Sunday, January 20, 2008

The one that didn't wash out

Or how pride goeth before a fall.

Blue wash-out markers are great for marking quilting designs. They mark easily, and wash out well, provided you have not ironed over the marking, which will permanently heat-set it, ruining the quilt.

Fabrics are treated with all sorts of stabilizing chemicals to keep them from warping as they are machine-wound on the bolts. Some people are allergic to the chemicals; that slight wheeze, or the itchy feeling you get when working with fabric may be a sign of such a sensitivity. For a number of reasons, it really is a good idea to prewash your fabric, if at all possible.

A couple of summers ago I bought a quilt kit, primarily because it was cheap, and the alternate plain blocks afforded plenty of room do try out some fancy machine quilting. The colors - 1930's feedsack reproductions in pastels - weren't something I'd normally pick, but the price was right.

The completed churn dash blocks were cute, but the fabric for the plain, alternate squares was just plain ugly. Really, truly bad. I had a few pieces of 1930's prints in my stash, so I cut replacement squares from those. Bear in mind that about six years ago I spent an entire week of vacation washing, ironing, measuring, marking and sorting all the fabric in my stash. Every piece of it. Because I couldn't remember for certain which pieces were washed, and which weren't. Since then, every piece of quilting fabric that has come in the house has been washed prior to being put away.

Remember that.

The completed quilt was absolutely darling, and I felt pretty full of myself when I tossed it into the washer. I wasn't quite as happy when I pulled it out - some of the blue wash-out marker...hadn't. Back in the washer.

I washed the darn thing three times, trying every method I could to get that doggone marker out. The funny thing was that there was only one fabric it did not come out of, as if that particular fabric had a strange affinity for blue marker. Bah. I finally gave up.

The offending fabric is the red one with the white daisies on it - only used in the plain blocks, which means it was a fabric from my stash, and had been through the prewashing routine. Apparently, all the sizing did not come out.

The really ugly fabric (that came with the kit and should have been used for the plain blocks) is the fabric I used here for the binding (had to get rid of it somehow).

So, even though the marker isn't noticeable unless you look for it, I don't feel right using the quilt as a gift. I think I will hang it on the office wall at work, as a reminder to check and double check, since things don't always work the way you expect them to work.

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