Monday, 2 January 2017

Joy Jelly Roll Quilt [a finish - again]

I've finished this quilt before. Over 2 years ago. You can read about it here.  This is a quilt that fought back and nearly won. Two years ago I very nearly threw it in the bin. I started out by not buying enough of the sashing fabric - what are the chances of finding yardage of what must have been one of the most popular prints in the line, 18 months after the fabric was released? By some miracle, I did! I even picked up some more yardage in the post-Christmas sale that year to back it. Nice.

So I had a pieced quilt top. I decided to use some wool wadding I'd picked up at a show. And here the story really starts. Firstly, basting wool wadding is IMPOSSIBLE. I'm a spray-baster. Wool is not. In the end we used safety pins. I hate safety pins. Quilting: I had a plan in my head. It didn't really work. So I decided on wibbly lines across the width. It looked DREADFUL. I've come a long way since then, and would now make a better job of it. But then. I did one line, then shoved it back in the cupboard for few more months.

Eventually I made the effort to unpick that line. You know what, I'll just do a stipple in the sashing and be done with it. Bish bash bosh. Done. Bound. Cool wash in the washing machine, because the wadding was a bit smelly.

OH MY GOD. DISASTER. It shrunk. I swear I used a cold wash. It shruink so much that the unquilted, pieced sections, which had started out at 6" wide, were now only 4" wide. The wadding had bearded through and it still stank. I confess I was ready to chuck it in the bin.

But my mum was visiting. And she stopped me. It sat in disgrace, stewing in it's own stench for nearly two years. Occassionally it appeared on my Finish Along list, but I hated it so much. Then @archiewonderdog suggested picking a TV show, and for that hour each week, sitting and unpicking. I chose the Bake Off, and managed a few hours for three weeks. I unpicked about one-third of it. The silver lining was that because it has shrunk to much the tension of stitches was shot to hell and so was easy to unpick.

The next thing to happen was an Instagram destash. Simply Solids were selling a bolt end of another of Kate Spain's Christmas collections. It would make ideal replacement binding. If you go back to the original posts on this quilt, you'll see that what drove me to the range of fabric in the first place was how great the chevron print would be for binding. We'll ignore that now! Not having to try and salvage the binding would make things easier. In another destash I picked up another fabric that would help me patch the backing.

Each Monday night I go to a quilt group. I took it along with the aim of spending a few hours unpicking and with the hope that I could bribe some of the others to help. It worked. Three of us were upnpicking at one stage - one lady even admitted that she enjoys unpicking - I'll store that away for future reference! But by the end of the night I was thoroughly pissed off. I'd removed the binding and you know what, I separated the layers and I just tugged. And then Lynn took hold of one end and I got the other and we played tug of war.

There was much horror on the faces of my friends as we did it. "It might rip", "you might damage it". I DON'T CARE ANYMORE.  We pulled it all apart. And it didn't rip. And even if it had I would have appliqued some holly leaves!

And that was the road block unblocked. I had to wash the front and back to remove the smell of wet sheep, which lingered even after the wadding had been consigned to the community centre bins. I spent a fair while picking off loose threads and pressing it. but on the Tuesday before Christmas I quilted it - with cotton wadding.

I went for a large-scale, all-over stipple. Two reasons: first, large scale meant there was less of the red hreads visible on the non-red fabrics and secondly it was quicker. And I have never been so keen to get a quilt finished. As soon as it was quilted, I bound it. DONE!

I washed it - just to make sure - got a couple of photos of it, then put it on the sofa where it has spent Christmas!

From the front, you would never guess the hell it gave me. It's on the back you can see it's scars. Originally I had two aqua prints, pieced to make the backing. But of course in the process of finishing it the first time, I trimmed those right back, and when I needed to layer it up a second time, I needed wiggle room. The two fabrics from the destashes plus a random bit of green that was close to hand all made up the size and appear as war wounds on the backing.

This quilt is not tiny. It comes in at 65"x 88". It must be the biggest quilt you can make with a single jelly roll and sashing. Now that it's finished I have started the process of forgiving it. As Christmas is now over, I will put it away in the draw for another year of healing. Maybe next Christmas I'll love it!

This is a Finish Along Finish. You can find my original Q4 list here.

2016 FAL


Ada Kopitopoulou said...

The quilt looks great! I don't know whether i would have the courage to unpick something so unpickable!

Anthea said...

Jennie you have done a more-than-incredible job persevering with this one! It's certainly not showing any of the drama that has been its life so far... what a story it has to tell each Christmas now!

Allison said...

Total admiration to you for not giving up on that quilt! Isn't it great to have quilty friends willing to lend a hand?

Lin said...

Well done on all that unpicking - I am not sure that I would have bothered. Good idea to share the task though, much more bearable with company I am sure. Great finish now though. Well done you! xx

Jenny - the lilac cat said...

What a tale of quilter's stamina. It's beautiful and obviously much enjoyed. Was the woollen batting you bought branded? It's just I did my first Quilters Dream woollen batting quilt last autumn, it's been washed at least 5 times since (my own sorry story of colours running!!) and there was the usual 5-10% shrinkage but no bearding or smell. My only batting fail I've had is when I bought some unbranded batting at a show. I've learnt that lesson.