Raggy Quilt – A Lesson the Hard Way

Cotton flannelette

Lay jumbled

In huge rolls of colour

Hubby helps

Laying my choices

In the trolley

Switching rolls

The colour palette is sorted

White with

Tangy fruits







Colour full

Rolls thump the cutting table

As she measures the lengths

She runs her scissors down the groove

They don’t rip the fabric these days

I take my treasures home

To plan

To design

To cut and stitch these bright tones

Into Raggy quilts

Christmas gifts for Grandsons

It is the beginning of October

I work by hand

Before I cut the fabric


Samples of each

In the laundry

I dip into bowls of water

A bleed test

The glass stays clear

I am persuaded

All is well

I am wrong

1 week before Christmas

When complete

The quilts are washed

To encourage


As the quilts emerge from the machine

My confidence plummets

The colours have run

The white no longer crisp

The mango spoiled

What went wrong

Is a lesson for all

I tested the dye

With cold water

Only cold water

Later testing the scraps

I find

Detergent added to cold water

Liberates the dye

As does warm water

The main culprits

Blue and green

Though the others ran too

One wash was not enough

To liberate all excess dye

The boys are happy with their quilts

I’m told the colour change is not noticeable

To those who don’t know

But I know

I have promised a 3rd raggy quilt

To another child

Using the leftovers

I soak the scraps

In warm soapy water

Then rinse

The dye still runs

Another soapy warm water mix

This fabric is haemorrhaging dye

Reluctantly I add bleach

To another bucket of water

I have no option

That rich gorgeous colour

Must be dramatically reduced

I feel cheated

I have read

It isn’t necessary

To wash fabrics

Before beginning a quilt project

I was happy to accept this wisdom

And stepped into a whole lot of pain

I am also

A firm believer

In learning from


The working through the Process

Brings opportunities to learn

In this I learn

Do not swallow all I am served

Test for myself


All possibilities

I’ve since been told

Beach wear

Is often bright and leaky

A quick dip in the ocean

Salt water, acting as mordent

Fixes the colours

So perhaps

I’ll try a quick trip to the beach

Or  a salt water wash next time

Words and Photographs © Denise Stanford 2012

~ by Denise Within the Vine on 24/01/2012.

One Response to “Raggy Quilt – A Lesson the Hard Way”

  1. Oh Denise How beautiful. You have written such lovely poetry about this experience. I just love it. You have made me realise again that we have to see and be grateful for the beauty and the lessons we learn in our lives. We just carry on, just another day, but we need words like yours to pull us up and to make us look at our lives in a different way. You are such a blessing.

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