Sunday, November 03, 2013


I don't know about the rest of you quilters, but I'm a pre-washer.  That is to say, I make it a habit to wash all new-to-me fabric.  I've done this since I began quilting in the early nineties, and continue to-day in part to pre-shrink cottons, and in part to remove 'sizing' etc. that impairs dyeing. part because there are still fabrics (especially reds) that tend to run when you least expect it.

Well.  Yesterday I finished The Door Quilt.  Because it was large and had had a great deal of handling, I decided to wash it.  I don't know what possessed me, but I decided to use Synthrapol, even though there were no hand-dyed fabrics in the piece, and all the fabric had been pre-washed.  I think it was because even though I'd followed the directions for setting my inkjet-printed quilt label, I was concerned it might bleed.

Well.  I took the piece out of the washer to find that the hitherto white centre motif was tan (as if it had been lightly tea-dyed) was the formerly white background of the label on the back.

Again, I don't know what possessed me; I put it in the dryer!

Needless to say, there was no improvement.

Next, I re-washed it with Bubble Jet Rinse; no change.

And then with Dylon S.O.S. Colour Run. Still no difference.  Zip.  Zero.  Nada. Nothing.

What to do?  This was a special piece, "given" to me as most of my "Spirit" pieces are -- the design, all-of-a-piece, right down to the colours and the quilting.

"You're an artist, aren't you?", I 'heard' in my head.  "Well then, use Gesso."  And so I did.

Here's a photo chronology:

Centre motif detail -- before attaching to background

Quilted back.  Note the large chunk of red-brown across the top!

Originally a white-on-white print, after washing...white-on-tan  :-(

Applying gesso to the motif

Et voila!  "Forever Blessed"* (C) 2013

Forever Blessed* (C) 2013 - Detail

Somehow, I think it was meant to be done this way all along.

From "Uh-oh" to "Oh-h-h-h".

*Title from the lyrics of "For All the Saints".  "IHS" in the centre = Greek for The Name of Jesus; the lyric reads, "Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.  Alleluia."


Kitchener Quilter said...

Wow, gesso. I wouldn't have thought of it. What a save! It will look great when it's hanging up.

Peggy said...

I never would have thought of that solution. turned out great. Good for you.

Linda A. Miller said...

There are no mistakes, something always comes from it. Lovely effects of a beautiful piece, Margaret!

elle said...

oh, Margaret, who'd have thought. gesso And yes, it looks like it was meant to be. How creative!

Judy Warner said...

I would say it was definitely meant to be as it is now - perhaps the quilt took control of your consciousness to make sure it got created the way it wanted to. :)