How I almost ruined, and then saved, a quilt:

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:

Love in a Mist Quilt

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. ;-) “

Yep.

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!

Sythrapol Color Catchers

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:

After The Rain _ quilt post laudry disaster

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:

After The Rain Yellow Block

AfterTheRainRedBlock

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:

Lavender One Big Cabin Girl Quilt Racoon, Owl Squirrel Baby Quilt

Fox in a Box Fox and Geese Applique Quilt

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:

AQS Quilt Drop Off

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?

What a Tangled Web We Weave – Spiderweb Block Tutorial

BLOGTOBERFEST, Day 31

Today is the last day of Blogtoberfest, and my day on the Wicked Blog Hop.  Also joining in on Bloggers Quilt Festival with this fun Halloween quilt!

My “wicked” quilt block is the spiderweb block used to make my What a Tangled Web We Weave quilt, which received an honorable mention in the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild show this October.

The finished size of the quilt is Twin Size, and it takes 20 spiderweb blocks.  Here it is spread out on our Queen Size bed:

To make the blocks:

  •  Cut randomly sized strips of fabric across grain by width of fabric (wof) and sew into strip sets at least 6 1/2 ” wide.  (for one block you will need 1 or 2 strip sets, for the Twin size quilt you will need 18-20 strip sets)
  • Using a 60-degree ruler, cut alternating triangles from your strips sets in this fashion:

  • From background fabric, cut one 5 7/8″ square, cut in half diagonally into two half-square B triangles.
  • Also, from background fabric cut two A template pieces, and two Ar (A-Reverse) template pieces.  Template is provided here: SpiderwebTemplate
  • Add a B triangle to the flat end of two of your strip wedges, and add two A triangles and two Ar triangles to the flat ends of your other strip wedges like this:
  • Sew three wedge pieces together to create half a block; repeat:
  • Join your two half block pieces together and then square your block:

I fussy cut the inner border from a stripe fabric, it reads “Halloween” over and over…

And the outer border is an Alexander Henry fabric (from 2006, I think) called “Halloween Lane”.  And the backing is another fun Alexander Henry print called “Unhappy Hour”…

Trina’s long arm quilting made the quilt…the spider web details are fantastic, and I adore the cluster of spiders in the square areas of the background:

Thanks for stopping, I’d love to hear your comments on my quilt… and please go pay a visit to these Wicked Bloggers and see what they have to share today:

Candy Corn Crazy

BLOGTOBERFEST, Day 30

It’s true, October 30th is National Candy Corn Day… I’m not sure why we have National “Days” for everything under the sun, but there it is.  And, I admit it, I have a weakness for this stuff.

Candy corn is a sweet confection, made to look like dried corn kernels. It’s considered a “mellow cream,” a type of candy made from corn syrup and sugar that has a marshmallow-like flavor. Although candy corn tastes rich, it’s actually fat-free.  But keep in mind, that does not mean calorie free!  And if you are like me, one handful is never enough…

There are any number of Candy Corn inspired recipes out there, such as Candy Corn Cheesecake:

Candy Corn fudge:

Candy Corn truffles (which look pretty darned tasty):

There are even recipes online for making your own Candy Corn, though I’m not sure why you would bother when Brach’s does such a wonderful job of it for you.

There is no shortage of candy corn inspired crafts either.  I even posted one of my own last year, a Candy Corn themed favor bag, tutorial here.

I might have to make one of these to celebrate next October 30th:

I’m sure you’re hungry by now so go treat yourself to some Candy Corn in honor of Natioanl Candy Corn Day, October 30, 2012…

…and keep it company

BLOGTOBERFEST, Day 29

Anyone who lived through the 1970s in America probably remembers the coca-cola commercial with the theme song “I’d like to buy the World a Coke, and keep it company…”, originally aired in 1971 (when I was 2, but I remember it well so it obviously stuck around for a while– here’s a refresher of the Christmas version:

I kept humming this song while I made this mug rug for Jill, in October’s Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild Swap:

Jill doesn’t drink coffee or tea, Diet Coke is her liquid of choice.  And she happens to be a big fan of foundation paper piecing.  I started by sketching the Diet Coke logo, and then free-hand, hand embroidering it:

Then I drew up the bottle, transformed it into a paper pieced foundation and got to piecing.  I tweaked it as I went, it’s not perfect, but it looks pretty good.  Then I cut into a Munki Munki coca-cola nightshirt I’ve had stuffed in my closet for a few years, and started piecing patchwork around the fussy-cut double decker bus:

The back:

Giving this to Jill was such a joy.  She made me this fabulous pillow in our last Guild swap, so I wanted to really wow her with something made especially for her.

FREE PAPER PIECING & EMBROIDERY PATTERN for the Diet Coke bottle Coming Soon!!

Happiness, delivered.

BLOGTOBERFEST, Day 12

Yesterday I showed you the wonderful happy I received from Mary. Today, I’ll show what I sent to Cindy in Fresno, CA. Cindy makes all manner of fun selvage items, her most recent came in SECOND in a recent online contest, Texting while Sewing:

I’ve started collecting my selvages, but I had yet to make anything with them.  I knew I had to include something with a selvage for Cindy… but what?   I had seen this pincushion and sewing kit on someone’s blog recently, as part of the Zakka Sew-Along–suddenly I knew this was the item to create for Cindy and just how I would use the selvage!  I don’t own a copy of the book, so I made this up as I went along, and modified it to make it work for me.

The pincushion is filled with walnut shells (why?  They are inexpensive and readily available… and the crushed shells work like emery, keeping your pin and needle points sharp!)

Yep, I buy it at a pet store, a giant bag is under $10.00.  Fill your pincushion with a funnel, and stitch up the opening.  Easy as that.

The pincushion fits nicely inside this roll-up sewing kit, which has small pockets to hold your package of needles, thread, your English paper piecing hexies(!), your scissors, your thimble, etc…

Most of Cindy’a kit came from my scrap bin, except for the green “tree” print used for the binding and one end of the pincushion.  I chose that fat quarter because I had purchased it at Grubers last year, the same weekend I met Cindy for the first time.  The entire kit rolls up and ties nicely, for a fun take along sewing kit:

The band is attached, it is another piece of selvage dots (from a Dr. Seuss fabric as it had the brightest colors I could find!) and satin ribbon for the tie.  Enjoy, Cindy, I had a lot of fun making this for you!

p.s  HAPPY SWEET SIXTEEN to my beautiful Goddaughter, Leah!  

(My God, how did sixteen happen?!?)

 

Sewing Studio Up-Do

(originally posted August 23, 2011)
It’s not really a redo, that was done last year, but this month, it got a definite up-do, or upgrade, anyway, with two great projects!

Today: Project #1, Making a Recessed Sewing Table (a Project ANYONE could do!)

I started with this, my Ikea bookcase and table that I’ve used for sewing for almost two years.

A shot of my studio in June 2010

But when I needed to do any quilting, especially free-motion quilting, I would pull out a little drop center table from JoAnn’s to put my machine in.  However, the Janome was too large to fit into the table from JoAnn’s.  And quilting with the machine too high was just too hard on my neck and shoulders to quilt for very long.  So… I traced the footprint of my Janome onto the table top, and my sweetie got a jigsaw and drill out,

and cut a big hole in the table.  We figured the worse that could happen is that we would ruin a $55 Ikea table, and have to replace it.  The core of the table was a paper cardboard honeycomb core, with two 1x3s running lengthwise for added support…

Sweetie added some more 1×3 strips to enclose the exposed core, added wood filler, sanded, primed, painted and eventually we added this shelf, attached with 4″ L-brackets to the table.  Here it is without the machine sitting in it:

and voila– A recessed sewing table, custom fit for my Janome Horizon! As you can see, there is extra space to the right of machine, that I allowed for access to the power cord, feed dog switch and power switch.  Remember to take that into consideration when determining the footprint of your own machine:

I removed the feet from the plexiglas table that came with my machine and made sure the machine would sit just high enough above the surface of the Ikea table to accommodate it–a perfect fit! If your machine doesn’t have a plexiglas insert, you can have one custom cut at a local hardware store, or glass shop.  Just make sure they have a very accuratetracing of the bed of your machine.

We finished this project on Saturday afternoon, and I spent much of Sunday sewing, it was such a pleasure to have the machine at the correct height for a change!  I think I could sew an entire day without feeling any strain in my shoulders.  A very nice UPGRADE, indeed.

Of course, once we finished I needed to clean the shelves and rearrange everything (sawdust everywhere!) but they needed cleaning and reorganizing anyway.

DIY Tutorials for the other parts of my sewing studio:

Project #2; a sassy new cutting table with storage!

DIY Design Wall anyone can make!

Big Board Ironing Board Tutorial

Fabric Storage (Stash Management)