Thursday, May 01, 2014

Patchwork of the Crosses

Thank you to all who have commented, called, or stopped by the shop to let me know how much you’re enjoying this “Blog Along”.  I’m just blown away by the huge response and very much appreciate all the positive feedback!  I personally, find making the blocks addictive, and it sounds like a lot of you are having as much fun as I am.   If you’re new, the Patchwork of the Crosses blog posts started on April 3, 2014, and continue to be posted every Thursday.   Check out older posts for tutorials, tips, techniques, and pictures of my progress on making this beautiful quilt.  It’s not too late to get started!

Many of you have asked about pre-washing the fabrics for this quilt.  There are several schools of thought on prewashing with advantages and disadvantages to both.  As you know, cotton fabric will shrink and, while it’s not a great amount, not all of it shrinks the same.  Because this quilt uses small amounts of a lot of different fabrics, it seems like it would be a good idea to prewash just to avoid the problem of uneven shrinkage once the quilt is finished.  Prewashing will also alert you to any fabrics that are not colorfast.

Some people prefer not to prewash because they simply don’t like to deal with all the fraying that occurs in the washer no matter how gentle the wash cycle.  Also, pressing all the prewashed fabric is not the most fun part of making the quilt!   Waiting to wash the fabrics after the quilt is finished means that the shrinkage occurs at the end of the process resulting in the fabric puckering up around the quilting stitches giving it an “old-timey” look that our grandmother’s quilts had.  Another big advantage of not prewashing is that the sizing remains in the fabric giving you nice crisp fabric to work with.  The crispness makes cutting easier with clean, smooth edges on your shapes. 

So the choice is yours!  Should you decide to prewash, fabrics should be washed the way you intend to wash the finished quilt. 

Adding Retayne (available in the shop) to the wash water will set the dyes to prevent bleeding.  Color Catchers (made by Shout and available on the laundry aisle of the grocery store) will absorb loose dyes floating in the wash water so they won’t deposit on your fabric – I recommend using these whenever you wash a quilt.

When pressing prewashed fabrics, I like to use Mary Ellen’s Best Press which adds the sizing back to the fabric – it’s not starch, but a starch alternative that comes in several different delightful scents (also available unscented) that makes the pressing process much more enjoyable!  Did I really just say that about pressing?  You have to try it to believe it!  Call the shop to order.

We received a beautiful book in the shop this week you might be interested in!  Imported from England where the book was written by Lucy Boston’s daughter-in-law, Diana Boston, “The Patchworks of Lucy Boston” is a fascinating look at all the quilts made by Lucy Boston.  There are no patterns in the book, but there are whole pictures of each quilt exquisitely photographed by professional photographer Julia Hedgecoe and accompanied by details of each quilt along with interesting stories about the inspiration for the project and how fabrics were obtained to make some of the quilts during wartime England.  Extracts from Lucy Boston’s letters and writings, a biography, and pictures of some of the rooms from the Manor at Hemingsford Way where Lucy lived make this a book you will enjoy from the first page to the last.  A limited number of the books are available on our website ( or in the shop.

Join me next week when we’ll be making another block.  Don’t forget to check out Inklingo if you’re planning to hand piece your blocks.  Even if you’re planning on using the English Paper Piecing method I’m using, you may want to consider Inklingo for printing your paper shapes.

Happy Stitching!                        

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