The stabilizer saga

Things are back to normal after two weeks with family. I always enjoy when my brother and niece come to hang out with us.

After finishing the Aunt Grace quilt top, I wasn’t sure what to work on next. Instead of turning to something new, I pulled a small, fall themed, appliqued wall hanging out of the closet to prepare it for quilting.

First, a little backstory: My go-to product for transferring quilting designs to quilt tops is water soluble stabilizer. Two years ago in September, after quilting an overall design on my niece’s baby quilt (click here to see how) I emailed the Sulky Corporation to ask if Solvy was available in a wider width. Stitching together three wispy sheets of plastic to get a size large enough to cover the entire quilt was a pain, so my hope was to purchase a larger width, if available, to save time and effort.

A very nice company representative emailed right back to say that the product was, indeed, available in a wider width (double what you can buy off the bolt) and all she needed was a tax ID number so she could process the order.


Now I was faced with visiting my local government to establish a business to obtain a tax ID number to place a one-time order. Great.

The woman I spoke with at the city building was very nice and in short order figured out why I wanted to initiate the paperwork. She said (and I’m paraphrasing here since this happened nearly two years ago), “You would not believe how many people do exactly what you’re doing just to get a vendor to sell them something.” She kindly questioned whether there was any other way to obtain the product, and while she didn’t refuse me the paperwork, she strongly encouraged me to be as resourceful as possible to go another way. She added, “What happens is that an individual will set up a company to get their desired item, and then the city and state end up with a bunch of business/tax entities on their rolls that remain dormant and inactive forever.”


I thanked her for her time and on the drive home, decided on a new tactic:


I sent the nice representative at Sulky a detailed email explaining my local municipality’s reluctance to issue a tax ID number for a one-time event.

I explained how I used their product and how a wider width would make things so much easier.

I attached photos of my niece’s partially quilted baby quilt, covered in Solvy.

I offered her payment with a credit card.

It worked! She emailed back that someone would contact me to arrange payment and shipping.

So here is my 110–yard roll of 39″-wide Solvy:

Sulky roll 

The fall wall hanging measures 28 inches square, which would require two pieces of the 19½”-wide stabilizer that comes on the bolt, so I turned to my roll and cut a 30-inch piece off of it. Easy.

Then I drew the blocks and border, traced around the applique templates and added the quilting lines.


For the inner border, I traced a stencil pattern, reduced it on the copier/printer

border stencil

and fit it into a paper mockup of the actual border.

border final

Since the stem on the pumpkin in the upper left corner faces a direction opposite that of the other three, I extended the asymmetry of that block by running the diagonal lines in the opposite direction from those in the other blocks.


Although, once I saw how the lines formed a V when they came together between the top two blocks, I decided they should be quilted the same as the other three. It was worth a shot. 

A Pickett curve set came to the rescue when it was time to create the lines in the pumpkins and the veins in the leaves.


I’m still debating how to mark the border: echo quilting, straight lines or something else?


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