Quilt Buildup

Do you suffer from stubborn quilt buildup?   I do!


It is difficult for me to work on just one quilt at a time.

The one in the hoop in the picture is really very close to being finished.   But it is a bear to work on.   Even though I know better I decided to use a backing fabric that is very tightly woven with a very high thread count.   I got it “free”, which is to say that it came with a vintage quilt top I purchased. I knew it was going to be difficult but I used it anyway.   It is like quilting through cement.

There is a lesson here…trust your instincts.    I could have hand quilted 3 quilts in the time I have already spent on this one.  Yes the fabric was free but the cost in time is huge.     I have heard many people say they use bed sheets for quilt backings, and hand quilt them.   I would strongly discourage this.   They are also tightly woven with high thread count. They may be less expensive than a good quality quilt fabric but make hand quilting so much harder.   Hand quilting should be a joy not hard work!!

So here is the difficult quilt again.


Another quilt from the buildup is the Interplay quilt.

I am hand quilting it with #8 perle cotton in black and green.


The larger thread and larger stitches , often called big stitch quilting, really stand out.  More pictures of that soon.   I just started so have a long way to go.


I have an eye appointment tomorrow and hope new glasses will help me see better while quilting.   I am working on an applique and it needs much smaller stitches



I finished marking the Reindeer snowflake whole cloth top and got it pin basted.



I will post pictures of quilting that soon

Happy Quilting


28 thoughts on “Quilt Buildup

  1. Sara says:

    Working on several at a time keeps things interesting and it the ONLY way to do it, in my opinion! I just bought some more fabric today and intend to cut a few things out even though there are way too many to count, waiting in the wings to be worked on! 🙂

  2. Karen says:

    I am eager to see the Carolina Lily finished so hang in there!! Interplay looks really good with the big stitch quilting. I really admire your “stick-to-it-ness”!! Eli says “woof” to Teddy. Go to YOU TUBE and type in “schnauzer faints” if you have not seen it already.

    • timquilts says:

      I hope to get it done this month….I can only do an hour or so at a time because it wears out my hands but I should be able to get it done.

      I saw the video….it really is just great!!

  3. Ann says:

    I want to congratulate you on getting your whole cloth quilts accepted at another show- that is wonderful news!

    Also wanted to comment on the confused Hellebore in your garden 🙂 It really IS “Christmas in July’ if one of those is blooming now! I suspect it will give it a miss this coming Feb-March. Your garden is looking lovely this summer-must be all the rain!

    Finally just want to say again how gorgeous the applique quilt is. They are ALL beautiful, but that one really makes my heart go pitty-pat.
    Happy August! Where is the summer going?!

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Ann
      That hellebore surprised me in blooming now….I do hope that it gets back to normal but the good news is how well they are all doing. I expect blooms from the other 5 at the appropriate time of year.

      all the rain really has been good for the garden…I don’t remember a year where i didn’t have to water at all, but so far I have only watered things when i planted and not again

      The applique quilt is a real treasure…..It is slow going but it will be worth it…

      scares me how fast the summer is speeding by! already thinking about fall planting …

      Enjoy the rest of summer

  4. I suffer from the same ailment. As an aside, I know you are thinking about a book about hand quilting and I had a title to throw into your creative box…. Those words at the end of many patterns that put many quilters into a panic….Quilt As Desired….might make a good title for your words of wisdom. Just a thought!

    • timquilts says:

      great title…..I have seen those words and always wondered why the don’t give at least some suggestions
      anyway thanks…and glad that I am not the only one who suffers 🙂

  5. Lucy Brown says:

    Love the big quilting on the Interplay quilt, it really pops.

  6. gardnerpam6 says:

    I have no clue how you manage so many at once! and, they are all so lovely. Do you sleep? How do you have time to garden, take care of your home and Teddy. It boggles my mind!

    • timquilts says:

      Most of the quilting i do is so relaxing that I can do it for hours without even realizing how long it has been….pretty much If I am sitting I have a quilt in front of me to work on

  7. I am in awe! Of the number of projects you can work on at once, as well as the speed at which you can complete them. But that all pales with what you can do with them. The things that we would trash, you turn into something wonderful! The star quilt completely blew me away! i am an avid but relatively inexperienced gardener, and your pics are inspiring. And if you ever have a quilting class, please let me know. I really enjoy your posts.

  8. Deb says:

    I can’t ever do one project at a time unless it has to be done in a time frame. I was going to use a sheet once but decide to give it a needle test first. I didn’t get very far until I decided to find something else!! I used the sheet on the back of a tied comfort. I really like the big stitch on your interplay quilt.

    • timquilts says:

      you were really smart to test the sheet first! I wish I was that smart 😦 But now I know
      Thanks the big stitch should go fast (good fabric on the back of it)

  9. Jill says:

    I would go crazy with quilt pressure if I had that may in progress. However, you quilt fast and accomplish lots. Hard for me to pick a favorite from your current build-up. All are striking. Dare I admit my last backing fabric came from Walmart. Not tight threadcount, yet it had a straight weave.

    • timquilts says:

      LOL….yes you can admit it…I guess all sheets are not created equally 🙂 as long as it worked It is practical. (remember the brand for future use) I have been thinking I might try a flannel sheet….those I have seem like they would work

  10. katechiconi says:

    I’m loving the graphic effect of the big stitch quilting on Interplay, I was a little ambivalent about it before, but now I love it! I generally have no more than two quilts in play at once: one hand pieced and one machine pieced. Hand pieced quilts are always hand quilted, but with the machine pieced one I choose either, depending on the design.

  11. Matthew says:

    What size of embroidery needle do you use for perle cotton 8? Just curious what you found that works and is comfortable to work with. Also, have you ever hand quilted a quilt with a pieced back? I am thinking of piecing a quilt back but I would use quilt fabric not sheets – scraps I have left over that are all used in the top. I wonder if the extra seams would make hand quilting it slower and harder on the hands. Thanks matthew

    • timquilts says:

      I like a size 5 embroidery needle for the 8 perle cotton.

      I have thought about doing a piecd back before and I still think that some day I will do it, my fear is that it will be harder to hand quilt because of the seams. seams on the top are easy to deal with because I can see them ….I think it would be harder on the back to not know where they are until you feel them…I think it would be really coo to do…if you do try it let me know how it goes because I really do want to try it some day

  12. Marilyn says:

    I have a Carolina Lily quilt top too – which I set aside. I worked (bleep) hard on the blocks to make sure points were perfect. (I am relatively new to quilting.) I finished the blocks.Then I got to the next step of the pattern; the stems. Carefully snip stitches away and insert stem to applique, Simple right? Wrong! What a mess. Worst possible spot, in my opinion to insert a stem. It is now bulky where the stem is being placed and difficult to sew back together and have it look nice. (machine sewing). That was 2 or 3 years ago and I have done nothing more with it and am currently working on 3 other quilt tops. Now I hear it calling out to me every time I see another Carolina Lily quilt. LOL

    The one you are hand quilting looks to me that the stem did not need to be inserted underneath the petal. Is this correct?

    • timquilts says:

      in this one the three stems were appliqued to the square piece in the center of the block before the block was assembled and then the ends of the stems end up in the seam allowance ….seem to have worked pretty well .

      • Marilyn says:

        Thank you for replying. Unfortunately the pattern we had to have for the class said to complete the block first. I remember from the classes that others were experiencing the same problem. When I finally got to this step of the pattern … I wondered why the designer did not sew the ends in at the time of piecing.

        When I am finished with the other quilt tops I am working on I will give it a second (or more) look. I am thinking of cutting new stems but not sewing the sides together. Just slit a few stitches and then insert the material. Hopefully this reduces the bulk and then try hand stitching the slit closed……….. In the meantime say hello to Teddy… I have three dogs. Toffee is the only one who follows me around the house.

      • timquilts says:

        good luck with it …sounds like you have the fix figured out …..and Teddy say to day hi to you 3

  13. Prue says:

    SO PLEASED to read (in travelforwine’s comment above) that you are writing a book about hand quilting. Your explanations are wonderfully clear and helpful which means that 200,000 copies will be instantly snapped up by your readers, just for a start! Please include Teddy. He is your muse, and you have the gift of writing about him with great affection without ever being sentimental.

    Happy quilting and writing, Prue


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