This was my no 2 son’s rather brutal verdict on the quilts in the house in particular his own and the one that lives in the lounge. I have to say I agree – his first quilt at 50″ by 60″ (am I the only UK quilter that embraces the use of imperial measurements over metric?) was more of a bed runner. It was the first pieced quilt for a person as opposed to cat I made and I didn’t even know about 1/4″ seams at that point. But it looked good and suited his room but he’s shot up and wants a quilt he can wrap himself up in. He also says he gets cold in the night which I find odd as he has the warmest bedroom in the house and open windows aren’t his thing.
To be fair this verdict had been gradually dawning on me over the last few months as I’ve also found the quilts on the thin side. I know the argument for the traditional quilt of all cotton or wool is they can be heirlooms for the future but I want them to be used and loved in the here and now, giving comfort and warmth when that’s needed.
Take the lounge quilt, this was a design I loved and fabric colours went well in there. I saw this as something you could pull over you when it got chilly and it was too much effort to light the log burner. But although it’s a bit bigger it is all cotton using the more lofty ‘Select’ cotton batting from Quilters Dream and yes I have to admit it is not a snuggly quilt at all.
It is however the perfect quilt for a hot night when you want something to cover you but not too warm, but in the UK we get few of those. I’m wondering whether my family are so used to thick duvets as a covering that quilts don’t stand a chance by comparison in the snuggly stakes. However I’m still on the search for the perfect combination of batting and backing that will make it cosy but not too weighty. Something that provides warmth without the bulk of a duvet.
I tried a thick polyester batting (Quilters Dream – Dream Puff) in the recent charity quilt for Siblings Together. Given how light it was it was surprisingly warm and had a great drape. It felt rather like a sleeping bag, but without the nylon/polyester slippery feel, but I’d have preferred more weight.
So the search resumed for a snuggly warm quilt, not as heavy as a duvet, but nevertheless with good drape but a feeling of warmth about it. In fact the only quilts I’ve made that might meet this are the cats’ quilts which use flannel and a fleecy blanket and possibly now my eldest son’s and my daughter’s which both have a good quality fleece/minky backing. Together with a poly/cotton mix batting (Hobbs 80/20 blend) these are definitely warmer and snugglier. They both get a lot of use and abuse – a true test of their acceptability.
Certainly as to size that’s more easily fixed even it brings with it more ‘fun’ with the basting part. What has worked for both the children’s quilts is to go for the approximate size of their duvet. I’ve also kept the quilting simple. Partly because I’m wary of it affecting the drape and snuggly requirements of the children if it had been too densely quilted but also partly because both quilts were eagerly awaited and simple walking foot quilting was quicker.
But is that combination the holy grail of snuggly quilts? I’m still experimenting. My own new quilt for my recently redecorated bedroom is in process. It’s from the Urban Candy pattern by Sew Kinda Wonderful using the Quick Curve Ruler. The top is now assembled and the plan is to use wool batting. I didn’t want a minky backing so I’ve gone for a flannel backing. I know there is criticism of flannel becoming harsh and/or bobbly after repeated washing but that has not been my experience with the cats’ quilts. So I’ve bought the same fabric as before and now I just need to get on with basting and quilting to test the latest combination. I will let you know the verdict. In the meantime if you have a favourite combination for a quilt do share.