Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More thoughts on the damaged quilt...

brought on by several comments and emails. I realized that I may have given the impression that all POLY will do what this one did. And maybe they will, but I don't think so. Here's the boy who owns the damaged quilt. You can see there is no way I couldn't fix it and send it home to him. He is, after all, one of my Candy Corn Bandits *VBS*
And of course, Little Mr. Attitude!
 I given the damage quite a bit of thought,both before and since I posted the pictures. I believe the bottom line is that is WAS the poly, but specifically the black poly. As I told one reader, I have NO idea where it came from, it just got added to a pan of solid black scraps. Black alone isn't to blame, as the black cottons in there are still nice and black, and solid to the touch. The only time I've seen damage like this is in a very old quilt top. It was a rescued bow tie top, and the black lines in a plaid fabric would shatter if touched. I replaced those pieces by hand with vintage fabric. All the other fabrics seemed fine. Just the black lines. Someone said that factors in the black dye are probably to blame, and that sounds right to me.
 If you could touch the black in this picture, tiny splits in the fabric would occur right under your finger. You wouldn't even need to poke at it, just touch it. I am quite sure that the black poly ISN'T the only poly in this quilt. This was a group effort, the making of 9 patches to swap, and not every quilter uses 100% cotton. But I've found no other damage in the quilt top, just the black lattices. No splits, no seams opening, nothing fraying or pulling out or wearing out.
This old thing, probably my first(altho I don't remember for sure)Orphan Block quilt was made for the (above picture)boys Dad, my youngest son. That was 1985. Much of the fabric in this quilt was from other sources, some from used clothing, some new and alot of them were poly and poly blends. I'm absolutely certain of it. DD#2 had Strawberry Shortcake everything, and some of the white with red bumble bee fabric was used for sure. Believe it or not, this is the quilt that was on the bed the day after New Years when I was at his house! Still in use 26 yrs later and going strong. The backing was recycled(read 'really broke') from a rescued quilt, and is all poly. So... you don't have to rush to remove all poly type fabrics from your scraps, unless you want to. I'd be wary of solid black, or maybe all blacks in poly, but other fabrics I've used "way back then(when you don't know better) are still doing the job. On the record...I'm DONE with ALL poly fabrics, after hours and hours of repairing this quilt. Easier to eliminate it NOW, period! If you can't tell for sure, a hot iron brings an unusual smell from polyster when ironed. And if you are in a store, or yard sale, whatever, take a handful of the fabric and crumpled it hard in your hand. Cotton will hold the wrinkles, poly won't. Of course there is also the "burn" test. Poly melts when touched with a match, cotton burns and leaves ash. For some reason stores don't want you to test fabric that way, so please, crumple!!!
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Scrappy quilter said...

Interesting because I've just looked at C's quilt that has the same repairs needed and it's black poly too. I guess the best way to not have this problem is to use 100% cotton or if you do use poly not to use black.

Lori said...

26 years and lots of love!

Michele Bilyeu said...

Love that the original quilt for your youngest son was still on a bed! LOVE that. Makes me tear up, in fact!! I've seen black poly shredding on a couple of blogs this month. I still have and use poly cottons in my charity quilts as that is what I can get for free from others and I don't look gift horses in their mouths and complain back to them ;) I figure my time is given no matter what happens in the end and let's face..sooner or later something happens to them! The hardest, most work, prettiest quilt that I loved making the most...was shredded by a dog..I'm pretty darn sure. Let's just say the dog ate a chair and pieces of a coffee table and when I mention my gift quilt..no one speaks. sigh. Like most gifts of the heart, we take our chances on how they are received, how they are used, and how they end up! There's something to be said for good quality but when a dog eats it I doubt it tastes one bit better or too much worse and it all comes out one way in the end, so to speak.

julieQ said...

I really enjoyed this post, Finn...I have noticed that burned yucky smell with poly...too bad that black shattered so badly!