Friday, January 6, 2012

Washing Fabric

I am still waiting for my fabric for Sedona Star to arrive, which is just as well, because I still have lots of organizing to do.  I think I mentioned earlier that I recently committed to washing all my fabric before I use it.  Even though I once saw cheap unwashed fabric shrink under the iron right before my eyes, I couldn't get over the hurdle to start washing it.  Now the hurdle is very high, because my stash is over 20 years old, but I am slogging through it a few loads at a time!

In the back is the washed and waiting to be sorted by colour pile, and the bins in front are waiting to be washed.  You can see I am getting down to the older fabric now!

It was Becky Goldsmith who changed my mind about washing fabric, at a workshop she did last spring for my second guild, York Heritage.  I learned a lot at that workshop!  Becky recommends that you put your fabrics in the washer AND DRYER, which is something I hadn't done before.  I thought the dryer would tangle it even more than the washer did, but I was thrilled to find out that it doesn't tangle at all.  Because she mainly teaches applique, her argument is that even cotton fabric will felt a little in the dryer, so it frays less and is easier to applique.  I also really like the feel of the fluffier fabric.

How many of you have had a good look at your stash recently?  I've been opening boxes I haven't opened in years!  There have been many pleasant surprises, and also a few "what was I thinking" moments.  Sky blue is not really my favourite colour any more!  I also found a whole series of pinks and reds, and I had no idea what they were for.  Then yesterday I remembered my plan to make heart-shaped log cabins.  I still like that idea enough that I have added it to my to do list!  So it's kind of a dangerous process as well!  Especially given that I had to buy new background fabric last night...


  1. Oh, boy, you have set yourself a big task there. I don't wash my fabric, unless it is schwe-schwe from Africa or something with a lot of extra dye in it. If I suspect it will run, I will use Retayne and a Color Grabber sheet when I wash the quilt for the first time.

    Interesting, though, what Becky Goldsmith (another of my gurus)says about using washed fabric in applique. I will consider that comment. Thanks for mentioning it.

  2. Try it on a small project, Mary Ellen, and see how you like it. I think it is most relevant to needleturn applique, but I'm finding it makes everything more enjoyable - more tactile, if you know what I mean!


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