It’s Halloween. And this is the perfect fabric to sew.

Today is wash day.

Today is wash day.

For you young ‘uns out there, that thing in the lower right of the photo is a scrub board, which was used to wash fabric and clothes, back in the day.

A few months ago, I decided to make a quilt. What’s the big deal? you might ask. I make quilts and other projects all the time, mostly as project samples for client designs. Those items are produced on tight deadlines, and I often never see the quilt/tote/pillow/pincushion again once it’s shipped out the door. This quilt, I decided, would be for my first self-published quilt pattern.

Knowing I’d never get the project done without a deadline, I chose a time-sensitive fabric. (Or I should say, it chose me.)

Check out Wicked Eve by Timeless Treasures. Doesn’t it just scream “October”? I sketched out a design, figured up yardage, and ordered fabric. Then the fabric arrived, and it sat. And sat. Pushed aside for paying projects. Buried by other deadlines. But now it’s Halloween and I’ve got to get started. The first step in making a quilt is prepping the fabric, so, today is wash day.

I always prewash my fabrics. I know some quilters skip this step, preferring to dive right into cutting and piecing, and that’s fine. It’s a personal choice. For me, pre-washing eliminates any worries about fabric shrinking, and helps me avoid fabrics that might not be color-fast. An added bonus–any sinus-clogging, sneeze-inducing finishes or scents are washed away. (Not really a problem with any fabrics from Timeless Treasures, but my allergies have been off the charts this year.)

I wash fabric in cold water, with the same detergent and settings I use for regular laundry. To avoid excessive fraying, I trim any threads before putting the washed fabric in the dryer. I set the dryer to “less dry”, so the fabric is just slightly damp when I pull it out, and easier to press. (Yes, I press it. With an iron. And steam.) Once pressed, I fold each piece, right side out with selvages together, so it’s ready to cut.

It’s a start.