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Brother XL-3500i, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D
Actually, I do SOAK my fabrics now - in hot water - for a couple of hours now - I had one piece recently that turned the water blood red (it had red in the print, but red was not the dominant color) the moment it got wet!
I think it is the agitation of being washed in the washer and drying in a dryer that makes fabric look 'used/worn' as much as being subjected to hot water and soaking.
"2) I'm lazy (I will have to think of a better word for 'lazy') -" I think you are 'efficient'. You expend a small amount of effort instead of a larger amount after an accident.
I pre wash everything too. While I am concerned about bleeding, my biggest issue is shrinkage. I was amazed to find that every fabric I have prewashed (except batiks) shrinks WOF. I had been measuring the fabric before and after washing and was thinking that maybe I should stop because the purchased yardage was the same. 39" in, 39" out. I never measured WOF. I got a bargain and purchased about 8 yards of a high end fabric. I only needed a yard, so I cut that from the length and washed it. I wanted to see if the metallic had faded so I laid the laundered piece against the unwashed one. I was amazed that it had shrunk almost 3" WOF. After that I started measuring the before and after WOF. It all shrunk. If I'm going to be very careful about cutting and piecing, i don't want the final product to get distorted.
"I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
I'm with jcrow.
Synthrapol and Retayne are not expensive, especially since they are used in small quantities. Synthrapol is similar in composition to Dawn dishwashing liquid, so there is no issue about weird chemicals with it. Not sure about Retayne, but that I use only on "bleeder" fabrics to see if they will stop bleeding. I haven't had a bleeder fabric in several years, so it's pretty much a non-issue.
I always do a first wash of a quilt in Synthrapol with lots of hot water, and have never had a quilt get stained with dye bleeds.
Fabrics will shrink in different proportions when washed by themselves. When quilted to a batting, however, the batting controls shrinkage and does not allow fabrics to shrink or distort more than the batting itself does. I once attended a class with Harriet Hargrave where she passed around an entirely *flannel* quilt she had made to prove that even flannel does not need to be pre-washed if you do a reasonable amount of quilting to bind the layers together.
Unwashed fabrics have more body, making accurate cutting and piecing easier for me. To achieve a similar stabilization with prewashed fabric, I would have to apply starch.
I would call *myself* the lazy quilter! I save the time and energy involved in washing, drying, ironing, and folding fabrics. I can go directly from unpacking my fabric purchases to cutting and sewing a quilt. If we're looking at cost savings, I would venture to say that the cost of my bottles of Synthrapol and Retayne have been paid for several times over by savings in electricity and soap.
Different people are comfortable with different approaches to quilting. I think preferring to prewash is just another one of those comfort-level questions that every quilter has to answer for herself.
Incidentally, I started out as a prewasher! That was several decades ago, and I have to say I have been a very happy non-prewasher for a long time now. For me, it is a great relief not to have to do all that extra work before I can start on a quilt.
Edit: PaperPrincess. Instead of washing and measuring fabrics on their own, try quilting the fabric strips to batting and backing first. I think you will find that the shrinkage on all strips will be the amount that the batting shrinks; the differing amounts that fabrics shrink on their own will become a non-issue.
Last edited by Prism99; 10-19-2012 at 08:49 AM.
I'm with the no pre-wash girls.
I've been doing laundry for about 40 years, give or take a couple. Fabric is fabric and in those 40 years I've had exactly *1* thing pick up a color bleed and it not wash out. And I did that *with* bleach. After getting color catchers I discovered lots and lots of fabrics bleed forever, no matter how many times they've been washed and dried.
Batting controls the fabric shrinkage in quilts. If you don't want shrinkage then either use poly batting or a cotton batting that can be pre-shrunk. For that matter I've even mixed pre-washed and not pre-washed in the same quilt and it was totally fine. You couldn't tell which was which after the quilt was finished and washed.
Pre-washing fabric is an entirely different issue if you're allergic to the finishing chemicals.
I don't want to spend my time washing and ironing fabric. I'd rather just sew.
I am not a pre washer either. I don't want to do all of that ironing. I just make sure I wash the finished quilts in lots of water and a couple of color catchers. I have even did this with a batik braid. As of now, no problems. I am not saying it will never. One day it probably will. I will have to live with the results.
Like I have said before, if I had to wash and iron all of the fabric before I started a quilt, I wouldn't make as many as I do and I sure wouldn't enjoy the process as much.
I used to pre-wash but I am basically lazy and don't like to deal with it all either so don't anymore. (Except for flannel.)
I don't use color catchers, those other chemicals, dryer sheets, or anything else except detergent, either on my cotton clothes or my quilts, and have no issues.
I do test reds but have not found one that bleeds yet. (Test is put a scrap in warm water with soap and let it sit. If it is going to release the color it will do it then.)
I prewashed some fabric just last night. I had one fabric with a black background. I put it in a tub of water to see if it ran. Didn't think it did. Put it in with the rest of the fabric I was washing. A dark pink fabric appeared to run in the tub test, so I soaked it with water and Retayne. When I took the other fabric out of the dryer, I noticed that the fabric with the black background had bled a steak on some light pink fabric. Thank goodness it was only a small streak on only one part. None of the other fabric was bothered. I have enough fabric that I can cut out the streak and still have enough for my quilt. I will be soaking the black fabric with Retayne before I use it, however. I expect all my quilts to be washed, and I wash them myself before I give them away. I don't like bad surprises, and I actually think this saves me time, rather than wastes it.
I am a pre-washer also for the reasons the OP stated and another more important reason (at least to me): I pre-wash to get the chemicals out of the fabric before I do a lot of handling of it. The chemicals make my hands become swollen, extremely dry and itchy. I have a terrible time in a quilt shop because I have to fondle all the fabrics. I love to feel the fabrics. I have a special cream that I got from the dermatologist that I have to apply after fabric shopping and when using pre cuts. I also have fingerless craft gloves that I wear while cutting and sewing. The tips of my fingers still get dry, itchy and cracked due to the exposure to the fabrics but it is better than having both of my hands completely reddened and inflamed. I have an auto immune disorder which affects mostly my skin and each year I am finding more and more things that cause a flare up.
No one has ever become poor by giving. - Anne Frank
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.