Washing Quilt Fabrics

September 16, 2015 16 Comments

Washing Quilt Fabrics

This week has been all about Washing Quilt Fabrics ! Looking at colour and learning about the colour wheel has made me think about how I store my fabric. Oh you can tell I have been on a bit of a mission lately, although I always used my intuition where colour was concerned I have realised that what I was naturally doing related to the colour wheel. Lucky Me! because that is NOT always the case for many people. Now that I have made myself learn about the colour wheel and how it relates to my quilts I find I can make better choices when choosing fabrics. What does this have to do with washing fabrics ? Well..........this got me thinking about the way I store my fabric, I was storing my fabric in beautiful co-ordinated ranges. Mostly still un-washed. Saving it for that special quilt! I usually wash it as I use it, I confess not always as I am in such a hurry to use it once I have an idea in mind. I love my fabric washed because I like to know what chemicals are in it, I also like to know if a fabric is going to run. Shrinkage is also another consideration. But mostly I like the way it feels when I am working with it when it is washed. After learning about the colour wheel I then had an epiphany ! It's not about fabric ranges, it's about colour families. Soooooooo I then set to and washed all the fabric I had that had not already been washed. (Oh MY there was a lot!) I used a small amount of very soft detergent and washed them on a 15 minute cycle in my front loader machine. Cutting with pinking shears helps with the fraying.  Oh what a nice feeling..... Washday / Pine Valley Quilts   Definitely Spring Cleaning! I then folded ALL of it! (Yes I have the sore shoulder to prove it) and made piles of colour families. Washday / Pine Valley Quilts   I placed each colour family into a container / Pull-out Draw. This has been a wonderful exercise! I now know exactly what fabric I have. I must admit I have an awful lot of RED it must be my favorite colour. LOL I also now know what colours I need to buy more of. Any excuse !! Washing quilt fabrics is also a great way to get to know your fabric. Touch it and feel it, see the design etc. Get inspired by it ! I am just itching to get started on a new applique quilt I have been designing, it would make a great quilt along quilt. Would you like to make it with me ?

Happy Stitching

Sharon




16 Responses

gretchenweaver
gretchenweaver

August 03, 2016

Did you press it all before folding? This was a very ambitious project. I store most of my fabric by color but I store by genre. Now what are you going to piece? Gretchen

Sharon Keightley
Sharon Keightley

August 03, 2016

Hi Sandy
Thats a great routine to be in and one I will be adhering to from now on. I don’t have a dryer, so it’s the clothesline for me.

Sharon Keightley
Sharon Keightley

August 03, 2016

Hi Esther

I agree colour testing is so important! pre-washing is a personal choice, and it does depend on the technique and style of the quilts you are making. I confess that some of my quilts have been made with-out pre washing only because I am always in too much of a hurry to start the project. By pre-washing all my fabric I now don’t have to worry, as I find the quilts I make and the techniques I use work well with pre washed fabrics. Great to know what your take on the subject is.

Esther Aliu
Esther Aliu

August 03, 2016

An important post! I don’t always pre-wash, it depends on the project, the fabric and the colour but I am finding more and more that I do colour test just about everything these days.

Sandy
Sandy

August 03, 2016

I wash (and dry in the dryer) all newly acquired fabrics before they go into my stash. I don’t have to guess if a fabric in my stash is washed or unwashed. They’re all washed and ready to go!

ukcitycrafter
ukcitycrafter

August 03, 2016

What a massive undertaking you must feel so pleased that it’s all done. I confess to never washing my fabrics but I think maybe I should start to!
Your appliqué quilt along sounds interesting.

RobinLovesQuilting
RobinLovesQuilting

August 03, 2016

Wow – that sounds like a huge project but oh so worth it! I love the way a stash looks when all the fabrics are arranged so they coordinate.

Sharon Keightley
Sharon Keightley

August 03, 2016

Hi Gretchen

No I do not bother to iron before folding but always iron before cutting. I am planning an applique quilt along, I have the design planned but that does not mean I will be keeping to it. I will blog about each block and quilters can follow along making the blocks with me. I will let you all know as soon as I get it up and running, maybe a week or two.

Nancy
Nancy

August 03, 2016

I love the photos of your fabrics hanging on the line. I wondered about whether you ironed them before folding but you already answered that, above. I’m also wondering if you notice the weight of the damp fabric pulling the rest out of square because you’re hanging the fabric by the corner. (It could take forever to hang with two clothes pins — and take up tons of space, too!) If it’s out of square, I suppose it would be easy enough to pull it back before/while folding.

Except for yardage I wash all fabric before folding and putting with similar colors. I think it makes it easy to begin a quilt. Enjoy your newly washed, folded, and arranged fabrics. What fun!

Kate
Kate

August 03, 2016

What an undertaking! But good for you to have it all done.

Plum Cox
Plum Cox

August 03, 2016

That does look like a lot of fabric to wash! I don’t pre-wash mine (I like the feel of the fabric nice and crisp from the manufacturer!). Occasionally I have colour run issues, but my worst case of that was when I was using fabric that I’d dyed myself and thought was all washed until the water was clear!
Love seeing your fabrics folded up at the end – so satisfying!

Sharon Keightley
Sharon Keightley

August 03, 2016

Hi Plum

Everyone has their own ideas on washing/ or not washing fabrics. I had a very bad experience with my Luscious Berry Baskets quilt. The only fabric I did not wash was the binding and guess what it ran into the cream background fabric. Panic!! as I was under pressure on a deadline to place the quilt in our yearly guild show. Lucky for me a little sunlight soap got the dye run out. That said, it depends on the techniques you are using and the purpose of the quilt.

Sharon Keightley
Sharon Keightley

August 03, 2016

Hi Plum

Everyone has their own ideas on washing/ or not washing fabrics. I had a very bad experience with my Luscious Berry Baskets quilt. The only fabric I did not wash was the binding and guess what it ran into the cream background fabric. Panic!! as I was under pressure on a deadline to place the quilt in our yearly guild show. Lucky for me a little sunlight soap got the dye run out.

Sharon Keightley
Sharon Keightley

August 03, 2016

Hi Nancy

A good point about the way the fabric is hanging and it being pulled out of square. I find fabric to be very forgiving, when folding the fabric after washing, it seems to all come back into shape with a little encouragement. I also find that it is good to bring it in off the line when still just slightly damp.

Sharon Keightley
Sharon Keightley

August 03, 2016

Hello

Nice to hear from you and glad I can help. I have a front loading washing machine and I find I dont have as much problem with fraying as I did with an agitator machine. As you will be washing fabric that is in larger quantities (not cut into small squares) you will find that the fabric will not fray as much. Although trimming the cut edge with pinking shears will help, as will trimming the corners with a small 45 degree cut.

I hope this is of help to you.

Warm Regards
Sharon

Quilter in Motion
Quilter in Motion

August 03, 2016

Your post was timely for me. I’m in the process of buying cottons to make Roman Shades, pieced, just like a quilt and I’ve been debating whether to wash it all first since I don’t want to worry about shrinkage once the Roman Shades are made. I do have a question about the raveling. Should I just cut the edges with my pinking shears? Since I won’t be cutting the fabrics into smaller pieces, I’m thinking I"d just have to trim the edges to avoid the raveling.

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