About four years ago, someone gave me a panel of flannel featuring a camping scene by Holly Hunter. I immediately gathered more flannels and cut bricks to make myself a nice little quilt. A simple quilt, nothing fancy, so it should take very little time to make. Of course it got pushed aside, buried, forgotten, and then returned to working status a few times. This winter I decided I simply had to finish it.
I decided to not pre-wash any of the materials for this one, a rare thing for me. I wanted to use a shrinking technique to pucker it up after it was quilted. Having done this on smaller projects in the past, and really liked the effect. But a question lurked in my mind. Using scrappy flannels meant there was a real variety of them, soft, firm, tightly woven, looser, yarn dyed and screen printed. I was concerned that they would shrink rather erratically.
To counter that, I figured it needed to be quilted pretty closely, and as evenly as possible. I used cotton batting, and free motion quilting to outline the camping scene highlights. Then meandering stitching went on the panel borders, and a harlequin cross hatch for the bricks. Before laundering, the quilt measured 64 by 75 inches. I liked it a lot, so I was a bit apprehensive as it went in the warm washer, and then the hot dryer. Losing fear, I then repeated the washer and dryer cycle.
After it came out the second time, it measured 60 by 71 inches, so a good four inches of shrinking and puckering took place. I suspect it will shrink up some more when it gets washed again.
What a lovely final texture! It is ultra-soft, and very supple, despite all the heavy quilting. Now I can pretend to be out camping when I snuggle in with a book tonight, and laugh at the nasty windchill outside.
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