Friday, 15 November 2013

Oops, I made a quilt top

Back in April I was seized with the sudden impulse to bleach some fabric.  I was totally inspired by Rossie and you can read about my method here.  These are the results - on the left is a fat eighth bundle of Indie by Art Gallery Fabrics and on the right is the bleached version.

Fabric experimentation

After bleaching I cut each fat eighth into 2" wide strips and sewed them into sets of four, matching each bleached fabric with its unbleached pair.  Then the strip sets sat in a box for several months while I waited for inspiration to strike.  Initially I thought I might make another equilateral triangle quilt, but it felt a little lacking in originality and didn't really take maximum advantage of the play between the bleached and unbleached fabrics.

Indie Stripes quilt top

At some point last week I had the idea of cutting the strip sets into quarter square triangles and then matching them up to make these dynamic boxy shapes.  I pulled the strip sets out just to see if it would work, and then on Saturday I found myself cutting quarter square triangles and sewing them up into blocks (and yes, I really should have been working on other things).  I think this stripey look makes much better use of different colours created by the bleaching (and I've been wanting to play with stripes for a while).

Because I had pre-washed all the fabrics and I was cutting a lot of bias edges, I used a bunch of starch before cutting the quarter square triangles and that definitely helped with the handling of the fabrics. I also squared up all my blocks.  I don't often bother with this step any more, because my blocks are not generally way off and I'm pretty good at fudging things if need be.  However, when I measured these blocks they were not particularly uniform in size or all square so it was definitely worthwhile.

Indie Stripes quilt top

Once I put all the blocks together it was still missing something.  I was thinking about using Essex Linen in Natural in the equilateral triangle quilt, so I added a wide border of it onto this quilt.  I've seen this fabric used in several other quilts which also feature Indie - it seems to have some magic property which just makes the Indie collection look awesome.

cutting stripes

In case anyone is interested, here is a little diagram of how I cut the quarter square triangles out of my strip sets.  Basically you just cut at a 45 degree angle so that you get two quarter square triangles out of each strip set.  You'll see that I also got 2 half square triangles out of each strip set - I have plans for those too but they will have to wait.

I think this project works pretty well with this month's Le Challenge theme, stripes, so I'm linking up.

Le Challenge

Now, I have a couple of questions for those of you who routinely pre-wash fabrics.  Because I had to wash the fabrics I bleached, I also washed the other fat eighth set of Indie fabrics, and because linen is prone to shrinking more than cotton, I pre-washed the Essex Linen too.  Now that all the fabrics in the quilt top have been pre-washed, I'm wondering whether I should pre-wash the backing and binding fabrics too - if I don't, maybe I'll get some kind of crazy crinkle going on where the back shrinks and the front doesn't.  Also, should I pre-wash the batting and go for a quilt that will stay really flat even when it has been washed? So many questions!  This whole pre-washing thing has just opened a huge can of worms for me!
 
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29 comments:

Kelsey said...

The lifelong dilemma for a quilter - to prewash or not to prewash! I'm definitely like you and hate to prewash because it complicates thngs but my general rule is - if you need prewash some fabric, prewash ALL the fabric so it's all preshrunk to the same degree. This includes backing and binding. As for batting, I don't ever tend to bother prewashing that and haven't had any issues... but that's not to say I am right on that front (Amanda definitely had a huge problem with that earlier this year on her Posy Quilt).

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Very interesting process and results. The difference in some fabrics is more marked than others.

I always prewash all my fabrics, sometimes discarding any which tend to run dye. I've prewashed batting for small quilts a couple of times but it doesn't seem to make any noticeable difference (with the cotton matting I've used). The batting is a little more difficult to use once washed.

Leanne said...

I pre-wash everything all the time. The minute the fabric arrives it gets washed and pressed, where I can take the time to get to know how it will feel and act and look. I would wash the back and the binding once the front is prewashed. I don't wash the batting and so I get the crinkle from the shrinkage of the batting and of the quilting thread. I think even if you wash the batting you will get a lot of crinkle from the thread that you used to piece the blocks and to quilt the quilt. It is a lovely quilt, I was looking at this method just the other day to get these blocks.

alli b said...

I pre washed my batting in a fit of 'everything must be washed for a baby quilt' and it was a disaster. The batting would not lie flat enough when i was quilting & I had so much trouble i redid the whole thing with unwashed batting. I use a bamboo/cotton mixed batting so maybe that was the issue?
Please post the results if you do decide to pre wash the batting as I'd like to know if you think it's worth it.

Gemma@prettybobbins said...

In my experience prewash all or none. The princess quilt for my daughter, I prewashed the back (flannel) but not the fabrics for the top (possibly one or two in my pre washing days) and I can see that the non quilted "feature blocks" are puffy. It annoys me but does not ruin the quilt. Mind you, I used 100% wool wadding and have found that it continues to shrink so it was probably a combination of things. But these days I orewash nothing, cross my fingers and use lots of colour catchers :) nice quilt top btw :)

Elmosmate said...

OMG I am not a washer. The moment I heard there where people out there who didn't wash I was on that side! The thought of washing batting makes me giggle, why would you wash batting... I am really going to enjoy looking at the comments you get on this topic. You never know I might end up washing. however I think I would wear out my washing machine with the amount of fabric I have!

Rossie said...

This looks great! I regularly mix un-washed and washed fabrics without any trouble. If I was putting linen or flannel or a sheet on the back, I would wash because those might misbehave, but if the backing is premium quilting cotton, I wouldn't worry!

snips said...

I love the way this turned out!. As for prewashing, i generally don't prewash anything and so far so good, touch wood. I'm in the camp that says all or nothing, so i'd probably wash the backing and binding fabrics. Though i'm not sure about the batting... I've never prewashed batting but i did see Amanda from Everyday Fray's Posy quilt and it was tragic! Something to think about for sure.

DeborahGun said...

looks great :-) I have never prewashed, but I think with Linen in a quilt you probably should.

Elmosmate said...

Just realised i didn't tell you how good the top looks cant wait to see it IRL :-)

Erica said...

This is so great! I love how some of the blocks have more contrast than the other blocks. I am definitely not a prewasher - I hate it.

dutchcomfort said...

Love the look of the bleached and non bleached fabrics together! Great quilt-top!

I never prewash my fabrics. However, a lot of Bee blocks I receive are made of prewashed fabrics, so when I put together the quilt I prewash the batting and backing too. I put the batting in an old cushion cover and which I close with safety pins, so the batting won’t get out of shape too much.

Rachel said...

I would prewash the backing fabric but not the batting. I have tried this in the past and the crinkling is not noticeable due to batting shrinkage.

KristyLou said...

I just learned about this bleachig of facrics. I love this look. You really did a nice job with it.

DanaK ~ WaterPenny said...

I wouldn't pre-wash batting unless your brand specifically says it's ok to do. It rarely turns out nice. I use an 80/20 cotton poly/bamboo blend if I don't want shrinking - the 80% cotton has a similar feel but the 20% synthetic keeps it from shrinking much.

If it's high quality cotton, I mix washed and un-washed. If it's anything else, I don't.

Nat at Made in Home said...

Love the bleaching method, definitely will have to try that one of these child free days! Great quilt top, and an entry for le challenge, woohoo! Thanks for linking up!

Mary said...

Hi Adrianne,

Yet another lovely quilt top!

I am firmly in the prewash camp. The first thing that happens to my fabric when I bring it home is a trip through the washer and dryer. I actually love ironing my new, freshly cleaned fabric, and I have tons of it stacked on shelves that go floor to ceiling across an entire wall. Fabric does shrink, especially linen, colors do run and fade and when the sizing is washed out, you sometimes discover that your pretty fabric is not going to hold up in a quilt that is used frequently and needs to be fused to something firmer if it is going to last. Also, quilts that are used regularly also have to be washed regularly and what is the likelihood that you or the recipient of the quilt will remember to take extra precautions when washing it. Dye doesn't just run the first time you wash fabric. Sometimes it is the second or third time you wash it. But, if it runs the first time you are on warning that you need to fix the fabric or eliminate it from your quilt.

Also, fabrics are full of chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Haven't you noticed how dry your hands get if you spend an entire day, or even hours handling new unwashed fabrics?

I recall reading an article in Quilters Newsletter years ago about how to prepare batting for quilting. It seems to me that the article did recommend prewashing batting and explained how to do it. However, I think the manufacturing of batting, and the materials used in batting have changed in the past 10 years or so, so perhaps a google search is in order.

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

I pre wash everything but batting unless I'm working with pre cuts and then I don't wash the companion fabrics if they are new.

I just prefer the hand of fabrics after they are washed and catching any bleeders before they go into a project.

Lisa said...

I am not a prewasher because I love the crinkle effect but if the front has been prewashed I would prewash the back and binding. I have no input about the batting, it's never crossed my mind to prewash it.

Mrs Jones said...

I have never bleached fabric before, but it looks really good.

Taryn said...

Very cool looking quilt The stripes and the bleached fabrics create such a neat effect!

I've pre-washed a few quilts and have had wildly varying results. On one quilt I pre-washed the flannel backing, but did not wash the top materials or the batting (Pellon Nature's Touch). I've washed it several times since then and there is very little crinkling. Another quilt I pre-washed the backing, binding, quilt top materials and batting (Heirloom 80/20) and everything except for the binding turned out crazy crinkly!

Flying Blind... said...

Genius and beautiful.
Afraid I have never pre-washed, ever, so I bow to all the commentators above xxx

Lucy @ Charm About You said...

I love the bleached fabrics and the stripey design of your quilt. It looks perfect with the essex linen too. I just about manage to wash everyones clothes so never wash fabric! Thanks for linking up to le challenge!

Kirsten said...

Love the subtle shading effect you have with the bleached fabrics. I almost always prewash red fabrics as I gt nervous about them running when they are washed!

Dianne Neale said...

Wow, I love the effect of bleaching. I don't pre wash at all. I read somewhere about how to wash batting . I can't remember the details, but it was a real p.i.a.!

knitnkwilt said...

a new trick to try--thanks for sharing it. (I've done bleaching and making designs on solids, but not the prints, and bleaching without making a design.) Your blocks do show off the bleach/unbleached contrast well.

I don't know about prewashing the backing, but can see a lot of others do. I had been prewashing all, but now that I don't go to a laundromat with huge washers, I hesitate to wash anything bigger than 3 yards. I haven't quilted with any unwashed yet, though.

jeifner said...

I also wash everything except swap fabric. That's what you do with all garment fabrics. You launder fabric in the manner you intend to wash it when the project is done. I understand some folks like more crinkle in their quilts or that fabric with sizing is easier to work with. For the first, whatever floats your boat. For the second I say wash then starch, you really don't want all those unnamed, unlisted chemicals. Better the ones you know... As for the rest I do find it a bit baffeling that people play Russian roulette with a project that they spend so much money, time, creativity and love into. All that being said, perhaps unnecessarily, if you wash some, I'd wash all :)

Jasmine said...

You should definitely check the manufacturer's information about the batting if you want to prewash it. I once prewashed a cotton batting that came out of the washer looking like an old mop! I went and bought name brand, then prewashed it. So much better. It was for a baby quilt which has been washed a lot. I haven't had any problems with it, but it is the only quilt where I prewashed everything (or anything).

ams patil said...
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