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, however...smile
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.