July 18, 2017

Do you Pre-Wash Your Fabrics? A sad tale.

This is a sad tale about fabrics.  While making the blocks for the #100Days100Blocks2017 quilt along, I noticed a spotty stain on one of the orange fabrics I had sewn into a block.  Not wanting to finish a quilt with something I could easily change, I took the block into the bathroom and soaked it in the sink.  Imagine my dismay when I returned to the sink to find a DARK pink water.

The block that started it all
Mind you, I always prewash everything, even solid white.  And wash dark fabrics many times or soak until clear. So this was unexpected.  I tested several of the suspect fabrics, and discovered at least 3 problems ones burgundy, magenta, pink--and teal.  Sigh.  What to do since most of the blocks were finished and the plan was to use an off white lattice around them.  Double sigh.  And these were washed before.  Triple sigh.

So one by one I soaked each block with a color catcher until the water was clear.  I had to replace several pieces in a few blocks that absorbed the colors that bled.  Then I soaked all the solids fabrics I had until they were no longer running.  And ironed all the blocks--again. 

And found more stains on the orange fabric.  The orange fabric was staining when I used Mary Ellen's best press.  I have no idea why.  The fabric is 30 years old.  But the stains wash out, so I didn't replace the orange. 

I'm still hoping to use the white lattice.  Am I crazy?--Asking for trouble?  It looks the nicest, but maybe I will rethink it.  It would be horrible to get it all quilted and have it ruined with one wash.  Needless to say, my enthusiasm for this project has waned.

Some of the sets of 4
On a positive note, while ironing all the blocks again (a real pain after soaking--it's hard to get them flat again), I noticed that some go really well together.  And the matching blocks seemed to happen in 4's.  So I decided to sew them together in groups of fours, making them 12" blocks.  So that's a bit of a decision and one step closer to the White or No-White lattice decision.  Would love to hear from you what you think.  Should I risk it, or just go with something darker in between?

May 18, 2017

A Dozen are Done

The first twelve are done.  Not sure how well they are going to look together--may have to separate them into light ones and dark ones or pink ones and blue ones.  Only time will tell--and another 80+ blocks.  I wish I had different pinks and a gold/yellow, but am making a serious effort not to buy any new fabrics for this project.

May 10, 2017

4 Done, 96 to Go!

Finished two more blocks in the 100Days100Blocks2017.  Aren't you just so impressed?  Ok, so it is only two, but I'm trying hard to stay focused.

And in the interest of catching up, these are the Easter baskets I made for the twins.  I put a small stuffed dog (with a cheater quilt) in each with books that starred that sort of dog and some rabbit crackers and some child size spoons and forks.  The dogs and spoons and forks were the hit, although the baskets were carried around a bunch.  Definitely worth the time just watching their delight.  The Easter baskets were made from directions here.  This is the best photo I have before they unwrapped them.
My other spring project was a baby quilt for a nephew's daughter.  I made it in the same colors as a quilt I made for her sister in case they share a room.

I tried to use fabrics with little figures that might be of interest to her older sister.

I used more blocks on the back of the quilt.
And, of course, the older sister needed a quilt of her own for her baby too.

There's something awfully nice about FINISHING something--even if it is just a little doll quilt.

Hope you have a wonderful day and get some time to stitch!

May 08, 2017

100 Days 100 Blocks

It's pretty clear I am not a dependable blog poster.  I do have the best of intentions, but I have been in a slump.  Just can't sew and that's an usual problem for me.  When I'm feeling down, sewing is what helps improve my spirits.  When I can't sew, there's a problem.

In order to shake off the lethargy, I decided to start a new project (naturally), but one that MAKES me do it.  There is currently a sew-a-long using the book, "Tula Pink's City Sampler, 100 Modern Quilt Blocks".  It started May 7, and you are supposed to sew a block a day for 100 days.  100 Days 100 Blocks. So far on Day 2, I'm going strong.

I dithered for several days beforehand about which fabrics to use, but then my eyes landed on a bin of solid fabrics that I started buying over 20 years ago to make an Amish Quilt.  I couldn't decide WHICH Amish quilt, so I decided it would go faster if I cut strips of each in different sizes.  DUMB idea.  Storing them so they don't get frayed is a pain and takes up space.  My recommendation is "don't do it"--leave the fabrics as uncut fabrics until you know what you're doing.  Anyway, I sorted the colors to get what I would call "colors of flowers plus or minus a few".

The fabrics did not play particularly well with each other.   Some are drab, dating from when the "dusty" colors were popular.  Others are brighter.  And honestly, they are kind of yucky.  I almost quit then and there, but decided that this enforced sewing would be an excellent opportunity to use colors together that I would never choose and to learn how to work with solid colors, without the benefit of the design or colors of a print helping tie fabrics together.  So, that's the plan.  We will see how well it goes.

Here's Block One:

And Block Two:

While they look uneven, they aren't all that bad.  I'm just a challenged photographer. 

The blocks are being posted on Instagram, and there are some fabulous fun ones with fussy cutting of prints (I miss being able to do that!).  Look for the hashtag, #100Days100Blocks2017 if you'd like to see them.  My profile is Catsmeowtwo.  As this is my first attempt at Instagram on my son's old phone (long story), it's been a real learning experience.  Here's hoping this will jump start my sewing again.

Happy Stitching!