what’s in your bucket?
January 21, 2019
amazing mandalas–so much like a quilt
February 24, 2019
what’s in your bucket?
January 21, 2019
amazing mandalas–so much like a quilt
February 24, 2019
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cleaning up

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

As I’ve been changing the quilts for the new month (bringing out a few heart/Valentine quilts) I’ve also been washing a few of the things that are going back into storage. This is a topic that can divide us into the red quilters and the blue quilters.

We have several of those topics. I find them out when beginner quilters ask me my opinion and then tell me what other quilters have said. Example 1: pre-wash your fabrics or not (me? yes unless they’re small precuts) Example 2: steam or dry iron? (me? the more steam the better, but I have learned the hard way to press and not iron) Example 3: hand stitch or machine stitch your bindings? (me-90% of the time by machine. It is not relaxing for me to sit and stitch those miles of binding, and why not use some of those fun decorative stitches on the machine?) And back to the question of today-wash your quilted pieces or not? Me? I definitely wash my quilts. Usually in the machine on gentle cycle and then into the dryer til not quite dry. I use 100% cotton batting most of the time and I love that crinkled snuggly texture that the quilt gets due to slight shrinking. This is also part of the reason I prewash my fabrics. I want any bleeding to happen before the quilt is made. Also I use my quilts and so does the dog. Hence the need to wash and freshen them up now and then.

Here’s a nice printable handout about washing your quilts. This would be great to include with gift quilts, maybe even with a package of the gentle soap recommended. I know where you can get small 1 wash packs of soap perfect for this purpose. Here’s a link to the website where you can sign up to get the free pdf of the washing directions, Click here.

How about a comment telling which of the red/blue quilting groups you’re in? Or a status report on your quilting bucket list? I’m collecting names for the next prize drawing. Keep entering as many times as you’d like.


  1. Lori says:

    I don’t pre-wash, I use steam and Im hand stick bindings….when I am quilting. Taking a break right now. LOL

  2. JoAnn Castiglia says:

    My bucket list……my intentions are pure. My execution is nil !!!

    I always wash my fabrics after a disastrous incident. I “press” with Best Press and when I’m ready to cut, I’ll lightly press again.

  3. Katherine Tomasulo says:

    I only prewash red fabrics, lots of steam, and I wash lap quilts and bigger but do not wash wall hangings. Those get vacuumed.

  4. Joann L. McGowan says:

    I pre-wash only colors I know from experience will bleed. These are mainly UFO’s from years age. No trouble with quilt shop fabrics. Bindings are stitched by hand. Can’t watch TV without my hands being busy – and there is something comforting about snuggling under a quilt while I stitch the binding. infusing the quilt with good thoughts for the person who will receive it.

  5. Theresa Utz says:

    I don’t pre wash my fabrics unless absolutely necessary, I hate ironing and only do it when I am working on a quilt and the blocks require it. I also use Magic Sizing, a Light fabric spray. iexpensive, about $1.95 a can and does a great job for me.
    Love your blog, and ‘over the quilting hints you are always passing along. Thanks so much.

    • Mary Ellen says:

      I prewash mine and toss them into the dryer for about 10 minutes. Then I retrieve them, fold them in half on the lengthwise grain and let them finish drying on an old fashioned drying rack. I find they need very little ironing that way. If they do need some pressing, I cut off a 1/4 yard or 1/2 yard piece (just what’s needed for my project) and just iron that instead of the whold yardage I bought. I am good about pressing carefully through the piecing process and most of the time there are no issues.

  6. Sylvia Siegel says:

    When I started quilting over 30 years ago, we washed all our our fabrics. I don’t prewash anymore. If I were making a bed quilt with dark red or blue, then I think I would prewash to prevent any bleeding. I like both Best pP

  7. Rebecca says:

    I do not prewash. And I have made no further progress on my resolution to use my walking foot.
    I did take it out of the drawer, but have NOT opened the box…

    • Mary Ellen says:

      Do give that foot a try, Rebecca. Will help with some piecing accuracy, and is essential if you want to quilt your own quilts! I really think the hardest part is figuring how to get it onto the darn machine–google a video of that process if you’re a visual learner.

  8. Deb says:

    Thank You for the printable guide to quilt care!

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