Warm Summer Evenings Call to the Clothes Line

Before heading out on a trip to the Oregon coast I found an older project (or two!) that needed a fresh start on their way to becoming finished products. The quilt-top featured in this photo with the blue border had acquired a nasty ink stain along the top border and had been begging me for assistance ever since it was unearthed from the stash earlier this past winter. After some debates with myself about whether I should chop the border and start anew, trim it and add another, or simply quilt over it…all viable options with a quilt top that is over 6 years old (at least!).

As luck would have it I stumbled across the perfectly sized scrap of the exact fabric I had used to make the border originally – the quilt fairies have spoken! So the next task was to give the poor thing a good wash to begin the next step on the journey to becoming a finished quilt – once and for all!

Now, one may ask, “How do you wash a pieced quilt-top?” Well certainly not in a washing machine!! I can only image the nightmare of jumbled and tangled threads that would accrue from that type of agitation caused by a washing machine, even if it were set on the “gentle cycle”. So, it was sudds up with some gentle quilt wash soap, rinsed in some warm water in the bathtub and hung to dry on the line.

You can see the ink stain in the lower left corner here — what a Whopper! That did not come out after some attempts with a stain remover purchased at my local quilt shop (LQS). No fault of the product mind you, it worked quite well on the other quilt pictured in these photos. But, that is another story for another post! This stain I am afraid must’ve come from a blue ink pen during one of several moves that have occurred for me over the past several years. The product was able to lighten it a bit, but there was no way to truly remove this stain after such a long period of time.

Of course I was able to add a few new cuts to the ‘wash-cycle’ as well. For me, there is nothing more satisfying that hanging up a few things on the line in the back yard on a warm, sunny, summer evening with wooden pins inherited from my Grandmother’s house. I like to day dream of the early days when drying clothes, linens and bedsheets was a practice of normal occurrence for most households. Don’t get me wrong! I am extremely grateful for the advancements in modern technology that allow me to set the machine, walk away, and return to a completed task within about 45 mins that would perhaps take several hours if done by hand. But still there is something novel, reflective and almost meditative about stringing freshly washed and rinsed fabrics across a cotton line.

Of course…. I have a helper! His tail is featured on the right hand side here…

Let me introduce, Gideon! He is a Maine Coon that I like to call “My Baby Lion Cub”. He is frequently making himself busy with quilt tasks only a cat can accomplish, such as napping on warm ironing boards, sitting on a cutting mat just as you returning from getting a snack, chasing dropped pins across the floor and much more. Today’s task was to try to pin down the fabrics as they were gently swaying along with the lite summer breeze.

He was rather upset by the end and was in need of a nap, a cuddle, and a close-up!

I look forward to adding updates for the progress of this quilt. Since these photos were taken I have taken out, and replaced the stain portion with the strip of ‘scrap fabric’ that magically appeared out of the rubble of a random WIP bucket I stumbled across and was able to find some perfect backing fabric during my vacation to the coast. The excess threads have been trimmed from the back of the pieced top, backing fabric sewn and ironed, and soon enough this quilt with be loaded onto the long-arm and quilted. Now it is only a matter of finding a good window of time. Perhaps I will have my “assistant” see what my week night availability is looking like on Monday.

Gideon and I are signing off to dream of binding options, quilting designs and future projects to come.