Wash all the material BEFORE you begin working on your project and use a Color Catcher in the machine. If it comes out as white as it went in, your fabric was really colorfast, if it comes out any color other than white, just image what that would have done to your finished product. We are mostly using reds and navy blues which have a tendency to bleed – even Batiks will bleed in these colors, so to prevent ruination of your finished quilt, washing before hand is a wise move. If you prefer to have the ‘stiffened’ condition that new material has, you can always apply spray starch or fabric sizer to the washed fabric.
There are a couple of reasons WHY we also wash the finished quilt.
1)Think about how long the material was in your stash, how long you spent on the quilt – cutting, ironing, being distracted, having a pet in the room, maybe even sometimes laying on it – in other words, dust, your skin oils and pet dander just may have gotten on the quilt top during the process. And, if your top was sent off to a long-armer, you can’t be certain that the quilt was handled in a sterile environment (naturally all our long-armers are careful of your quilt top, but they are human and do have to touch the quilt to mount it on their frame - and add their skin oils)
2) These quilts are given in ‘thanksgiving’ for service to our country. We are proud to be presenting them, and they should be in the best condition that they can be in – like the ‘spit polish’ inspections our service people are accustomed to doing. Just because the material was washed before the quilt was made does not preclude the requirement to wash the quilt upon completion (besides, it fluffs it up nicely).
Once again, use the Color Catcher – I’ve had some Batiks (navy blue) lose dye even after the third washing. And, there is nothing more heart breaking than to have a quilt come out with the red dye run into the white – or if you have a large machine like I do, it bleeds onto another quilt as well. I’ve personally suffered this distress more than once – especially when I completed someone else’s quilt without knowing if the material was pre-washed or not.
Sometimes OXYCLEAN can remove most of the bleeding dye, if sprayed directly on the spot(s). It’s like Almond Joy – sometimes it won’t. But an additional washing (third time is the charm) will mellow it out without really fading all the material colors in the balance of the quilt.
Just like measure twice, cut once – wash twice and present with pride!!!