Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Quilting Perfect Storm

Worst quilting experience ever.  I had a quilt top pieced for some time, and felt it was the right time to get it out of a drawer and on a bed.  I had taken a class from Weeks Ringle on Craftsy, and she talked about how all of their quilts are made with pre-washed (pre-shrunk) fabric and quilted with un-washed (not shrunk) cotton batting.  After the quilting, they wash their quilts and the batting shrinks, making the quilt soft with wonderful dimension.  Well, I don't normally pre-wash my fabric, so I got this great idea to wash and shrink the pieced top and the backing.  Not a good idea at all.  When I pieced the top, it was all flat and lined up and square, and, while piecing,  I didn't pay any attention to lengthwise or crosswise grains.  Also, the block was a big middle, with smaller borders and sashings.  After drying the top, I saw that the centers didn't seem to shrink as much as the borders and sashings.  Did the grain direction contribute?  The cotton thread?  But I pressed it well and thought it would "quilt out".  I also  made the decision to quilt using a slight zig-zag, in a circular square type quilting....down one side, turn, stitch across, turn, etc.  I knew in my stomach after about 5 rounds that this wasn't working, the quilt was buckling and the extra fabric was not "quilting in", but I just kept going. And going.  Three quarters of the way done later, I admitted the truth.  This was a royal mess.  Possibly free motion quilting, starting in the center, would have worked.  But the straight line quilting (which wasn't all that straight) was a horrible choice.  So, now I have a big rip out to do, and a quilt top that is still quite bubbly.  If I didn't have so much fabric invested in it, I would just chuck it.  But, I need to try to save the quilt and move forward.  Lessons learned:  Either pre-wash fabric and then piece, or wash after quilting.  Pin closer and start quilting in the middle of a quilt for this type of quilting.  Pay attention to my gut telling me to STOP.  So sad. I hope I can get over this.   Jerilynn 

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