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Monday, 1 April 2019

What a mess . . .

The "Bee Kind" Trip Around the World quilt top is finished . . . after a fashion.  It is finished in as much as it has borders and I have made a pieced backing for it.  Once it's quilted and I have applied some remedial appliqué to the corners I'll share photographs, until then it can enjoy no publicity time in the sewing room.

I cannot remember having quite such a tussle with a quilt top for years, if ever.  Part of the problem has been the difficulty of completing a design with the restriction of pre-cut 2½" strips.  Much of the problem however, has been the fabric.

Bearing in mind I have not bought much material in the last few years, Lewis & Irene fabric is new to me, so I cannot say if the 'problem' is them or all fabric these days  . . .  The material does feel lovely on the surface, the colours and designs are super but (and it is a hell of a BUT) it frays like buggery.  These pictures were taken early on in the construction, sadly the state of the back is now much, much worse.





Throughout the construction of the Bee Kind TATW I spent nearly as much time picking up frayed cotton thread as I did sewing.  The backs of my quilts never, ever look this bad even if I am using old material which has been in and out of the shelf umpteen times.



The Rolls were still in their original wrap when I received them, so over-handling is not the problem.



I have been quilting for more than two decades and in that time I have created between 150 - 200 quilts and quilted items (I've lost track, it could be more).  Never, ever have I had fraying like this.  I can work around pieces suddenly becoming too small because three of four threads have frayed off a cut edge, but for a beginner it would be very disheartening.

A way to prevent this sort of fraying is to cut fabric with a zig-zag blade.  As is the case with a different Jelly Roll, also from Lewis and Irene.  Bloody hell, it's just as bad . . .



Although the lint roller was pretty {sigh}



And whilst this material will not fray, matching up these ziggy-zaggy edges to get a precise ¼" seam is not nice - surely whoever decided this was the way to cut at the manufacturing stage cannot be a quilt maker.

I have fabric purchased from Walmart at $2.00 per yard which behaves better than this.  If I am going to treat myself to more in future I'll be steering clear of Lewis & Irene; such a shame - a British company based in Hampshire, near to where we used to live who I would normally go out of my way to support ☹️☹️





14 comments:

  1. Fraying.... Not gooooood!

    You have to do, what you have to do. Can't keep buying stuff, that "drives you up a wall."

    Possibly tell them, about your experience? How do they know, if no one tells them?

    Maybe.....

    ✨✨✨✨

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    1. You are right Wisp, BUT, on the last few occasions I have contacted a company (politely) to "discuss" the quality or performance of a product I have been told I am wrong and a liar. Eventually you learn to stop putting your hand in a flame . . .

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  2. I can only imagine how frustrating the fraying is! Shame that a British company is selling such poor quality. As a consolation I have washed a dark red shaggy fleece jacket today - with a white tissue in the pocket - that too is maddening to say the least!!

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    1. Oo, nasty laundry snafu. Want to borrow my lint roller :-) ☹️

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  3. Would it be possible to leave a review? As Wisps says, they need to be told or at least warn other potential purchasers.

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    1. You're absolutely right Eileen, but please see reply to Wisp.

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  4. Hmmm...I've two ways of thinking about this. First and easiest thought (and don't shout at me) is if the quilt is going to have a backing does the fraying really matter as it won't be seen, so no point getting stressed about it. Second thought (and if you're like me and take a pride in the things you make and do) then second best WON'T do, and contrary to your reply to Wisp I WOULD be contacting the company AND leaving a review for the benefit of others. One thought - they may be a UK company but do they make their own fabric? If they import it from cheap overseas sweat-shop type places that could be where the fault lies and not actually with them, although one would assume that they have some form of quality control regarding what they buy and send out to customers. I'm feeling angry and disappointed on your behalf now, personally I'd contact them just out of sheer bloody-mindedness!!

    By the way, your lint roller looks very pretty :) :)

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    1. Thanks Eunice. All quilts have batting (the soft stuff in the middle) and a backing, and once the three layers are quilted together the fabric should be relatively safe from further fraying, although it can still happen as a result of fabric movement. I will have to ensure it is quilted quite densely to minimise any movement between the layers. But it's been a pain in the A*** to work with and spoilt the pleasure I get from quilting, which is generally in the process, not just the end result. Threads catch in seams, in the sewing machine foot, and anywhere else they can snag on.

      It's not a problem I've ever had before, and clearly the issue is the raw material. But cotton is a natural product, it can be affected by weather during growing, processing methods, the actual weaving and so on. It's a complex thing. No UK quilt company makes fabric, we don't have the mills of years ago. It is likely that the cotton is not only produced the other side of the world but printed there too. Yes, quality control is not what it should be.

      Everything you say about complaining is right. However, these days I choose my battles, and this is not going to be one of them, but thank you for caring. xxx

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  5. Faulty material really wastes the pleasure of creating things. And it's really a pity when the material comes from our own country, normally a proof of quality. Good luck for the continuation of the quilt, however, because the fabrics are lovely. Sandrine

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    1. Merci Sandrine, you understand perfectly, the material quality took away the pleasure.

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  6. Oh no! Not you too. I've had a few just lately with the same problem & thought it was just me.........Some of the finer fabrics seem worse & I'm trying to work out why. Frustration when you think doing the right thing is buying something made in your own country. I've bought Australian merino pure wool, only to find out it is spun & dyed somewhere like China or India. What!!!!! I'm sure the TATW is looking great & would love to see it once finished. Have a good week, thanks for the email & take care.

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    1. Thanks Susan, very interesting to see you have had similar problems. My suspicion, which is just a hunch, is that current cotton quality is probably not what it was when you and I were adding seriously to our stashes :-)

      There have been some interesting and horrifying documentaries here recently about the environmental effect of growing cotton - it is one of the most polluting things on the planet after oil - who would have thought that? Google "cotton growing pollution" . . . and then wish you hadn't. I am probably better off not buying new fabric in future, it's not like I don't have enough to last the rest of my lifetime . . .

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  7. Dear Jayne
    There's something I hadn't even thought about during my tentative dip into patchwork and quilting. That fraying does seem much more than you would normally expect and I can understand how it has put you off the project. Hopefully the end result will be worth all the hassle!
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Don't let it put you off Ellie. Not all fabric does this :-) Do remember though, that two or three threads can be 1/16th of an inch. Have that happen 8 times across the width of a quilt and not compensate by taking a slightly smaller seam allowance than the usual quarter inch, and you just lost half an inch . . . Have that happen 2 or 3 times in a block made up of lots of units (like your Ohio Star) and then all of a sudden your blocks are not the same size and don't join up nicely.

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