To pre-wash or not to pre-wash?

I have done this in the past — gone through about a million pages of quilting forums (they have forums for everything these days!), trying frantically to decide if I should just start already, or if I should have the patience to pre-wash.

So. I’ve just finished browsing the internets for more info on my beloved Kona cotton. I had my iron all ready to go. I’d settled on a pattern for Ezra’s quilt. I’d planned to have some serious squares cut today. I still may, but alas! My paranoia won’t let me avoid pre-washing.

I have my reasons!

1. I’ve read in more than one instance that the chemicals used to prepare fabric for dyeing/keep insects from destroying them (I’ve heard formaldehyde, don’t know how accurate that is) eventually make fabric shopping miserable for some, because they have become so allergic that they are physically uncomfortable in fabric stores. Man! I would never, ever want to be that person.

2. Bleeding, of course, is another factor. If I’ve just finished a quilt, I don’t want to wash it only to find out that Kona cotton does bleed (it doesn’t, as far as my experience goes. I have reds and browns in the wash right now, so we’ll see for sure when they’re done). I’ve washed White and Lagoon Kona Cotton together with no issue. Bleeding is not something I’m super afraid of, but to be frank, I don’t have the money to waste at the moment. I’m sure most people can understand that!

3. Funnily enough, I’m least worried about shrinkage, which is what I hear worries most people. I can understand why it’s a concern, so I’m listing it. It’s just not something I worry a lot about, personally.

Anyway. I’m too concerned about chemicals in fabric affecting me later, somehow. I avoid putting anything into my body that doesn’t need to be there. So for me, it puts me (impatiently and reluctantly) in the pre-wash camp. Unless I’m working with precuts. In which case, I stitch away!

-K

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