Fabric Prep and Some Light Reading

A few people asked if there was anything they needed to do to get their fabric ready for the quilt along.   The million dollar question...

To wash, or not to wash, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The possible shrinkage of outrageous fabric,
Or to take arms against a sea of bleeding dyes,
And by washing end them? 

I crack myself up.  :)  But really do you need to wash your fabric?

Some say yes because of shrinkage (1-2%), to remove chemicals and to protect against bleeding

Some say no because, if none of your fabrics are washed they will shrink evenly, the chemicals can help protect fabrics left on the shelf for long periods of time and make the fabric easier to work with and good quality fabrics rarely if ever bleed, so why bother washing?

I personally land on the "no washing" side.  I have never experienced bleeding or shrinking so I really don't worry about it.  I like to jump into a project and washing and the subsequent ironing (I hate to iron) just slow me down.   However, I would be sure to wash hand dyed fabrics and red fabric from a non-designer fabric source.  At the bottom of this post are links to some basic quilting posts and some of them deal with the washing debate if you want more information.

I would make sure your fabric is relatively wrinkle free.  There will always be some creases from being folded, but you might want to take some time to iron your fabric if it has been sitting in a ball in the bottom of your scrap bin.  :)

Also, take a look at your sewing machine.  Lift up the metal plate under the needle and clean out all that lint.  Give your machine a good oil and if you haven't changed your needle in a while put on a fresh one.  It is amazing how much better your machine will run if it is lint free, has been oiled and has a new needle.

The first block of the sampler will be posted Friday morning (eeee!) and I will go over how to make the blocks baby step by baby step.  If you want to do some background reading, here is a list of great posts on basic quilt making skills.

Quilt Class 101 - Fabric
Quilt Class 101 - Cutting
Quilt Class 101 - Guest Post, To Wash or Not to Wash?
Stitched in Color - Fabric Care (pro washing)
Stitched in Color - Rotary Cutting
Skill Builder Series - Fabric (grain, washing vs no wash and ironing vs pressing)
Skill Builder Series - 1/4 Inch Seams (how to cut and sew accurately)
Skill Builder Series - Seam Ripping (I'm sure we won't need this, but just in case...)
Do You Have a Happy Machine? (basic sewing machine care)

You might notice that different quilters have different ideas of how to care for fabric, cut and sew.  That is to be expected and is ok.  At the end of the day if your quilt is warm and isn't falling apart at the seams you have done a good job.  :)

I'll see you on Friday with our first block!!