Part 2: Quilting with Minkee on Both Sides of Quilt

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Yesterday we talked about quilting with Minkee as a quilt backing. As I said, this beautifully soft fabric makes a lovely backing. However Minkee can be a challenge because it is stretchy, slippery fuzzy, and can be quite thick.

A few weeks ago,  Rita H. brought me a beautiful quilt top that she’d made for her son. The quilt was absolutely stunning! By using Minkee on the top, it made me just want to pet the quilt.

The top used Stonehenge fabrics for flying geese interspersed with Minkee. The bottom was Minkee. In quilter’s lingo, that meant that the top had a bias stretch from the flying geese plus the stretch from the Minkee. The bottom had stretch. And the quilt was very thick where we had Minkee on the top and bottom.

Beautiful quilt by Rita H. Note the leopard Minkee fabric in the body of the quilt, as well as the plush chocolate brown Minkee border

However every quilt comes with a story — and this one was heartbreaking. Her son’s home had been destroyed in a fire. He had begged her to re-make his favorite quilt. What mother could say “no” to that?

Because this quilt was so technically challenging, I did something that I’d never done before — I made a practice quilt. My initial plan was to use a simple pantograph, but I quickly discovered two things:

1. There was such a height difference between the Minkee fabric (thick) and the cotton (thin), that the hopping foot was getting caught in the Minkee.

2. Quilting through double Minkee is like quilting through mud. I needed to use freestyle quilting, and only in a very simple design.

As a result, I ended up using a large meander on this quilt. I chose a tan color thread that would blend with the background of the flying geese.

Speaking of blending … here’s another “joy” of working with Minkee. I could not see where I’d quilted. The quilting blended into the furry fabric so well that I was using shadows to tell where the stitches were. Yet another challenge. However the upside is that the quilting does not diminish the softness of the Minkee; it just adds texture.

Overall I would not recommend using Minkee on both the top and bottom of the quilt — especially on a home machine. However the result is an absolutely stunning quilt with great texture, so at least the challenges result in a fabulous quilt.

Photo shows the height difference between Minkee (pink) and cotton (floral). This meant that I had to be careful not to have the hopping foot get caught under the Minkee fabric.

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