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Making a quilt starting from a fleece

 
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I have a goal of making a quilt using fleece and preparing and sewing the quilt myself. Shop bought wool duvets (baavet brand) have anywhere from 200g per m^2 up to 500g per m^2 in the finished duvet. I'm wondering whether I will need to felt the fibre before attempting to quilt it, rather than making a batt on a blending board or using hand cards.

I was thinking I could use the quilt as you go technique where you make a block with backing, batting and then piece the top as you go. Then I can prepare the batting in smaller amounts.

Do people think this possible, or have any suggestions for it?

Thanks!
 
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Exciting.

I did a small experiment - but keep in mind I know nothing about quilting, so I probably did too many things wrong.
https://permies.com/t/162483/sewing/fiber-arts/real-wool-batts-drum-carder

I'm feeling the kind of wool I used wasn't an awesome choice for batting.  I used longwool instead of squishy stuff.  
 
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Hi, Zoe! What a great project! R has a VERY good point - the type of wool you use will make a lot of difference in how it holds up, the "floofiness"/heaviness, and more. If you use a wool blanket, it will be very easy, but stuffing it as you go, might be an easier way to get lots of loft, especially if you quilt it in the 'pillow quilt' style, like this one: https://sewcanshe.com/2015-8-7-quilting-unplugged-sew-a-pillow-quilt-tutorial-too/

Who it's for and how it will be used (a bed comforter, lap quilt/throw, crib blanket, or a full size blanket, etc) would be the best guide, as to figuring out the best method. So, do you know how you intend to use this blanket?
 
Zoe Ward
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I just noticed I already commented on your thread before - whoops! It's been on my mind a while. Winter seems a good time to do stuff like this as there is no gardening to be had ;)

I think that longwool stuff would be fine but it's a shame to use something suitable for making yarn :) Of course, if you have a surplus then why not?! I only have Romney fleece at the moment, which has about a 4inch staple. It spins up really nice, although I'm just learning. Do you think the short bits you are left with after carding would be good for batting? I was going to save them for pillow stuffing.
 
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Carla, that is a cute quilt, you could definitely make that with the scrappy bits that would be no good for making yarn.

I would love to have a double bed size quilt eventually but will probably start off with a single bed size, or even a lap quilt.  Both my kids like the smell of wool so that bodes well for making them quilts at some point.
 
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Zoe Ward wrote:I just noticed I already commented on your thread before - whoops! It's been on my mind a while. Winter seems a good time to do stuff like this as there is no gardening to be had ;)

I think that longwool stuff would be fine but it's a shame to use something suitable for making yarn :) Of course, if you have a surplus then why not?! I only have Romney fleece at the moment, which has about a 4inch staple. It spins up really nice, although I'm just learning. Do you think the short bits you are left with after carding would be good for batting? I was going to save them for pillow stuffing.



I'm processing some 28lbs or so of alpaca seconds, on a contract, at the moment. My 'pay', is that I get to keep half the weight of the fiber. You've given me an idea about how I might use some of my half! I have a feeling that by the time I'm done processing the first half into felted stuff, I'm probably going to be looking for some other things to do, with my share, lol. I had purchased 8lbs, right before agreeing to this contract, so, when all is said and done, I'll have somewhere in the neighborhood of 22lbs. There are some felted things I'll definitely still be doing (namely, the reasons I bought the first 8lbs, and still wanted more, lol), but this is quickly becoming a case similar to the one of taking too much food onto your plate, because "my eyes were bigger than my stomach"!

I hope you'll keep us posted, in your project!
 
Zoe Ward
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After seeing the puff quilt idea I remembered a knit version using hexagons, also a possibility with slightly scrappy but still fluffy wool

beekeepers quilt
 
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Batting for quilts comes off a large drum on a machine in order to make it that big in one intact batt. For that you'd be best off sending the fiber to a mill who does it.
On a small scale done by hand there is several better options...

Wash fiber. sew small pocket, stuff with fiber, sew pockets together. There is a good example in the BBC series "war time farm" which can be found easily on YouTube.

You could felt a large piece like the Mongolians do for yurts and make it blanket sized. It would be nice in it's own right. You could also sew a quilt top for it. Mind that felt will continue to shrink with washing! If you do a regular quilt top and back you will want to do ties and not sew-quilt it because the top will rumple with every washing as the wool shrinks. If done with ties you could easily cut the ties and wash the quilt part separate from the felt inner part. This would also allow you to wash the felt less as it wouldn't need washed so much.
 
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Permaculture Magazine issue 47 (www.permaculture.co.uk) has an article about making an organic wool duvet.  I no longer subscribe but I know subscribers have access to back issues of the magazine. In the article they do not felt the wool first and use an industrial sewing machine to sew the duvet. I always fancied having a go but it is still on my "to do" list.
 
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Thanks Ara, I have a subscription to the magazine already and will check it out!
 
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Thanks to Ara's suggestion I went to look on the permaculture magazine website and found this gem about making a mattress topper/rug. Definitely another one to try
link here

 
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Carla Burke wrote:the 'pillow quilt' style, like this one: https://sewcanshe.com/2015-8-7-quilting-unplugged-sew-a-pillow-quilt-tutorial-too



I really like the idea of a pillow like quilt. The end result is really cute.
Just wondering if it stays fluffy after several washes.
Sam
 
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Sam Robertson wrote:I really like the idea of a pillow like quilt. The end result is really cute.
Just wondering if it stays fluffy after several washes.
Sam



It should, if gently hand washed in cold water, and laid flat, to dry - probably outside, on a warm, sunny day sepulcher be best.
 
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Zoe Ward wrote:Carla, that is a cute quilt, you could definitely make that with the scrappy bits that would be no good for making yarn.

I would love to have a double bed size quilt eventually but will probably start off with a single bed size, or even a lap quilt.  Both my kids like the smell of wool so that bodes well for making them quilts at some point.


Hello Zoe. Just a quick suggestion on kids blankets; kids grow and a small blanket or quilt will get outgrown in no time. I've made quilts or blankets for every one of my 3 children and  9 grandchildren when they were babies in a generous baby size. I'm now making new ones for the adults they are or will be.  Granted, my skills have improved.
I've never used raw wool, so I can't speak to that aspect.  Mine have been purchased fleece fabric and flannel. Very warm I'm told.
 
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I have this imagination of the pocket quilt.  One makes a small one for a kid.  They increase bed size after a few years - but get this, kids grow out of clothing too.  So, the old clothing (that is too worn to pass on) gets turned into more pockets that get added to the quilt... and the quilt grows with the kid.

(sorry, one of those posts where I haven't read the full thread and just got excited about an idea in my head)
 
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Carla Burke wrote:It should, if gently hand washed in cold water, and laid flat, to dry - probably outside, on a warm, sunny day sepulcher be best.



Would you advise against machine drying ? is so, why ?
 
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Sam- with protein fibers (those from animals) any heat while wet will cause fibers to contract (shrink) and agitation causes felting. Sometimes you might want this result and purposely use hot water and lots of agitation. The result is a smaller fabric than when you started And a denser fabric, very much like the felt you buy.

If you really want to machine dry, do a trial size before your project.
 
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I'm not a fan of machine drying in general.  All that dryer fluff, that's the cloth wearing away.  

Agitation, moisture, and wool are great ways to create felt.  Good for when you want felt, not so good for when you want a nice fluffy blanket.  

For cleaning a quilt - pre-war household manuals have a lot to say on this.  Most of it is about how not to need to clean your quilts and bedding.

To start with, DON't Make the bed in the morning.  Turn down the bed.  This means piling the blankets at the bottom of the bed (they suggest to do it by folding neatly, I just kick them down to the bottom in a pile) and leave the mattress to breath.  This is especially important if you have a natural mattress, but greatly increases the life of cotton or linen sheets as they have a time to dry out.  Then, after breakfast or an hour or two, you can make the bed.  Or better yet, your servants do it as part of their late morning tasks.  

Anne of Green Gables has a bit in the book where she forgot to turn down the bed in the morning.  Just a line, but it reminds us that this was so normal not to make your bed when you first get up.  

Turning down the bead releases moisture which can cause health issues if it turns to mould, or at the very least, decreases the life of the bedding.  It also makes the bed unfriendly to bugs (fleas, bed bugs) as it lets the light in.  

Turning down the bed every morning is a big part of keeping quilts from needing washing.

Airing the quilts is quite common.  Those quilt racks that we see later on, where you would hang the quilts near the radiator or fire, wasn't was for warming the bed, but for drying out the quilt.  The human body creates a lot of moisture when we sleep.  

Twice a year, on a sunny dry day, the bedding would be taken outside and beaten.  Quilts, mattress, all that.  This gets rid of the dead skin, dust, and most of the dust mites.  This also really freshens the smell of the bedding.

It is then aired in the sun for as long as possible before being brought back inside.

That's usually enough for a quilt.  The big thing is that a quilt isn't like a duvet with the washable case.  The quilt won't be touching the skin of the sleeper.  The sheets touch the skin and they are washed weekly.

If a quilt did get a stain, spot cleaning was most common.  But occasionally it might need washing.  Depending on how well it's quilted (the layers stitched together), it may simply be submerged gently in warm soapy water, or it may be cleaned more rigorously.  Again, hung to dry in the sunlight (sunlight is a powerful disinfecting agent).  
 
Zoe Ward
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Thanks R, for the advice on cleaning. My husband helpfully pointed out that since I started on the quilt top (four years ago at least!) we now have a cat who regularly goes on our bed and he is worried about cleaning it. The quilt top is half white! I suggested spot cleaning but he doesn't seem convinced. At any rate, I have completed half of the squares and am on the last stage of sewing the second half. Then I will need to source fibre for the batt, exciting times!  The article in Permaculture Magazine confirmed that my plan of hand carding fibre to make the batt is feasible. I need to make a choice between alpaca and wool.
 
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Sam Robertson wrote:

Carla Burke wrote:It should, if gently hand washed in cold water, and laid flat, to dry - probably outside, on a warm, sunny day sepulcher be best.



Would you advise against machine drying ? is so, why ?



I would definitely not put them in the dryer. That is one of the methods I use in some of my wet felting projects - because it will felt the wool. In a pocket quilt, like this, I'm almost 100% sure that unless you're using a felting-resistant wool, you'll end up with a quilt full of pockets with hard little balls of felt inside.
 
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Starching the cloth, especially white cloth, prevents dirt from sticking to the fabric.  This could help increase the time between cleaning if you have a kitty
 
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