Monday, May 19, 2008

Peace Like a River

Yesterday our church went out into the hills of Nikko and had a barbecue.

A wealthy Christian entrepreneur has built a small resort area with a chapel, overnight facilities and barbecue facilities. (Also prayer rooms and outdoor hot spa!)

There is a peaceful river running in a gorge next to the barbecue area and the green and fern filled crags were just beautiful.

The kids (and Tetsu) played rock skipping on the surface and some of the younger fathers took over the barbecue cooking. Let's see, we had shishkabob chicken, beef, pork, sausages, grilled vegetables, scallops, squid and fried noodles. Sort of a different type of barbecue from American style (no hamburgers or hot dogs) but everyone came home very satisfied in body and spirit!

In the afternoon I got caught up on some sewing which actually meant I had to do some clean up first. My sewing room was such a mess. So I put things away (no more villages) and cut up scraps into 2 inch squares for Leader/Enders. I found fabric that I had been looking for and I managed to transcribe two weeks of entries for the 365 Challenge. ONLY ONE MORE MONTH TO GO!! But this last month is going to be a doozy with us in Ohio and California. The days are going to melt together and will I really be able to stay on top of this?

I also picked my Split Star WIP off the floor and probably won't get much more done on this for awhile. With only a week to go before we leave I have soooo much to do in the way of house cleaning and probably won't get much sewing in this week. Makes for a depressing week doesn't it?

Now for a question, I have numerous quilts that are hopefully going to get to the flimsy stage within the next year. 365 Challenge, Tonya's Wonky Word Love quilt, Feathered Star, maybe the Split Star quilt. and all of these are going to need backings. No matter how I figure it, fabric is less expensive in the States especially if I can get Tetsu to take some back for me. It's not that I don't have stash, but I don't have large amounts of one fabric. I tend to buy a yard at a time or at the very most three yards. I also have a huge roll of mint green solid fabric that is good for backings but sort of boring.

Question: Do you buy special backing fabrics that match your quilts? Do you piece your backings from different fabrics that don't necessarily match anything? Would you use boring backing?

For the past 20 years I have always spent the money to buy backing fabric that matched the quilt. My friends and I have often said that working with a backing that we really like just makes the quilting process so much nicer and the quilt becomes that much more special. But it is costly. And it doesn't use up any stash (usually adds more to it since we don't like to scrimp!) And it may be perfectionism rearing its ugly head.

How do you feel about backings? Buy on sale only? Cut up recycle shop shirts? Spend the money (we're making heirlooms!) I'm sure there are many opinions and I'm just interested in yours.

22 comments:

Carla said...

I'm rather thrifty when it comes to backings. I don't like to spend $8-$9 a yard on the backs of quilts. I've been lucky, though, and have been able to find fabric that goes with the tops on sale and that's when I get it. I don't do the piecing together of whatever pieces I have in my stash for the backs, though. I'm not crazy about that look. I hope that you are lucky in the States!

AmyB said...

All of the above (except cut up clothes) when it comes to backs. When I'm feeling particularly thrifty, I use muslin, since I buy it by the bolt. The only problem is that it shows any little bit of dirt or black cat hair. I almost never pay full price for backing -- I shop the sale/clearance racks, since I'm too cheap to pay top dollar for it. Wonder why that is? How is the back that much less important than the front? Hmmmm...

kate said...

If it's a quilt quilt (not a wallhanging) I use a fabric I like. I want to enjoy both sides. That said, I can usually find something on the clearance or sales racks that fits the quilt.

More importantly, are you going to be blogging while you're in the States?? Or on we going on a blog diet?

Quilt Pixie said...

I use whatever is around and cheap that doesn't completely clash with the quilt front.... I ahte too much piecing of the back as the extra seams are problematic to me...

Mary said...

What a beautiful setting!

I piece my backs from stash and rarely buy a special backing. When I don't want to spend TOO much time, I pull two fabrics that coordinate with the front and do one of my off center 4 patch backings...it's my favorite one but always pulled from stash!

http://maryquilts.com/off-center-4-patch-backing/

Tracey in CT said...

I never ever pay full price for backing fabrics. Never. I usually buy nice prints that I like on a good sale (clearance section of the shop mostly 50% off). I never use solids or muslin, just my prefernce to use prints to hide my poor quilting. I don't worry that much about it matching, but I try to get it to at least coordinate in some way. If I don't have enough of a particlar fabric, I'll use 2 or 3 that coordinate pieced together some way.

Sonnja said...

Nice too see your starquilt.
Kind regards,

Sonnja & Beertje Zonn
from the Netherlands

Beth said...

I like to use scraps left over..and piece them with any larger pieces/yardage I can find. I scour the sale rack at my favorite quilt shop and the flat folds at Walmart. I even found wide backing fab at Walmart once or twice. It was a tone on tone, and the $6 something a yard I could not beat! I'm still finding that in my scrap drawers! When will you be in the states?

anne bebbington said...

I never worry about what's on the back of my quilts Tanya - with fabric and batting so (relatively) expensive here in the UK I feel it's a waste of my 'good' fabrics to put them on the back. I often use second hand thrifted sheets and duvet covers for backing as I don't really like pieced backings if I can get away with it. I'd love to buy matching backings but don't feel I can justify the expense. Your barbecue sounds like great fun, don't men just turn into the biggest kids when given the opportunity to skim stones. The gorge looks a wonderful place to hold the event

The Calico Cat said...

My feelings on that backing subject run the gammut!

I have some quilts that are backed with Muslin, some are backed with "something big enough" some are backed with fabric that I purchased to go with the top & full price, I hope to add some are scrappy in the future. (The chunks out of those black & bright prints will be a scrappy back for my rainbow log cabin quilt, for example.) Oh & When I find cat flannels that I like, I buy 9 yards (king size) - I love flannel backs & I have a ton of cat prints, so the chances are that I will use those fabrics.

Jane said...

I buy up on extra wide backing materials so I have some on hand and then I try to match it to the quilt. I used a cheap batting on a quilt as you go favorite quilt and did not finish it for years as I hated it so much. Once I finished it I have not looked at the back again. I have matched backing to the border in one quilt and used two color ways with a join. The join was a panel off side of the middle. I have found some unusual fabrics that have not printed correctly so are cheap but make fabulous backings.
I went to open some fabric last night that I had ordered from USA and found, silly me, that one was an extra wide one, and I had only order half a yard. So that one will be interesting to use.
A lot of the shops now have them on special, so I try to snap up some of those when I see them.
When Petrol is so highly priced it makes the cost of postage/shipping more viable. Plus you save on the coffee etc you would have had when out shopping.

Nancy said...

I almost always use muslin for my backs, either bleached or unbleached, depending on the front. The exception is black-background quilts; then I buy the extra wide black backing Hancocks of Paducah sells. Sometimes I'll use up some of the fabric left from the front to make a strip that goes down the back, or if there are extra blocks, put them on the back, interspersed with the muslin.

n, np

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Depends what I'm making...wallhangings get plain white or calico (muslin) where as the larger quilts usually get yardage that is no longer unfashionable or has been in my stash for years. I am planning a wedding quilt for friends and I've made sure I've got enough for the back...but it's a really special quilt so I'm going all out.

dee said...

if it's for a wall hanging, I use muslin or a sale tone-on-tone. My favorite backing is by Moda. It's almost silky feeling on the skin and doesn't pill even after hundreds of washings. If it's a gift or for our bed I go all out with a good wide backing fabric from Hancock's or some place like that. It's so wide that you don't have to fuss with a lot of seams and I like gifts and our own quilts to be special. Love your stars!

Elaine Adair said...

I use sale fabric for the back, or will piece it - whatever I have, but I DO look for something somewhat matchy. Small florals, or printed patterns, to hide stitching if needed.

Love those split stars!

Marilyn R said...

Your church's barbecue was a bit different the the average American barbecue but it still looked like a lot of fun. What fantastic views you had! As far as quilt backings go I tend to use fabric that I have bought on sale. When I run into a fantastic fabric sale I tend to think backings. Because of this, I do have a stash of fabrics that are large enough for backings. That could be a good thing or a bad thing. I tend to not want to cut into the yardage for a quilt top because I am afraid I may want it for a backing and then won't have enough. Yikes! I have also pieced backings together to use up stash.

paula, the quilter said...

I tend to piece my backings with the leftover fabrics and other fabrics that will somewhat coordinate with the top. I very rarely purchase fabric for a backing.

artfilstitch said...

Peace like a river so gently is flowing, how sweet to my soul is this marvelous peace. (these are words to a song that was sung in our church when I was a child) A very serene setting for a family outing. Your split star quilt is lovely. As far as backings, it really depends what I'm making the quilt for. Like to buy fabric when it's on sale and save$$...
Liz

Shelina said...

What a beautiful setting!

I hope we get a chance to meet when you are in Ohio.

I like my backings to coordinate the front, but I am also a cheapskate, so II don't do anything consistently. I generally try to get use fabric that is already in the house, and my quilts wind up looking reversible. I think I probably bought 2 pieces of fabric for backings, and that was because it was on sale and I didn't want to take the time to piece a complicated backing, or because I was at the store anyway to buy border and binding fabric. Since I buy small pieces, I always have to piece unless I buy for a specific quilt.

Chocolate Cat said...

What beautiful photos of your church barbeque.
I like to buy the extra wide 'backing' fabric and even if they are boring try to use something that matches the front in some way. Think this is the most economical way and satisfactory too!

The Calico Quilter said...

I'm afraid that I'm not the person to ask for economical tips! I buy backings specifically for each quilt. For bed-size quilts, I used to use solid colors on backing, because that's what Mom did, but no more. Now it's always a print that coordinates with the front. I would love to use the extra-wide fabrics but usually don't like the selection. Solids or muslin would be OK for wall hangings, but I make very few quilts that aren't some-sort-of-bed-sized, and a beautiful backing is the icing on the cake when putting a quilt on a bed. The backing is a good place to use a larger scale fabric where the uninterrupted expanse shows off the design. It's a two-for-one that way. I try to match the print at the seams too so it's truly reversible.

Mom's favorite backing is a matching solid color sheet, because it's usually cheaper than the equivalent amount of fabric and seamless (she hand quilts). But she never buys the really good high thread count sheets because she says needling through those is very hard!

I just finished the first pieced backing ever, but it's as much work as piecing the front! It looks neat but it's not my preferred method.

Rose Marie said...

For my backings, I don't do matchy matchy. I like a surprise as long as it sort of goes with the front. I buy my backings on sale and enough to make a backing from the same fabric. Any leftovers are used for scrap quilts. At the price of fabric here in Canada, it is too expensive to buy really good fabric, so mine tend to be of a lower quality; but I'm happy with that.