Monday, August 22, 2016

Even more scraps and a question

New scraps

I shared this photo on instagram last night of some scraps of Moda Bella Solids left over from a fun and clever project I am working on for the Fat Quarter Shop, and which I can share with you in early September.

It was late and on my instagram photo I said I was trying to decide if I should toss or keep them. And the response I woke up to was to keep them or rehome them, with volunteers offering to send me their address.

Now I have been thinking of a project for them, and my decision for today is that if that project gets started I will keep them and if not, since folks have asked, I will rehome them - offer to give them away. But this left me wondering about one thing.

I have not, to date, offered to de-stash my fabrics or scraps for cash or to give away for free. The reason why is simple - I am dedicated pre-washer.

Please note - I DO NOT want to start a discussion on the appropriateness of pre-washing. I know that there are very strong views among quilters, and I don't care to change anyone else's approach - what you do is the right decision for you.

Only for those of you who are curious about my choice, I wash my fabrics as they arrive at my house. I do it for two reasons, to get rid of all the chemicals on them, including the sizing that many folks like because it makes the fabrics a little stiffer to handle when sewing; and so that I can get to know the fabric and in doing so correct any stretching it might have suffered on the bolt, this last reason ingrained on my soul from years of garment sewing.

I can say that in all my years of being in bees, no one has complained of any problem using my blocks along with the others received. The pre-washing really makes very little difference in the interaction of quilt blocks made of not washed quilting fabrics, which I also know because I use the bee blocks I receive, many of which are not pre-washed, without issue.

What I do want to know is this: Would you be interested in buying fabrics that were pre-washed in a destash? And would you be interested in pre-washed scraps?

Edited to add: Another question raised by Jennifer in the comments is what about pets? While I keep my fabric generally away from my cats, they sometimes lie near it - especially the scraps that are left out on my cutting table. Would this matter to you on a destash of fabric or scraps, knowing that I would first ensure that all cat hair was removed, and if need be, that it had been rewashed?

Best,

Leanne

41 comments:

  1. I don't prewash, but I have the occasional bit that has gone through the washer for various reasons. I use it along with every other bit in bee blocks and my own piecing. It wouldn't deter me from buying a piece I really wanted, but after looking at some destash on Instagram, it would probably depend on how it was presented. Folded, ironed, scraggly threads trimmed? I'd buy. Fresh out of the dryer, wrinkly mess, not so much. I'm finding that when I go to spend my cash on destash, presentation really counts.

    I don't destash because of pets. I can't guarantee my cat didn't use it as a bed. Or the dog hasn't rolled on it, even if I've tried really hard to keep it pet hair free.

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  2. Now I prewash everything, but years ago I didn't. Sometimes I pull an unwashed old fabric out of a drawer and wash it now. But I've stitched unwashed and prewashed fabrics together in a block with no problems, and washed the finished quilt and still no problems.
    I have a cat so obviously wouldn't be bothered by fabrics from a pet-home. If I'm giving a quilt away (a gift or charity), I do my best to keep the cat away when I'm making it. I wash all quilts before they go to someone.
    Your solid scraps look luscious! I enjoy following you in a reader--thanks for sharing photos and info with us.

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  3. It totally would not bother me, but being up front about prewashing your fabric and a cat friendly home seems to cover the necessary bases to me.

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  4. Yes, I would be interested in buying fabrics that were pre-washed in a destash. And I would be interested in pre-washed scraps. I always pre-wash to rid the material of all the chemicals and stiffener. Pet hairs are a part of life!
    nikilsend(at)outlook(dot)com

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  5. I prewash all of my fabric for the very same reasons as you. Unfortunately, due to my DH's allergy, I wouldn't purchase fabric knowing that a cat may have come in contact with it. Those with cat allergies are really allergic to proteins in the cat's saliva, urine and dander (dried flakes of skin) not the hair or fur.

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  6. If I had small scraps I was not going to use I would just give them away with the sender providing the correct size postage paid envelope or box. When I pretty much stopped scrapbooking I gave away a lot of my stash to 2 different schools for the teachers to use with the kids.
    I haven't bought anyone's destash but I would prefer it wasn't prewashed.

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  7. Dear Leanne, water is running from my mouth when watching that amazing mountain of gorgeus scraps!!! Oh, all those colours in solids! I see lots of triangles (my favourite shape) ... crispy white with those colours!!! About your questions: I pre-wash everything so they don't leave any colour later and not to change the size strangely. Sometimes I use also other fabrics than quilting cottons, so it's more sure to know how they 'behave'. I surely don't sew from pet free studio! Fortunately cat stays out because she leaves hairs where ever she sleeps. Hanna is always near to me and can't avoid having dog hairs in my cloths. I do take good care when I make custon orders and I also wash the quilts after finishing and before giving them away. I would be happy to buy pre-washed fabrics and scraps ... especially scraps because I couldn't wash them, right?! Oh, your photo made my evening, I shall have happy dreams! x Teje
    www.nerospostbox.wordpress.com

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  8. Being a "make it work" quilter, having pre-washed fabric would not bother me at all. Like JAB said above though, having a thready, wrinkled pile is much less appealing.
    I think being up front about the pre-washing and the cat would cover you. If any recipient cares about either of those things, I would imagine they would not purchase them or would decline the gift.
    If I have learned anything, it is that there are all manner of tastes and preferences in the quilting world and finding the quilters with the same opinions is not too difficult. :)

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  9. I do not prewash but generally do not care beacause I agree with you that it just does not make that much difference (unless colors bleed that is) I would without hesitation accept scraps or destashed fabrics that have been prewashed. Also fabrics that have come from a pet owners home but a prior warning would be nice as I have alergic persons around me. Nice pile of scrap. Good luck using them =)

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  10. Yvonne (Quilting Jetgirl) says it best for me...!
    I'm like you in wanting to prewash, for the same reasons you mentioned. (It is SO hard to change life-long garment sewing practices! I've only recently made a quilt top without prewashing, and do *not* like the uncertainty/stress I'm having over it!!)
    Wow! Those are beautiful scraps! Looking forward to your project reveal!!

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  11. Being up front about conditions (pets) is awesome. I'd love to know the wash/not washed bit, not because I wouldn't use washed fabrics but because I have insane soap/perfume allergies. I've not complained but if I'm in a long term bee, I ask those who can not use anything with perfume. I once had a bee block quilt I had to assemble wearing vinyl gloves because a couple of folks used a LOT of scented spray starch or super perfumey laundry soap. It makes me hive out like crazy. I do give scraps (and I have a cat) to an art teacher friend.

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  12. I prewash everything. I know where I stand before I start my projects. Love the scraps and love to make the unexpected from the leftover "finds". Love the pretty colors of your scraps!

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  13. As I also pre wash, it would be fine with me. I wouldn't have a problem with the cats either. The one issue I would have FOR SURE is fabric which has lived with a smoker. That odor is so ingrained in the fabric and would be very hard to remove from scraps without ending up with just a lot of strings!

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  14. I prewash both thrifted and retail fabric, esp. the thrifted stuff always smells, not like rancid but just off enough for me to want my lovely scent of Woolite to remove all traces.
    I just scored a mystery bag of precut squares and washed them in a lingerie bag to lessen fraying, then I chain pieced them all together for two borders.
    http://thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com/2016/08/pure-thrifting-to-prepare-presents.html

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  15. Full disclosure seems fair to everyone involved. I'm a scrap quilter; I'm sure by mow my stash is evenly mixed between pre-washed and not.

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  16. Um, yeah, I'm from a mixed stash household. I definitely used to wash everything for many of the reasons you describe. After a pretty long hiatus, I discovered that most (but not all) dyes are not so bad that they bother me anymore. I also kind of decided it probably didn't matter after an instructor who has been making quilts since the 70's explained that it is not uncommon for fabrics to be gotten wet multiple times to accomplish each stage of the dye process. I think disclosure of the issues you mention would be adequate for me. If there were cigarette smoke involved, that would be a non-starter.

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  17. I am a pre washer and loved the reference to "ingrained on my soul". I also like to get rid of the chemicals. Would not mind fabrics that had been around cats. (tobacco smoke - never (as the smell never comes out)).

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  18. I prewash all my fabrics also and have had several very successful destashes on Instagram. I always mention up front that fabrics have been prewashed and always sell by weight because a half yard may actually be 17".

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  19. Well, thank you so much for this post! I quilt "in isolation", meaning that none of my friends or family is into sewing, and I read years ago that pre washing was a contentious issue. I did wonder why this would be, and now you've answered that by explaining it so well. To answer your questions, I have no preference myself,and would be happy with either. I do have allergies to pets so that might be an issue, however, I'm sure you would only send clean fabrics!

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  20. I get so many scraps donated and I can tell the pre-wash to the 'original'. I pre-wash certain items only because it is used in the mix (odd feel, heavy sizing, odor, possible shrinkage or color run. And I have cats and I get things that I know are pet loved. All projects are washed and dried in their final stage.

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  21. Ditto and ditto to everything you said about why you pre-wash. I think my previous garment-sewing days instilled prewashing in me. So yes, I'd definitely accept, and prefer, prewashed scraps. Scraps make the prettiest quilts.

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  22. Another non-washer of quilt fabrics - although I am mainly a dressmaker and I wash those fabrics like a person possessed! I'd certainly be interested in scraps - I like making small blocks of foundation houses and tree, and scraps are perfect for that.

    And animals? I have dogs, and make a lot of items to be auctioned for charity (pouches, bags, trimmed towels etc) and I just make sure that there are no dog hairs on the finished garments. I like to think that I keep my house fairly clean and I hope that it doesn't smell of dog, so a few cat hairs do not concern me either!

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  23. I never prewashed fabric used in garment sewing. If I made a wool skirt, I wouldn't send the fabric to the dry cleaners before cutting it out and sewing it. I pre-wash 95% of the cotton material I use for quilts. It wouldn't bother me if fabric came from a studio where pets were visitors. I love scraps and would love to have those bright colored scraps. When I take classes I often dumpster dive as I love to get fabrics which I wouodn't have bought. No one can buy all the fabric produced today.

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  24. Of course I wouldn't mind at all using fabrics that are pre-washed but I wouldn't want those tiny little triangles! They would go in the bin in my house, or else I wouldn't be unable to move for tiny scraps! I think this is a very interesting question and I want to ask you another, what do you do with pre-cuts like charm squares? As I am a very old school quilter I also religiously pre-washed fabrics, this was very necessary 20 years ago when there was little craft fabric available and we had to make do with anything we could find, a lot of which was liable to run or shrink. When I came back to quilting around 8-9 years ago I still washed everything, but then someone gave me a Moda charm pack and I didn't know what to do as I thought there would be hardly anything left of the 5in after it had it's edges frayed. So I actually emailed Moda to ask them and they seemed a little surprised at the question and said that their fabric didn't need pre-washing and that they didn't think anyone else did it! So since then I have stopped pre-washing good quality craft fabrics. And since that is all I use it really isn't an issue anymore. Though sometimes I feel a little guilty for not doing it!

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  25. I used to pre-wash every bit of fabric that came into my house - a habit formed due to the lesser quality fabrics that were available when I started quilting 25 years ago. It's taken me that long to finally realize that the quality of fabric has gone way up from those days and the minimal shrinkage in today's quality fabric doesn't seem to be an issue, nor is the bleeding of colors except in maybe the rare red or purple. The first time I wash a completed quilt I toss a Color Catcher in the washing machine and have had no problems though. I've been mixing pre-washed with unwashed fabrics in projects for about two years now and haven't noticed any problems as of yet. My personal exceptions to the no pre-washing necessary are flannels because they do seem to shrink more than 'regular' fabric (at least in my experience), and any fabric that smelled like perfume or cigarette smoke. They will always go into the washer. As far as the size of scraps, since I recently started dabbling in art quilts I would use and appreciate any and all sizes of scraps, down to the smallest snippet.

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  26. Plain and simple regarding destash or giveaways. Be transparent, fabrics are pre-washed and loved on by two kitties. Then the person interested now has to decide whether they want it or not. 😀

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  27. Most of the time I prewash! It wouldn't matter to me if the scraps or fabric were prewashed or not. As for the cat...come on guys!! Many of us have pets. And to be honest we all have hair too! The likelyhood of getting pet or human hair 'in' is pretty likely! Unless there is a big old fur ball, I wouldn't worry too much about it. The whole destash thing is about getting a deal of some sort, to some extent!

    Sorry...You should destash! :)

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  28. I don't think any of it matters but it would be really nice if it was disclosed. That said, it wouldn't affect my decision. I am highly allergic to cats. I would still buy scraps. I assume it wouldn't bother me. If it did, however, I would have an idea where the irritant came from. I would appreciate that.

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  30. I definitely prewash everything to catch bleeding colors and consider stretch. Buying fabrics already prewashed would be nice! Pet hair never goes away in my house

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  31. I don't care if they are prewashed and knowing cats are nearby is good to know but not a deal breaker of any consequence! I love scraps...period

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  32. I don't care if they are prewashed and knowing cats are nearby is good to know but not a deal breaker of any consequence! I love scraps...period

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  33. I don't prewash. My friend, who gives me her scraps, does prewash. I've had no problems mixing the two in my scrap quilts. I often heard that you shouldn't mix washed and unwashed fabric, but I keep doing it, and it keeps working for me.

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  34. I tumbled on your blog, and take totally the same position as you vis-a-vie derivative work.. But I can't see anywhere on your blog how to subscribe to your posts.. help!

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  35. Leanne,
    Prewashed yardage or scraps are welcome here, cat fur too:) My kitty sits on my sewing machine cabinet daily to birdwatch:)

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  36. CQA/ACC is going to try and bring youth to Quilt Canada and we have recently learned about making 'modern blocks' from scraps with a glue stick and cardstock...

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  37. I would be thrilled to give pre-washed scraps a home! I often wonder why quilt bloggers who host link-ups don't offer scraps as a "prize" instead of (or possibly in addition to) gift certificates. I think that would be grand.
    --Nancy. (ndmessier @ aol.com, joyforgrace.blogspot.com)

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  38. I used to be a dedicated prewasher. I haven't pre washed lately, mostly due to laziness, although I know that one of these days it is probably going to bite me. I have had people decline to purchase fabulous fabric in my IG destash account because some has been prewashed. That always surprises me.

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  39. Like you, I prewash all my fabric. I have another reason and it's that I suspect I'm allergic to some of the chemicals in the fabric treatment. And like you, I have a cat who sheds hair all over the place. So I would definitely NOT object to prewashed fabric from a cat owning house! On the contrary, it would make it much easier to use the scraps with my own fabrics! (Not the cat part but the prewashing, obviously.)

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  40. I prewash everything too, but I've been given or have won some precuts in the last couple of years. Not enough to use alone to make anything, so they've been just lingering since I've read that you shouldn't prewash them. I'm encouraged to see that you and other commenters have mixed prewashed and unwashed fabrics with no problems. Maybe now I can release those precuts into the general population!

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  41. I only started pre-washing since you told me your reasoning for prewashing. Now I wash fabrics as soon as I get them!

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