25 July 2011
I always wash my fabrics before storing them on my shelves.
I think I have one JellyRoll that is still wrapped tightly, with the ribbon, that isn't washed, but other than that, all fabric on my shelves are washed. Yes, that includes 5" charms, 10" squares and the other small bits.
Now, washing F/4s and even F/8s is easy. Pop them in the washing-machine with the rest of it, and you're done.
Washing charms, or even the 10" squares, is worse. Popping a small bit of fabric, with nothing but 'loose' sides into the washing-machine, makes for lots and lots of fluff in the load, and might unravel more than one is ready to loose, so, here's what I do :
Using the hottest water I can wring from my tap, and a bit of (mildish) soap, everything is dumped into the hand-wash basin in the bathroom, and left there to soak a bit.
I agitate it lightly, just enough to know I have done it, but as you can see, I have quite a small sink, and there are 40 squares, each 10" now crammed into it.
Rinse - again in water as hot as you can get it - as many times as you need to get all the soap out. On the last rinse, do not drain (!)
Now comes the fun part.
Take off your shoes or socks (or be prepared to have them soaked) and roll up your pants / jeans (again : or be prepared to have them soaked, at least at the hem).
Take the soaking, dripping, running wet squares, one by one, and 'hang' them in your shower. Tiles or glass, either works. My shower has tiles, but I've done this in showers that have glass.
Flatten out the squares as you hang them, so there are no large air-bubble caught between shower-sides and fabrics. Don't obsess ! just ... do it.
And then, when all are plastered to the wall, leave the shower and close the door. Depending on air-humidity, you will be able to pick up almost-dry squares of fabric within a few hours. Some will have fallen on the floor before they were dry enough to store, but that's ok too : Give them a quick run-over with your iron, and they are perfect.
With 'big' pieces like 10" squares, the majority will loosen before they are completely dry. With 5" charms, the majority will stick until they are completely dry.
The beauty of this way of doing things is :
You get your fabric washed.
You don't get fabric that is impossible to iron out.
The majority of shrinking has now happened, AND, whatever nastiness the producer has treated the fabric with, is now out, and even scent-allergics (like yours truly) can handle them without fear of a fit.
And that's the way I do it here in Copenhagen.