Well, it is still spring, even though it’s 90 degrees here. You spring clean your house, your closets, the garage and the attic. How about your sewing room and your quilts? They are also in need of freshening up.
If you’re in the north like me, you probably spent a lot of time indoors working in your sewing area while it snowed. For me … it snowed well into April.
Go through your fabric stash. I know, I know ….. we all love our fabric stashes. But, if you really look closely, there are probably pieces of “what was I thinking” fabric. You know you’ll never use them! Gather your sewing friends together and do an exchange. Someone in your group will love what you don’t anymore. Another option is to donate fabric to your guild or church for making community comfort quilts. This way, you will know the fabric goes to a good use.
Tip#2 Notions and threads. Organize your notions and threads so they are easier to get to and you know where everything is. Seems like a simple thing to do, but many times I have ended up with a drawer or two that was a jumble of threads, needle packs and extra scissors and rotary cutters. One thing I like to do is use everyday items for organization. Like this $1.00 mug holder found at a garage sale. Perfect for my scissors and cutters!
Once you have those organized, then it’s on to the rulers.
Tip#3 Use a pegboard to hang rulers next to your cutting table! I found this at my local home improvement store.
Now onto caring for your quilts. If you are like me, you like to display some quilts around the house. But they will get dirty. Here are some tips I have found and have used with good results. The methods you use to clean your quilts will be a personal choice based on how important the quilt it to you. 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.
The main thing is to be careful with any type of cleaning.
Tip#1 Cleaning and Airing:
For wall quilts that can collect dust or cobwebs, use the soft brush attachment for your vacuum cleaner and, on the low suction setting, brush across the surface of the quilt.
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.
For cat or dog hair, I use the lint rollers made for clothes. Gently rolling these across the surface of the quilt will pick up the stray hairs without damaging seams.
Tip#2 Washing a Quilt:
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 you want to 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!