Wednesday, January 08, 2014

New year, new quilt

Thimbleanna, anxious that I shouldn't forget my new quilting skills and should indeed expand them, has kindly sent me this kit for a baby's cot quilt. Not, I fear, that there are currently any new babies on my horizon, but one lives in hope. It's still not anything terribly fancy but is certainly more complicated than the identically-sized squares in the first quilt. On the other hand, materials and instructions are included so there's less arithmetic and there are no decisions to be made.

I find it interesting that two or three fabrics are included that I would never have chosen if left to myself, and yet the photo of the finished quilt is lovely. I really don't like orange and am not a great fan of purple, so was a bit dubious about the ones at the top of the picture below - but in fact in the small quantities used here, I think they'll be fine. In my previous quilt I chose only fabrics that I really liked and that I thought went easily together; though since it's a Christmas quilt I was sticking mainly to greens with a bit of red and touches of yellow and blue, so I suppose I wasn't considering anything particularly unChristmassy.

I started cutting out last night and then, after I'd cut 6 big squares and 24 little ones, I suddenly thought that maybe I should have prewashed. The instructions didn't say so; on the other hand, babies' quilts are likely to be washed more than most. So I decided that I should. Would you have, o quilty people? I put the bits inside a pillow case but nevertheless quite a bit of fraying took place and though I've now trimmed off all the tails that tangled together, I'm yet to measure all the cut squares to see if they've shrunk or frayed enough to be too small now. There's enough spare to redo them if necessary so it's not disastrous either way.

One lives and learns!

In other news: Son and Daughter-in-Law have at last arrived in Auckland. They left Edinburgh about 4pm the day before yesterday and arrived about 11 this morning. They had to wait in Melbourne for 9 hours before their flight to NZ, but went to the airport hotel, used the gym and the showers and had a nap. But it's a long way. I hope they don't like New Zealand too much (see previous post). Meanwhile, we haven't been having the storms widely reported in the south, but instead quite a lot of sun, as demonstrated by Cassie Cat above.

It's been a very mild winter so far. These polyanthuses were optimistically flowering in the garden. I hope America isn't planning to send over its cold snap.


  1. If I am making a decorative quilt, I don't wash the fabric. I think it keeps the fabric crisper and brighter to leave it unlaundered. However, if it's a quilt that's going to be used, there are methods: wash and dry your fabric before cutting it, OR make the quilt and then wash and dry it. The danger with the second method is that red fabric will run when it is washed and dye any lighter fabrics in the quilt. There isn't a way you MUST do things--it's personal preference.

  2. That will be a pretty quilt! I'm sure Son and DIL will enjoy NZ again, it's so beautiful......I'm one quarter Kiwi, my maternal gran was born there.

  3. Ahhh, the old pre-shrink debate. Everyone is different, so you'll have to take lots of advice and then decide what works best for you.

    I ALWAYS pre-shrink my fabric. Except for kits and precuts, because of the fraying. Although, if I'm mixing stash fabrics (which are always preshrunk) and a little charm pack or something, I'll sometimes take the charm pieces and just swish them around in warm/hot water -- getting them wet often is enough pre-shrinking to get things going. That way, they don't fray so much.

    Confused? Pretty soon it will be old hat. So many people never pre-shrink anything that I was finally convinced that it wouldn't be the end of the world not to do so once in awhile.

    And one last thing -- if you find that the fraying has been too much and you don't have enough big pieces, you can always piece a few of them together and then re-cut your squares. That's the way our pioneer mothers did it to stretch things out!

    I'm so excited to see you working on this quilt! Yipee!!!!!