On folding quilts…

I have, for years, folded my quilts on the diagonal and have been pleased with the results. But there are many experienced quilters who feel strongly about folding on the straight of grain and today Bonnie Browning, Executive Show Director for AQS, has convinced me that folding on the straight has merit.

As we looked at quilts in the show (AQS Lancaster 2018), it was easy to see which quilts had been folded on the diagonal because those folds were very obvious. Bonnie said that pressing and/or steaming will usually make straight creases disappear, but it doesn’t help diagonal creases. She added that the weight of quilts folded ‘straight’ helps the creases fade after they are hung.

Quilts hanging in shows are relatively new and crisp, which may have something to do with it. They may not have been folded often, in either direction. I fold my quilts a lot (into and out of suitcases) and never in quite the same way.  That softens them up which may be why I don’t see hard diagonal creases in my quilts.

Bonnie also said that diagonal folding can cause the outer edges of the quilt to stretch a bit. That got my attention because I think that is probably true. I have only seen a tiny bit of give in my outer edges, but even a little is too much.

My quilts at home are rolled onto 2″ PVC pipes covered with sleeves cut from cotton fabric — that flattens creases between foldings. Any quilt that stays folded all the time is likely to show creases, no matter which way it is folded. If quilts are stacked on top of each other, that will add to the problem.

I visited with Sue Patton who always washes her quilts (washer and dryer) and reports that creases are not an issue for her. That’s a thought, right? For we hand appliquérs, it’s a scary thought, but still. I’m going to carefully choose some quilts to test this out on. In fact, I have two to share in a blog post, soon.

Sue also recommended the Tuscany Cotton Wool batting from Hobbs for its softness and possible non-crease-worthiness. I’m going to try it, soon I hope.

So, chime in with your thoughts and experiences. It’s how we all learn new things!

I’ll leave you with this photo that has nothing at all to do with the topic at hand, but I like it: Lancaster, in the snow.

Lancaster-Snow-2018

18 thoughts on “On folding quilts…

  1. Thanks for sharing Becky. It’s so good to get new information that changes how we think about things. I’m refolding today. BTW, I love the Tuscany wool batting.

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  2. Lancaster in Snow is a great title and photo. My daughter moved to MD three weeks ago and has had 4 SNOW days!!! Sure really did move NORTH…..ha ha.

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  3. I have a question for you, Becky. Once your quilts are in the cotton sleeves do you label them somehow so you know what is what and if so how or what do you use as a label? This. ls

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    • I write the name on a tag and tie it to the outside. Also, there is a cotton sleeve on the pipe AND on the outside of the rolled quilt. I also keep a list telling me which quilts are on what shelf. Honestly, keeping up with where they are is enough to make me want to give more away :-).

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  4. When you say fold on the diagonal, does that mean the way that Alex Anderson has folded her quilts? She has a great technique that I find helps with minimal creases when sending to quilt shows. https://thequiltshow.com/daily-blog/142-newsletter/24624-want-to-avoid-those-creases-in-your-quilt-alex-shows-you-how
    As for the wool, oh it is a must have. You are going to love it Becky. I have become a wool snob. I put it in most of my own personal quilts and when doing my show quilts with double batt. Wool is a wonderful batting to use.

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    • Yeah, that’s a diagonal fold. I’ve folded mine in a similar way for a long time and, as I said, it’s been good for me because I fold them so much. My quilts are ‘soft’. But I now believe that this works sometimes, and not others. As is true with so many things in life, there is more than one ‘right’ way to fold and you need to think through what you are doing AND learn from how your quilts look over time.

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  5. I’ve always felt folding top to bottom was a better option because if you hang the quilt, the creases will naturally hang out. I believe Caryl Bryer Fallert me that once. I fold side to side as little as possible. That said, most of my quilts are “use” quilts! 😉

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  6. Always good to read about how experts work, I almost always use wool and fold them straight, but the only quilt that hardly shows any folds at all is the one with a silk batting. That was a tip I got from Merel, the owner of the Quiltshop Birdblocks in Amsterdam. The quilt feels so light and hangs beautifully over the edges of the bed.

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