A New Way to Wash

That title could mean so many things in our current times, no?

I am really thankful that I was able to get out and buy backing fabric for three quilts before all this (though I do regret not being willing/able to schedule a hair appointment).  While I was at the store, one of the ladies asked if I knew the trick to washing without all the unraveling and wrinkles.  I wasn't aware of it, so she briefly described it.  When I was ready to wash, I Googled it do get a better description and some images too.

I used the directions found here.  

What follows is a series of photos of the process.  I had two large pieces of fabric.  I think they were 6.5 and 7.5 yards.  So.  The first thing you have to do is unfold the fabric and open it out. If you're going to try this and don't have strong arm and shoulder muscles, you will want someone to help you. I was really feeling the burn with this amount of yardage on my own.  Note to self:  use the resistance band more.
Next you are going to accordion fold the fabric.  I did 18" to 20" folds because that's what I could manage folding on my own.  I also tucked in the raw edges.  
A side note on the raw edges--many people have suggested to me that I either a.  serge, zig-zag, or somehow finish the raw edges or b. clip the corners of each raw edge before washing.  Okay.  One, I am too lazy to sew the edges of the fabric before washing.  Two, I have tried the corner clipping many times and it just does not work for me.  Also, I am pretty much always going to wash my fabrics ahead, other than charm squares or jelly roll strips.  I want all the surprises to happen before I spend the time and effort of making something.  I want things preshrunk as much as possible.  And it doesn't hurt to wash away whatever chemical or dust remnants that might be lingering.

Moving right along, after I accordion folded the first piece, I laid it out on my laundry room counter, aligned all the selvedge edges as much as I could, and begun the hard work of pinning all the edges together.  This is a great time to use your quilt basting safety pins.  Make sure you don't use any rusted ones.  I pinned every couple of inches.  Some parts were really easy to pin through and some were quite difficult.  I pinned through a few layers at a time instead of trying to jam the pin all the way through.  My method was to place a few layers onto the pin, push them down, place a few more layers on, push, continue, until I made it through all the layers.  I did make sure that I placed a pin where I had folded in the raw edges.
After I finished one end of the fabric, I rotated the piece and pinned the other side.
Then I repeated the process with the second piece of fabric.  

I then placed both pieces into the washing machine.  I used a small amount of detergent and used the gentle cycle.  I felt that the two pieces were balanced pretty well and did not need anything additional in with them.  I might have reconsidered if I only had one piece.  My washer is exceptionally finicky about being in balance. 
Here's how they looked at the end of the washing cycle.
I threw both pieces into the dryer when I was finished.  I ran them on low for 40 minutes. The pinned ends were still somewhat wet when I pulled them out, but they air-dried quite quickly.  They look really good.

I had very minimal unravelling.
They will need a light pressing, but there are no crazy creases.  An unexpected bonus is that the center fold line is not visible.

I will definitely use this method in the future.

In other news, you all are well aware that the nation is essentially shut down.  I urge you to take this seriously.  Please don't go anywhere unless you absolutely need to (food, doctor, work).  If everyone would just *^%$$^&* stay home, this will pass much more quickly.  If people continue to disregard the risk, this will drag out forever. Please consider that your friends, family, or others you come in contact with may have compromised immune systems or other issues you may not be aware of. Be considerate and protect yourself AND others.  You would feel horrible if you blithely went out, got mildly ill, exposed others, and they DIED. Think of the risk to the doctors, nurses, and medical support staff and cleaning people. Please don't be selfish.

Other than the boredom, this really isn't so bad, is it?  We have so many things now that people under quarantines in the past didn't have.  While we are not physically present, we can still communicate easily. We can FaceTime or Skype.  We have cell phones and internet.  There's social media, for better or worse. We have electricity.  The weather is getting nicer, so you can go for walks around your neighborhood or around your yard.  We are not truly isolated like people of the past were.  A little sacrifice now isn't the end of the world.  Maybe our kids miss some events, or you can't go on your vacation right now.  Better than the alternative.  

I realize that not everyone is privileged to have all the luxuries I mentioned above.  If you are able, please help out your fellow citizens.  Maybe you can share some groceries with someone in need or help in some other way.  I have donated money to the local food bank. Just keep your social distance.

I was at Target to get a prescription last Wednesday.  I grabbed some cereal and juice.  I tried to buy some other things we were low on.  Remember that I had been in my house for five days while our solar was installed, so it was sort of like social distancing before it was required.  I had my son with me because he'd had an appointment.  We were in awe of how many things were just completely gone.  All types of pain medicines and cold-type medicines.  All first aid kits, all the rubbing alcohol and the majority of the peroxide.  All the cleaning supplies (were you not all cleaning your houses before this?), all the paper towels.  There were a few packages of toilet paper left.  I did not need any and did not buy any.  Weirdly, all the bandages were gone.  The toothpaste was pretty picked over.  At that point the food was well stocked and there was loads of alcohol everywhere. Drinking alcohol, that is.

I'm glad my husband had gone to the store to replace all the stuff I had to throw away Tuesday and I'm wishing I had bought some pasta while I was at Target.  We went to get groceries Friday late afternoon.  The store was packed and most things were gone.  Carrots, avocados, bananas, potatoes, onions, most of the apples, celery, and tomatoes, and weirdly, all the ginger root.  No pasta, dried beans, or rice, very little meat, bread, and canned goods.  No eggs, no flour, almost no sugar, most of the frozen vegetables with the exception of Italian green beans (eyebrow raised here) and lima beans.  Luckily we quite like both of those.  We managed to get enough things to make it through a week, but it was just so weird.  I hear the stores are still super busy.  I'm dreading when I have to go back.  (Update on Saturday, March 21--my husband has been to the store.  Produce is back in stock, most dry and canned goods are not.  I've been lucky enough to get the majority of what we require, other than flour.)

We've been busy cleaning out our gardens on the days the weather is nice.  All the daffodils are starting to bloom.

The kids are on spring break this week.  We did my daughter's college advising and registration for the fall over the phone, so it was a little different than we expected, but we got it done.  We're just hanging out and enjoying each other.  My husband will be home starting tomorrow and the kids will be home at least for this week and next, though I expect that will stretch longer.

Duke Energy came back to switch over our meter yesterday, so the solar system got turned on.  My husband is excited because in the first six hours the meter was moving backwards.  According to the dashboard for the system, we saved enough CO2 emissions to be the equivalent of planting a few trees.  Still kinda shocking to see all the panels on the roof though.
Oh, I have been working on my Bonnie Hunter Frolic mystery again and got all the half blocks finished.  Now it's on to the corner/quarter blocks.  Then the sashing, then the center assembly, then the pieced outer borders. No sweat! 😂  

I also was feeling a bit helpless last week and started a new project.  Just need to quilt and bind.  Story of my life!
If you made it this far, thanks! I commend you. 

Stay safe and healthy, friends.

Linking with For the love of geese, My Quilt Infatuation, and From Bolt to Beauty.

1 comment

  1. Thanks, I may have to try this method. Because of the fraying I do not pre wash unless I have to. Yes I read all the way through the end. Our stores have many empty shelves and I have not been able to purchase TP in 3 weeks. They are warning against fear buying and say there will be no shortage. Yet, I heard on the StL news a couple days ago the Missouri Governor is lifting the restriction for restaurants to sell unprepared food to combat the shortage. It's just crazy. Funny, the shelter in place is no different than my normal life and people are freaking out. Love your little quilt. Thank you for linking up to Put your foot down. Oh and I am envious of your solar energy.