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Thread: I need advice from someone who crochets

  1. #1
    Junior Member RainydayQuilter's Avatar
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    I need advice from someone who crochets

    I have come into possession of 144 7" granny squares. The crocheting seems to be very well done, they are all the same size and the stitches are consistent. The squares just need to be attached to each other and then a border added around it. Here's my problem - they came from a home of a smoker. They reek of cigarette smoke. They are in a zipper clear plastic bedding type bag and you can still smell them. There is no way I'll be able to put them together without coughing up a lung (asthma). Can I soak/wash them as they are, or would it turn into a disaster? Also can anyone suggest what to use to get the smoke smell out of them, I don't know when she started them or got them to this stage of completion. I do know their home had 2 serious smokers living in it. Thank you in advance for any and all ideas, if I can't get the smoke smell out of them I'm going to have to pass this UFO along to someone else to finish.
    People are like stained-glass windows.
    They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
    but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty
    is revealed only if there is a light from within.

  2. #2
    Super Member alfosa421's Avatar
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    Get a laundry bag or a couple of pillow cases and put them in there to wash. Believe it or not Pine Sol in the laundry water may just do the trick. My parents were both big smokers and we used that. If you are not comfortable with that smell because of the asthma(the Pine Sol) try vinegar White is odorless and removes o lot of smoke residue on surfaces so it should work on the squares. the bags will prevent snags on the yarn and I get them at Dollar General if you have one near you or even WalMart would have some kind of laundry bag. Good Luck

  3. #3
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    BE CAREFUL! People used to make them out of wool yarn. If you use hot water, they will shrink. My sister made afghans out of wool granny squares, and I couldn't sit near them. They made me itch.

  4. #4
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    I would first try Febreeze ing them and putting in a plastic garbage/storage bag for a few days. If you can deal with febreeze, that is. Do this outside, if possible. Leave for a few days. Take them out of the bag outside as well. If current weather in your area permits, leave them outside for a couple of days. This is why, as a smoker myself, I don't do swaps, etc. I know there are plenty of people that the smell is horribly offensive. I ALWAYS advise anyone I am trading/swapping/donating things to that this is the situation in my home and give them the option of not accepting. I always febreeze and put into a ziplock bag anything that I may be sending along with a note as to state of fabric/smell so they can treat/not use accordingly.

  5. #5
    Super Member QuiltingVagabond's Avatar
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    Also get rid of the bag they came in, it will have absorbed the smell as well.
    QuiltingVagabond aka Kathy

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bonnie's Avatar
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    How about baking soda. Worked for skunk odor, don't know why it wouldn't work for smoke...

  7. #7
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    The tip I saw ( I believe on QB) was Safeguard soap. They said only Safeguard would work. Close in a bag for a few days. I'm going to try it.

  8. #8
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
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    Test wash one block. If it doesn't shrink, then put the other blocks in a mess laundry bag and toss in the washer and the dryer. If the test block shrinks, then the rest will need to be washed in cold water and blocked to dry.

  9. #9
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    Don't forget. The colour catcher.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  10. #10
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    Put them in an old pillow case with Dial Gold soap bar wrapped in tissue paper. Close the pillow case, and leave for 4 or 5 days. It has to be Dial Gold the other Dial soaps don't work.
    Love to quilt and play with the great grandkids

  11. #11
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    The best way I have gotten rid of any textiles that have a smoke smell/residue is to let them soak in a bucket or type of plastic container with white vinegar and water overnite. Rinse and do it again and kind of swishing. I do put them into laundry bags. I have 1/2 doz of them and use them all the time. You can get them for as little as a dollar. Then I wash in regular laundry detergent and add a little Arm and Hammer laundry booster. All the while these pieces are in the bags. Fabreeze only masks the odor. Fabreeze washes out and you still have the smoke smell.

  12. #12
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    if you arent sure if the yarn is wool or not i would put them outside for a few days maybe a porch or garage to air them outor use the dial soap like suggested
    QUILTNMO

  13. #13
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    If you have a washer with an agitator, put detergent and white vinegar in washer as it is filling with cool/cold water(no granny squares yet).
    Let the washer agitator just to mix detergent/vinegar well, add granny squares. Agitate just enough to get all squares wet.
    Stop washer and let everything soak 15-30 min. Let spin only long enough to empty of water-stop, let go to rinse(same as wash-don't agitate) spin water out; rinse second time same way; on last spin let it spin a little longer then before.

    Put in a cool temp setting on dryer or air only. Either way it will take a long time to dry. You could take out of dryer after brief time and dry on a rack.

    The main thing is to not to use hot water and to not let the spin cycle of washer wring the items too much and not to have dryer temp too hot.

    If you have new type washer that won't let you stop it mid-cycle, maybe you have a "hand wash" cycle? I do and love it as it is much like a hand washing, with periods of soaking and light spinning.
    Things come out much wetter than a regular cycle but that's ok as too much spin is what causes shrinkage.
    Sally

  14. #14
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    I have found this tip very helpful Put all squares in a big box but first open a can of coffee and put in container leave for a few days then smell should be gone

  15. #15
    Junior Member Retiredandquilting's Avatar
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    I have had very good luck with Glade's Fabric and Air. I recently had a dress from the 40's that had that awful "old, stored" smell. I sprayed it with the Fabric and Air and the smell was completely eliminated. I went on to make Memory Teddy Bears from the dress. The Fabric and Air also left to spots on the fabric (it was a satin), and the odor was completely gone, and stayed gone.
    Sue In Bloomfield, NY

  16. #16
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    I would try everything else before washing. Are they made of yarn or crochet thread? The thread would probably wash well, but if there is any wool at all you don't want to agitate in the machine. If you have a clothesline you could Febreeze them and hang them out for a while when the sun is out and see what that does.

  17. #17
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    Well I have asthma too so I feel your pain!! I would not use any of the soaps, I am one who does not visit the soap aisle at the store, sets me off.

    I recommend white vinegar or baking soda perhaps 2 or 3 times. (If you have a piece of yarn you can spare from these blocks - take a small piece and set a match to it, if it blisters & turns hard its synthetic, if it just burns it may be wool.)

    Hope it works for you.

  18. #18
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    soak in vinegar overnite, rinse then wash with arm & hammer washing soda, then another cycle with your regular laundry detergent. make sure first that they are not wool. If there are yarn ends that need to be worked in you can snip off a small piece & do the burn test.Wool or cotton leaves a soft usually grey ash - wool smells sort of like wet chicken feathers - to me at least. Man made fibers will leave a hard, usually black ash - it appears more as if it melted rather than burned.

    Shirley in Indiana

  19. #19
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    another thing that might work is unscented cat litter. put some litter in a shallow pan. put the squares in a pillowcase, or muslin bag, spreading them out in flat stacks. fold it closed, put that in the pan, and then "bury" in in more litter. leave it for a couple of days, and then toss the litter. repeat the process until all of the squares have had a chance to "air" near the largest concentration of clean litter. (i've used this trick with papers, books, and magazines, as well. they are porous, and soak up any smell they're near, just like fabric.)
    "life is a banquet, and most poor fools are out there, starving to death!"--"auntie mame"

  20. #20
    Member createquilt's Avatar
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    my husband was a smoker until he had his 5 way bypass surgery. I too love to crochet and my yarn always smelled like smoke. One day I took a plastic container and put an afghan in it and 2 snuggles fabric softener sheets and left it for a week sealed up. Best thing I ever did now even though he doesn't smoke any more I still put a fabric softener sheet in with my yarn until I am ready to use. It really does work and you won't have to wash until you want to.

  21. #21
    Member faithcreates's Avatar
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    All the suggestions are great, but one thing most people forget about using is borax. It's really good at taking out bad odors from fabrics. You can either soak your blocks in it or you can run a cycle thru your washer using just borax first, then a second time around using your laundry soap and borax together.

    Faith

  22. #22
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    Several years ago, a friend of mine had a beautiful cashmere sweater. Another friend borrowed it 'out' one evening and came back with nasty cigarette smoke embedded into the sweater. She had no clue how to clean the smell out, so I suggested white vinegar. As she didn't want her sweater in the washer, I took my large stainless steel pot that has a pasta colander and placed the sweater in the bottom of the pot. I put the colander in the pot over the sweater, set a glass bowl of vinegar in the colander, and put the lid on the pot. We left the sweater in there for less than a day. The vinegar soaked up the smells and did not leave a vinegary smell in the sweater. We couldn't even tell our friend had worn it to the bars. And the vinegar had no effect on the stainless steel.

  23. #23
    Junior Member RainydayQuilter's Avatar
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    I apologize to everyone for my rude behavior - starting a new thread and then disappearing for days. Thanks for everyone's advice, I knew someone here would be able to help me. I'm pretty sure that they were made with just common everyday yarn and not wool (I clipped off a hanging tail and did the burn test.)

    I'm going to hedge my bets and do bits and pieces of almost everyone's advice. I stopped at the store after work and bought both safeguard and dial gold, I'm going to start with putting the squares in a copy paper box with a couple bars of soap (both brands) and then leave closed for a couple of days. And then will see what kind of smell I have. I'm leaning toward washing them before I try to work with them. If they still smell i'll try the vinegar soak. Finally, I'll probably wash them. I have 2 of the mesh laundry bags, i'll pick up a couple more to use (thanks for the idea, I had not thought of using them for this). I'll probably wash them with with borax or the vinegar soak, stopping the agitator as someone suggested. With that I'm off to start the first step in my great "get rid of the smoke smell" experiment.
    People are like stained-glass windows.
    They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
    but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty
    is revealed only if there is a light from within.

  24. #24
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    I have asthma too and I can tell you that febreeze has the worst odor and sets me off something awful. It makes it very hard because people think it really does take odors out and it really adds a cover up odor that is awful.
    The thrift stores use febreeze a lot and it is hard to shop in those that do that. I have put things full of cigarette smoke outside for as long as I could and that helps and may be worth a try. The other ideas sound good too. I may try the viniger trick to take the febreeze odor out of things.
    Lynda



    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    I would first try Febreeze ing them and putting in a plastic garbage/storage bag for a few days. If you can deal with febreeze, that is. Do this outside, if possible. Leave for a few days. Take them out of the bag outside as well. If current weather in your area permits, leave them outside for a couple of days. This is why, as a smoker myself, I don't do swaps, etc. I know there are plenty of people that the smell is horribly offensive. I ALWAYS advise anyone I am trading/swapping/donating things to that this is the situation in my home and give them the option of not accepting. I always febreeze and put into a ziplock bag anything that I may be sending along with a note as to state of fabric/smell so they can treat/not use accordingly.

  25. #25
    Super Member IrishgalfromNJ's Avatar
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    What a haul. I made a granny square afghan with 80 - 8" squares and it's huge so 144 - 7" squares is a lot of granny squares. I hope you have fun putting them together once you get them aired out.

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