Downton Abbey Quilts

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I found myself buying a large set of Downton Abbey fat quarters from Andover Fabrics at a quilt show I attended in the spring.  Now go ahead and call that stashing if you must, but seriously, they were all packed up inside this too cute little quilted bag with a special Downton Abbey label on it and I could see that I would make good use of that bag long after the fabric was gone … 🙂

It even has pockets inside!

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Plus, the whole set was on sale for a ridiculous price I couldn’t pass up, considering the bag and all.  I’ve used Andover fabrics before and they’re just so lovely to work with, and I’m a huge fan of the Downton Abbey program myself so I figured that there just had to be other fans out there who would want to have a quilt with this theme.  (Purchase justification over.)

I made one with the Downstairs collection in pastel colours and one with the Lord & Lady collection in darker, rich colours.  The block design is the same on both quilts because it’s fast and easy piecing and I wanted to get these finished and into my online shop as soon as possible so I could get going on a couple of bigger projects.

The pastel coloured one just sold yesterday, but the darker one is still available as of this posting.

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And yes, I AM making use of that bag, just as I planned to!  It not only looks cute on my shelf, it now neatly holds together a couple of other small projects that are in line to be put together, but they’re extras for my daughter and there’s no rush.  I have to stock up my shop for Christmas first!

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Wool Batting -#Winning

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I’m kind of excited to share today’s post.  Don’t be anticipating anything life changing here; small things make me happy 🙂

I’ve been hearing about wool batting, reading things about how to use it, how to wash it, whether or not to let it dry flat or use the dryer etc. I’ve also been hearing and reading things about what makes a finished quilt soft or not so soft; there are people who think it’s about the density of quilting, others who think it’s more about batting.

So I decided to do a little test for myself to see how the wool batting behaves for me.  I want to be able to use my thread and my quilting style and then launder it the way I would expect to launder a quilt that is being lovingly used (which means no hand washing or laying flat to dry because I just can’t be bothered!  Even clothing that requires me to forego the typical laundry day routine isn’t allowed in my house…)

I made this small quilted piece with some open feather plumes and some dense quilting so I would have different spots to compare.  A friend suggested to me that using wool batting can give the quilting a trapunto effect without actually doing any extra work of adding another layer, so I wanted to try that out as well.

Here is a close-up sort of cross section view of the batt I used:

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You can see in these first three pictures the lovely loft that the batting has and the texture you can create just by doing your regular stitching.  Open spaces will really pop (like uber pop – even more than with my usual batting) when the surrounding areas are densely quilted.

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I tossed this sample into the washer with a load of towels (ie. no special temperature, no special treatment, no gentle cycle) and when it came out I was glad, but not surprised, to see that it was still in tact and there were no obvious issues.  So, into the dryer it went, with the towels, and again with no special settings.

Here is how it came out when it was dry:

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It came out of the dryer just fine, no clumping or anything.  It’s softer than my other quilts, made with either 100% cotton or cotton/bamboo blend battings, and I love the  “trapunto” effect.  Win.

Shrinkage?  No more than my other battings, as far as I can tell.  The piece went into the wash at 9.75″ X 25″ and came out at 9.5″ X 24″.  Another win.

Now the practical reality of all this is that wool batting does cost more and the difference in cost for wool for the size of quilts I usually make amounts to approx. 1.5 times the cost of the others.

For example, my typical batting cost works out to around $14.50 for a 60″ X 60″ size batt (I do purchase in bulk).  For this brand of wool, the cost would be approx. $23 for the same size batt.  It sounds like a lot more – and in some cases it won’t be worth the extra money – but for special quilts, it would be very nice, especially if the trapunto effect is desired.

**I do think it’s a bit lighter in weight overall than the other battings I use, so if you are a person who prefers the heavier weight quilts, you might find that it’s better to stick with the others.  I haven’t tried any other brand of wool yet though, so will update this post if I have additional info to share when I do 🙂

 

Custom Quilting for Mom

 

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I just finished quilting a panel that my mom wants to give to a friend.

Even though it fits into the color scheme upon which I recently placed a ban, I conceded because I want to help her clear out her fabric and make good use of it.  I’m also not a fan of panels that are printed in blocks because they are rarely ever printed straight and square and it bugs me.

However, you know how it is with moms; they have that whole carried you for nine months, raised you, fed you, kept you safe, still worry about you and are always there just waiting to help you in any way they can thing going on…so what can I say?  If she wants it, I quilt it!

My happy moment came when I turned it over and saw the back, which for me is ten times better than the top because I just love the look of the quilting on that solid color.  OOH-LAH-LAH!

I’ll just pretend the quilt is actually cream colored with a printed back, and mom will be happy with the colored top!

I think I might have to make myself a solid cream quilt now 🙂