I love to display my quilts around the house but when the spring rolls around, I think about cleaning those quilts.
I want to display them and I want people to use them. However, I worry about how to clean them if they get dusty or dirty. The methods you use to clean your quilts can be personal choice based on how important the quilt it to you . These tips I am sharing are what works for me. These tips are NOT for antique or family heirloom quilts. It’s best to consult a textile preservation expert for those quilts that are very old with weaker seams and fibers.
Cleaning and Airing
For wall quilts that can collect dust or cobwebs, use the soft brush attachment for your vacuum cleaner on the low suction setting and brush across the surface.
Do not use any kind of attachment that has moving parts like a pet hair attachment. Those moving parts can possibly catch on the fabric or the seams and cause damage.
If the wall quilt has picked up a musty smell or another smell from the room it is in, it can be aired out by placing it outside (in a shady area) on a clean sheet.
For cleaning large quilts, lay it out on a flat surface and vacuum with the soft brush attachment. They can also be aired out using the same method as a wall quilt.
Do not shake quilts like you do for rugs since that can weaken seams.
If you pre-washed your fabric before making your quilt, washing it should be a less stressful experience. Hand-washing is best, but if you wish to machine wash, pick the gentlest cycle (usually “delicate”) and use a gentle detergent such as Orvus Quilt Soap.
A quilt should be air dried so no more stress is put on the seams or stitching. I have put quilts in the dryer for about 10 minutes on “air” dry (no heat) to get some of the dampness out. Once that is done, I lay it out on a flat surface to air dry. Never hang a quilt from a clothes line. That will cause additional stress to seams and stitching. Also, do not ring it out! Be very careful moving the quilt from the washer to the dryer (or the area where it will be air dried).
If I am unsure of a quilt’s colorfastness, like if I did not pre-wash fabrics, I throw in a couple of Shout Color Catchers.
I have washed several quilts with these and have had no color bleeding. This is just from my experience though … if you are worried about your quilt, you may want to do a color-fast test. A quilt that is just displayed and not used very often only should need washing once a year. It’s best not to wash quilts too often, even though they are not antiques.
If you want to store quilts that you are not using or displaying, the best way to do this is to fold them with acid-free paper between the folds to help prevent creasing and wrapped in a clean white sheet.
Try to find a storage area that is not in the basement or the attic where there could be extreme dampness or temperatures. Placing wrapped quilts under a bed will work well. If want store a quilt flat, a bed in an unused bedroom is the best. Lay the quilt flat on the bed and cover with a sheet. You can store several quilts this way.
So, I hope these tips have helped! Let’s get started on that spring cleaning!
Congratulations to Trena J who wins an issue of the 100 Blocks magazine and to Maureen who wins the pattern pack from me. I hope you all enjoyed the tour!
Come back and visit!
Welcome to the Snuggles Quilts blog, one of your stops on the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks Blog Tour for volume 9 of the 100 Blocks magazine! I am so proud to have a block featured in this issue. Be sure to continue to visit the Quilty Pleasures Blog today and throughout the week for information on the tour and to enter drawings for some great prizes!
I hope you had fun yesterday touring the many fun blogs. Take your time to look around my web site to view my patterns and books. If you would like to receive an e-mail when I have new patterns or books coming out, click on “join newsletter” on the left sidebar and fill out the request. I do not send lots of e-mails (I don’t like that either!); I only contact you with new pattern or book information. Also, if you are on Facebook, be sure to like my page, SnugglesQuiltsPatterns.
Now ….. for the block! Here it is …..
I call this block “Puzzle Star”. It is block #863 and appears on page 57.
My block here is made in gold, green and black fabrics, but I am sure you can picture it in any of your favorite colors. Here’s a version I made with purple, green and black fabrics.
Here is a pattern I came up with for a fun large table topper or a wall hanging. It’s 32” square.
Find the fabric requirements and pattern here. This one is in red, green and black for a Christmas project!
Be sure to leave me a comment with this blog post for a chance to win a free copy of the 100 Blocks magazine from Quiltmaker. Also, I will be drawing for a pattern packet of my most recent patterns! I will be choosing the lucky winners at the end of the blog tour on May 2nd. Enjoy!
Do you Label? I hope so! So many quilts I look at in books say "Quilt maker unknown". I don't want that to be any of my quilts. Also, I think it adds a beautiful touch to a quilt you are giving as a gift.
There are many ways to label. You can use a permanent pen made for marking fabric and write directly on the back of the quilt if you have a light background. That is what I did here:
The only drawback to this method is the possibility of the ink fading over time. If you use the right pen made for marking fabric, they are generally labeled as "fade resistant".
I have also used a scrap of fabric and written on that with a permanent pen. When sewing this label onto the back of my quilt, I have affixed it prior to attaching the binding so two edges of the label are secured by the binding stitches. This quilt was labeled that way:
Another way I have labeled quilts is by using fabric paper that I have purchased at the quilt store.
This paper can be expensive (about $18 for 6 sheets). If you do not want to spend that amount you can purchase a fat quarter and make up to three labels by using freezer paper and Bubble Jet products.
First, treat your piece of fabric with the Bubble Jet Set 2000 following the directions on the bottle. Place the fabric wrong side down on the shiny side of a piece of freezer paper. Then cut the fabric into pieces that will fit in your printer. You should be able to get three 8 1/2 x 11" pieces out of one fat quarter. The freezer paper stabilizes the fabric so it can run through your printer. You must use an ink jet printer for this. A laser printer can not be used because of the way it works and the heat generated with those types of printers.
Type up what ever you want your label to say and print it onto the fabric side of you homemade labels. Follow the instructions on the Bubble Jet Rinse to set the ink. Now your label is ready to use!
I like the idea of using labels to tell a story, whether it's for a member of your family or just for yourself. You can talk about what inspired you to make the quilt, what fabrics you used, the date it was made, etc. The possibilities are endless! I have even written a poem for the back of the quilt when I made some quilts for my nieces.
How do you label your quilts? I'd like to hear what you do and what you like to put on your labels.
The most important thing is to label the quilt so there is a record later in time so your quilt is not labeled as "quilt maker unknown!"
New Patterns from Snuggles Quilts!
Here are three new table runner patterns from Snuggles Quilts for the spring season! These runner patterns are scrappy, fun and quick. As with my other patterns, these have more than one project to keep you busy! So here they are:
#217 More in the Stars
Two runner projects, one with a pieced center and one with an appliqué center. The appliqué can be done in fabric or wool!
#218 Star Gazing
Two pieced table runners featuring scrappy, fun star themes.
#219 Star Gazing, Too!
Two more "star studded" projects to have some fun with!
All three of these new patterns can be found on the Everyday category page on my web site. There you will find more information about each pattern and ordering information.
I hope you enjoy viewing my new patterns! If you like these and want your local quilt shop to carry them, bring them the information. I will be happy to assist them in ordering.
Since I am working on an applique project I thought I would share some tips with you to make the experience more enjoyable.
First .... have a nice open workspace. I clear my sewing table and move my machine to the side to create an open surface. Then I make sure I have really good lighting.
I really like this light I use because it also has a built in magnifier on the top for close work. I can't stress good lighting enough .... it will definitely save you from eye strain that can give you a headache.
The next thing I do is something that keeps the quilt top or the block you are working on from fraying. Have you ever been appliqueing a block or a portion of a quilt only to have the edges of the background fabric fray from over-handling? I take care of this problem by applying Fray Check™ to the background edges before I begin to applique the pieces down.
I apply a small amount Fray Check™ around all of the raw edges of background fabric.
Then when I am sewing down my applique piece, the edges don't fray!
Now it's time to choose the right needle. I use Clover brand size no. 8 applique needles.
That is the most comfortable size for me. Just like with quilting betweens, the larger the number, the smaller the needle. Try different size needles at first and see which size works best for you.
Also, make sure your needle is in good condition. Needles wear out, they get dull and bend from use. I usually use a needle for two projects (maybe four small projects) before retiring it.
My last little tip is this: when you have an applique motif that is made up of several layered pieces, start with the top piece, as long as it's smaller than the piece it's to be appliqued to, and applique it down to it's base piece before appliqueing the entire unit to the background or the next size piece. That way, you are dealing with less "bulk" while sewing. The photo below of a piece I am working on shows a center medallion made up of four layered pieces that I pieced together before applying the whole unit to the brown background. Carefully cutting out background fabric from behind the applique piece, inside the seam allowance, will relieve bulk. Otherwise, in this example, you will have four layers of fabric in some places!
Here is an example of a piece that can be layered before stitching it to the final background.
The blue center circle can be stitched to the gold piece. Then that unit can be stitched to the purple large flower. Once that whole unit is done, it can then be stitched down to the quilt top as shown.
Here's a photo of what it looks like when you cut away excess fabric from underneath an applique:
Well, I hope these tips have been helpful and will make you want to start an applique project today!
Have you ever looked at a quilt and saw the not only the intended design, but a secondary design? This is actually a fun type of quilt to design and one I like to do. I love it when someone can not tell what the individual blocks actually are in a quilt because of the secondary design..... unless they look really close!
The way to create a secondary design is to start with a block with interesting elements that, when joined with additional blocks into a quilt top, combine to make the secondary design. For example, this is a block I have been working on recently:
Notice how there is a criss-cross design that is formed by the black pieces. With several of these sections assembled into a quilt top, it would create a cool overall criss-cross design. Here is another option with these blocks:
This lay out will have the black pieces create an overall diagonal secondary design.
Another way to create a secondary design is with sashing joining blocks together. Here is an table runner I designed where I used this method.
Notice how the sashing I added creates the secondary star design and also creates a cross-hatch design. Hey .... a tertiary design!
Here are some photos of some of my other patterns. See if you can pick out the block and also notice the secondary design or designs that appear in these quilts.
So, next time you go to a quilt show, once you are done with your "close up" viewing of a quilt, step back and take in the view. Look for the secondary design that creates a completely different "attitude" to the quilt and creates movement.
Check out the March/April issue of McCall's Quilting on newsstands this week for my newest pattern, Bloomin' Baskets! Here is the quilt:
I am so excited to share this pattern with all of you. Here is the cover of the magazine:
Yes .... that's my quilt on the cover draped on top! I'm excited since I never had a quilt that showed up on a cover. Yay!
Over the last few weeks I have been piecing a few projects and also doing a lot of machine quilting. I thought I would share a few things I do to make quilting a more enjoyable experience for me.
One of the things that will help (and not cause injury!) is a nice sharp rotary cutter blade. Have you noticed yourself pressing down harder and harder when cutting pieces with your rotary cutter? That's because your blade is dull and needs to be changed. It saves you time in your cutting, because when you cut with a dull blade, it takes you longer to cut out a project. It's also a safety issue because a dull blade can slip easier. If you notice that you are pressing down more when you cut, your blade is dull. Change it! Here are some rotary cutting safety tips from About.com.
There are other things that will add to your safety when using the rotary cutter. I have a safety shield attached to my long ruler that I use most often while cutting.
There are gloves, like Fons and Porter's "Klutz" gloves, that will protect your hands as well.
Sewing Machine Maintenance
I know, I know .... who has time for this? But, by doing some simple maintenance, you can keep your machine humming between check-ups at the sewing machine hospital.
Every time I have an empty bobbin, I do a little cleaning. I use the brush that came with my machine to brush out the lint that gathers inside the bobbin casing and inside the machine. I also clean out the area under the feed dogs.
I also oil the machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. This is something I learned many years ago when I purchased my Bernina and went to the Bernina classes. I think this applies to any brand machine. Here's some basic sewing machine maintenance from About.com.
Another important thing is to change your sewing machine needle! Wonder why your thread keeps breaking? Wonder why your needle is making large holes in your fabric? Your needle needs to be changed. A good rule of thumb I follow is to change my needle after every large project. If I am making table runners, I will piece three or four before changing my needle, but if I just pieced a large quilt (lap top or bigger) I change my needle before moving on. Here's what happens to your needle through it's life:
So, following these tips should help to make your quilt making experience more enjoyable! And safe! Happy Quilting!
Here it is! The Spring issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine has arrived with my pattern in it. I just received my copy today in the mail.
Here is a better view of my project. I have done it in wool appliqué but it can also be done with fabric.
This issue has 16 beautiful garden inspired projects. I know you will love them! So hurry off to your favorite quilt shop or wool shop and pick up your issue! You can also go to Primitive Quilts and Projects web site for more information.