Quilts, Shrinking & Fun Mail

These two quilts were recently washed before I sent them off to Jack’s Basket for the Hands 2 Help Challenge. I was curious about the shrinkage, which I have never really tracked before when I made quilts but it explains a mystery, to be revealed later. I found a handy dandy shrinkage calculator here.

Up first, is this quilt made from a charm pack. You can read more about it here. The fabrics were not prewashed, as this was made from precuts.

Batting: Quilters Dream Request, 100% cotton, made in USA
Starting Size: 36.5″ x 45.5″
Ending Size: 33.5″ x 43″
Shrinkage: 8% width, 5% length

You can read more about the second quilt, Hidden Stars, here. Unlike the first quilt, most of the fabrics were pre-washed. I loved the feel of this batting, it was quite soft and had a lovely drape when washed.

Batting: Bosal Acadia, 80% cotton/20% Polyester. Made in USA.
Starting Size: 49.5″ square
Ending Size: 45.5″ square
Shrinkage: 8%

What is the mystery you ask? I always thought some of my bed quilts were larger. I know that one of the ways I determine the size of my borders was by putting the top on the bed, then adding borders to make it fit. I know I have occasionally thought, “Didn’t this quilt cover the sides of the bed better??” Know I know what was up; I didn’t account for was the shrinking. Now, can I remember this for future quilts – time will tell.

My conclusions about shrinking:
-Both the cotton and cotton/poly shrank a similar amount. Can I say SHOCKED?
-More research is needed.
-Whenever, I want a bed quilt a specific size, I should add at least 5% to all over dimensions to accommodate for shrinking.

In other news, here is the first piece of happy mail I received lately. This fun book is a new one by Suzy Webster! I love this style of applique and was thrilled to have some new ideas. It will be fun to pick a project…maybe I can fit it into an Island Batik Challenge – one of the ways I know Suzy.

Here are some beauties from Sarah Craig, Confessions from a Fabric Addict, for participating in the Hands2Help Challenge. Its crazy but she makes sure everyone gets a little something. I think this quite a lot of something, thank you Sarah!

These goods were sent from Julie at The Crafty Quilter, a little thank you for something I had done. I am so appreciative of her thoughtfulness and can’t wait to dive into this pile one day! Also, she has a little quilt along that is starting, and could be quite fun – I may even use some charm packs that I have.

Up Next:
Thought to reality – how does a quilt happen
Introduction to SS Tabitha (my new machine)

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Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
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  1. June 9, 2019 / 10:17 AM

    Hi Kathleen! I always forget about shrinkage myself. Rarely am I making a quilt to be a specific size though. When I made my Postcard quilt, I did make add an extra row both for the width and the length. I really like your charm pack quilt. It looks like it was quick and easy. I need something like that for a table runner. Happy Sunday to you! ~smile~ Roseanne

    • kathleenquilts
      June 9, 2019 / 4:21 PM

      I don’t make specific sizes, but I often start out with something that could be a lap and then I just make it into a queen size quilt. Now I am sure I will think about it as it is pretty significant. Charm pack quilt took longer to finish than to make the top – so typical!

  2. thedarlingdogwood
    June 9, 2019 / 9:58 PM

    What fantastic happy mail! At some point, I think Yvonne of quilting jetgirl was tracking her shrinkage. Since I make so few bed quilts (I make mostly kid quilts), I don’t notice it a lot in mine.

    • kathleenquilts
      June 10, 2019 / 11:07 AM

      It’s the bed quilts that were bothering me. I did remember Yvonne’s post and thought I should measure my quilts, but I think I will start from new and keep track as I do things. I mostly used Dream Cotton and always felt like there was less shrinkage, but the experiment said not! The happy mail is making me happy, and I think I may already have a plan for the charm squares!

  3. June 10, 2019 / 7:58 AM

    I don’t think about shrinkage as much as I should, so this is helpful to read. Sometimes I like a quilt to shrink and get all antique-y looking, but sometimes not. It depends on the look I’m going for. You have some nice goodies to play with from Sarah and Julie! Can’t wait to meet Tabitha a bit more!

    • kathleenquilts
      June 10, 2019 / 11:05 AM

      I mostly think the shrinkage has to do with wanting a quilt to fit in certain spaces. I usually go for 80” wide as we don’t have a high mattress, but if it shrinks that much, I would be short 3” on a side, and that makes a difference. I think wall hangings or smaller pieces its less of an issue as it is fewer inches. Yes, Tabitha will get a post, maybe mid week. I am on for hosting a TGIFF so I better be sure I have a finish!

  4. June 10, 2019 / 12:10 PM

    Welcome home Tabitha. I’ve never given any thought to shrinkage because as a rule I’m making to be making but I should get in the habit.

    • June 12, 2019 / 9:53 AM

      I am so enjoying Tabitha. I always knew there was shrinking but didn’t think it was that much when I pre-washed but always thought that some of my bed quilts used to cover the mattresses!

  5. June 10, 2019 / 1:42 PM

    Hey you and I got the same beautiful Northcott fabric! And Moda coaster and notebook 🙂 Sarah is a darling, does a TON of work. Good info here on shrinkage; I know I have recorded prequilting, after quilting and after laundering sizes on some of my quilts and yup, shocker.

    • June 12, 2019 / 9:52 AM

      Sarah is wonderful! I did get to meet her at QuiltCon and that was so much fun. I don’t worry so much about wall hangings and smaller pieces, but the bed quilts no longer cover the mattress and it drives me a little crazy. Now I know.

  6. Rebecca Grace
    June 10, 2019 / 2:41 PM

    Yes, my son’s graduation quilt was made with all unwashed Kona Solid fabrics and Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly batting, and the quilt top that started out 72″ x 96″ ended up 68″ x 90″ after moderate custom quilting and hot water washing (the repeated soaks in hot water with Dawn dishwashing liquid was unfortunately necessary in order to deal with a loose, bleeding dye issue; otherwise I’d never have washed the quilt in anything but cold water). So I had approximately 6% shrinkage in both directions. Now, the manufacturer of this batting says to expect shrinkage of 3-5%, and I definitely saw a bit more shrinkage than that. In an 80/20 poly blend batting, it’s still 80% cotton and the cotton fibers are going to shrink… The only batting I’ve ever seen that the manufacturer labels as NO shrinkage is 100% polyester (and there are lots of reasons why that benefit doesn’t outweigh the various downsides of using all-poly batting in a quilt, such as the tendency of all-poly batts to “beard” over time with batting fibers migrating up through the quilt top and backing fabric). The amount of quilting you do is going to affect the rate of shrinkage as well, because those quilting stitches tend to draw up the quilt and make it smaller the more you quilt it. In order to be sure that my son’s quilt would still be big enough to fit his XL Twin college dorm mattress after quilting and washing it, I put some feelers out in one of the longarm quilting forums and the consensus from the professional longarmers was that they add 10% to quilt tops that will be densely quilted to allow for quilting and laundering shrinkage when they need the finished quilt to fit a particular bed size.

    • June 12, 2019 / 9:40 AM

      10% sounds like a good number. I never think of the quilting doing it too, but on the small baby one I quilted I lost an 1” all around and it hasn’t been washed! I always knew there was shrinkage, but “felt” like it wasn’t a lot and in the old days (ha ha) always preached. Now, the combination of fabrics and using precuts sometimes negates the pre-washing but I was glad to finally understand why those quilts that covered the mattress no longer did (I really never thought it was that much!).

    • June 12, 2019 / 9:41 AM

      Yes, another reader commented more like 10% depending on quilting. Tabitha soon….maybe the weekend. I have one more entry on her Sunday or Monday. I don’t think I’ll get to it before then…but you never know.

  7. June 12, 2019 / 8:06 AM

    Interesting! I don’t really think much about shrinkage, but like so many of us, I don’t make many bed quilts. Definitely something to remember when I eventually switch out the quilt my mother made for my bed for one I’ve made myself…or maybe I’ll just get her to make another one. 🙂 Thanks for linking up to What I Made Monday!

    • June 12, 2019 / 9:37 AM

      I don’t make as many bed quilts as I did, but I know there will be more in my future – I was doing one BOM a year when I worked at the store to keep a stash for giving when nieces/nephews get married. I may need a few more at some time. I like to give them choices, but not dictate the pattern/colors – much simpler!

  8. June 12, 2019 / 9:29 PM

    Great discussion. 🙂 Have you tried pre-washing your batting vs shrinkage? I often gently hand pre-wash my batting because I am not a huge fan of the crinkled look on wall hangings, and I still want the option to be able to wash them when the kids inevitably have accidents around them. I do get quilting-related shrinkage, but I’m thinking perhaps that is why I haven’t had too many shrinking surprises.

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