Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cleaning up the Stash!

I have had a lot going on this past week, plus dealing with recovering from a sinus infection, so you haven't seen much of me here. I've been very busy though!

Here are my final blocks for the YELLOW Rainbow Scrap Challenge in June...

Hatchett blocks and resulting HST's

On the Needles, my Hibiscus Serenity socks have taken flight!  We traveled to Kentucky yesterday for a family gathering to honor my husband's father on his birthday.  Three hours there, and three hours back, so I took my knitting with me since I can knit in the car without getting carsick - Oh happy day!!!  The socks started out like this at the beginning of the trip....

All the increases were done in preparation for the heels and I had worked one heel.  On the trip, I finished up the second heel and got quite a bit done on the stockinette stitch for the leg on both socks - whoohoo!!!

I'm liking this method of Two-at-a-time, Toe-up, Magic Loop.  I would have made a stupid mistake and shorted the second heel if I had not had the first one on the needles to compare to.  And of course both socks will be the same length without worrying about counting rows or careful measuring.  You can click HERE to see the post where I show the pattern I'm using.

I really like this heel treatment called "Eye of the Partridge"!
I will be traveling all this week too - visiting with my sweet baby girl and granddaughter in Savannah TN for a few days and then in Murfreesboro for the TVQA Spring Seminar, where I am scheduled to take 4 classes in 3 days - I'm tired already just typing that!!!  But I figure I should be finished with these socks by the end of that trip and hopefully will be able to share a finish on next week's On the Needles!

In preparation for my classes, I have had to do quite a bit of unexpected work.  Pre-washing all the fabrics for the classes!!!  Why would I do that, you might ask?  I have been seeing a natural medicine practitioner to figure out some of my health issues, and we have determined that chemicals in my system are playing a huge part in my health woes.  That's really not surprising, is it?  Not in today's world.  But unfortunately, we have pinpointed the most likely culprit as overexposure to the chemicals in fabric.  Yikes!!!!  Since giving up quilting is not an option, I am now faced with having to rid my considerable stash of all those chemicals before I get to play with them :(  This is a lot of work my friends!!!!

I have to admit, I had been kinda wondering if this could be the problem for a while now, but I kept ignoring that warming voice because, well, for one thing, I am lazy!!!  Okay, that's probably the biggest reason :*D  But, the other reason is that I really don't like working with washed fabric that much.  I love the bright colors and sharp look of a crisp new piece of fabric!  I can't ever seem to get it as "sharp" and wrinkle free after washing.

See the wrinkles on the blue fabric on the right?  That's been ironed twice!!!
I'm using Best Press to put some starchiness back into it because it is supposedly chemical free.....

I'm not sure of that because I couldn't find the exact ingredients online, but that's what I'm told.  Not that I believe everything I'm told, but .... anyway.... you get the idea :*)  It helps, but I miss my crisp new fabrics!!!

I've decided on a plan of action.  All new fabrics will be washed before they go into the stash - period.  I plan to wash and dry them, then simply fold and put them on the stash shelves - I'll iron when I'm ready to use it.  Because I HATE ironing!  For my existing stash, I'll take a color at a time and wash them as I have time.  However, with FOUR classes coming up this week, I have a lot of fabric to get chemical free, fast!  One class project uses 30 different fabrics, and another uses mostly scraps - a ton of scraps!

I tried using a mesh lingerie bag to wash the smaller pieces, hoping to eliminate some of those dreaded strings....

..... but as you can see, that didn't work out so well...

These scraps....

Became this mess to untangle!!!

Here are some more pictures of my Washing the Stash Adventure for your viewing pleasure.... =^..^=

Stacks lined up by color family and waiting their turn to be washed....

Stacks of fabric for next week's classes to be ironed - YUK!!!
A huge basket of black scraps to be ironed for one class...
I'm using my Sizzix cutter to cut the strips for the class that calls for 30 fabrics, so all those have to be done before I leave on my trip.  The fabrics for the other classes are washed and will get ironed and cut while I'm at my daughter's house.  

So, I still have a lot of work to do today before I can get on the road.  I will probably not have a chance to blog between now and my return, so I will wish you all a wonderful week, filled with all that you love most!!!

Hugs & Blessings!


  1. Love the socks you did an amazing job on the heels. Hope the pattern is one you will use again.

  2. I have washed scraps in a lingerie bag. They do not get so wrinkled. Hope you are feeling better soon.

  3. I hope this is the find for the illness. I hand wash scraps - tub of tepid water to cover and a cup of oxyclean - swish once in a while - put a few in a colendar to rinse thoroughly and dry on a towel.

  4. Try just soaking your little scraps in a pan of warm to hot water and see if that helps. I also see someone in Nashville who thinks outside the box for my issues. She is wonderful and if you would like her info let me know.

  5. Try just soaking your little scraps in a pan of warm to hot water and see if that helps. I also see someone in Nashville who thinks outside the box for my issues. She is wonderful and if you would like her info let me know.

  6. Best Press is great for wrinkles, but I mix up my own starch mix. It give fabric that nice stiff feel again. It is water, starch, vodka, and if you like, some essential oil for fragrance.

  7. Great yellow blocks. I have been washing all my fabric for years. It sure is lots of work to go back and do the stash after years of stash collecting.

  8. Oh I hope you will feel better soon. Those dang scraps! I am so far behind on the scrappy rainbow challenge it is ridiculous! Oh we'll....that leprechaun is messing in my scrap bags again!

  9. Wow, you're flying on those socks! I like knitting socks that way too with one long needle. I'm with you on having to wash fabric before using it as it's caused problems for me as well. Does the fragrance from the lavender spray bother you? I hope that washing the fabrics helps alleviate any problems for you.

  10. I've always tried to wash my fabric as soon as it arrives in the house--although there are exceptions (pre-cuts, fabric to be combined with precuts). There have also been occasions when I've had to re-wash stash. Not fun, so I empathize.

    To get all the wrinkles out, I've found that a cheap vodka/water mixture of 1:4 works as well as Best Press but much more cheaply--and sometimes works even better.

    You can find Vicki Welsh's homemade liquid starch recipe here-
    -since you're washing and ironing many fabrics, it's also a good alternative.
    So sorry you have to go through all this, but I hope these suggestions help.

  11. Blessings!!! As always love seeing your projects!! Have a great trip!

  12. Your yellows are so bright and cheerful and those little half-square triangle blocks are adorable. I wonder how you'll use them....

  13. Those dog gone chemicals! Sorry about that Teresa! I know how you feel about washing all of your fabrics. But, the only good thing is, Best Press is one of the BEST products I have ever used.

  14. That is a bummer...a lot of extra work for you.
    If it helps, it will be worth it.

  15. Your yellow blocks are so cheery, and your socks look amazing! I'm impressed. : )
    After all this work on washing and pressing your fabrics, it had better help you feel better!! I used to wash everything, but I am lazy--and also like the crispness of new fabric, and most of my quilts are scrappy and I have so many small pieces that were given to me unwashed. I finally scrapped the washing process. Now I wonder if my health issues may be exacerbated by those chemicals. Hmmm.

  16. Sorry to hear about her health issues from chemicals in fabrics. I have always pre-washed all my fabrics before putting them on the shelf, but I know it would be a major problem if I had to go back and do all my stash. I do like so many other commented - wash small pieces by hand and lay flat to dry and use my homemade starch/distilled water/vodka mixture as a best press solution. Good luck on your classes. Your yellow blocks are so cheery and cute too.

  17. I pink the edges of my fabrics before I wash them. It doesn't eliminate the strings, but it helps. I have a pinking blade for one of my rotary cutters.

  18. As a life long per-washer, the best tip I can give is to iron the fabric while they are just a teeny bit damp. After washing I put them in the tumble dryer on warm until just before totally dry, then I iron with a hot iron and steam. For some reason this works better than waiting until totally dry and then using steam and/or starch. Also, I've found that some fabrics, no matter how they are done will never, ever be wrinkle free once washed.

  19. I used to wash all my fabrics and stopped about a year ago or so but am considering it again
    a tip I learned is to buy one of those rotary cutters that have a pinked edge, just trim the edges before washing the fabric and you have so much less threads after washing.
    i was surprised it really helped
    good luck I hope this helps with your medical issues

  20. Hi Teresa. I have had chemical sensitivities for several years. Mostly from cleaning products and per"fumes". The only time the fabric seems to bother me is when I iron it if it hasn't been washed. I read once that in order to make cotton fabric perma-pressed so that it doesn't really wrinkle, they use formaldehyde in the cotton fabric processing.

    I heard a tip a long time ago that if you clip the corners of your fabric before washing it, you won't get so many tangled threads. It's like pinking but you only need to do the corners. Worth trying one pinked and one with the corners clipped to see what happens?

    Your socks are looking so pretty too. Addicting to knit aren't they? Even more addicting to wear in the colder months.

  21. I love your socks. Yellow blocks, too.
    I wash my fabrics when I buy them. Except precuts and fabrics that I buy to go with them. Then I wash the large remaining scraps.

  22. Your socks are looking great! That is a lot of progress -- thank goodness for long car trips. As for washing all that stash -- best of luck getting it all accomplished. I am a prewasher, and I will admit that it is a lot of work, but it will be nice to have it all done. You can make your own spray starch with just corn starch in water, but I think you are not supposed to do it ahead of time because it attracts bugs.

  23. Those red socks are calling to me. I get the problem with the chemicals. I worked at a place that made potpourri shortly before I got married. My allergies went NUTS! The doc told me I was going to have to quit before they went into overdrive. I wash almost every piece of fabric when it comes in the house. I HATE ironing, too. Health problems vs ironing. I guess I'll take the ironing.

  24. Bummer on having to wash everything. I think I am having some issues with not washing the fabrics but I'm too lazy to deal with it right now. I have heard the pinking shears to help with the fraying but have not tried it.
    Love your socks. I need to try them again and see if I can get a pair done... instead of one sock.
    Have fun at your classes.

  25. great blocks and socks!! I LOOVE best press- reminds me I need to order another refill on amazon

  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  27. I wonder if using Best Press makes it more difficult to hand quilt? I've been relutant to use starch or Best Press because I fear it will make it difficult to hand quilt.


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