Saturday, December 04, 2010

Oops leads to a test

If you're like me, you usually don't feel you have time to test everything before it goes in a quilt. You trust in the manufacturer's information (at best) or cross your fingers (at worse). The above is a section of a quilt I made quite awhile ago as a sample for a hand-dyed fabric business I was involved in. It never got a sleeve since we just pinned our samples to the booth's curtain walls. Now that the business is defunct, I use it at home draped over a trunk in the livingroom. And this is where the "oops" comes in. When I lifted the plant off it so I could switch it out for a more season appropriate one, I discovered a brown water stain as well as migration of that indigo blue into a light blue area to its right. Obviously I had not been careful when watering that plant and dribbled onto the quilt top. Oops indeed. The brown stain washed out, but not all of the bleeding as you can see if you look closely. But because of the nature of hand-dyed fabric and it's mottling, the diagonal line of bleed is not as obvious here as it would be on a different type of fabric. And since it never hangs on the wall, the indiscretion is even less likely to be noticed.

But that's not the real reason for showing you this. Two corners of the quilt have this fused floral applique, and there is no stitching along the edges for security. I used Steam a Seam II precisely because it is advertised as permanent without having to stitch along the edges, and because of its tackiness that allows you to more easily play with your arrangement before fusing with the iron. And even though washing is not supposed to effect the integrity of the fuse, I'd never really tested that before. You know; we go along saying it doesn't matter because our wall/art quilts will never be washed (never say never, I've learned). Well, now was my chance to run a test on a quilt where it would not be a total tragedy if the product did not perform as promised.

I had my doubts, and considered hand washing the quilt. However, I wanted to use synthropal to lift and suspend the excess dye so decided to throw caution to the wind and the quilt into the washer. Agitate away (although on an ultra gentle cycle) with hot water as directed and really put that fusible to the test. It held and there was barely a frayed thread to be seen, although that might partly be because of the tightness of the fabric's weave. At any rate, I can now say with confidence that Steam a Seam II does NOT need to be secured with stitching, even if it ends up in the washing machine.

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