Soft is Nice, BUT….


Minkee, Minkee, Minkee; if you’re a quilter this word is probably quite familiar to you.  Minkee is the incredible, ever so soft, fabric that everyone dreams of having on the back of their quilt. Well maybe we should leave it at “dreams of having” on the back of their quilt.  Speaking for myself, I for one, love the feel of this material.  However, I am NOT a fan of quilting it as a backing on my Longarm.  My reasoning is  simply because I like to pull my backings nice and tight.  Due to my fondness for those two things this is where “Minkee” and I have relationship issues.

Back  in the day when I was quilting as a business, I had a client bring a Minkee backing for me to complete.  Easy peasy I assured my customer, but the joke was on me.


I quilted this small baby quilt (in hindsight I thanked the gods above it was small) and was quite satisfied until I removed it from the frame.  My once “small” baby blanket had managed to be reduced to a “shrinky dink” blanket.  Yes, this little quilt became more than little when it shrunk!  As a result of my strong desire to have a nice tight backing I managed to pull the backing too tight (imagine that).  AND because the material is a knit, in a shocker, it stretched!!  Needless to say when I took it off the frame, this cute baby quilt wasn’t feeling or looking too cute.







No amount of marinating in the corner was going to resolve the problem that had transpired (marinating- letting a quilt sit in the corner in hopes that a slight tension issue will resolve itself once the quilt relaxes).

PS. This normally works.

It took me three LONG days of ripping out all of the stitching so I could partake in a wonderful redo with this adorable quilt made with a Minkee backing.









Did I want to repeat that “Minkee Production”? Hell to the no! Once was more than enough for this quilter, so from that moment on Minkee backings have not made an appearance in my studio.









Sorry Minkee, I can only live through that nightmare one time. Do you like to quilt with Minkee backing and if so, please enlighten me on the best way to do this?

29 thoughts on “Soft is Nice, BUT….

  1. I have made numerous Minkee-backed quilts, bith baby and llarge lap size. I quilt on a home machine, and have always spray basted these quilts. Never had an issue!

  2. I agree with the issues of Minkee fabric. Alas, it is such a problem. I find that making sure it is as squared up as possible and keeping just enough tension it helps with the quilting. This of course means constant looking under the quilt to make sure there’s no wrinkling. It’s really not my favorite fabric for a quilt back.

  3. How funny, I love quilting with Minkee and put it on nearly all of my non-wall hanging quilts! But I see this complaint often. It seems that minkee is love or hate. I’ve never had trouble with it, but I think the trick for me is to stretch it tight, then back off 1/4 to 1/2 roll. Elaborate quilting on a solid minkee back is absolutely beautiful.

  4. I quilt with Linked. I too like to tightening my backing fabric. But I always load Minkee nice and loosely and I check to see which way has the most stretch and load the quilt so that stretch is on the sides. Not my favorite but doable.

  5. I have quilted hundreds with minky. Y first was quilt…back too tight and when I took it off it was an elastic. I cried.

    Then someone told me the stretch side must be loaded sideways…so the Salvedge always on the side. Now I work with minky and love it. I would take minky over any other backing and I keep mine very tight….but I keep my bungY cords loose not to stretch the sided

  6. I have used minky and Ultra Fluffy from Joanns several times. This last time was on a twin size with Ultra Fluffy. I had to piece the backing, and I did that horizontal – side to side with the selvage running across the top and bottom. I sewed my center seam about 3/4 of an inch wide so the fabric would lay nice in the back. When I loaded the backing, I was careful not to stretch, but trying to keep it even on the side while being rolled up. After I basted the batting and quilt top on at the top, I rolled my quilt to start my first row. Every time I rolled up, I smoothed it all out and got it set, then I released my bar cogs 1 notch to relax the quilt even more. I let it sag just a little. On the sides of the quilt, I used long ( 12″ ) clamps that hooked on the fabric , then hooked on my clamps that are hooked to the side of the frame, but I put them up and over the curtain rod holders that go from bar to bar. This kept my quilt from sagging too much in the center. I had very little tension on the side clamps, the purpose of the side clamps is just to hold the side of the quilt up… NOT TIGHT or stretching the fabric. I usually have issues on the very last roll because I tend to roll tight, but this last time I paid special attention to how tight it was rolled and did a few basting stitch rows across the quilt to keep it smooth. When I quilted my last row I did not have any issues with it pulling too tight. If you pull too tight with the minky it can make your edges wavy.
    Sometimes it helps to have a ruler plate on when you quilt the minky.
    Hope this helps…

  7. Domestic machine, with walking foot. Made 3 twin sized quilts for grandchildren, no problem. Tried long arming and quickly found out not a good idea!!

  8. Your story made me laugh a little…I hve used minky on the back of a quilt with no issues. However I didnt pull it tight and the fact that it sagged on the bottom made me a little nervous. However it turned out ok. Next one I did I reversed. Top on bottom….bottom on top. So I was looking at the minky. That also worked. But only if using an all over pattern. But I am with you…feel its best to just not do it with minky!

    • I’ve done a double minkee before (top and bottom, as well as just minkee piecing on top and beware–sometimes it’s hard to see where you’ve been and where you’re going because the nap gets pushed over your stitches! I think it’s way harder than having it on the back and you still have all the stretchy issues that come with minkee.

  9. I don’t mind it at all, except for the fluff that floats around from the cut edges. I load the selvages to my leaders, keep it loose (I usually have a loose tension anyway) and away I go. Ditto for fleece backings although I don’t care for them when pieced. The seams make for some clunking noises as I quilt over them.

  10. Sorry you had that problem. I load Minkee backing with the direction of most stretch parallel to the bars. I also leave a little “give” (flex) in the loaded quilt rather than stretching tight. When removed, the quilt doesn’t shrink up.

  11. I love using minkee for backing. It really hides the stitches and yet shows off the quilting. Just don’t pull it taunt on your frame, keep just a nice little bit looser tension.

  12. Your experience had to be terrible. I’ve made and quilted many quilts with Minkee on the back and sometimes the front too. I use a domestic machine and pin every 3 inches. I’ve use both a walking foot and a free motion foot without incident. I always serge the cut edges of Minkee batting to alleviate the mess.

  13. Hi Lisa. I have quilted many fleece, velour blankets and a couple of minkes and haven’t had a problem. I always load with the selvages attached to my leaders and make sure the top and back are relaxed

  14. I use Sweet 16 sit down so it’s ok, but still hard to quilt except grids! Have had minkee top and backing and just backing. Still a pain, lol but doable. I quilted baby quilt with pretty pink scroll minkee on back, quilted scroll pattern from back. I had to use safety pins to keep track of where I was! (took your longarm class at Olde City Quilts, gave you the m&m dispenser) Linda

    Sent from my iPad


  15. I quilt with minke and fleece all the time. I have found that it is fairly stable lengthwise and stretches a lot crosswise, so I always load with the selvages perpendicular to the leaders and just lay the crosswise grain on the leaders without any stretch. Works great. If the backing needs to be pieced, I insist on doing it to keep the nap running the same way and never let my client do it, otherwise you never know what you will get.

  16. Another suggestion, after I tried Minkie and ended up with not too square quilts, is to perhaps use a light fusible interfacing on the back to take the stretch away. That’s what I will be doing if I need to do it again

  17. I quilt minkee quite often and I don’t have issues with it. Of course there is a learning curve. Minkee must be loaded with the salvages going from top to bottom so when you advance the quilt there is minimal stretch. If you happen to load it the other way you will have all sorts of issues like Lisa mentioned. Also don’t have the back so tight that it can be a trampoline.

    • I hope the loading was clear. The salvages aren’t attached to the rollers but run along the sides where you would attach your side red snappers.

  18. I don’t have a problem with Minkee. I load on the selvage . I back off the the tension a couple clicks from the normal tightness. I had the same thing happen you did with a doll house quilt! Learned my lesson!! Thankfully it didn’t ruin the quilt!! I do a lot of Minkee backed quilts !

  19. Soft is nice but having all those filaments from cutting floating around is not. I detest Minnie. Even at the shop I work at, if I must use Minnie I’m not in a pleasant frame of mind. The best way to handle this #×€# is to load it on your machine using the salvage edges on your leaders and then snug it down. I use clamps on the sides as well which helps. Some Minnie like fabrics stretch both ways which is even worse.

  20. Quit with Minky on the back all of the time. It has to be loaded with the selvages running from the top to the bottom or vertical. The quilting is beautiful on plain Minky. None of the problems posted have shown up yet and knock on wood that they don’t…

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