Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. If I start to see a pattern I will post my answers here!
Do I have to pre-wash my fabrics and if so, what are your recommendations?
I always recommend pre-washing your fabric in warm water, a gentle cycle and drying on low heat. Treat the fabric like it's your favorite piece of clothing - gently.
The purpose is not to destroy the fabric, but simply to allow any shrinkage to happen before cutting so the beautiful medallion quilts go together with no surprises.
The only exception to this is flannel fabric. I do not pre-wash flannel - particularly for my Dance of Butterflies pattern which is fussy cut. I use a Rowenta iron and it is very hot. If I do not pre-wash my fabric, I can have as much as 1/8 of an inch shrinkage on any piece my iron touches. By the time the center of the quilt is pieced, it could be much smaller than intended and triangles may not fit properly onto a square or rectangle piece. My motto is peace of mind, no surprises, and a peaceful experience to creating a quilt.Cutting Directions: Your directions include both WOF and LOF (width of fabric and length of fabric) cuts and they sometimes go back and forth. Example, cut "X" strips 6" x WOF and then you will have a LOF cut. Do I need to cut them in the order stated?
Always cut the fabric in the order stated. The reason I use WOF and LOF cuts is to make the best use of the fabric yardage. I personally do not like to piece a border unless it is fairly narrow and then I like to have as few diagonal seams as possible in the strips if they are over 2" wide. In order to accomplish this, I will often have you cut LOF strips first and then take your smaller pieces, blocks and triangles out of the balance of the fabric.Stay Stitching: Some of your designs recommend stay stitching. Do I have to follow the instructions?
You need to create the quilt design in whatever manner you are most comfortable utilizing. I recommend stay-stitching on some diagonal bias cuts and on triangles that may need to be appliqued, because it worked best for me when creating my design. I dislike stretched out biases surprising me when sewing the quilt top pieces together.Applique: Your patterns say to use our favorite applique technique. What is your favorite technique?
When I have time for handwork and do not have access to a machine, I love to do needle turn applique. However, when I'm creating samples for qiult market, time is of the essence and I need to machine applique. Machine applique is also great for shortening the time spent on any project. For bed quilts that are going to be washed extensively, I always turn under the edges of my applique pieces 1/4" utilizing a Fons and Porter glue stick and a wooden skewer. I then applique with a Aurifil thread matching the thread to the applique piece. I use a Microtex 60/8 needle and a very small blanket stitch. I stitch slowly and keep it close to the edge of the applique curve so the stitches meld into the quilt and are hardly noticeable once the long-arm quilter has finished their magic. For children's quilts that are washed even more, I will increase the size of the stitch so it becomes even more durable.