Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Make your own starch

I have been quilting for a number of years but had never realised that it is a good idea to starch the back of a quilt so it moves more freely through the machine when free motion quilting. The tip is not mine, all credit is due to Diane Gaudynski. I came across her work in a round about way but realised that she had one of her quilts in Harriet Hargrave's book 'Heirloom Machine Quilting' which first started me off on the road to machine quilting. Anyway, Diane gives a recipe for starch which I have tried and tested and it really is good.

I have interpreted it for English use.


Dissolve half a teaspoon of cornflour in 2 tablespoons of cold water in a (1 pint) Pyrex jug. Add boiling water to make up a quarter of a pint and stir constantly, then add cold water to make half a pint. Let it cool and use it in an old pump spray bottle. Give it a good shake every now and then.

She says don't starch fabric for storage or 'it will attract little critters', so obviously it is ok to use if the quilt is going to be washed fairly soon. I have not tried it on my machine embroidery because it does not get washed and I don't want to attract little critters, but it has been used on my quilts lately and is ok.

I use it when I am pressing all of the squares or blocks and it works fine, plus you can use it to build up stiffness by spraying a few times. I regularly wash my quilts because most of them are in use on beds as I don't use duvets, which I dislike. I have friends coming to stay in a couple of weeks (they have a contemporary, warm, flat in Glasgow, with thick duvets) so I just need to make a quicky quilt because the two in the spare room are fine in Spring/summer but at this time of year a third might? be needed on the bed. I layer them according to the seasons and they all are rotated so they can be washed often, which is much nicer than a duvet when only the cover is cleaned frequently. I use cotton sheets under the quilts so they are the top layer, and I find I don't need blankets.

Here are some piccies of the Amy Butler fabric which is going to be quilted using a wool batting so its warm for the spare room. I am also using some fabric I picked up in a 'thrift store' in Palm Springs, California, when I was out visiting my daughter and her family in October. (You would be amazed at the shops in California, but that is another story.)

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