Saturday, October 29, 2011

The (sort of sad) Tale of a Quilt

Little Folks Voile Quilt
I've had a collection of Little Folks voile for a long time and I finally got the inspiration to make a quilt, using my own pattern, which I really like, based on the numbers 5 and 10, I made rows of blocks that were ten inches high, pretty simple but kind of fun since it was improvisational.

The voile is amazing to work with. Very smooth and soft, great feel to it, finely woven. Once the top was done (baby quilt size) I decided to use a gorgeous handmade wool batt for the inside. This came from a sheep farm, so it's like wool roving that you use to spin yarn only it had been carded into a flat sheet that was the exact size of my quilt top.

It was so fun working with the fluffy natural wool and I used a solid piece of Coloring Garden from the voile for the back. After pinning it together, I read a few articles about quilting with an unprocessed wool batt. They mentioned encasing the wool in cheesecloth first, to prevent "bearding" (I had no idea what bearding was but if you read on you too will know what it is). So I took the quilt layers apart, bought some cheesecloth by the yard, and encased the wool in cheesecloth, then put the quilt back together, pinned it and free motion quilted.

It was beautiful when I finished! But as always, I wanted to wash and dry the quilt so it would shrink to it's final size and give the quilting a little more wrinkle. Again, I had read online that you should be able to normally wash and dry a quilt with wool batting. WRONG.

I used cold water and a 4 min gentle cycle for the wash. When I took it out of the washer, EEK. It was all wonky. I stretched it out and tried to dry it as flat as possible overnight. Here is the result.

Little Folks Voile Quilt - a sort of sad tale

This is bearding. The wool fibers come up through the fabric, in spite of my cheesecloth coverage:

And the fibers aren't sitting on to of the quilt, they are still attached to the wool inside the quilt so you can't remove it all.

So, it wasn't really that sad because,

GOOD NEWS instead of listing this in my shop for sale, I get to keep it! And, it's super warm and cozy.

BAD NEWS, it's kind of wonky. It's about 34 inches wide by 40 inches long so not really great for a human throw but one can never have enough quilty things laying around the sofa for various creatures to use on chilly nights.


1. Don't believe everything you read on the internet.

2. Practice new things using small pieces of fabric first.

3. Natural, unprocessed wool batting in a quilt should be

hand washed in cold water and dried flat, like a wool sweater (duh on my part).

4. Processed wool batting, which is needlepunched and sold ready to use at Joann's or quilt stores, has already been prepared for quilters, pre-washed, super shrunk, guaranteed not to shrink. Probably a better bet to use this than what I did, unless you're like me and you love to experiment.