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Thread: long arm question

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Cypress, Texas by the way of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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    Good morning. I have a question that may seem silly but....After you have a quilt quilted using 80/20 batting, do you wash before you bind or after. Being a hand quilter, I always washed after binding and had no shrinkage problems ( quilt stayed squared) until I washed one I had long arm quilted that I was planning to put in a show. Well, it took 2 people really tugging to square this up. Now I have a good number of quilts that have been quilted by a long arm quilter, but have never been washed. Will I have a problem when washed in cold water? I always pre-wash my fabric. Advice will be appreciated. By the way, the quilt mentioned got 2 blue ribbons.
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  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Being longarm quilted doesn't matter anymore than any other type of quilting, in my opinion. I have a longarm, and used to handquilt as well as freemotion on my Singer, so have done them all. I find what makes the most difference in any quilt, regarding the washing, is the fabrics themselves, the batting, and even to a lessor extent, the thread (type and tension).

    80/20 will shrink about 3%. 70/30 and 100% cotton shrinks more. Poly hardly any all (some of my best looking quilts after washing are poly batting). I've read that 100% cotton fabric will continue to shrink and change when washed up to 3 times. In other words, they will continue to shrink for the first 3 washings, then after that they are considered 'stable'.

    When you do wash a quilt, take it out wet and block it. I do this with any wall hangings and show quilts to help them be straight and square. It's a chore, and it's why I don't wash them often (among other reasons). Sometimes I'll dry a bit, then block. Never over-dry or the shrinkage will be worse.

    I don't know if this helps you or not. I'm sorry you're surprised by this, but frankly, I'm not, as it happens most of the time. I do hope it helps some. Perhaps look for some testing results, or do some yourself, to determine what amount of shrinkage is acceptable to you, using battings that are common in your area or that you like to use. I know some 'name brand' fabrics also do continue to shrink pretty bad...

    Debbie in Austin

  3. #3
    Super Member sewwhat85's Avatar
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    that is all very interesitng

  4. #4
    Senior Member Shelley's Avatar
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    I have large pieces of foam insulation that I lay on the floor of the studio. For show quilts, I will bind, wash, and while wet, lay it on the foam and pin the quilt so that it is square. I have a laser square (don't tell my husband!!) that I bought at a hardware store. It so easy to line it up that way.

  5. #5
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    Good idea, Shelley. Foam insulation is affordable and lightweight enough for us to handle. How do you "piece" two boards together for a large quilt? Is it a problem making them stay put?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Shelley's Avatar
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    Not a problem. They just lay on the floor. I put flannel on the other side, so they do double duty as design walls, too.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
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    where do you buy foam insulation? I love this hint.
    Donna

  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    To the question about when to bind, you should definitely do it before washing. I always wash quilts in cold water, but I pre-wash my fabrics in hot water. If the quilts are square after quilting, they should stay relatively square after a cold-water wash, and if not the blocking techniques that Debbie and Shelley suggested should take care of it.

    You can find the foam insulation at Home Depot or Lowes.

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