Thursday, April 23, 2020

How to Wash Your Quilt?

I was asked yesterday how do I wash my quilts, after an instagram post of quilts on my washing line. I thought about my response and I realised that the answer went beyond just the how and included my view of quilts generally.  Which has led me to write here.

Let's start right from the beginning.  I don't pre-wash my fabrics before making a quilt.  I am at heart a lazy person and I don't need the extra work and I hate the fraying at the edges.  The only times I pre-wash is if I don't know the origins/quality of the fabric or if I am making a garment that is fitted. (I don't want my perfectly fitted skirt to feel like I have eaten all the pies after I have washed it for the first time, so it is better to get any shrinkage out of the way first!)

A lot of the quilts I make have been gifted and before I gift a quilt I wash it.  There are a few reasons for this - one I like the recipient to know it has already been washed so they don't worry about that first wash, two I love the softening and wrinkly look a quilt gets after the first wash and thirdly I want to make sure if there are any issues eg colours running I have dealt with them.  Yep that's right, although I don't think colours will run, I prepare for and manage for the worst case scenario.

For this first time wash I use the washing machine on a normal warm cycle with a delicate washing liquid (you know the kind you use for your woollens), colour catchers and fabric softener.  Colour catchers can be bought at the supermarket and they do what the name suggests, they catch any colours that may run from a quilt.  For a small quilt I will use 1 or 2 and a larger quilt 3 or 4.  I use fabric softener because I like the smell, not necessarily because I buy into all the advertising.  I remove the quilt immediately from the washing machine after it is finished - you don't want it to sit wet.  I dry the quilt in the dryer on a warm setting.

My reasons for doing this are I want my quilt to be used by the recipient.  I don't want them to be afraid to use it or wash it.  I don't expect them to treat it like a family heirloom that only comes out once in a while.  And I know everyday use may include some abuse - especially if it is a baby quilt!  I would much rather that a quilt is used (and abused) with the understanding that if it were to die, I will make them another one, rather than have it sit in a cupboard.

The quilt I made for my Dad in 2015 returned home to me almost 2 years ago.  It has been washed and dried in the big commercial machines at the Rest Home he lived in, with very little care for sorting of colours in the wash.  It led a hard life and was used a lot.  It is buttery soft, the colours are faded, but it has character of its own.  It did its job and still has snuggles left in it.

The quilts that were on my line yesterday sit on the sofas in our lounge.  One of our cats, Marco only has 3 legs and he does not jump onto the sofa, he grapples his way up using his front paws (and claws) to get onto the sofa.  The quilts see their fair share of cat fur,  biscuit crumbs and the occasional bit of chocolate.  They get washed in just a normal wash, with normal washing powder and fabric softener. 

The quilt on our bed for winter is my liberty quilt - the reason is the dark background hides the muddy paw prints better.  And yes Marco grapples his way onto the bed too.  

I love making quilts.  I love fabrics and the process of choosing fabrics and my next project.  I love the look and feel of quilts.  But they have a purpose and they need to be used and (occasionally abused) to fulfil their purpose.  That means that they need to be washed easily to get rid of the muddy paw prints and biscuit crumbs (Mr S stop feeding Marco milk arrowroot biscuits on the sofa!) to fit into my lifestyle.  I can always make another one.

P.S. the quilts on the washing line - the plus quilt is 6 years old and the log cabin is quite a bit older and they are used every day and are still good for a lot more use and cookie crumbs!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Shop Hop 2019 - Star Light Star Bright

This is my Shop Hop Quilt for 2019.  I have called it Star Light Star Bright.  The wonderful Rayna Clinton of Tui Song Quilting did the amazing quilting.

Registrations have now opened for the 2019 Shop Hop.  This year the theme for the Shop Hop is Stars on Parade.  You can register on line here.

The Shop Hop is on throughout the month of August.  Registrations are $60 and for your $60 you will receive 18 fat eighths of fabric for the project that you have selected, plus a pattern for that project.  You will collect the fabrics as you visit the participating shops, as well as be eligible for a 10% discount on your purchases (there maybe some exceptions).  If you visit all of the shops and get a stamp at each one you will also be in to win one of 9 gift baskets full of lovely sewing goodies.

The participating shops are:
Aimee's Homestead Quilts - Palmerston North
Angels in Gumboots - Ashurst
Busy Bee - Lyall Bay, Wellington
Cherry Pie Bernina - Levin
Crafty Pear - Pahiatua
Fox's Cottage - Foxton
Quilter's Lane - Masterton
Stitchbird - that's us!  - in Kilbirnie, Wellington and
Village Books and Crafts - Palmerston North

Grab a friend or two and join in the fun.  We would love to see you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Family 21st and a Quilt in a Hurry

My niece Izzy has just had her 21st and I needed to make a quilt in a hurry.  I had been unable to get into my sewing room for a couple of months after I broke my ankle.  Mr S was very good at bringing my sewing machine and current projects upstairs and I took over the dining room.  But without access to my full stash I was not feeling inspired to start something new.

With only 3 weeks until the party, I needed something that was quick and with a modern aesthetic.  A google search led me to the Vast quilt from Jeni Baker's Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle.  Just what I needed!  

This quilt fits nicely on a queen size bed.  I used Essex Yarn Dyed Chambray, Lotta Jansdotter's Lemmikki Marja in Pewter, Savannah X-Marks Citrine, Big Sky Dot in StoneDear Stella Hearts in BalticFirelight Many Moons in Navy from Cotton and Steel and a fabric that was already in my stash.  I used the Matilda's Own Wool/Poly Batting, it has a little more loft than 100% cotton batting so the quilting stands out a bit more.

I used an old napkin from my Mum's embroidered cloths for the label for sentimental reasons, so something of my Mum's (Izzy's Granny) went into her quilt.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Hula Hoops - Repurposed to Floral Hoops / Wreaths

Ok so I dropped off the blogging wagon big time.  But part of my New Year resolutions is to try and do more blog posts.  I am also on Instagram which is my quick on line fix - photos with very little text and if you want to you can follow me there my name is @Stitchbirdnz, I tend to post more because it is instantaneous and when your time challenged it is a quick fix.

One of my love hate relationships is the shop window.  How do I make things pretty and attractive to lure people into the shop.  Sometimes the ideas are just there, but others can be a struggle.  The first window of the year is decorated hoops.

These were made from repurposed Hula Hoops and embroidery hoops.  I wrapped the hoops with batting off cuts, then linen, added some handmade fabric flowers, faux leaves and pom poms.  A little bit time consuming, but lots of fun.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Tuesday Stack - Moody

This is my first stack in a while and yes I know it is Wednesday but I did put this together yesterday!  Rather than stacking I have laid these out side by side to show off more of the fabrics.  

From Left to right:

Eden Mosaic Magenta by Tula Pink
Lou Lou Thi Clippings Passion by Anna Maria Horner
Eden Mosaic Moss by Tula Pink
Fashion Magazine Magenta from Suzuko Koseki

My inspiration fabric for this stack was the Lou Lou Thi Clippings Passion.  I love this fabric and have a skirt made from it.  I have also used it in quilts.

This weeks Tuesday Stack is available for sale here.

I hope everyone is managing to stay warm and sew lots!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tuesday Stack - Lil' Red

This week's Tuesday Stack is all about the fairy tale.

From the top:

Calico Days Chicks Red by Lori Holt for Riley Blake
Lil' Red Toss by Stacey Iest Hsu for Moda
I Rome Spot Pink from Kokka
Spot On Pond from Robert Kaufman

I like mixing reds and pink together and I cannot resist a little bit of aqua.  I am also in love with the Lil' Red Doll Panel, the panel includes the doll, her cape, the wolf, pillow and  quilt.  I have already cut a panel ready to sew.

This weeks Tuesday Stack is available for sale here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday Stack - Unicorn Dreaming

Do you believe in Unicorns?  

This week's Tuesday Stack includes:  

Zephyr Gale Teal by Rashida Hale Coleman
Whisper Dashes in Butterscotch by Victoria Johnson
Whisper Butterflies Multi by Victoria Johnson
Fairy Toile in Fuchsia from Dear Stella
Playing Pop Modpop Deco from Art Gallery Fabrics

This week's Tuesday Stack is for sale here.