I love all fiber arts, but when people ask me if I quilt, I have to tell them I’m a fake quilter. Maybe it’s a mental block from middle school sewing when the teacher gave me a C on my quilt block pillow because my corners didn’t match, or maybe it requires a level of precision that I’ve never had in my other fiber endeavors. I love to sew, but I’m pretty bad at quilting.
A few people in my family, however, are really good quilters. It’s their craft of choice. So a few weekends out of the year, my mom and I drive to my cousin’s place and we all get together to work on quilts. One such weekend just occurred, and I got a lot done: one quilt top (that shall remain pictureless as it is a very overdue wedding present) and one completely finished quilt! It’s my first quilt-as-you-go project, in fact.
We picked up these minky quilt kits from Quilts & Quilts The Fabric Shoppe in Branson, MO (it’s a great shop if you find yourself around there!). My aunts both told me “Oh, these are quilt-as-you-go, they’re easy! No problem!”
I had problems, y’all.
Minky fabric is the most cuddly thing on this planet, there’s no arguing that. It also doesn’t fray and doesn’t need ironing (my second least favorite part of quilting!), but that’s the end of the pros.
It sheds horribly once it’s cut, which makes a gigantic mess. It’s a knit, so it likes to curl in directions it shouldn’t. It laughs at you as you try to pin it down (it’s just going to stretch around them anyway). The textured ones are almost impossible to sew.
That all said, if you, like me, can’t resist the siren-song of this ultra-comfy fabric, I have tips from the best on how to beat it into submission.
First off, to reduce mess (reduce is the key word here, be fully prepared to still sweep up after), put your cut minky in the dryer on low for about 10 minutes with a wet rag or dryer sheet. It takes care of most of those little stray furs. While it slows you down a bit, it’s way more manageable to do this after each time you cut. Remember to empty the lint screen after each time, too. It can really build up.
Next, you’re going to need a walking foot for your machine:
It’s a great thing to have if you’re going to quilt any fabric. It’s purpose is to get thick fabrics (or quilt sandwiches) through the machine more easily. You might still have to pull your fabric a little to help it along, but minky is near impossible to sew with a standard presser foot.
Finally, take your time. This stuff is tricky to work with, and if it smells your fear it will go completely out of control. Know that it is at least a little forgiving. My textured minkys gave me the wonkiest seams, and as horrible as I thought they looked, I knew if I ripped them back, there’s no guarantee I’d get it any better the second time. Once the binding was on, I couldn’t even notice.
This really is the comfiest thing I have ever made, and I think it looks great (now). I need it to be chilly right away so I can use it. The quilt-as-you-go method was at least easy to understand, and maybe as time goes by I’ll forget what an absolute pain it was to make and I’ll give another a try.
So those are my tips for sewing minky, but before you go: I’m following the #fiberadventures hashtag on Instagram to see what people are up to and to inspire me to try new things, which will hopefully become future blog posts! So please, use it on all your yarny and fibery photos because I’d love to see them!