1/26/17

It All Comes Out in the Wash

The first thing I wanted to do yesterday was to wash the Stars and Stripes quilt. Since it's going into the trailer as a cuddle quilt, I wanted it soft. Now, here I have to admit that I'm terrible about washing my fabrics before using them. I know, I know, I know. The thing is, I like the feel of new fabric, and I like how crisp it is before it's washed. Since I'm not fond of spray starch, I prefer to leave my fabrics unwashed when possible. That's not to say I never wash my fabrics. When there's obvious risk, say, as there was with Vintage Tin...black on white...I do prewash my fabrics.


With Stars and Stripes, it hardly mattered since 10 of the 12 blocks were made by other quilters. Clearly, I had no control over what happened in their sewing rooms.


With visions of bleeding colors in my head, I tossed in three clean and new Color Catchers with the quilt when I washed it. (Sometimes I reuse them, especially when I'm testing for bleeding.) Of course, I've used Color Catchers before. They usually come out of the wash clean, except when I've prewashed obvious bleeders like reds and batiks, . This time...so different! I laid them out on the white top of my washing machine, and you can see that the colors bled terribly. I suspect a lot of this was from the navy blue on the quilt back.


Remarkably, none of the color was absorbed into the quilt. These things really work!!!!! 



I've always wondered whether they were effective, and this convinces me. I usually give a couple of color catchers to recipients when I give a quilt as a gift, and so it's good to know they actually do the job they're intended to do. You can't even imagine how relieved I am to know this. I'll still prewash obvious bleeders, like reds and batiks, but it's good to know there's a little wiggle room where other fabrics are concerned.

And as long as we're looking at this, how did that repair job hold up? It's the block above. Can you see it? Below is a close-up, and it's looking good. Count that as two sighs of relief.


While the quilt was washing, I made Block 6 for the Solstice Challenge. This block is called "Crosswalk". Since my blocks are commemorative, it was a good choice for the past week. Of course, we inaugurated a new president. Whether you like him or not, Americans can all celebrate living in a country where a peaceful transfer of power is possible. Still, I didn't want to miss commemorating the millions of global sisters who marched in peaceful protest the next day.


To them and all the women who have marched for equality throughout history, I salute you and thank you. And if you can't support the marchers, well then...cats. Surely we can agree to celebrate cats.

After that, it seemed as if inertia set in. Some days are like that. I was really hoping to get a start on the next block for Chicken Buffet, but I spent the afternoon with cats on my lap and didn't feel inclined to do anything else. The kitties were happy to indulge.

Today I'm getting my monthly pedicure, and then I'll probably get some sewing time in this afternoon. There's just a little housework on the agenda, but I can finish that before I leave this morning. It's kind of a dreary, foggy day here, and that sometimes means a lazy day. Let's see if I can resist the drag.

16 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lyndsey said...

I only pre-wash obvious problem fabrics and have been very happy to find that the colour catchers do work. I have found that navy fabrics are an absolute pain for running.Your repair looks good and that quilt will be nice and cosy so long as you can stop Smitty and Sadie claiming it.

gpc said...

I love those color catchers! And I always love your quilts. I'm with you in support of all the women and men who have worked hard to bring us this far in being a nation of equality and tolerance, and thank goodness for all who are willing to keep working to hold those gains and continue to move us forward.

WoolenSails said...

I will have to get some of those, I have had problems with red dyes in the wools. I just had to piece some fabrics for a back, luckily it is a scrap quilt and it works, so a few odd pieces to get a full size is fine;)

Debbie

Sandra W said...

Those dye catcher sheets are great--even with pre-washed fabric they often pick up lots of color. I pre-wash everything! Even precut strips and squares! I'm a fanatic!
You might consider using those dye catcher sheets for the next few washings to be on the safe side. Also, some of the Kona mid-blues really lose color and require multiple pre-washings. Be warned.

Quiltdivajulie said...

I prewash everything (except scraps that I inherit). Even with that said, I still use Color Catchers (and often 2-3 like you did when it is a first laundering).

claudia said...

I prewash everything! Then, sometimes, if the fabric has been stored too long (like years...) I rewash, re-iron, re-fold, re-put away. And now I have started starching the fabric because it's easier for me to cut it accurately.
And yes, I am celebrating cats! I love my two boys. They entertain and give loves...what's not to celebrate?
I am so thankful for all the strong women who have gone before us and paved a smoother path for us. It is up to all of us to keep that momentum going, so in the future the way is even smoother!

crazy quilter said...

Aren't color catchers wonderful! I use them too even when I don't think anything will run just for insurance! Better safe than sorry as I always say! Great results!

Brown Family said...

I used color catchers on Batik flannel that I pre-washed. I do not usually pre-wash, but the company the kit came from strongly recommend it. I think I washed it several times because it kept bleeding. The next year at the quilt show, the company told me if I had user Retayne it would have fixed the dye so it would not run. I got some, but have never put it to the test!

Brown Family said...

P.S. I love the pink kitties!

Quilting Babcia said...

I almost always prewash fabrics as I don't like the chemical odor of some of the dyes and finishes on new fabrics. I would say you are extremely lucky all that blue ended up on the color catchers and not invading the light areas of the quilt. We have a quilt purchased at a school auction that has bled a deep pink onto the adjacent white fabric every time it is washed, color catchers or not. It is made of fabrics from the 1980s-1990s judging from the design, and I guess the fabrics were just not as colorfast as now since it keeps bleeding.

Wendy Tuma said...

I'm like you, Barbara, and I tend to not pre-wash unless it's a batik or a red. I think I would've had a near heart attack when I first saw those color catchers! Sure glad they did their work and no bleeding on your quilt! Clever work on the Solstice block. I'm still pondering how I'll do mine.

Dana Gaffney said...

Wow, that's a lot of bleed, it's amazing none of that got on the quilt. Yay for peaceful protest but I'm with the woman who's sign said "I can't believe I still have to march for this sh*t".

Natureluvr57 said...

When I took my beginner's quilt class the instructor told us she suggests we pre-wash. I went home with Restayne (sp?) and washed. I hate hate hate pressing all that fabric. My panels (remember I was new) were all whacked out of shape and I never got them corrected. I told my instructor and probably looked like I was on the verge of tears. She confessed she doesn't pre-wash but she's mandated to tell us. I have since read that you shouldn't pre-wash panels but I learned the hard way. I'll celebrate my 9 feral cats I support-3 live in our heated garage and 4 have been brought inside since someone stole a kitten (just suspicion but she was so friendly) and 2live outdoors because they are wild and un-handlable. Not sure if that's a word. Then I celebrate my precious Cocker Spaniel that tolerates our new house cats and has battled cancer for over 4 years. The doctors call her a miracle dog because they didn't think she would live this long. It is very expensive for treatments but I love her dearly.

Pam said...

Cats appreciate it when their human lays around like them in a lazy relaxed manner.

Kate said...

I've only had one quilt bleed and that was with the color catchers. It was supposed to be donated, but as the bleeding was bad, it's become one of the pile of quilts I leave in the living room for Drama Teen and her friends for sleep overs (as we have about one of those a month, many impromptu, I just leave a pile of quilts behind the couch.

quiltzyx said...

I usually prewash yardage as I don't like the feel of the sizing stuff that new fabric is treated with. Precuts or scraps, it's the luck of the draw as those I won't prewash. I have been very lucky though, haven't had any bleeding problems...but I did just go on amazon & order some color catchers!