baby it’s cold outside

design, fabric, inspiration, quilting

[A note from Weeks: I am recommending the products below because they’re great. I don’t receive any financial benefit from any of the makers or retailers listed below.]

Here are my credentials for advising you on how to stay warm: I’ve lived in Chicago for the past 14 years. I’ve got this winter thing down!

It’s all about layering and keeping the layer next to your skin dry. Cotton is not your friend in the winter. As odd as it sounds, my favorite discovery for keeping warm are the Medima wool undershirts. They’re from Germany and you can get them as sleeveless undershirt or long-sleeved undershirts. I buy them from Sierra Trading so they are more affordable. The amazing thing about them is that you stay warm in a huge range of temperatures. I’ve also found that wearing these thin undershirts prevents me from needing big bulky sweaters that are awkward under coats and make me feel like the Michelin Man.

With the Medima undershirts, you’re warm in frigid temperatures outside but you don’t end up being too hot walking around the grocery store. They’re feather light and incredibly soft. You will wonder how you ever lived without them and they’re worth every penny. If the Medima ones are in the wash Sierra also has some nice silk camisoles that aren’t as warm as the Medimas but still cut the chill nicely under clothes.

Then there’s the layering I’ve done recently with Quilters Dream Puff batting and Minkee in the quilt shown above. As much as I love 100% cotton batting, it’s just not warm enough for me if I’m sitting on the sofa knitting or watching a movie on a cold winter night.

When I read about Quilter’s Dream Puff batting as being 1.5 times warmer than down I wanted to give it a try. I also love the feel of Minkee next to my skin in the winter so I thought I’d make a quick whole cloth quilt layering some of our Wild Bunch fabrics on the Dream Puff and the Minkee for a toasty warm throw.

I decided on the wave quilting pattern because it would give the Minkee a totally different texture. I didn’t prewash the fabric since I wanted it to shrink a bit along with the batting (which shrinks much less than cotton but still a bit in the dryer) and I knew that this particular fabric doesn’t run. I machine washed and dried the quilt after I bound it and that totally changed the texture. It feels fantastic.

I made the throw about 53″x84″ which made the most of the width of the two pieces of 42″-wide cotton fabric sewn selvage to selvage. It’s also as long as the sofa so two people can use it without a tug-o-war.

What I love about this throw is that it’s the warmth of a big down duvet without all of the poof of it. The loft on the Dream Puff is only 1/3″. I can fold it easily but it’s big enough to share. It will be on my lap every minute I watch the Olympics in the weeks to come and I have a feeling that I’ll be making a lot more of these come Christmas next year.

4 thoughts on “baby it’s cold outside

  1. Thanks for the great tips. I bought a wool shirt in Australia several years ago that must be similar to what you describe. It’s been wonderful, but it’s time for a new one so good to know. Wool is the best to wear, I think. Nothing beats boiled wool for a comfortable in many weathers jacket.

  2. What is a good resource for different quilting designs? Is there a DVD that will *show* me how to do a free hand design that isn’t plain old meandering squiggles? BTW. I love the colors of the quilt in your post.

  3. Answer to MiChal’s question: I’ve heard of DVDs that show various methods of stitching but we just put muslin on and scribble until we come up with patterns we like. I did a post a while back about the stitching pattern inspired my Marlo Thomas’s hairstyle in “That Girl.” You have to really spend some time playing on the machine to see what comes naturally to you. Machine quilting is like handwriting. You need to find what motions you can comfortably and consistently do.

    Having said that, I do find Karen McTavish’s quilting really fantastic. It wouldn’t work on every quilt but it is good to see other people’s work as well.

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