My WIP this week is only the prewashing of some 158 pieces of fabric from my "Listen With Your Eyes" kit for the class in two weeks.
I have a really bad systemic allergic reaction if I sew on fabrics with the sizing still on them, so I have no choice but to prewash my fabrics. Even from BOM kits and charm packs, which can be a pain because the pieces are too small to go through the washing machine. Let me share what I see fairly frequently when I'm prewashing these little pieces in the sink, and you judge for yourself if you think it might be safest to prewash your quilting fabrics.
Please note, these are all high-quality, premium quilting cottons, not cheaper fabrics that we have more reason to be cautious with.
I use a double sink, washing in almost uncomfortably warm water with Woolite. (I wash my quilts in the machine with cool water with Woolite). I rinse with warm water then cool water. And if I'm using my steel kitchen sink instead of my white porcelain bathroom sinks, I use my giant white mixing bowl to rinse in. This lets me see the color of the water.
So, I just throw all the similar-colored pieces in the cleaning water, work each piece unharshly for a bit, squish out the sudsy water, and toss it in the bowl of fresh water. After all the pieces are in the bowl, I swoosh them around and dump the water.
It'll want a second rinse because of the left-over suds. About 3/4 of the time, that is all it takes, so I can squish the water out of each piece and toss the ball onto the counter while I finish the set, dump the bowl, and then use the bowl to carry the dripping pile of balls to the dryer. (A flick of the wrist with each piece opens it up nicely for the drying process.)
I washed all my greens, saw no real problem, so moved on to the turquoises since I figured they'd be fine in the dryer together. And look what happened!
Here's where you see why I say you can judge for yourself about not prewashing:
These gorgeous, saturated (and remember: top-quality) turquoises are as bad as the worst reds I've encountered for bleeding!
Look at that water~! I rinsed and I rinsed and I rinsed.
Now, you can't just look at the water with the fabric in it, because the water "conducts" the color, so you need to lift the pieces out of the water to truly see if the color is in the water or just emanating from the fabric.
It took 10 good rinses to get to where the dye was no longer seeping into the water. TEN!
(BTW - Later on, the red set took 5, and the purple set took 7.)
And I could finally carry this double set to the dryer.
And then, of course, I get to iron everything before I can cut anything. But that's just a good excuse to pop in a movie. ;D
So: One more time - take a look at this water. (I put a white container in the sink so you could see how dense that gorgeous blue dye is in there!) This is not a rare sight with non-pastel colors, particularly from reds, blues, or purples. This is from only about 1 yard's worth of pieces. The fabric sat no longer than 10 minutes in the water. These are all top-quality quilting cottons.
Do you want to trust that the little color catcher you throw in the washer will work as desired and not let any of this color stain the pretty white or pastels that are next to your colors? What if the quilt balls up in areas so that the color catcher can't reach those spots?
Then you get the problems that I read of on THREE separate blogs the past two weeks where quilting pals experience dye problems when they washed their quilts. It's heartbreaking when it happens, and I would always prewash my fabrics now even if it weren't for my darned allergy.
It really keeps me motivated to keep those UFOs going! (Go check out what everyone else is doing - there are some really neat projects out there!)
This week's stats: (unchanged)
New Projects – (Listen With Your Eyes by Jacqueline deJonge)
Completed Projects This Week - 0
In Active Progress - 1 (Listen)
UFO Firing Range - 31.333
Finishes for 2011 - 24
Completed tops awaiting quilting:
One charity wheelchair quilt
Center of Marissa’s Moment of Freakishness
Marissa’s Moment Pillowcase panel
Wagon Wheels West #2
We Love Kelly
Devon's Silk Spinners
Kelly's Thirties Hand Quilter
Poor Forgotten Orphan from 15 Years Ago