After you have finished your quilt top, you may quilt it right away, toss it in a pile of UFOs, or send it off to be quilted. But, if you are quilting it yourself, there are a couple things you need to do after the quilt is "finished." It is important to label the quilt, and to wash it. I do not pre-wash my fabrics, but I do test to see if they are colorfast or not. After it is finished, I like to wash the quilt for the first time. Most end up being gifts or are commissioned jobs I do this for a couple of reasons:
-I can use a color catcher. A color catcher is a small "sheet", about the size of a dryer sheet, that will attract any loose color to it, in the event that the fabrics bleed. You can find them in the laundry aisle. I like to wash it with color catchers before giving them away just in case the colors happen to bleed. Sometimes, I grab a scrap fabric from my stash if I make an oops and I don't always test it before I use it.
-I love the combination of smells of Tide, Downy and Bounce. If I am giving a quilt away, I want people to smell the clean scent of the quilt
-I wash the quilt to make sure it will hold up well. Sometimes a piece of fabric may not be lined up with another top piece when I sew it together, resulting in a smaller seam allowance. Sometimes I catch this and can fix it, other times I don't know about it. (I'm not perfect) These seams can "bust" when they are washed. I can fix it before giving it to my friends or family, or paying client.
Labeling is another important part of a quilt. It is so important to give information about the quilt. One day these will be heirlooms, and any information offered from a label will be precious. I suggest having the following information on a quilt label:
-Who made it. Include who pieced it, who quilted it, and anyone else that may have had a hand in it.
-Start and end date of the quilt. This is just fun information to know. Along with the city it was made in
-State whether it was machine or hand quilted, if a pattern was used, or if it was an original design, and you can also list the fabric collection used if applicable.
-Include who the quilt was intended for, what was the occasion? A new baby, a new home? Or perhaps it is a gift of gratitude! Whatever it be, it is important to have on the label.
-Include any other information that you may think is important. Was it your first quilt? did you teach someone how to quilt with this quilt? Basically anything that makes it even more special.
Labeling is often times overlooked but this is a quilting no-no! One of these days I am going to write my own set of quilting ten commandments and this is going to be one of the "Thou shall Nots"