Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Woman's Work: Would You?

Try as hard as we may for perfection, the net result of our labors is an amazing variety of imperfectness. We are surprised at our own versatility in being able to fail in so many different ways.
–Samuel McChord Crothers

When I was collecting fabrics for my Woman's Work quilt, I got it into my head that I needed blue gingham for the back and binding. I'm pretty sure that's what Lori used on her quilt. The pattern includes a picture of just the finished quilt top, but I've seen her finished Woman's Work quilt at my favorite LQS, and I think that is what she used. In my travels, I'd seen some ⅜" gingham that had pretty daisies all over it and it stuck in my brain that it really needed to be used in this quilt. When I went back to get it, I discovered, to my horror, that it was a blend; 35% cotton and 65% polyester. What kind of quilt shop carries poly-cotton blends? :paranoid: I bought it anyway.

My original plan was to use a piece of it as one of the pieces of laundry in the laundry basket block so that the back and binding would all tie in together {I'm neurotic that way :rolleyes:}, but when it came time make that block, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Meanwhile, I've almost decided to use the pretty yellow {100% cotton} Carolina gingham I used in the window cleaner block. But my mind keeps returning to that cute ⅜" blue gingham check with the sweet daisies all over it. So I'm posing my question about this to the quilting/blogging internet at large.

Is 100% cotton for quilting a hard and fast rule?

Before you answer, lemme s'plain just a little. This quilt is going to hang on my wall and will, in all likelihood, never be washed. I'm guessing that one of the reasons polyester is an outcast in the quilting world is because after a few washings it gets all pilly and ratty looking. But are there other issues, like affecting the quilting quality? I want to know what your personal thoughts and feelings and opinions are on poly-cotton blends for quilting. And does the cuteness of the ⅜" blue gingham check with the sweet daisies all over it make up for its content defect and make it worthy to put in a quilt, or would you just keep on looking?

If you don't have time to comment {or even if you do}, please vote in my poll.

Would you use a poly-cotton blend in a quilt?
Not in a million years.
It depends on the quilt.
Sure, why not?
pollcode.com free polls


Parsley said...

I am not really a quilter though I have my first to but a backing on. All my pieces are cotton. Not sure about a poly blend. ...

Vicki said...

How about a whole dang quilt made of polyester? http://www.flickr.com/photos/17723088@N00/4581470265/in/set-72157623606592867/

Ok so that doesn't really answer your question... I have a couple of fabrics still left over from my childhood that are poly/cotton blends that I've used in my recent 9-patch and in other scrappy quilts too. I think the gingham with the flowers is adorable, and you won't have a problem using it. Oh yeah, also I'm making this shirt quilt right now and only a couple of the dozen or so shirts were 100% cotton--most were poly/cotton blends. It makes for a different feel, but it's not a bad thing.

Paulette said...

I voted "it depends," because for your quilt, which will hang on a wall, I would definitely use it. It's not going to see a lot of wear and tear or washing, so I don't see any reason not to use what you like.

Michelle said...

I've heard that the issue with poly is that the cotton may shrink with multiple washings while the poly won't. Not much of a factor in a wall-hanging, so I would go ahead and use it.

Also, in my very first quilt, I didn't realize that some cotton-feeling fabrics were actually poly-cotton blends. I've used them, and guess what? I can't tell those fabrics from the cotton fabrics. It's all good. Even more than that, I used 100% poly suede. I know it's not "proper", but that little piece of suede makes me smile every time. :-)

Shay said...

I voted it depends too. I made ababy quilt recently out of blends- a seersucker type fabric and I suspect it'll be Ok.

Mostly though I'd stick to cottons. There are a lot of quilts made in the 1970's that have polyester in them. I think polyester blends have come a long way since then.

Jennifer Lovell said...

I'm so glad you came to us for advice. In MY expert opinion... Just kidding! Just wanted to psyche you out.

GerryART said...

I voted: "Sure Why NOT?"
We're not talking archival type quilts here, not quilts that will be handed down generation after generation.
Wall quilts, throws, why the heck not. If we enjoy using it in our quilt, why not. Quilting is supposed to be something that we enjoy.
There's nothing much that lasts forever.
We can always make another :^)

That said, all I have in my stash is 100% cotton. 8*)

100% Holiday Hugs,

Marg said...

I voted, it depends on the quilt. If it's going to be used as a wall hanging and hopefully never washed then I'd go for it, it's such cute fabric.

Angie said...

Do it, if you love the fabric, use it. If you are nervous about it, don't use it for 'element' parts, like background or a big border. I woud for usre use it in the blocks though, it is too cute not to.

Annelise said...

So here's a story for you! . . . When I went home for the summer after my first year at college, my mom wanted me to go to her quilt group with her. They had a show and tell. Several of the ladies in the group were old family friends that had made me a baby quilt when I was first born. (I STILL sleep with it under my pillow.) My mom and I decided it would be fun to bring the raggedy ol' well loved quilt to show the ladies who had made it 19 years before. I knew nothing about quilting at the time, but I remember one of the ladies chuckling and saying "Oooh can you tell which squares are all cotton and which aren't?" The cotton ones were still there and the blends were the squares with holes and tears.

Anywho!! I STILL don't know much about quilting, but your post made me remember that little story. I vote SURE WHY NOT if you aren't planning on anyone sleeping with it for (now) 27 years! Hehe.

Tammy said...

It depends on the quilt. I make baby quilts with 100% nylon binding and polyester ribbons for baby to play with.