This watercolored batik backing has been a real challenge for me since it is so stiff to sew through. It is as stiff as a pair of Dickie's brand work pants that my husband bought. We joke that they will sand the skin off his legs if he wears them too long. I should have been clued in to how tough this batik was when I attached the binding. My faithful Pfaff was laboring with a resounding ker-chunk with each stitch through the layers of batik-backing, batting, non-batik top fabric, and double-layer folded-over batik French binding.
I have sewed with batiks before and know they have a stiffer hand to them but this one is incredible. I googled info on what type of needle to use and made a special trip out to my local quilt shop to consult with them on their opinion. I knew I needed an extra sharp needle to pierce through the extra tight weave of the batik but this one was almost like anti-ballistic fabric. They recommended that I buy these needles that have a sharp tip and also a coating to help slide through the fabric. Sliding through was not as much an issue as getting the initial piercing started but these needles by Clover do work after a fashion.
If memory serves me right, I did pre-wash this batik, although I normally do not pre-wash my fabrics. Maybe I'm remembering wrong. Whatever, I opted not to wash the partially completed quilt in hope of further softening the backing. Regardless of the effort involved, the binding is looking quite nice on the right side and does go very well with the pale portion of the block.
On the back side of the quilt, the binding has periodic dents at the sewn edge and is not as invisible as I would like, but I am sure it will not be noticed in use. It will only matter if I want the quilt to be judged in a show.
The quilt is 72" by 72" so I will persevere. By my calculation, with an total length around the outer quilt edge of 288", at an estimated hand sew speed of 1"/min, it will take me just under 5 hours to complete the hand stitching. That is a manageable amount of time to invest and, if I break it up into small periods, I am capable of doing this. I plan to devote a half hour per day and be done in less than two weeks.
So far I am 3/4 of the way down one side and have snapped one of those back Clover needles in half. I am glad I bought a package full. I am also glad I will reward myself with other quilting diversions in the mean time.
Completed projects since 7/10/13 WIP post:
- Color Play of the Day (last post was July 4, 2013) - labeled and gifted, still need to write follow-on post with completion photos
- Sunny Spring Frost - hand-sewing the challenging binding
- Grinch quilt (May 22,2013 post) - all borders added, need to back, quilt, and bind
- Jack O'Lantern Trio (February 2, 2013 post) - awaiting FMQ
- Chicken quilt - awaiting FMQ
- Overlapping square wall hanging - awaiting FMQ
- Mask quilt (October 19, 2011 post) - hidden away awaiting inspiration for arranging hexagons
New projects since 7/10/13 WIP post:
- Bought Jungle Bungle Fat quarter bundle from Fat Quarter Shop
Stats since last WIP:
Completed projects - 1
Currently in progress - only 1, others just in waiting
New projects - 0 - buying fabric only sort of counts as starting a new project