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My Not So Secret Love Affair With Batiks

It is no secret that I love fabric.  Actually, I think I would be safe to say that most quilters love fabric and gather most of their inspiration from the fabrics that make their hearts sing.  Among the fabrics that I love you will find bright, bold, unusual, and fun fabrics.  But one type of fabric that I can always turn to is Batiks.

There is just something about batiks that make me want to cut them up and sew them back together.  They fall into all the categories that I mentioned above, plus they also have great variation in colors with each fabric you look at.  No two are the same.  You just can’t find that in any other fabric, except maybe hand dyes (which I also love and covet)!

But I digress, this is about Batiks.  If you don’t know a lot about Batiks, here is some quick info… They are made with a wax resist technique usually using a chop or stamp.  This chop has the design (kind of like a rubber stamp but made of copper).  The chop is dipped into the wax and then pressed onto the cotton fabric.  Then the fabric is dyed.  Where there is wax the dye will not be absorbed, thereby creating the pattern or motif on the fabric.  This can be repeated until you get the color and design just right.

Most batiks are produced in Indonesia and then imported.  They are truly unique.  To work with them, as a quilter, they are heavenly!  They not only have saturated color but also retain a crease really well when you press.  They are some of the biggest sellers in my shop too!  But once a batik is gone you usually can’t get it again as they are that unique.

Have you every tried batiks?  What types of projects have you made with batiks?  Leave me a comment letting me know  your thoughts on batiks! If you haven’t tried them yet, I sure hope you will now.  I wanted to share with you several photos of some of the projects that I have created using batiks.   So here you go…

Jackie Kunkel

Canton Village Quilt Works

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  • Jan Sutter says:

    Posted February 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Beautiful work!! I love batiks also, the variation of colors are gorgeous.

  • Renee Fleuranges-Valdes says:

    Posted February 3, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Jackie I LOVE batiks as well. But I must say you work wonders with them!

  • Joan Kruse says:

    Posted February 3, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I love your work! I also love batiks and am working to build my stash of them. I’ve used them a lot in baby quilts with applique turtles and butterflies.

  • M. Martens says:

    Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I too absolutely love batiks for the same reasons as you said. No too are alike and so even if the two of us made the same quilt using the same pattern with the same shades of colors they would still be different.

  • Karen says:

    Posted February 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I discovered batiks several years ago – they are very addicting :)!!

  • Sharon Griffith says:

    Posted February 4, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Hi Jackie I am a follower of yours and I too love batiks. I do allot of applique’ and would love using them more in my applique projects but find them a little harder then cotton to hand stitch. I was wondering what your thoughts are on that. Maybe it is just that I am using a wrong size needle or something but I can just tell you that there is more stress on my hands when I go to stitch a batik down…..thanks for any input…

  • Jackie says:

    Posted February 5, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Great to hear there are so many batik lovers!! Sharon, in answer to your question… a couple of things… first batiks are made on a slight tighter weave of cotton and this could be causing some of the difficulty that you are having. However, in reference to your needle, there may be two solutions… first a different size needle may do the trick and second, remember, like any tools they will dull as well over time. Remember to throw out your needle when it is too dull. It should slide through your fabric like butter. Changing the needle in your sewing machine is equally as important, as well as your rotary blade and sharpening your scissors from time to time. I hope this helps you! And thanks for such a great question!

  • joanne says:

    Posted April 4, 2012 at 10:37 am

    question: can you mix batiks with other types of quilting fabric?

  • QUILT Magazine says:

    Posted April 4, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Sure, if they are all 100% cotton or made from the same fabric blend!

    Keep Quilting!

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