24 Nov

Why Do We Want Black & White Answers When The World Is So Grey?

I made a perfectly awful quilt today.

After a mere week on my son’s bed, the beautiful quilt inspired by his awesome racetrack drawing told me that it just wasn’t going to stand up to bi-weekly washings. I knew that going in, but I had my fingers crossed that the quilt would somehow be immune to the ravages of washing, and that my son’s bed wetting would miraculously end (not sure where I got that idea since he’s always been very consistent in that department).

My answer was to stuff an old duvet cover with batting and stitch it together. Stuffing is not nearly as easy to smooth as layering like in a traditional quilt sandwich. I followed the stripes on one side, but didn’t bother to make sure they lined up on the back side. The edges are all wobbly. My loop quilting in the wide stripes has very inconsistent stitching, and I closed the whole thing by folding over the open end and top-stitching. Nope, it’s not a beautiful quilt. But I won’t care when it’s faded and thin after many, many washings.

Which leads me to washing. I’ve determined that the eco-conscious people who promote washing laundry in cold water only definitely do not have bed wetters in their homes. Nor do they have kids still mastering the art of butt wiping or husbands who take long runs and sweat profusely. Sometimes, hot water is just the best way to get the job done. I’ve found that this is especially so when one uses the phosphate-free, all natural laundry soaps. They say they are formulated for cold water, but my nose tells me that I can either wash in cold water with lots of chemicals, OR wash in hot water and have gentler runoff; but cold water and natural soap — still smells like urine.

I like fluffy towels too. My plan: two or three loads of laundry, but only one load in the dryer. Towels, jeans, socks and undies go in the dryer, everything else goes on the line. unless it’s raining — then everything goes in the¬†dryer.

Back to the quilt. I tried a new batting made of 100% PLA fibers. It says it’s eco-friendly. I don’t doubt that this corn-based fiber is friendlier than polyester, but I’m not sure how it compares to cotton. As a big time cotton batt user, I’m thinking that I might be better staying with that, because (as underlined by my copious research a few posts back), if we are eating corn, and eating animals that eat corn, and are putting corn-derived fuel in our cars, do we want to be making quilts with corn too? With a potential need for so much corn, will there be room on the earth to grow anything else? At least if I use a cotton batt, maybe some of those corn crops would get rotated to cotton every once in a while (don’t tell me how it really works, I know it’s not as simple as this). Anyway: the PLA. It feels a little scratchy and more like a poly batt than a cotton one, but it’s light and fluffy and potentially a perfect weight for our mild climate. It was hard to tell how it handled since my quilt making was so bass-ackwards on this project, but it wasn’t awful. The price was good too. I’m curious as to how well it washes. I’m also sure it won’t be long before I find out. In addition, I bought a batt that is 50% PLA and 50% cotton just for comparison. I’ll use that on the quilt for my daughter that still resides only in my head.