Rosa's World

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sewing - Hand quilting and washing quilts

Hi there!

Sunday, I had posted a question(s) on the Dear Jane forum. I got such WONDERFUL replies, that I thought I'd post them, on here. Now, if I've added YOUR reply and you really don't want it posted here, PLEASE send me an email and I'll gladly remove it. *s*

Here's what I had posted to the group. I'll add the answers, after my post. Grab yourself a coffee and put your feet up - this is gonna be fairly long to read, but IMHO, informative. *grin*

Hi There!

I have 2 questions that I'm hoping someone can help me with.

1st, I'm in the middle of hand quilting a lap quilt, as a gift to 1 of my cousins. I've only ever quilted around the appliqués and the edges of sashings, with my previous quilts. This lap quilt has 12 inch (muslin) plain blocks and I had hoped to quilt hearts, in these blocks. Now, I only have the "white" clover marker. What do you people use to "mark" a quilt, before you hand quilt it? I really don't have the funds or the resources, at this point in time, to go buy different kinds of markers. I'm looking for an "el-frugalo" method - AKA "el-cheapo". *grin*

If I mark the muslin (lightly) with a pencil, will it show, after I've hand quilted it? I think so, but I'm not sure.

If I DO mark it (lightly) with a pencil, will it come out in the wash? I do have a blue-ish kind of marker, that is washable..... but please read my next question.

2nd question: Do you people wash your quilts, before you give them away, or enter them in quilting competitions? A good friend told me, yesterday, that she washes them... as she likes the look, afterwards. My co-workers told me that you should NEVER pre-wash a quilt that you will be giving away.

Now, this quilt has been on my love-seat for about 2 months (okay.. possibly 3 months .. LOL) and I've been quilting on it, every now and then. One of my 4 cats.... the most curious one of the bunch, jumped on the loveseat, quilt fell on the carpet - once or twice - and I even caught her napping on it - GOD FORBID!!!!
All this being said, I had planned on brushing/removing any possible cat hairs and airing it out on the clothesline.... Now I'm wondering, maybe I should be washing it, BEFORE I give it away?!??

Tks, in advance....

Rosa Robichaud
Saint John, New Brunswick
P.S. Knowing my cousin, she is as un-fussy as I and couldn't care less if there was a cat hair on her (surprise) gift... but I really am trying to give her a nicely done quilt. *s*

OH my goodness, people can come up with some of the most amazing "rules" - why in the world would you NOT wash a quilt before you give it to someone? Its been slept on by animals (as much as we love them, they're not overly hygienic!!!), collected dust, been handled by hands with oil on them, etc. etc. By all means, WASH it!!! I always wash mine - if I can, I like to dry them on a windy day hanging them in the shade, and then I spray them with some lavender water and let that dry on them!
You can mark with a Sharpwriter disposable Pencil - VERY El Frugo at Staples or wherever - "papermate sharper writer #2" - just lightly mark through the template or tape - most of the time it just brushes away - or a spray of water and its gone - like those blue thingies! Work just great.
Would it work to just cross hatch quilt across the plain squares? I just mark that with masking tape - goes SO fast!! and looks "neat and tidy" when its all finished too!! And then do an "in the ditch" on the outer part of those cross hatched squares! Gives it a "planned" look!
A couple of times I've used a colored thread for quilting in wide open white/light spaces - that totally covers up any markings that might possibly remain - though I've never noticed any remaining using the pencil!
And how lucky the recipient will be - receiving a hand quilted quilt already blessed by a cat! Can't do better than that!!
NOTE: Still not sure... maybe I'll just do "cross hatch" quilting.
This is what I do, I machine quilt, but even if it was hand quilted, I wash it before I give them away. I have two cats, two dogs, two kids, a husband and a horse. LOL The cats think the machine quilter makes a very nice cat hammock when it's set up. LOL I also wash them b/c I mean for all my quilts to used and loved and so I want to make sure they are wash and wear. If they are going to bleed, even though I pre-wash my fabrics, I want it to do it to me not to them. Also I can them assure them that I've already tossed in the washer/dryer and they are safe to do so. And finally, I do it b/c if the quilting comes apart or a block comes undone or whatever, I can fix it before I mail it off.
NOTE: LOVE the reason on WHY she prewashes!!! Makes sense to me!! *grin*
I have done ALOT of hand quilting on muslin or light, mostly plain fabrics. And I quilt alot of feathers in plain blocks. My marking pencil of choice is a good 'ole fashioned lead pencil, but I use a #4 lead pencil. Harder lead makes a lighter mark. My choice is usually not to wash, because as of yet I have found nothing that removes it. With the #4 and marking light, the thread usually covers it right up.

If I am planning to wash a light colored quilt, I will mark it with a Berol Verithin Non-photo print blue pencil #761 1/2. I have never had a problem with this pencil not washing out. But you should test to be sure.

I also have cats and dogs, and the cat loves to sleep on my quilt frame. Even though I keep it covered with a sheet and have a board on it for him to sleep on, it still manages to get covered in cat hair. Before I return the quilt to the owner or one of mine, if going in a show, I run one of those roller pet hair pick up thing-a-majigs over it that has the peel-away tape on it. This helps get the majority of pet hair off. I use it on both sides.
NOTE: That's what I "was" going to do... use one of those ting-a-majigs... but I think I will be washing this one, this time. Quilt's laid out on my love seat, for TOO long. *s*
For starters Rosa, I always wash my quilts when I am done. If there is a Michaels or an art store near you, you can purchase a washable graphite pencil in a soft grey colour. I also have a recipe for a quilt cleaner that removes the pencil lines and as soon as I find it I will send it on to you...
Pencil mark remover :
3 oz rubbing alcohol, 1 oz water, 3 or 4 drops liquid dishwashing detergent--place in a small bottle and shake well. Wet corner of a washcloth with solution and rub over markings. Wet another washcloth with water and rub over markings to rinse. Allow quilt to air dry. A second treatment may be necessary.

Unless the quilt is made with finishing touches that should not be washed, I would not worry about washing the finished item before giving it to someone.
NOTE: LOVE this recipe!!! It's all stuff that I have here!!! Tks for sharing!!!
Hi Rosa - I never wash a quilt before I present it. As for quilting the
muslin, use masking tape for cross-hatching and Press n Seal for other
designs. Trace your pattern onto press n seal, slap on the quilt and it
sticks, quilt through it and chuck away when finished.
NOTE: LOVE the masking tape idea.... Hmmmm.. still debating.... *grin*
Rosa, I have done a small share of hand quilting and used pencil to mark it. Both pieces were Hawaiian applique 22"X22" white on white echo about 1/4" apart, all of the pencil washed out and it was beautiful. Just my pennies worth.
NOTE: Still worried as to whether the pencil marks will come out. DUH!!! I probably could test it out, on a piece of scrap fabric, right?!??! Sheeshe!!!!! never thought of THAT, before!! LOL
I say wash it! I do with mine because I want to see what it will look like after a wash!
NOTE: EXCELLENT logic!! Once again.... and you know who you are.... I agree! *grin*
Make hearts out of freezer paper the size that will fit in you muslin squares.  Press them on, quilt around them, take them off and use them in the next square.   After a few squares they will still stick.  That way all the hearts will be the same. 

And yes, please wash it before you give it away that way you can include exact washing directions to the person you are giving it to. And you are sure that it does not fall apart when it is laundered.
It is one of my greatest pleasures to look at a freshly washed new quilt. Then you take a picture of your finished quilt.
NOTE: I just LOVE the freezer paper trick! Hmmm... will probably end up going that route! *s*
Firstly don’t use the blue wash out pen - believe me they do not wash out
properly but can "come back" - a lady exhibiting a quilt at a show in
melbourne (here in australia) had used it and when it was hanging in the
show the blue lines from the pen "came back" under the hot spotlights!!! And
she now cant get rid of them - very sad as it was a baltimore!!!!!
I use a fine grey lead pencil and it washes out
And sometimes I wash my quilts before handing over - sometimes I don’t -
depends on the time factor.
NOTE: Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I almost used the blue marker!!!
Rosa and Janes--I'm going to try the hard graphite pencil method of marking on the Gwen Marston quilt I'm working on. She was awesome, btw. All of hers were marked that way--she has never washed any of them and close up, you can see light marks. From far away, you can't see the marks, but they really pop the stitching--1 inch hanging diamonds--and lots of feathers--just gorgeous! BTW, some of those quilts are nearly 20 yrs. old. I'm going to pretest my pencil and fabrics though-- I don't want a marked grid leftover after washing. As for washing quilts before giving as a gift, I would decide on a case by case basis. If the fabric wasn't pre washed, I would definitely use dye catchers for the first wash--that way the new owner wouldn't have to deal with any bleed. For clean kitty fur, you could fluff in a cool dryer.
NOTE: I assume she meant to "fluff" the quilt and not the kitty, in the dryer! LOL
Rosa I marked my DJ lightly with a mechanical pencil and the marks came out...pencils are about $1 maybe?? I used a 2H lead.

Also when I give away a quilt I mark in the card.."Prewashed for your Convenience". The reason that I do that is first I have cats and sometimes the recipient is allergic. The other reason is that when the quilt shrinks up with the cotton batting and gets all looks nicer...but if the owner is not expecting that after they wash it, they may think that they have ruined it..
NOTE: I LOVED the card that she includes with her quilts! I think I'll be using it! *VBG*
A little info on pencils....the ordinary kind!

If you look at the end of a pencil it will have a number and a letter usually.

The higher the number with the letter H....means the harder the lead is and the
thinner the line will be. The higher the number with a B ...means the softer
the lead...and the wider and 'smudgier' the line with be. A pencil with HB is
usually the centre point and is good for writing.

Draughtsmen used the high H pencils while artists used the high B pencils!

For marking on fabric I would go with the highest H I can find. It will give a
very thin line. Use a light touch!!
NOTE: EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT advice about pencils! I can never remember which one is soft and which one is hard! *grin*
I would make a template on cardboard (cereal box) and lightly trace it and quilt over it. Just enough that you can see.
NOTE: In this case, I already have my "heart" template, on transparent plastic, but if I ever need to make another template, cereal boxes could be a choice. *s*
I mark the muslin (lightly) with a pencil, will it show, after I've
hand quilted it? I think so, but I'm not sure.

Lightly mark with a mechanical pencil. You can make a pattern to trace around of plastic or as our Grandmas did, of cereal box cardboard. Your stitches will cover the marks. If the Amish can use pencils why not we?

If she's a good friend she'll like a quilt from you, just do the best thing, and it'll be OK. There are no hard and fast rules, but sometimes there are quilt prejudices, that's why so many quilts are never used, too good for them.
NOTE: The Amish do this? Hmmmmm.... maybe I could use a pencil and try not to stress too much about it. *s*
Er, how 'mature' is your eyesight? I too use a very
hard mechanical pencil, with a light touch, but as my
eyesight has 'matured', my touch has to be heavier to
leave a darker mark, to be seen. This is more obvious
after quilting of course and may not look good to you.

Here's another idea. trace your quilting design on
freezer paper (you do have that, I think), and cut
around it, or cut carefully leaving 'bridges' as for a
stencil. Iron shiny side down on your quilt. Quilt
your pattern then pull it off - no marks!

And, with pets, I would wash the quilt.
NOTE: Once again, the freezer paper technique! Hmmmmm.... decisions, decisions...
Quilting mechanical pens have #1 lead in it that makes it easy to remove,
wash or erase.... The girls in the applique group went futher and bought a
gross ( they share and divide the box) of regular pencils with #1 lead.
They have raved about the way it is so easy to remove... They ordered them
from an artist / office supply store catelogue.

Maybe you can get some in a smaller quanity.

Hope this helps...

Fons and Porter also give a recipe for cleaning quilt marks in their
original Quilter's Manual.
NOTE: Out of my budget, for now... but something to ask Santa for, someday. *grin*
My 2 cents on marking quilts for hand quilting.  I use Air Erasable pens.  I keep them in a zip lock bag and they last forever.  They are a little expensive - $4??? - but they do last a very long time.  I mark just the amount I can quilt in one sitting - the following day the marks are gone!  I have never had a problem with them bleeding or not going away on any kind of fabric regardless of whether the fabric was prewashed or not.

The other thing I use - on dark colored quilts or blocks - is slivers of left over bar soap. Ivory soap works best. It stays in until washed but it completely washes out.

One of the first things I do when I am finished with binding is wash my quilts! I love the look and I want to remove any oils, dust, etc that have accumulated while working on it. I USE my quilts - yeup - even my DJ and NI quilts are on my bed! My dogs and I sleep with them. So there!!!! Hahaha!

When I am giving a quilt as a gift I prewash it. I don't like the idea of the new owner having trouble with when they wash it - so I make sure it is going to handle the washing process before giving it.
NOTE: Air Erasable markers? Another suggestion to give to Santa! *grin*
I learned the HARD way that dark #2 pencil lines do *not* like to come out.
They want to be with the quilt forever and ever, amen.
I mark my quilts with light, hard graffite or with blue washout pens. BUT,
with the blue pens, you really need to test them before you use them,
because sometimes they act like those trick candles that you really can't
blow out. They disappear with water, only to come back when the fabric is
dry (depending on what pen you use).

I always wash my quilts when I am finished with them, UNLESS it is an art
quilt and meant to be hung. Then I might not wash it.
NOTE: Great advice (re: art quilt). Next project that I use my blue marker, I'll TEST it, FIRST.... and NO, haven't used it on my lap quilt.

Sooooooooo..... all wonderful advice and I believe that most have said to PREWASH my quilt. THAT takes a load of worries off my brain. Still have quite a bit more of (boring) quilting to do on that lap quilt... edges and borders. Will post a picture of it, once it's semi-done or all done.

Thanks everyone!


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