Saturday, November 21, 2009


Big projects have one inherent problem - they take so much time that they are inevitably interrupted while in progress. Right now I'm sewing some patchwork Christmas gifts, which have the disadvantage that I can't show photo proof/eye candy, just in case. I already sewed a wool cloak, dark blue, for a medieval costume event. As it's very plain, any photos would be boring. I will sew the dress for the event after Christmas; the gowns I have so far are suited for warmer weather, and the upcoming event is in January, so I do want something warmer than I've had. Again, no photos.

General Christmas preparations are also a major interruption. I plan to spend time next week decorating and baking; then Christmas cards need to be written. After all, I love to get mail, so I have to produce some in return or advance, whichever.

Quilt sewing just may get postponed into January...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


There are differing opinions on the subject of whether or not to prewash fabrics before sewing them into patchwork. Some claim that their works look better if the fabric is used as new, especially if they don't ever intend to wash them. I belong to those who think that there are at least two important reasons to wash any fabric before cutting and sewing it: possible shrinkage and bleeding.

Even if shrinkage may not seem much on a small individual fabric piece, it does add up, and using strips in various directions may result in uneveness - fabrics shrink more vertically than horizontally. Even if I'm sewing a wall hanging, I want to know that I can wash it if necessary without any detriment to its shape.

Bleeding is even worse - one fabric that is not colourfast can ruin all of the others. Who's to say that some raindrops or a splash of water will never hit the surface even if the quilt does not get washed? (Murphy's Law would warn us that it will surely happen!) Most batik fabrics and some others lose surplus colour when washed and rinsed and can be used afterwards. But on occasion, as happened to me yesterday, a fabric still colours the water after numerous rinses - and I therefore eliminate it from my choices for this quilt. It's not worth the effort I put into sewing and quilting to have it ruined by one or a few pieces.

I spent several hours last evening ironing all the pieces I washed yesterday, and discovered another good reason for preparing the fabrics - it helps me get an overview of all that I have and gets me into the mood for cutting and sewing. I really enjoyed my ironing session - additionally made more entertaining by watching "Mansfield Park" on DVD while working.

Now everything's ready to go, and I can carry on cutting and sewing the over 3000 pieces of which this quilt will be composed.