Sunday, March 25, 2007

To Prewash or not toPrewash...that is the question...

I used to prewash my fabric before I made a quilt. Is prewash a word? I don't know, it's what people ask me when I buy new fabric, "Are you going to prewash your fabric before you use it?" After purchasing lush, new, beautiful material I'd get home and dread the thought of doing laundry! But, as a newbie, I'd listen to the wise sage quilters and do what I was told. Prewashing was supposed to remove any "loose" color that might bleed onto the quilt. Since then, I've grown up and realized that it just wasn't so, at least for me.

Yes, I know the Quilt Police say this is a must, but I can honestly say I've never had a problem until I took a class and was told you should always quilt first then wash and block the quilt-still damp, lay it out on the carpet and pin/force it into shape on the floor. Next you set up a fan that blows over it and it helps dry the quilt.

All this is information is in the Grand Finale video from Ricki Timms. This video is an outstanding DVD showing all kinds of machine quilting, binding and many techniques that are clearly displayed in an entertaining way. But, what you should know is Ricki is dying his own fabrics in a very controlled way and he uses a product called Synthropol that he washes his quilts in to help lock the colors in the material. His fabric is wonderful, but at $25.00 a yard, I have to choose to purchase from the local quilt shops, which also has wonderful lovely fabric.

Anyway, after following Ricki's directions and washing my Stash of Stars quilt in Synthropol and blocking on the floor, using a fan to help dry, my batiks bled to the back of the quilt and one sort of "ran", like a watercolor painting on the front!

This is a warning to all that choose this method to finish a quilt. Now, maybe, if I'd prewashed all my fabric before sewing, quilting, then blocking, the bleeding would not have occurred...hmmmm...I guess I'll never know...lesson learned,

I'm going back to not washing my fabric and squaring the quilt before I sandwich and machine quilt the quilt-no damp blocking of the quilt! This is what works for me best and I like it that way.



Rian said...

Oh, you're bound to get responses on this subject!

When I took my first class in quilting some 10 years ago, this question was raised. The teacher said she never prewashes her fabric. Audible gasps were heard across the land. Being a disliker of all things laundry-related, I adopted this habit and have never *EVER* had a problem--knock on wood--with colors running.

Sorry about your blue streaks. That is really sad. I'm surprised a batik would run like that, not to mention blue of all colors.

joyce said...

I don't usually wash my fabric (although I do tend to feel a bit guilty,I blame the quilt police) because I like the crispness of new fabric. It makes it easier to work with. I also hate ironing yards of fabric. I haven't had any runs yet and if there is a first time I'll just say, "That's my style".

jenclair said...

What a beautiful quilt! So sorry about the problem...after all of that work, but it IS still beautiful.

The Calico Cat said...

I don't prewash. (I have never had a problem & I like the crinkly old-fashioned look that only occurs with the miniscule amount of shrinkage...) I als do not care if my quilt "bleeds." Then again, I am not trying to create show stopping art or intricate piecing... (If I were, my chioces might be different, but my quilts are to be used & are an expression of JOY!)

Owens Family Adventures said...

I'm with everyone else...I don't usually pre-wash either. I just start cutting it up and go with it. :)

Judy said...

I'm going to post on my blog about my pre-washing story.

I think it's worth reading if you're on the fence about pre-washing.

Judy said...

Can I ask if you added the dye catcher sheet in when you washed the quilt? I wonder if it would catch the red that appeared of the backing.

I do both really. Wash when I know it will have to be washed later on, and don't wash for wall hangings and things like that.

The blue looks like it was just a direct cause of the wet blocking process. I've never blocked a quilt before. I don't have the space to lay out a wet quilt to dry! I try to square them up after I quilt as best I can but don't care if they are a bit wobbly either.

Sorry about yours. You could always try washing again with a dye catcher if you didn't use one the first time.


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