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Thread: HELP! I need help with washing my stash.

  1. #26
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    WOW, I guess I am lucky. I never have had to wash my stash because it was so difficult to get it done and ironed. That was taking time away from quilting. Now I have to pay $2.25 a load and being cash poor, I couldn't afford it at this point in my life. So sorry that all of you have reactions to chemicals. There always seem to be nemesis stuff that we have to deal with in our daily life. I am suppose to cut down on my sodium. WOW, there sure is a lot in everyday food !! YIKES !!
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  2. #27
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    I know some fabrics and thread used to kick up my asthma. I cannot imagine the discomfort with skin allergies with fabric.

    Do you have a really nice quilting/sewing buddy nearby. Maybe that person could machine zigzag the edges of the material for you. If not, would you be able to do the edges yourself wearing nonlatex gloves or would that otherwise bother you?

    I agree with using the mesh bags [or making some] for little pieces when washing.
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  3. #28
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    I'm sorry to hear of your problem, but I agree with whomever said they would wash all NEW fabric as it came into the house and just wash the stash as you decide to use it. Maybe wear some gloves when you need to handle old stash, and keep the old separated from the new?

  4. #29
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeanne S View Post
    I have noticed that most of the strings/tangles occur in the dryer not the washer.
    Exactly!! I wash all my fabrics on gentle cycle and snip off any long threads before putting them into the dryer. It takes a little bit of time (not much, really), but there are no tangles, threads, or knotted up fabrics coming out of the dryer and I can fold for storage right away. I don't iron until I'm actually going to use the fabric and the remaining short threads get cut off when squaring up the fabric at that time. This way has worked for me for more than 15 years.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  5. #30
    Super Member Jeanette Frantz's Avatar
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    I started running the fabric through the serger to stop the thread tangle. I try to do that to all the fabric that comes in, if it's to be prewashed (which is almost everything). No ravels there!

    Jeanette

  6. #31
    Senior Member Prissnboot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PenniF View Post
    I have found that the easiest and quickesgt way - though you will waste about an inch of fabric - is to sew the cut edges together making a fabric "tube"....takes a few seconds per piece of fabric........after you wash and dry it, cut away the stitched edge and press as usual.
    I've tried this, and notice a crease in the center opposite the seam...I don't do this anymore. I don't zigzag the edges, just do a 1/8" seam down each cut edge of the fabric before washing, and it works fine for me. If the fabric frays and I end up cutting it free from each other, then it frays, but I'm a huge fan of pre-washing so I just deal with it. I had a MUCH SMALLER STASH when I first started quilting, left over from babydoll clothes making days, so I spent one weekend prewashing everything and now I prewash everything as soon as I bring it in the house. I smooth it out but don't iron it, rather I iron it before cutting, so there's no question whether it's been prewashed or not. I would use gloves (latex?) when handling the fabric while preparing to wash it. Good luck, and remember not to wipe your eyes, face, or other parts of your body while handling unwashed fabric!
    She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight.

  7. #32
    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for all of your suggestions. I just washed the second load on the gentle cycle, and very few strings. I did not want to cut all those corners off! I did add some Oxyclean and not all of it washed out, so I am re-washing the load, and will not put any in future loads. I guess I don't really need any soap since I am just rinsing chemicals out, not any kind of dirt....
    If you always do, what you have always done, The results never change. Change is the wings you give yourself.

  8. #33
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    If you don't have mesh bags, what about loosely packing pillow cases, pin them close, then use the gentle/delicate cycle and low or air dry in the dryer.

    For the longer than 1 yd pieces I open them up to full width then baste the ends together. Could you use your lime colored gloves to do this? Wish I was closer so I could help you. Hang in there. Have you discussed with your doctor whether or not you should sew in the same room with lots of unwashed fabric?

    Hope you can deal with this soon and relatively easily. Joyce in DE

  9. #34
    Super Member Teddybear Lady's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Prism99;6611367]Cutting off the corners never worked for me either.

    For pieces 1 yard or more in length, I would accordion fold (about 12" per fold) and then safety pin the edges together.

    For smaller pieces (1/2 yard or so) I would invest in some mesh bags and put one in each bag. (Check the Dollar Store first for these.)



    I've used the safety pin method and the mesh bag and it does work. I've also been know to put some fabric in an old pillowcase and safety pin it shut and put it through the wash. Everything came out just fine.
    I used to get dizzy and sick when I went into a fabric store or a clothing store. I guess all the dyes made me feel like that. It doesn't happen anymore. I hope your hands get better.

  10. #35
    Super Member mike'sgirl's Avatar
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    Sorry I have no other suggestions other than possibly use the delicate cycle on your washer? Agitation is usually less intense on that cycle and might prevent some tangles???? Good luck.[/QUOTE]


    This what I was thinking as well.

  11. #36
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PenniF View Post
    I have found that the easiest and quickesgt way - though you will waste about an inch of fabric - is to sew the cut edges together making a fabric "tube"....takes a few seconds per piece of fabric........after you wash and dry it, cut away the stitched edge and press as usual.
    This works very well. It also prevents twisting and tangling of long pieces of fabric. I also sometimes use the serger to serge each end instead of sewing the ends together.
    One step at a time, always forward.

  12. #37
    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    The delicate cycle seems to be doing the job. Thank you all for the suggestions. I do not sew in the room my fabric is stored in.
    If you always do, what you have always done, The results never change. Change is the wings you give yourself.

  13. #38
    Super Member charsuewilson's Avatar
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    I understand the mess of threads when washing a bunch of fabric. We had a flood in the basement, and everything was wet and some was moldy. So, any sewing of edges was not an option.

    I've purchased some hand-made batiks with zigzagged and others serged, so I was going to suggest that. But the baste the ends together sounds like that may work, too, and it would be faster than zigzagging. I'd wear gloves to do it. It doesn't have to be a perfect seam, so any loss of sensitivity from the gloves wouldn't matter. You can buy the gloves that look like plastic bags in the food service section at Sams/Costco. Then there are the surgical gloves, and if you're sensitive to latex, there are latex free surgical gloves.
    Sue Wilson

  14. #39
    Super Member MaryKatherine's Avatar
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    I Fold my fabric in half twice and sew a seam about 1/2 inch in. After its washed and dried I cut it open on the seam line. That gets rid of all the threads bother.
    MaruKatherine
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  15. #40
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    This sounds like a very big project. My response is to wash a load every day and deal with that load and then go on to something more rewarding. I'm not sure if your body responds negatively to touching the fabric or if you would get the same response to fabric stored in a stash. I keep most of mine in closed containers to keep them clean (no dust) and to protect from the light. If you store in closed containers you could wash just what you need for a project. Systematic approach to getting them the way you need them will allow you to continue to quilt. I do think we all need to be aware that fabrics do have chemicals that we need to deal with. I am always amazed at the amount of fabric stuff I find on my glasses every day as I work with fabric.

  16. #41
    Super Member abdconsultant's Avatar
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    I put no more than 6 yards of fabric in a rinse cycle, very few threads. Be sure to cut any threads before drying.
    Just passing through!

  17. #42
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    I also had to wash my entire stash. My autoimmune syndrome was affecting my lungs and I also was having blisters on the palms of my hands. My pulmonologist asked me to stop quilting for 3 months to see if that was causing or exacerbating my problems. The blisters went away and my breathing improved. So, I washed everything and yes, I dealt with all the strings. Now every fabric (except charms and strips sets) goes immediately to the laundry room. I wish you healing and renewed fun with your quilting; it will be okay.

  18. #43
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    I serge the raw edges before washing.

  19. #44
    Super Member karenpatrick's Avatar
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    You could pink the ends and then they wouldn't ravel.

  20. #45
    Super Member faykilgore's Avatar
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    I don't use soap, but I always wash fabric in HOT water. The purpose is to shrink and remove any bleeding color. Hopefully the hot water will remove the chemicals.
    Fay

    "You can't help that. We're all mad here." - The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.

  21. #46
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    I was watching an episode of Fons&Porter and there was a section where quilters write in with suggestions. One was to fan fold your fabric and safety pin the top and bottom of the folds. It works

  22. #47
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    I have a surger and surged my edges, like the idea of basting edges together too.

  23. #48
    Super Member wraez's Avatar
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    oh I feel for you! I do not prewash my fabric because of the threads but more so because I hate ironing it, some of the fabrics come out sooooooo wrinkled and I can't seem to get them out like I want. So I launder the quilt after I'm finished with it.
    Warm quilt hugs, Sue in CA
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  24. #49
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    Whenever I go into a fabric shop I cough my head off, my hands get super dry from handling fabric, after reading this thread I think I plan to wash my stash as well. Thanks for bring this to my attention.
    Mother yourself just as you would your own children, you will be surprised how much better you feel...Debbie Marie

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by athomenow View Post
    What would happen if you put a piece or two in a mesh bag (or several mesh bags) and wash them like that? I also have washed material that I bought at a flea market or thrift store and just dealt with the tangles. I don't know that I could take on washing cabinets full at one time. Can you just wash what you're going to need for a particular project and not the whole lot? I don't have any good ideas!
    I use mesh bags or was thinking of one of those pillow case covers that are zippered and would hold more fabric.

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