Monday, May 13, 2013

Wool Batting Debacle + Washing Quilts

Recently I finished a quilt for my nephew. Knowing my sister, well any mother really, I knew that she would wash the quilt. And instead of having her wash it and something horrible happen during the washing process I decided it'd be best if I washed it first. Cycle = gentle. Hang dried. Here's the before washing and after washing of the quilt:

It went from a straight 54" square quilt to a curvacious 45" quilt. Here's what happened. I bought wool batting from a big roll at Marden's. It didn't have any information about it whatsoever since it didn't come in a bag and the sales associates aren't really told much. Obviously I'm an ass because I assumed that since Quilters Dream Wool batting is preshrunk that other companies must do this too because, come on.. why wouldn't the company preshrink it?? Additionally, I forgot that you have to have stitches within certain distances from each other. I quilted around the center block, stitch in the ditch, and then around the squares surrounding the center repeatedly for a very large echo effect. AKA huge distances between stitches. This information is also on bags of batting. And finally, haste makes waste; I had been working on the quilt for what felt like forever and wanted to be done and give my sister a present. I could have looked up information on wool batting.. I mean really, the internet is chuck full of people telling us how to do things! A further discussion on batting is soon to come.

This little debacle left me determined to find out once and for all how to clean a quilt. I've read many differing opinions about washing quilts, it's kinda like the battle of prewashing fabrics or not. Washing: what it comes down to is how you use the quilt (heirloom, childs, art, show, etc) and how long you want it to last. opens their article, How to Wash a Quilt, with this:

 "Some people claim that vacuuming a quilt is the only way while other people swear you should never use anything other than careful dry cleaning. At the other extreme there are people who say to just throw the quilt in the washing machine along with the socks!"
Unless the vacuum is super powered and is proven to extract mites, dust, viruses and bacteria from the quilt, I can't say that would be my preferred method. Dry cleaning.. It's hard for me to understand why people buy things/make things that require dry cleaning. There are so many expenses in life as it is, why buy something that will cost you more money just to wear it - almost seams like the piece of clothing/product is charging you rent or you're leasing it! All of this stems from my minimalist and survivalist personality; if you don't need it, get rid of it and if you can't do it/use it after the apocalypse than forget about it. And yes, I'm trying to figure out how to make my sewing machine solar powered!

Personally, I am with the folks that say throw it in with the socks! Calli from asked her mother for advise on this topic. Her mother's suggestions in the articleSpring Cleaning: Washing Your Quilts, are straightforward and duly noted. Also, she voices beautifully what I think about quilts:
"Last, but not least, my mom’s advice is that quilts are meant to used.  They are works of art, yes.  But they are practical, useful works of art.  If you use your quilts, and they are a little worse for wear, that means they have been loved, and there is no better way for a quilt to live." gives some great information in their article, Caring For Your Quilts. Because I'm sucha newbie, this statement produced an 'A-ha' moment for me:
 "Don’t hang a wet quilt. The weight will weaken the fabrics and tear the stitches."
I always wondered why people were laying their quilts in the yard.

Well, I think how my quilts will be washed and dried in the future is decided. It's a personal decision that deserves consideration considering how much time has been put into making the quilt already. Hope you found this informative! As always, feel free to ask me questions and/or comment.


No comments:

Post a Comment