Ask Jo: Paper Piecing, Quilt Batting and Bird’s Eye

Every so often I pick questions or comments from readers and answer them here on the blog…Today is one of those days.

From KMA, “Love the quilt on the frame at the top of the post, looks like it would make a great quilt for a guy. Do you know the name of the pattern and where I could find it? Thanks, for any info you can provide.”  This question was asked after seeing this blog post and this picture.


Above in the machine is Kelli’s version of  Bird’s Eye.  Below is Miss Rosies version.  It is a Miss Rosies Quilting Company pattern.

I too love the pattern and have always wanted to make it.  In fact, I thing I bought the pattern and she “stole” it from me!!  I love Miss Rosies work.

Ruth Wheelwright, “I remember the big puffy battings we used to use – hi-loft, med-loft, and low-loft.  We could tack those battings every four inches and they would hold up for years.  With the newer thinner battings, I see that there is a lot of tight quilting being done, with longarm machine work the most prevalent.  Is this because the thinner battings need to be quilted much closer in order to hold the batting in place? Thanks for any suggestions you have!  I really enjoy your blog!”

Thanks Ruth for the compliment…to answer your question….Honestly, I am no batting expert.  In fact, my friend Ila sends me batting all the time helping me expand my horizons.  Typically many quilters today want quilts more similar to the ones that were hand quilted 100 years ago.  That’s why there has been a resurgence of cotton batting and the new wool battings.  With today’s cotton battings I am sure quilting could still be done at the 4″ intervals.  I think though that with machine quilting a new “art” has emerged.  Most people are quilting closer as a decoration more than a necessity.  There is also a large group of people who are “purists” only wanting cotton battings in cotton quilts.

For me, it doesn’t matter…whatever a quilter wants for her own individual quilt is great with me.  I can say that typically I use Hobbs 80/20 if I want a “washed several times” feel.  If I want something that doesn’t drape quite as much I use Warm and Natural.  I’ve tried others and I am fine with most of them too.  These two just are most readily available to me and the most economical.

My kids still have quilts I made from them in the early years that are tied and have poly battings in them…the kids love them.

After reading this archived post about my Pineapple Crazy Quilt  from Heather….

She asks, “I know I am late to the party but I saw this on pinterest. And I have to tell you that this is the most well explained of this type of paper piecing. I am actually going to try it. Can you tell me were there certain size triangles that you cut and strips for your set up bowls. I see how this is almost an assembly line and that is what makes it go so smoothly. I just wanted to prepare correctly.  thanks”

I know some one will ask so I’ll start by saying this is a Bonnie Hunter pattern from her book, String Fling: Scrappy, Happy and Loving It!  It’s a great book and before I saw this quilt and tried it, I had sworn off paper piecing.

For me, this was a trial and error process.  When I make the first block, I need larger pieces.  As I got more comfortable I didn’t need as much over lap to still cover the space.  There is a real learning curve to paper piecing.

I have had people sending me their scraps for quite some time.  The smallest colored snippets go in one bowl and the the larger ones in another.  I typically differentiate  if a triangle looks like it was cut from a square larger than 2″ in goes in the larger bowl.  By the time you make three blocks, you’ll know exactly what works for you.  By the time you’ve made as many as I have…you’ll be itching and itching to pull the project out of the UFO pile and get back at it!!

That’s this session of Ask Jo…Let me know if there is something else I can give my unprofessional opinion on.

3 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Paper Piecing, Quilt Batting and Bird’s Eye”

  1. I use 100% cotton batting that says to quilt at least every 10″ so it’s just a matter of checking the manufacturer recommendations for your favorite brand. And I agree, quilting for modern quilts is mainly about the texture and patterns it creates, not so much about making sure the three layers stay together.

  2. Thanks for the pattern info. I will be looking it up to buy. Also have a surprise to show you soon from the making ends meet pattern off your blog.

  3. One thing I’ve heard is that the more densely you quilt, the better a quilt will hold up to hard use and frequent washing. The quilts I make for my family get used and abused, and I’m guessing that if the baby quilts I donate are actually used for baby they’ll get plenty of washing, too. So I quilt everything to within an inch of its life. I also like the way dense quilting looks. :-)

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