignored.

I recently acquired about 10 old quilts from an estate which dates back to the Civil War era. I have 2 intrigueing(among the others) because they have "guano fertilizer" ads on the material used in the quilts.Both are the crazy quilt motif. Can you help me find a providence or historical information more specific? I know that the US had possession of an island off the coast of Haiti which exported Guano in the mid 1800's. Thank you for any help.

It's more likely that the quilts date from this century.

Crazy patchwork became popular in the late Victorian era (1880+) when Japanese crackled pottery was fashionable (called Crazed Ware) but it was done in silks and velvets and heavily embroidered.

During the early part of this century, during the Depression years especially, the use of feed sacks with printed designs --and those that could be bleached to use the "plain" parts -- were collected and recycled into clothing and bedding. This continued up until probably the 40's when we became more prosperous as a nation and the production of cloth sacking was replaced by paper or plastic.

Quilts of the Civil War era that were saved were almost always the family's "best" quilt and display ornate applique and fine quilting stitches. Flowers, wreaths and baskets were popular motifs. They often had a border that resembled a drapery swag.

If you can tell me what colors are used in these quilts and what size they are I might be able to give you more clues.

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