Do you pre-wash your fabrics? I used to be a faithful pre-washer, but then pre-cuts entered the picture, and well, you can’t pre-wash a charm pack… so I stopped pre-washing my other fabrics. After the experience I’m sharing with you today, I think I’ll start pre-washing again.
In May, I shared this lovely finish with you:
With the exception of the outer border print, this quilt was made entirely from my scraps and stash (even the fuschia Petal Power piece peeking out from the back was in my stash). The white background came from my stash and scrap basket. And that is where the crack in the system occurred. Stick with me…
On our pattern business blog last week, Trina wrote this in regards to using white as a background fabric: “This is my word of caution about using white (which I totally love). If you are using white make sure it is the same white, (brand and color) …all white fabric is not created equally… take a look at some aged quilts with an assortment of white fabrics and you will find the whites are not the same color of white & some look transparent. Doris found this out the hard way, with a laundry catastrophe, about three weeks ago. ”
And I know this, and I try to follow this advice. With this quilt, as I was cutting and sending out scraps to my Bee members to be sewn into blocks, I thought I was cutting all Kona White for the quilt… but I figured, it’s scrappy anyway, it shouldn’t matter. Right?
Then came August 19th. We had had visitors for the weekend and this quilt was on the bed in the guest room; and our cats had slept on it during the day, so I wanted to wash it because it was one of my entires for the Guild Show that will run in conjunction with next week’s American Quilters Society Show in Des Moines. Later that evening I posted this to facebook:
“I am a Shout Color Catcher disciple; but the ONE time I forget to throw one in the washing machine, I get pink bleed on a quilt. And of course, I didn’t discover this until i pulled it out of the dryer. I’m sick about it. Just ordered Sythrapol Detergent that will be here by the weekend and commenced praying for the miracle this situation will require. Another fabulous Monday.”
Well, as it turned out I DID have one Color Catcher in the load (I found it on the floor later) but I should have had a BOX of them in there! I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of PINKness of the quilt, but then again, I was TRAUMATIZED by the whole situation, so maybe I subconsciously chose not to take a photo for posterity sake in case I couldn’t get it out, anyway! The outer border was VERY pink, and the white was all a little pink looking. So…
- First I soaked it for a few hours in Norwex detergent, then washed it (LOAD #2).
- Then I soaked it overnight in Sythrapol, and washed it in hot water (LOAD #3). Better, but not white, yet.
- Again I soaked it overnight with Sythrapol, and washed it in hot water (LOAD #4)
- Then a wash with just cold water and a small amount of diluted bleach (LOAD #5. NOTE: each wash included three color catchers) the pink is nearly gone from the border print.
- Another soak and wash with diluted bleach and Dawn Dish Soap (LOAD #6)
- Looks pretty good, so one more wash to rinse whatever detergents are still hanging on in there (LOAD #7).
As you can tell in this pic of the used Color Catchers, there was still pink leeching out after seven washes!
But, as for the whites, they did not turn “pink” consistently. Apparently my “Kona White” background included some other whites, or maybe some Kona pieces that were pre-washed as well as some unwashed Kona. Either way, certain blocks had a VERY pink background. Most of it is invisible today, unless I point it out to someone. Which, anyone who reads this and then sees the quilt on display next week in the guild show will be able to spot it.
This is a pic taken last night in our backyard:
Overall, it looks pretty good (crinkly, as it’s been very well-laundered) But up close, there are a few white patches that still have a slight pink tint:
One of the tips I got: a long-arm friend of mine, and longtime quilter said she always washes her quilt with Ivory Soap. It’s pure, no dyes or perfumes, additives. I think I’ll make that a new practice; as I will going back to pre-washing. And I’ll continue to use Color Catchers in every load of laundry I do!
But, I did drop the quilt off last night for our Guild Show, along with two Row House Creations quilts:
We drop our quilts off at a LQS, this is one side of the room as it looked last night (the last night for entries), there must be 300-400 quilts all tucked away in pillowcases waiting to be hung for display:
I’m glad I’m not judging them, but it must be a little like Christmas morning to open all of these pillowcases and unfold what’s in them!
Our Des Moines Area Quilters Guild Show runs October 2-5 in conjunction with the AQS Show at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
Do you pre-wash?
What do you use to wash your quilts?