Sunday, March 06, 2005

Pressing matters

It all started, innocently enough, with the end of a bolt of muslin that was hanging around the laundry room. For totally mindless sewing, I like to make crazy log cabin blocks with my scraps, which eventually become quilts to donate to a local children's shelter. And my preferred method of making those blocks is on top of a muslin foundation. Last time there was a big sale at JoAnn's Fabric, I bought a bolt of muslin and I've been slowly working my way through it.

I decided I'd better preshrink the rest of the bolt, as this stuff shrinks horribly and I know these quilts will be washed.

Then, bearing in mind that commercial fabrics fuse better with the sizing washed out of them, I threw a bunch of fabric into the washer for future multi-purpose use. Philosophically, I'm of the "preshrink everything" school, on the theory that it's better to be safe than sorry. But practically, I've been too lazy and/or impulsive to preshrink anything, knowing that I haven't been making any functional quilts anyway. I figured I'd start washing fabric by bin (as they're sorted by color) and I'd get caught up AND get to organize my fabrics.

Well, next thing I knew I had a massive pile of ironing to do. Like 3 laundry baskets full....packed full. It's rather amazing, how a little folded stack of fabric can expand to such a huge, wrinkled wad in the dryer. So, I set up the ironing board in front of the tv and I've been standing there ironing for hours at a time. I'm down to one ironing basket left, and boy, am I sick of ironing.

It occurs to me that this was not a good idea.

If I'm going to pursue this avenue, then I have a LOT more fabric to wash and press. And if I don't, then I'll have bits that are preshrunk and others that are not. At present, the newly washed and ironed fabrics are segregated in a separate bin. So now I either have to move forward with this plan or forget the whole thing.

At least there is mexican food ahead...We're meeting our friends Noriko and Alan, and their daughter Lani, for dinner at a terrific local spot. This feels like a good reward for a hard day at the ironing board.

4 comments:

Mrs. Mel said...

Consider this: I have to wash and iron everything I dye for my workshops, which is about 54 pieces a day for three to five days. I have a routine, where I load the washer with about twelve yards and then dry that load to about dampish, while inserting the next load, and then ironing the first. I get done about mid morning and then am ready to dye the next 54 pieces.
Ah, the glamourous life of the professional quilter.

teri springer said...

Sounds to me like you need a mangel. I am looking at a Meile Rotary Iron. Too bad we aren't all closer together so we could share one....I have some charmeuse to scour but I have been avoiding going to the laundry room. Mike takes it over on the weekends to get his work clothes done so I use it all week long but, boy, do I HATE running up and down those stairs! I look forward to getting into the new house next year (I hope) so the laundry will be on the main floor....in the meantime, I will consider it my exercise routine.

teri

Debra said...

If you decide to use a mangle... I think I know where you find one. It's in Benicia.. so it's an easy drive from Healdsburg.

Anyway for my stash... I wash everything. Take it out of the dryer and fold it flat and nice immediately. Then put it away.

You usually have to iron the pieces before you use them, why iron them twice??

If they are coming out of the dryer terribly wrinkled, either reduce the number of fabrics in the dryer, or take the items out just a bit earlier.

Debra said...

If you decide to use a mangle... I think I know where you find one. It's in Benicia.. so it's an easy drive from Healdsburg.

Anyway for my stash... I wash everything. Take it out of the dryer and fold it flat and nice immediately. Then put it away.

You usually have to iron the pieces before you use them, why iron them twice??

If they are coming out of the dryer terribly wrinkled, either reduce the number of fabrics in the dryer, or take the items out just a bit earlier.