Disappointment

I’m writing this post to help you. I’m writing this post because, even though craft books and blogs want to make crafting look easy and fun and satisfying, the truth is that things can go Terribly Pear Shaped and they can do it very quickly, when you craft. I want you to know this so that, when they go pear-shaped for you, you don’t take it personally.

001

I started Chenille Blanket III as soon as I was done with Chenille Blanket II. I wanted to make another one because the first two had been so successful and trouble-free that they were making me feel really, really good about sewing. I wanted to feel good again. Also, I still had some of that garbage flannel with holes left, and it perfectly matched some of the Nicey Jane I had on hand. So off I went.

I’d sewn the first two diagonally across the blanket, because that’s the way the original tutorial did it. This time I thought I’d simplify things and sew straight up and down the blanket. That was my first mistake.

003

When I began to cut the chenille, I discovered that it had been a mistake. The stitching NEEDS to be diagonal to the fabric’s grain so that when the fabric is cut, ALL the fibers are quite short and held down by stitching. That way when you wash the chenille, they all stay attached and fluff up.

With lines of stitches going in the same direction as the grain, you get long un-secured strings that, when the blanket is washed, will separate from the blanket entirely and create a rat’s nest.

Undaunted, I thought I might as well finish the cutting and see how the blanket looked after a wash. So I kept cutting. The problem is that these long, un-secured strings gum up the chenille cutter, which makes cutting a fiddly, frustrating process. I ended up pushing and pulling at the cutter really hard to get it to cut just a few more inches before the next de-gumming. Which is when The Disaster happened.

004

I pushed on the chenille cutter so hard that somehow, some way, don’t ask me for further explanation, the blunt plastic guard on the bottom of the cutter penetrated the backing fabric and zzzzzzzzip, I slashed the blanket in two.

I should probably throw the blanket away. I am certainly putting it in time out and moving on to other projects that (haven’t yet) caused me grief. If I decide to repair it and soldier on (in spite of the long threads that will come off when the blanket is washed), I’ll probably use a length of ribbon to patch the backing.

But we’ll see. Sometimes you just have to let things go.

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6 thoughts on “Disappointment

  1. oh no. yikes.

    i wish i could say something to make it all better but i probably can’t.

    stepping away is probably the best thing you can do. give it some time. i do hope you are able to salvage something when you return to it.

  2. Oh dear! I’m so sorry to hear about this. But, you know, I’d have thought cutting on the grain would be okay too. Especially thinking about the many rag quilts I’ve made. Mind you I always take them to the laundrymat to wash them, no millions of threads to gum up my washing machine. Perhaps cutting with a pair of rag cutting sissors might have worked?

    Also, since you wanted a receiving blanket, which I’m guessing you want to wrap the baby in, it might be good to try lighter materials. When I first made chenille, ten or more years ago, we used a thinner less tightly woven cotton, homespunish, for the cut layers and even that made quite a hefty finished piece. Have you thought of using a quilting cotton for the foundation and cotton batiste for the cutting layers? Nice and fuzzy without being so heavy. I’ve not done this so I don’t know what the true outcome will be though.

  3. Oh, and another quick way to make receiving blankets it to cut two pieces of flannel into a square using the width of fabric as the measure. Sandwich a thinish — such as Quilters Dream thinner cotton — batting between them, and quilt diagonally. You can bind or sew 1/4″ from the sides and leave them to fuzz softly when washed.

  4. Oddly enough, my post earlier this morning seems to have presaged your comments 😉 . To be honest, I don’t have any particular use for any of the blankets in mind–I don’t know enough about babies (eeeeeek!). People just assure me that blankets of all sizes and types will come in handy “in so many ways”, so I’m making them and hoping for the best.

  5. Yes, I think your newest post did make me think about the many receiving blankets I’ve made for friends with new babies. And your idea about using polar fleece as the backing fabric reminded me that I too like a softer fabric for next to skin warmth and often use flannel as a backing fabric for lap/napping rag quilts I make for my family. Oh, and when I wrote that I take my newly made rag quilts to the laundrymat, I meant I take them there for their first wash and dry.

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