Saturday, April 9, 2016

Pendleton Wool quilts

My friend, Kat, brought me these two wall-hangings. They were a rare experience for me. Real, bonified wool! Kat is from Oregon, where there is an honored tradition, known as Pendleton Wool. It's origins go all the way back to 1863, when an English weaver named Thomas Kay moved into this prime sheep country and set up a woolen mill.

More history and lots of interesting facts can be found at the Pendleton Woolen Mills website. For instance, in the 1960s a group called "The Pendletones" began to sing about the California surfing scene. They changed their name to the Beach Boys, but kept their uniform of Pendleton shirts worn over tee shirts with khakis. Cool!

Here's an interesting article with photos of the modern woolen mill in action.

The wool for these two quilts came from swatches of Pendleton Wool blankets that were used as table decorations at Kat's friend's wedding. And now, her friend is expecting a baby! The gray-blue one will surely make a warm and cuddly quilt for the wee baby - or else a stunning and meaningful nursery decoration.

The black and white one will be at Kat's house as a wall-hanging, a visible reminder of her friend and their long-distance friendship.

I was so excited to see what would happen when quilting occurred. I decided NOT to use batting, because the wool itself was so very thick. If we added batting, I was afraid they'd be board-stiff.

This is a quilting motif that I have tried in the past (called McTavishing), but never had enormous success with. I think it turned out well in the confines of these quilt blocks. Shows up much better on the back side.

Follow-up: The above quilt made it to Oregon in time to be part of the centerpiece at the baby shower!

The good news: the quilting texture shows up on the wool side a little. I wish it showed up MORE. The bad news: the thread itself doesn't. Kat and I were really excited to use some wild colors of thread (a very mod green and teal combo) with this charcoal and white quilt. You do see the texture, but you don't see the color of the thread. Next time, I think I want to try using TWO threads in my needle at the same time. Or a much thicker thread or something. This was 40-wt Glide polyester.

The white threads you see are from the woolen mill where they join together the ends of two pieces. Any seams on these two quilts proved really tricky to quilt. My machine's hopping foot just didn't hop high enough to get over those super-bulky, thick-wool seams, and it tried to push the seams out of the way. I can adjust the height of my hopping foot, but I was afraid to raise my hopping foot height too high, because I feared tension issues in the low-lying areas between seams. Next time, I'm just gonna raise it up and see what happens.

Kat used flannel on the backs of each quilt, and I love how the quilting shows up so well on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment