Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Need some guidance ~UPDATED~

I have a labor of love I hope to be working on this long weekend.   My friend  turned over to me the quilt top her mother stitched.   Pretty little flowers in embroidery floss stitched with six strands in mostly stem stitch.  Roxanna found the quilt when she helped downsize her mom for a move into assisted living a few years ago.  Her mom has since passed away at the ripe old age of 102.

 And now this stitched work of art has been sitting in my sewing room for at least two years.....



I took Roxanna to the quilt store and we bought the fabric for the border and binding and backing and somehow I volunteered myself to finish it for her.   Initially I was all happy go lucky about my part in creating an heirloom for her family to pass down through generations but then my excitement turned to fear......what if I ruin the quilt top.   Much trepidation has been felt so it has sat......and sat......and sat some more.

My dilemma is.......the floss and washing it.   Of course, I will have to wash the final creation to make it all quilty with the batting.....but what about the floss running?     Do I soak the quilt top in white vinegar and cold salt water to set the colors before I start on the quilt top?   Is there a better method to use?  Is there a product out there I don't know about that I should use?   I know why this has been sitting in my basket 'o stuff all this time.....fear!  This is a family treasure and I could ruin it!    DD#1 will be here on Saturday and Sunday and I'd really like to take the first step towards completing this.  Roxanna will be 83 this fall and I would really like to have it for her birthday.      Any thoughts, suggestions? signed Desperate in South Jersey

~~~~~ So I took all your ideas and forged ahead.    Rather than deconstruct one square to wash, I laid a clean fluffy white towel on the kitchen counter and using a clean white washcloth, I  gently wet and blotted a section stitched with red.   Pat L. said if the red doesn't run.....I was good.....and I was.    I then, just to be safe, soaked the whole quilt top in a freshly scoured, rinsed and wiped out kitchen sink.  I soaked it in cold water, white vinegar and just about a drop of Orvis soap.   Surprisingly there was not even any dirt that came out.   I rinsed and spread it across the patio on top of a several clean beach towels.   Still wary, I didn't want to hang it while dripping wet and have dye run.   After it was nearly dry I moved it to the clothes line where it will hang for the rest of the day.   Tonight I will press it and be ready to start the cutting of inner and outer borders and binding tomorrow with Heather.   We have an overnight of stitching and sipping wine planned!    Hopefully, I will be able to show a completed quilt by Monday, save the hand stitching of the binding. Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions!  ~~~~~

5 comments:

wenhkc said...

I don't envy you your dilemma! I have used Synthrapol (http://www.dharmatrading.com/chemicals/synthrapol-detergent.html) with success. However, if you can remove one of the blocks, and sew a binding around it to protect the edges, then wash the block in a lingerie laundry bag in Synthrapol (read directions for amount to add to the wash), you can test to see if Synthrapol works. Whatever method you use to ensure the colorfastness of the floss, check the method with only one block first, then you won't run the risk of ruining the entire quilt top. Good luck!!!

butterfly said...


Looks beautiful Robin , what an age the lady lived till , I need to live that age to stitch just a third of my stash.
Here in the UK we can buy colour catches so the colours don't run into each other and it works , but can you just wash one square in a corner just to see and if it runs that way you will know and would lose only a row . I think your friend would understand . Hope all goes well.

Robin in Virginia said...

I have no suggestions, but wanted to say the blocks are beautiful. Good luck!

Justine said...

I would speak to the family first. It's not much of a treasure if it's not able to be displayed so they may be happy for you to risk washing, or they may prefer just to leave it.
It's a beautiful piece and I hope you can bring it back to life! Good luck.

diamondc said...

Robin: What a wonderful and dear friend you are to Roxanna, I do envy you for what you are doing, you are a very generous Lady.
Maybe waiting two years was the thing to do.
I look forward to seeing your progress on the finishing.
102 what a lucky family to have their Mother for so long.

Blessings
Catherine