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Thread: Allergies & Washing Linty Jelly Rolls

  1. #1
    Ginakra's Avatar
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    I have terrible allergies, am just getting started in quilting, and it seems something in some fabrics, either the lint, dust or chemicals, really gets to me. I bought a couple of jelly rolls from an online store, and they arrived Friday afternoon. They were so "linty" that the bunnies inside the bag, and on the yardage stuck in there with it, were the size you'd find under your fridge. I'm sure I inhaled some of the "lint" while I was peeking in the bag. Well, by Friday night I knew I was in trouble, and for the next two days I was so sick I could barely function. I'm still not feeling well. :(

    So I need some advice, you kind and smart quilters :). Is there any way I can pre-wash and dry these without ruining the width of the strip? Has anyone pre-washed a jelly rolll? Or is it a disaster waiting to happen and I should just send them back? My first yardage pre-washing experience did not go well, and I learned some tips, but cannot use them with these strips.

    I will probably *have* to dry them, because I can't let clothes dry on a rack, the tiny amount of mold/mildew that forms in those short hours gets to me too. I have one of those sweater racks for my dryer, I thought I'd lie the strips on those for cool drying, instead of tumbling them. I will also have to wash them in warm water in the sink to try and get rid of whatever it is in there that's making me sick. Do you think they'll be ok?

    I spent $50 on the jelly rolls and I'd like to hear any experiences or thoughts. I don't want to ruin them by pre-washing. I'd rather just return them.

    Does anyone else have problems with fabrics, especially linty jelly rolls?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Senior Member LovinMySoldier's Avatar
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    If you washed them in the sink like you were planning and then put them on your drying racks they probably will be ok. You might try one or two strips of different fabric (incase you decide to send the jelly rolls back) and see how they handle but I bet you will be fine. When they tumble in the dryer that is the biggest problem. They tend to shred all up especially since both raw edges are so close to each other. Good Luck. Jelly rolls are a lot of fun. Hopefully you can get them dust free so you can play.

  3. #3
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    If you have a lingerie bag you could put them in there. That way they wouldn't get bounced around the washer as bad. Then toss the whole thing in the dryer.

  4. #4
    Super Member noveltyjunkie's Avatar
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    If they affected you that badly, I'd send them back. Handwashing will expose you to the allergen much more than peeking in the bag.

  5. #5
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    You might try wearing a mask until you get them washed and dry or inlist a friend to do this task for you.

  6. #6
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear what happened to you. If I were you, I'd return them.
    That's the problem with jelly rolls, they are very linty. I love using JR but I
    also have to clean my machine twice as much. I've never washed them but
    I do starch the strips heavily before sewing. I think washing would just
    ruin them.

  7. #7
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I would wear a resp. mask and shake them strip by strip outside. Hang the strip in the outside air and let them air out any fumes. Sometimes my eyes tear up in certain fabric stores from the concentration of sizing and dye fumes in the air.

  8. #8
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    If I had that type of allergy to anything - I'd avoid it at all costs. Perhaps you'll have to buy yardage (even 1/3yard) and cut your own strips - or participate in a strip swap that requires swappers to wash first.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
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    i would only hand wash, gently..very gently. and then put on a rack and put a fan on them maybe.
    with your allergies, i am not sure i would deal with any fabric at all!

  10. #10
    mlaceruby's Avatar
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    Are you sure it isn't the chemicals you are having a reaction to?
    I know the fabric cutting makes alot of dust, but you would have dust when you cut them also.
    Have you had reactions to other fabrics or whilein the fabric store?
    I woudl send them back or if you really want to keep them try throwing them in a lingerie bag and do the fluff cycle of the dryer- this will get rid of the lint and dust.
    if you still have a problem with them it is the chemicals.
    And if you have this bad of reactions you may want to get another hobby.
    It's not good for you to keep exposing your self

  11. #11
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Has your specialist suggested a custom resp. mask for you? A co worker I use to work with had to wear one and it wasn't uncomfortable for her to wear when she needed it. I know there must be much nicer ones made now.

  12. #12
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    If it's just this batch of fabric that's making you react so strongly - just return it.

    If it's batiks, it probably wouldn't shrink much, if at all.

    I washed some 2.5 inch cut strips that were not batiks and now they are 2.25 - 2.357 inches wide. (I think it was one of the so-called "better" brands, at that)

  13. #13
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noveltyjunkie
    If they affected you that badly, I'd send them back. Handwashing will expose you to the allergen much more than peeking in the bag.
    I would contact the store, by phone and explain that they are causing you major medical problems...I think they will take it back...if not, a mask is a must.

  14. #14
    Senior Member LaurieE's Avatar
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    I purchased a Moda jelly roll 3 weeks ago and I was so surprised by the large balls of lint. I didn't expect that. Those lint balls went everywhere. I was concerned about how much was getting inside my sewing machine. If I buy another jelly roll, I'm opening it outside and shaking it out real good before I do anything with it.

    I would suggest hand washing the jelly roll or just soaking it in the sink. I would not put the strips through the washer even if you have a lingerie bag to put them in. I believe that is what will stretch and alter the shape of the strips. You'll still get a huge mess and that would be money wasted. If you put them in the dryer, they would be ok in a lingerie bag. The washer has an agitator, the dryer does not.

    In the future when you wash & dry yardage, try washing and drying on delicate. You only want to wash out the sizing. Take the fabric out of the dryer while it is still a little damp. Then fold the fabric like it came off the bolt and iron it while it is damp. That will help to remove those terrible wrinkles due to washing.

    I wish you luck with the fabric.

  15. #15
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I would never prewash a jelly roll. If I had an allergic reaction to it, I'd return it.

  16. #16
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    i have had jelly rolls and charms packs that said "not" to wash it..it also says it in the patterns you see ...

  17. #17
    Ginakra's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies and tips so far, everyone :) To answer some of the questions:

    I don't have reactions to all fabric nor all stores. My Hobby Lobby seemed fine enough, as did Hancock's, but Joann makes me sick every time I walk in there. I'm thinking most of my problem is the airborne lint/dust. So far, no rashes or itchiness from touching fabrics. This weekend, I got really fuzzy-headed, dizzy, congested, and fatigued. This is normal for me allergy-wise. I am worried that cutting fabric is going to be a problem. If so, then I got a LOT of selling "quilting stuff" on ebay to do.

    If I avoided everything that made me feel sick, I'd be the girl in the bubble. ;) I also have fibromyalgia so cutting strips is almost as heinous as the allergy thing. Hence the waffling on whether to wash or return...if I could cut strips without problems, then I wouldn't have thought twice about returning the jelly rolls. However, if they are going to be off-size when I'm done washing, there's no question on returning them, for sure.

    The jelly rolls I got are Moda Hunky Dory, is that the brand that shrank on you, bearisgray?

    Thanks all :)

  18. #18
    Ginakra's Avatar
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    Wow, lots of replies while I was writing, thanks all of you.

    I thought I'd have hubby go outside and dunk the rolls in a bucket of water to eliminate the airborne stuff, then transfer inside to the sink. I do wear a mask for things,I was just surprised by the amount of dust/lint balls in there this time!

    I've read that in the books too, that you shouldn't wash, but I have had to ignore that for so many things due to my allergies and most things come out fine, however, with most things I'm not worried about losing 1/4" from shrinkage so this is totally different! Thought I'd ask if anyone has any real experience. I'll send them back if there is a good chance of them shrinking.

    Looks like that might be the safest thing to do.

  19. #19
    a regular here hazeljane's Avatar
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    If you have those kind of allergies, I bet you have a good vacuum with a good hepa filter?? I think the Jelly rolls are particularly linty because of the pinking dies that they cut them with (the zigzag edges) I would try to, while they are still in a roll, vacuum each side really well. I bring mine out on the front porch and bang them against the railing, which sounds weird, but it gets some of the fluff off.

  20. #20
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    hmmm, Walgreens has those white masks. perhaps you could wear one when quilting to filter out all the stuff that gets into the air. good luck.

  21. #21
    Ginakra's Avatar
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    hazeljane, the mental picture of you banging them on the railing made me laugh. Yes, I have a Hepa filter on my vacuum. I have a really good furnace filter that we change frequently too. :) If I end up washing these, I will ask hubby to vacuum off the sides, so I get rid of most of the dust beforehand. I just wonder if they will continue to produce dust after I wash them, due to those pinked edges. Now that's something I hadn't thought of.

  22. #22
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    If it is affecting you this bad I would send them back.

  23. #23
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    Wow, you did have a reaction. Hope you are better now.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    If it's just this batch of fabric that's making you react so strongly - just return it.

    If it's batiks, it probably wouldn't shrink much, if at all.

    I washed some 2.5 inch cut strips that were not batiks and now they are 2.25 - 2.357 inches wide. (I think it was one of the so-called "better" brands, at that)
    Personally, if it is this batch of fabric, notify the store and request a refund. I used to work in a fabric shop and sometimes an odor is not removed by washing. Since I am asthmatic and on a ton of meds, I would encourage you to always be on the conservative side when receiving/keeping merchandise. Lint, dust, mildew, molds, fragrances, etc. literally take my breath away and wear me out. Quilting is my hobby and my means to sanity. It can be done. Good luck!

  25. #25
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    I use the June Taylor cutting board to cut my strips and other shapes with 90 degree angles. My cuts are accurate and I don't have lint/dust problems.

    Another brainstorm deals with having patterns cut by laser. I had a kit from John Flynn which was precut and didn't ravel. His daughter will give cost estimates for cutting your fabric for your choice of pattern. Just a another brainstorm :-)

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