Finish a block…start a block!

Darn it!  Does this ever happen to you?  I was stitching merrily along, when I thought my stitches felt a little weird.  Then I noticed my background had folded over on itself and I was stitching through two layers.  I keep my stitch ripper handy for occasions just like this!

stitch 2

So, once the block was finally finished, I did what I do to all my finished blocks….I gave it a bath!  I like to wash everything out of my block…like glue, starch and anything else that shouldn’t be there!  First, I fill the sink with very hot water and a bit of soap.

sink 1

Next, I take a very deep breath…and then I toss my block into the water.

sink 3

I usually let it soak for a couple of hours.  Then I let the water out of the sink and rinse the block under hot water until there are no more suds.

sink 4

Next, I gently squeeze the block so it is not dripping wet, but still fairly wet.  Finally, I spread the block out on a thick towel and pin the four corners.  Then I just let it air dry.  I should mention that I pre-wash all of my fabric in Synthrapol before even beginning the block.

sink 6

sink 7

So…while the block was drying, I started the next block of Civil War Bride.  First I traced the block…

cwb 1

….then I made lots of bias.  (You can never have too much bias!)

cwb 2

Oh!  And speaking of Civil War Bride, I finally made a decision.  I chose Nest #2!  Instead of putting 5 eggs in the nest just like the pattern, I chose to add 3 eggs…an egg to represent each one of my lovely children!

nest 7

Til next time….



16 thoughts on “Finish a block…start a block!

  1. I think it is better to know a fabric is going to run before completely finishing a quilt so your block bath idea is a good one. I know someone that completed a Baltimore Album quilt (quilting and all) and then washed it. A red ran. She had a lot of work trying to correct the problem.

  2. Just discovered your blog and I’m completely blown away with your beautiful work. I appreciate your taking the time to photograph and share the process. It makes me want to try the technique but doubt I’ll start with anything as complicated as an album quilt (LOL).
    You are on my blogroll now so I can check back often for more inspiration.

  3. Wonderful post – thanks! You are a brave lady soaking in hot water but I suppose that is needed to remove glue? Pre-washing the fabric is a good idea but I have to admit to being a bit lazy in that department! I only give my blocks a quick hand wash in tepid water and then spin them in the machine. I don’t use glue so hopefully that is enough. Your blocks look superb – nice to see the beautiful preparation for applique in the CWB!

    • That is right. The glue and starch make the pieces a little stiff. I had a few fabrics run that had not been pre-washed. Ever since then, I decided to wash everything (including the background) before I start stitching.

  4. Ohhhh! I hate when that happens! : – )
    Thanks for sharing your process for washing and blocking your pieces. You are a brave woman! LOL
    -Debra (

  5. I’ve just discovered your blog and am astounded by your beautiful work. As a person fairly new to applique, I have been picking up lessons from various sources and finally getting a bit more comfortable with applique, I was thrilled to see your post on how you wet the block once its finished and then your post on how you square it up. This is the first time that I’ve read about how to finish up the block. I have two projects that nearly finished and I was really wondering what to do with each one because I do use both starch and dots of glue so its good to know that its OK to wet it at this stage. I’m going to read your whole blog and I’m sure that I will learn some new things.

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