I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, May 31, 2012

June. And Progress.

Hi everyone! So...it's June [almost]...over the weekend I got the house all changed into summery blues and white. Cobalt, mostly, some sky blue and a bit of turquoise, a smidge of lobster red....

I couldn't do summer washing, like curtains and slipcovers, though. We have a weird thing here called "flushing" and for the entire month of May the town water supply is flushed clean of sand and rust. I suppose a good thing, but the tea-colored water stains and is lethal on white or bright fabrics, not to mention my white sinks and bathtubs are now pale peach colored. [Clorox...]

And of course no spaghetti can be boiled during these flushing weeks! Thank goodness for bottled and/ or filtered drinking water. So that big chore---the washing---still looms.

I did finish my first block for Lori/ Humble Quilts 's quilt-along: the house. The pattern and book are from Lynda at Primitive Pieces.

 I am dying to, well, [tea]dye it! But I know I should wait.

Still no star fabric, just a paper reminder....

And truly I think the house will need a redo in the end,

...it should be Nantucket grey?

My intention is to remain fairly true to Lynda's original design. I think that's part of the reason to do a quilt-along, or to use another designer's pattern...it gets the quilter---me!---out of my comfort zone and I will learn something new. Next block: June Challenge, again from A Little Porch Time:

June/ block 2
 Lori is featured in the summer issue of Primitive Quilts  magazine here . Isn't that neat! I went to the their website to check out the magazine. (I'm usually pinching pennies and don't buy magazines, but...all my faves: Lori, and Lynda, and Cheri, of the adorable prim doll quilts.) I was interested in the magazine's column called Ask Mom, which they reprint on their blog. The current question was about the frayed strings that appear when one prewashes fabric [pinking shears, dahling]. I was surprised by the magazine's reply. They quoted an unnamed quilt designer who said there is no need to prewash good quality cottons from quilt shops. Because those fabric do not shrink.

I was taken aback.
For two reasons. One is that, even though I don't care if the fabrics shrink, I like the puckery look...all the cottons I used as a garment designer, from all the same mills that produce quality quilting fabric: all said in the fine print something like: 100% cotton 4-8 % shrinkage allowed/expected. (All woven cotton shrinks...maybe not so much, but it shrinks!)

And reason two: I prewash the fabrics I use to remove the chemicals and resins used in ''finishing'' the cloth and to remove excess dye which can run and stain...or just make dingy...other fabrics. If you don't think fabric colors run, throw in a white terrycloth rag or one of those those Shout Color Catchers.link Very few new fabrics have zero run/fade, especially cottons, which are dyed or printed [as opposed to some synthetics where the color is in the threads themselves.]. I use the Color Catchers and Retayne here, a product that retards future running. Nothing so awful as a quilt you've spend endless hours and love in the making; you wash it and , ooops, the red bleeds into the white. Even pastels can bleed horribly and ruin a project.
(Retayne is avaible on Amazon, at eQuilter, and your local Joann's.)

What's my point? LOL, uh...

Tonight I spent an hour or so washing and ironing all the plaids I've been buying for the Porch quilt. Another reason to wash and iron: I was able to true up the plaid grain as I worked with the damp cloth. And a few! OMG, I complained about crooked calicos?---these homespun plaids are cut so badly. One plaid was so off grain I lost 7" when it was finally square! At 10.95 a yard, that's, what?---more than two bucks thrown out. Very bad...

So, here is my question, for any quilters out there, or anyone else who has an opinion or method: why do you prewash your fabric?

Now I am, sshhhh, tea dying. For the lollipop flowers blocks.

Talk about spools! previous post.
I so wanted to bring this home tonight....

PS My etsy Dollar Days are finally getting going! So if there was anything you liked, grab it now. ONE dollar! enjoy.

PSS The baby birds hatched! On the beach! Pix as soon as the mums let the babies out of the dune grass....



gone to the beach....


  1. I love your house block the way it is, but I also love the Nantucket grey! Thanks for posting your link.
    I don't prewash or square up my plaids! lol I admit to prewashing my reds..

  2. Interesting about the flushing of the pipes in your area. Never heard of that before. The water here runs red if the water tanks get low. Everyone uses filters, but when your filter is turning orange every day, it makes you wonder what is in the water. I don't trust the tap here at all. Love the house block. I have a thing for houses -- use to cross-stitch them all the time. Don't know a thing about fabrics or sewing or quilting. But I do know that during the summer, we only have one washing temperature and that is HOT. I've ruined a few new things of hubby's recently because what should be washed in cold the first time, doesn't have a chance. :/ Have a great weekend. Tammy

    1. I remember a children's book where the English kids' nanny did counted crossstitch houses, like samplers..., the walls of the nursery had many, all framed...the nanny's fantasy homes, since she never had a house of her own. Sad to hink of now, but at the time I loved the idea of her embroidered houses. Cotswold cottages to castles....

  3. Pre-wash? Of course I pre-wash everything!

    I thought it was a rule! (Then again, my grandfather owned a fabric store and only sold fabric that could be washed ... even had the women who worked at the counter to encourage clients to pre-wash their fabric before they cut out their patterns.)

    Am I sounding old or what?

    LOVE the quilting squares! Don't know squat about the flushing of the pipes ... a people divided by an ecology system!

    1. I know! You and T [Tammy], above, live in arid desert-y places...but even so..imagine the 'wasted' water! They open the hydrants and let them roar. Maybe..the water goes rt back into the aquifer, we have extensive fresh water here, not on my island of course...The gist is that the pipes would get so full of sand that they d not be usable???I think. And flushing keeps evrything clen and fresh.

      I never prewashed when I sewed clothes, often wool or linen. But cottons..yes. A rule.



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