Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Solving Bearding Issues!


I’ve had this quilt in my Shack  patiently waiting for me to quilt it since June.   It belongs to my client Valerie and I had loaded it on my longarm and started quilting in June but quickly discovered a problem.   The batting bearded terribly though the backing fabric!  This rarely happens with Quilters Dream Blend batting so I suspected it as a backing issue.   The backing was a good quality Kansas Trouble brand wide backing but it had the strangest feel to it.  The fabric was very thin with a tight weave and felt like it had a slippery coating on it, Lori thought there was a lot of sizing used on it to make it feel that way.   It was acting like a batik, and even though I love piecing with batiks I don’t like using them for backing because the needle just punches holes in the backing instead of separating the fibres in the fabric.  Here is what the original backing looked like.


So I picked the row of stitching out, fortunately I had only quilted one row of a panto and then noticed the problem.   I called Valerie and explained the problem, she was very understanding and was in no rush for the quilt.  I picked up a new backing for her when I was on my trip in the States and had no problem with bearding with this new backing.  Yeah, problem solved and it turned out beautiful.  I just wanted to share this story for those that encounter the same issue, it is usually the backing fabric that is the problem.  Sometimes a dull needle or bad batting is to blame but for the most part the backing has a large part to do with it.   

I also thought of switching to a black batting as the backing was navy but then that would have looked terrible on the front as the needle holes would have been quite dark.   If the top was navy then a black batting might have worked.

When buying backing for a quilt try to think of what color of thread would look best on the top and try to buy a backing in that color.  This eliminates a lot of issues and gives the back of the quilt a whole cloth look.  I really like the look of a quilt when you can match thread color  that compliments both top and backing.  This can’t always be done but it is something to think about when buying backings.

Here is a close up for the backing I found and how it turned out.   No bearding because the backing had a slightly looser weave so no holes for the batting to poke out thought.   I actually used a medium grey thread but it looks blue on the backing.


Now lets get to the pictures of Valerie's Turning Twenty batik quilt.  Love all the blues and greens she used, it makes for a very calm looking quilt.   I chose the panto Taro for the quilting design and So Fine blue thread on top and Bottom Line grey for the backing.

val2 val3 val4

Things are starting to cool down here,  summer is coming to an ending and I’ll be starting back to work next week.  I have one more quilt to finish for the guild, the second Good Tiding quilt, and then I’ll be back to blogging regularly again.



  1. Lots of god information in this post, thank you for it! And a gourgeous quilt and quilting :)

  2. Yep, there are some strange backings out there, shiver...

  3. Just gorgeous and the new backing compliments the quilt beautifully.

  4. Great information on backing, I would not have known. Thanks. The quilt is gorgeous.

  5. I'm so glad you posted this, Kathy! I just finished a quilt - but discovered the bearding when I was trying to tension check - I ended up using black batting and it worked out perfectly. It's always good to consider backing, batting and thread choices - it makes me even more adamant to talk about the backing choices with my customers. Your quilt turned out beautiful - Taro is one of my "go to" pantos - very nice job. Thanks again for your inspirations! Look forward to seeing what you're up to over the winter1

  6. Great info here. I agree that a batik on the back is not the best choice in most cases. The problems are exactly as you describe. Your choice and quilting make this a wonderful quilt. Great job and lucky customer to have you.

  7. Great call on switching the backing fabric! It looks beautiful, BTW!! I have "one of those" backers on the frame right now. It is not a batik or a wide-back but has an oddly tight weave and feels very slick. And it's a high quality quilt shop fabric. I'm not having quite the troubles of your original backing, but I knew straight off the bat it could be problematic. :(

  8. snow dyeing??? more info, pleeeeeze! this upstate NY gal would love to try that!! and the batik quit? beautiful!!

  9. oh wait! i just found a link on your site with loads of good info on the snow-dyeing technique! yay! (and duh me!)

  10. Fantastic save Kathy....another success!

  11. That is great info and I'll definitely keep that in mind for the future. I've heard about the problems people have with batik backings but this is a new one to me.

  12. What is the name of the pattern of this quilt, I love the colors of it too.

    1. I believe that pattern is a Turning Twenty!