This is Rae’s Jelly Roll 1600 Quilt and I used the Hearts in Bloom panto. She brought a Cuddle backing and I thought I would take the time to post about working with Minkie/Cuddle fabrics as I often get emails asked the best way to quilt it. There is an impression out there in the quilting world that this fabric is hard to work with and that has some truth to it. I have quilted many quilts with Minkie backings and will share some of the things I have discovered over the years.
1. When choosing the color of Minkie for the backing make sure it blends well with the top fabrics as Minkie will beard up to the top of the quilt. It was not noticeable in this quilt as the colors matches so well but in the past I have been give, for example, an orange Minkie for the back of a quilt which had mostly black fabric on top and you could see the orange poking though the black fabrics. A black Minkie would have been best for that quilt.
2. When you have to stitch two piecing together for a backing make sure the nap of the fabric runs in the same direction. Just run you hand along the fabric to see the color change and you’ll know. Also make your seam allowance 1/2” to 3/4” as this allows the Minkie to be pressed flat with your hand ( DO NOT IRON). I find when the seam allowance is only 1/4” then the Minkie will not stay flat when hand pressed down and will curl or stand straight up creating bulk along the seam line which can then be seen from the top of the quilt.
3. When pinning Minkie to a longarm use the selvage edges when you can as this will distributes the stretchy grain ( crosswise) of the fabric evenly across the roll bar.
4. Do not over stretch your backing on the longarm rollers, keep the tension looser than you normally would for a cotton backing. Also when using clamps on the sides do not over stretch and use a lighter tension. That way when you take the quilt off the machine it will not spring back to a relaxed state and wrinkle the top fabric. As you can see Rae’s quilt lays very flat.
5. I prefer to quilt simple Edge to Edge designs on Minkie rather than custom quilt on it. Mainly because if the client is using Minkie that tells me it will be used as a cuddle quilt so keep the quilting light. I have custom quilted a few quilts with Minkie on the back but when you do a denser background fill the long fibres on the Minkie will just twist up in the stitches and not look or feel as nice.
6. I like to have a Dust Buster beside me when I trim quilts with Minkie backs as this fabric sheds terrible. Once trimmed I give it a good shake outside and once all the loose fibres are gone they are gone.
7. Do not wash a Minkie quilt in hot water or dry in a hot dryer, use gentle cycles.
8. I like to use batting with Minkie backing as it gives the quilting more definition, I used Dream Blend on this quilt.
I hope this tips were helpful and that if you have never quilted with a Minkie fabric before that you might give it a try now. They are so soft and cozy to cuddle under. :)