Friday, 31 October 2014

Joy Jelly Roll [a disastrous finish]

I know it's still a fair few weeks till Christmas, but I have a Christmassy finish to share with you nevertheless. This is the quilt that nearly beat me. Ten months ago I shoved it in a suitcase on top of the wardrobe in disgust. And it was all because of wool wadding. I'd never used wool wadding before and thought I would give it a try. A decision I have regretted. Apart from smelling like wet sheep (seriously) it doesn't like basting spray. As in, don't even bother trying to spray baste. I learned the hard way - after a whole tin of it. Because it doesn't work and it doesn't hold it together so when you come to quilt it, you get so many puckers you'd think you were making a pair of curtains!

The spray basting fiasco was just one in a series of  set backs. The quilt is made using a Jelly Roll of Joy by Kate Spain. I loved it when I saw the whole range lined up on the shelves of my LQS and knew I'd be making something with it, but what really sold me was the chevron print and how fabulous it would look as binding. I picked a pattern from the book Jelly Roll Dreams by Pam and Nicky Lintott that would mean I didn't have to cut up the Jelly Roll too much and lose the lovely big bold prints. Of course, because I didn't cut the Jelly Roll up as much as some patterns require, you don't lose much fabric to seam allowances. Meaning the final quilt is ENORMOUS! And I didn't buy nearly enough of the sashing fabric. But it took me a year to find this out and once fabric is a year old and you're looking for such a useful print as the red I had picked, I was sure I wouldn't find any. I was in luck though - after a desperate search of the internet I actually found a UK shop with it still in stock. This set back meant the quilt wasn't finished for last Christmas.

Two weeks ago I finally pulled the quilt out of exile, unpicked the minimal quilting I had done, rebasted it with safety pins, free motion quilted the sashing and this week added the binding.

But the quilt still smelled of wet sheep. Today was dry and blustery, so after a bit of googling on how to treat wool wadding I concluded that machine wash on a low heat and line dry was the way to go. Boy was I wrong. I took it out of the washing machine and it was a disaster. The wadding had shrunk so much that the unquilted parts were baggy - too baggy to go unnoticed. And the wadding had bearded through the fabric - not just where I had stitched through the holes created by the needle/thread, but everywhere. Everywhere.

We stuck it on the line, and examined the disaster.

The shrinkage on the long side was 7" - that's nearly 8% shrinkage. I'm gutted. I'd really fallen back in love with this quilt over the last few days and was looking forward to snuggling with it. Also that's about £150 down the drain in fabric. That's a lot of money for me. So now I have to decide. Once I've thrown the quilt in the bin (I truly believe it is unsalvagable) do I buy another jelly roll, and some more of the border and binding fabric which are still available (just) and some Kona red to replace the sashing (this fabric isn't available any more), or do I just move on. Forget about it. Put it down to experience. Never ever buy wool wadding again.

In hindsight I shouldn't have rebasted it with wool wadding (I was already dubious). But I did, because I'd paid money for the wool wadding (and on the silver lining side, if I hadn't used the wool wadding on this I might have used it on a quilt that had considerably more work and more importance). If I had quilted all over and not left the stripey sections unquilted, I would have been fine, because there wouldn't have been noticeable baggy bits. But it still doesn't resolve the horrific bearding that has happened.

This is my first real quilt fail, and I am so grumpy tonight. Any suggestions that might make this better are welcome, but I'm not hopeful. Someone on instagram suggested opening the seam and stuffing the baggy bits trapunto style, but I'd need to do it back and front. And there's still the bearding. I'm linking this post up for the Finish Along at the end of Q4, because it is finished. It's just not usable.

Finish Along 2014

And you know what - it still stinks!


barbara woods said...

glad you shared, i love my spray baste

Karen M said...

Oooh. The blood, sweat, and tears of quilting. You were really persistent. I have a wool batt that I am planning to use, but you are making me wonder if I should just use something else. Thanks for sharing your frustration. This is a learning experience that we can all benefit from.

Leanne said...

oh my, I have to say I would toss it and have a drink to celebrate that it was gone. Good to know about the wool batting - that bearding is terrible. And for goodness sake, no one is going to hand wash a quilt. I do love the fabrics and the pattern is lovely, maybe when you are ready you could make another.

Lin said...

Oh dear Jennie - that is so sad. All that work and it was a gorgeous quilt. Do you remember where you bought the wool batting? It might be worth going back to the shop or the manufacturer. I do know that wool batting needs close quilting but to smell and to beard is not on. Big hug coming your way. xx

Cindy said...

Oh dear! How disappointing. I think I would toss it if it were me. Start over on some other Christmas quilt that will make you smile and have happier memories.

I'm curious about the type of wool batting you used. I made 2 quilts with wool batts and they turned out fine (and have been washed & dried). One is Quilters Dream Wool and the other brand was Hobb's Tuscany Collection. Both were quilted on a long arm so no spray basting.

Four dogs and one quilter said...

Oh no! Such a lovely quilt. I'm curious too as to what brand of wool batting you used. I have a package of Quilter's Dream Wool waiting for a quilt top and am now hesitant to use it, although I have read nothing but good things about that brand.

I would cut it up for scraps, save what I could, and toss the rest.

Leo said...

aww so sorry to read the horror story

Now I'm scared to wash my wool batting quilt ... how is the shrinkage problem in the areas where you quilted densly?
Just so I can maybe do some more quilting before I do the washing.

And did you wash it on low temperature or "cold"?

Linda said...

I had the same problem with wool wadding after the quilt had been washed. I was sold the wadding as the best for baby quilts. Never again! P.S. I prewashed all my fabrics as well?

Just Sew Sue said...

I'd invite some friends around and unpick the quilting. Seems a shame to waste all of your work and the expense of the fabric you used for the top and backing.

Wendy said...

oh no, I'm so sorry to hear your beautiful quilt is ruined. I'm afraid I have no suggestions at all, but thank you for sharing the story and maybe preventing other people from going through it.

Amanda said...

What if you cut out the unquilted parts, trim them down to size, quilt them on, and then applique frames on top of them exposed seams? You'd have to do it on the back to, but it could be a fun back.

Archie the wonder dog said...

Oh no, how dreadful! I think I'd cry. A lot. And stomp around being very angry. And write an email to the manufacturer of the wadding. Then, after putting my pet lip away, I'd start unpicking the quilting. If you do ten minutes every day (or during a telly programme you watch regularly) then you'd soon make progress. Do you have any friends who can use an unpicker or could be trained to use one? How about an unpicking party - with cake, wine (not too much wine, obviously, but enough to take the edge off!) and nattering?