Preserving Vintage Quilts and Quilt Tops

This series of articles concerns preservation of vintage quilts/quilt tops. The link is to the first article but there are several to read:

Great use for empty Aurifil spool:

Dianne Ritter

Bleeding Dyes

At our January meeting there was interest in products to address bleeding of dyes in fabric. This site gives a good description of the difference between Synthropol and Retayne and when to use them:

This is a dyeing site that goes into more technical detail and recommendations for excess dye removal:

There is some concern about ingredients in Synthropol being carcinogenic. Dharma Trading has come out with an alternative:

In all cases it seems that:

  • these products work on some dyes and not others so it is important to test your fabric
  • hot water is the key to success
  • fabrics should be treated before being sewn into a project
  • on a completed quilt that has bled these products can help if used in the correct order

With the move worldwide to using dyes that are less toxic to our environment and therefore more likely to bleed, it may be better to err on the side of caution and wash all fabric before using it in a project that will be washed. For fabrics that have saturated colour—i.e. red, purple, navy—once washed in hot water without detergent it may be prudent to use a fixative such as Retayne to further reduce the likelihood of dye running and ruining your quilted item.

Colour Catchers are also a handy product to throw in the wash. While there is no guarantee they will prevent a bleed completely, they can mitigate the damage and in some cases prevent it entirely. This site has a recipe for making your own colour catchers using washing soda ( or you can buy colour catchers in the laundry section of your grocery store.

Dianne Ritter

Beware the Pitfalls of Panels

betty3Panels are great for a quick and easy quilt but look at them carefully before you buy. A friend gave me a Numbers panel which she assumed was numbers 1 to 10 but in reality the blocks were numbered 0 to 9. When I noticed this I had to make a number 1 to put in front of the “0”. In our culture we usually learn our numbers starting with “1”. I think the maker of this particular panel also knew this because there are 9 birds and 9 clouds in the block “0”. I think I have covered up the 10th of each so I will get out my trusty fabric pen and draw the 10th bird and cloud into the block.

betty2Another Numbers panel I bought had two printed words under each number. I did have numbers 1 through 10 but the words printed under the numbers were written in French and Spanish. Once again my trusty fabric pen came in handy as I wrote English words for all of the numbers.

betty1Alphabet quilt panels should be looked at carefully also. Last year I had to add the last three letters of the alphabet to a panel. Be careful out there!

Betty Clarke

Twelve Essential Skills Every Quilter Must Learn

From The Inbox Jaunt, a quilting blog by Lori Kennedy.

A list of essential skills, from getting intimate with your sewing machine to adding a label… and a thirteenth: “Five crock pot recipes to get you through a week of non-stop quilting!” “…Once these skills are learned, the entire quilting process will be more enjoyable and then the truly creative process will be possible.”

Using Your Noodle

noodleIsn’t it interesting that as quilters we find uses for items which are not labelled “quilting accessories” nor found in a quilting store? I discovered that pool noodles are a wonderful item for transporting your quilt….no folds, and the quilt travels with this light and convenient item. I roll my quilts with the face of the quilt to the outside; this way, you do not have any wrinkling of your work and the backing is adjacent to the pool noodle. Lightly tie your rolled quilt with left over fabric strips. I also buy king size pillow cases and place the rolled quilt in them for traveling.

Pool Noodles also have the advantage that they can be cut easily to any length for smaller quilted pieces and I have stored several of my quilts rolled on these noodles.

So with the swimming season fast approaching and the stores bringing in pool noodles, now is the time to purchase them in any of the colours which suit your fancy!

R. Leslie Forbes

Quilt Tip: The Straight Goods

Depending on your quilt design, determining the straight of grain before cutting your pieces can be important. In general, if you’re worried about edges or even whole blocks stretching on you, using the straight of grain can add stability as it is less stretchy than across the grain.

For borders, you can reduce the chance of getting a wavy edge to the quilt by cutting the border fabric on the straight of grain. Measure the total lengths needed, cut, then mark where the blocks fit and pin. This works for sashing too and is especially helpful when the edges of the blocks are on the bias.

Using a directional print or weave in the border may mean compromising stability for the effect you want to achieve. A work-around is to add a narrow inner straight of grain border in a solid or small-print fabric to stabilize both the main border and the centre of the quilt.

Sometimes you want the stretch you get from having as much of the piece cut on the bias as possible—think bias strips and how easily they curve into loops. Many appliqué pieces are also easier to nudge into place and adjust on the fly when their edges have the ‘give’ that being on the bias provides.

Bali Bags Workshop

Hi all you proud owners of a beautiful Bali Bag,

I wanted to pass on a couple of pieces of information that may be of interest to you/ Eileen forwarded me this website for ordering inexpensive Bali Pops: http://www.beverlys. com/hoffman-bali-pops.html

Also, Suzanne told me she saw the clothesline at A Great Notion for $7.99 for 100 feet, if any of you are ready to do another bag, or perhaps a few bowls.

Hope you had a lovely holiday season, and I will see you in January.


Quilt Tip: Design Wall

If you use batting as a design wall, you already know how stray threads, hair and lint love to stick to it. Try using small bits of left over batting as dust rags or cut them to fit a sweeper head.

If you have a small space or your sewing room is in an attic with low walls, make design panels from sheets of foam insulation or other lightweight but sturdy material that won’t buckle when leaned against something. Cut down to a convenient width and cover with a flannel sheet or a flannel backed table cloth. Make several and bring out only as many as you need for your current project.