Thursday, December 11, 2014

Merry - A Curvy Quilt with Color Problems

Last week I showed you the quilting on my curvy quilt I named Merry.  As I've said before, I no longer pre-wash my quilting cottons.  I do pre-wash flannel, but that is to ensure the top and batting do as much or more shrinking than the flannel that I'm using as a backing.  I usually wash quilts after they are finished to make sure anything that has been picked up by the fabrics during the construction and quilting processes is removed before gifting.  I occasionally use spray starch.  Sometimes sewing machine oil gets onto the quilt from the long arm.  I handle all those pieces, blocks, fabrics and batting during construction, they are all pressed several times.  This is after the manufacturing process puts a myriad of chemicals onto the fabric.  I think washing isn't just a nice thing to do, I think it is something that makes the quilt complete.
Today we're going to talk about how I had some of the fabrics in this quilt pick up some of the residual dye from other fabrics.  I say some because it is only some.  This is the first time I've had anything quite like this happen and I thought it would be good info to share.  This photo is of the finished quilt after washing.  The square of fabric is a leftover that was not washed.  As you can see, the color of the fabric hasn't changed much with washing.  The light isn't perfect, I was using indirect daylight through my window.  Winter in the northern hemisphere does not make for great indoor photos.
Next, we have another piece of fabric before and after washing.  This fabric has been in my stash for a long time.  It was pre-washed.  Again, not much difference between the washed and unwashed fabrics.
This is another older piece that was pre-washed.  The block on the left is the fabric we're looking at for this comparison.  Again, not much difference between the pre-washed and the finished quilt.  The fabric on the right is what's interesting.
This is where things get interesting.  This fabric picked up some of the red in the quilt after washing.  This fabric came from either pre-cuts or a piece of coordinating print I had on-hand.
This fabric picked up even more of the red after washing.  This fabric was from either pre-cuts or a coordinating piece of fabric.  Only the fabrics from this line from this maker picked up the residual dye from some other fabric (my best guess is that it came from a solid red of unknown origin meaning it could be from one of several different manufacturers).  No other white fabric in the quilt, pre-washed or not, picked up any of this dye.  My conclusion is that the quality of the fabric is to blame.  I'm not blaming the red, though it is suspect.  I'm blaming this line of fabric as it is the only fabric that picked up any excess dye.
Overall I don't think it detracts that much from the overall design of the quilt.  If you're thinking maybe that fabric was something cheap from a chain store you should rethink that.  Two of the white-on-white prints were from chain stores and likely from ten years ago or more.  Two of those fabrics did not pick up any of the red.  The fabric that did pick up the red was quality quilting cotton that you can get at hundreds of quilt shops and pay top dollar for, too.
After it was finished and washed and stained and everything else, I had to capture the quilting from the back side.  I love how all the different quilting motifs show up in their own graceful way.  I used four thread colors for the quilting on this quilt.  You can really only see the red and white from the back.  The green and gold is much harder to see from this distance.
Not such a close-up lets you see the color a little better.
What am I going to do about the discoloration?  Not one damn thing.  It is still a very striking quilt that I put numerous hours into.  It is a beautiful piece of usable art that will function just fine as a quilt.  I will not let the fault of a piece of fabric defeat me.  I will not bemoan my hours of time and talent on something less than perfect.  I wasn't aiming for perfect.  I was aiming for a quilt.  In my book that makes this one a success.

I'm not going to ask about pre-washing or not pre-washing.  That discussion has been had until I would rather not talk about it.  Ever.  No, really.  Not.  Ever.  Again.  

My question for today is have about label placement.  When you label a quilt do you put the quilt near the top or the bottom edge of the quilt or somewhere else? (This is all relative since what the maker thinks is the top edge may not be the same as everyone else's.)

Linking up with Quiltville's very merry linky party.

1 comment:

  1. I like to sew my rectangular label into a bottom corner. Usually the left corner, but sometimes I don't pay attention. :-) Two sides are even with the raw edges of the quilt and therefore get caught up when the binding is applied. The other two sides are turned under and hand-appliqued in place. Lately, I've also taken to putting fusible webbing on the back of my labels so that the entire label *sticks* to the quilt. Otherwise, my labels (being of a larger size) tend to "puff" up because they are not quilted down,

    Not that this has ever happened to me, but I've read of quilts being stolen, the labels removed so the identifying information is no longer with the quilt. Sewing the label as part of the quilt helps to thwart this process. There are various ways to do that .. the most 'secure' is to actually *piece* the label as part of the backing, so that if the attempt is made to remove the label, what is left is a huge HOLE in the backing. For my quilts, that's a bit of overkill.

    The next level is to applique the label to the backing and then quilt over it. If the label is removed, the quilting needs to be redone in that area. I don't like quilting over the label because it distorts the writing.

    Then comes the version that I use .... securing the label into the binding. Removing these labels would require the binding to be re-stitched.

    The least "secure" method is simply to applique the label someplace on the backing. If this label is removed, there is nothing to indicate that a label was ever there and no further work needs to be done to "repair" the quilt.

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