Sunday, November 2, 2014

A confession

Driven by quilt guilt, I feel compelled to confess an egregious act against a quilt top.

Yes, it's true, I have mistreated a quilt top I made.  Not by action, but by inaction.  (Is that a word?)

Over these last several months (totaling a year, give-or-take), I put aside a lovely little quilt top I made many years ago.  This lovely little quilt top is the darkest navy blue, with sixteen baskets of 'fruit' contained within the center area - in groupings of four, set on point in each corner.  There are cornerstones of a medium green - all various small prints - scattered throughout the background; and a quarter-inch 'piping' border of the same medium green surrounding the field of baskets.  It's all bordered once more by a 6 to 8"-wide navy band.

It is lovely in its simplicity, and I am proud of the piecing as all of the points match beautifully.  I made it early on during my early quilting zeal, and I can't remember what project I took on immediately after that made me push this little quilt off to the side, but the fact remains that I did.  I shunned it.

I did shrug this basket quilt off to storage from one place to the next.  From one decade to the next, in fact.  At this I am horrified.  Oh! And the history of my little navy blue basket quilt goes from bad to worse  [gulp]

This is not easy for me to confess - and I have ruminated over and over it for some time now (and it hasn't gotten any easier to face).

In my fecklessness I have allowed it to sit on a stack of papers and books nearby.  Over time it gathered dust and cat hair galore.  I even caught one of my less social felines growling at it, perhaps mistaking it for another cat in the kingdom.  Until recently, I would see the quilt laying there, but never really gave it much of a thought beyond, "I should really shake it out and quilt it up quickly," thinking that's all it would require.

However, my cats have revealed to me just how vile my HUGE blunder and wanton act of quilt cruelty has been.

Flop, who adores every piece of material I work with (because it has the possibility of becoming 'hers' when left unattended), showed me how little I understood about just how far afield my abuse had gone.  She wandered over to the stack the navy quilt top was perched upon and began to nuzzle it.  I stopped my activity to watch.  She is, after all, an adorable collection of frothy fur and ineffectual cotton ball feet.  She's sweet in her appearance and teddy bear-esque in build and mannerisms.  She began to paw at the quilt top, making me think she wanted to climb on it, or in it, to sit nearby and purr as I worked.

Then, her nuzzling and pawing became urgent, and I became as curious as she was eager.  Flop reared up on her hind quarters and pulled with both front feet, tugging the quilt top onto the floor.  Everything began sliding - it became an avalanche of books, manuals, and misfiled papers, topped by one somewhat-folded navy-blue-with-green dollop.  I don't know if she was frightened more by the noise or the torrent of items chasing her across the floor, but she fled momentarily, and then charged back to the quilt top before the dust settled.

My eyes were drawn to an odd brownish substance that appeared from folds of the material....and so were Flop's.  But she immediately began to chew as my curiosity became horror.  Mice had been stealing the kibble from the cats' food dish and squirreling it away in the quilt top for safe keeping. and my ineffective treatment of a sweet quilt top allowed for that to happen!

There, now I've said it.  It's out there and I am not proud, but I am willing to take the lumps if they also come with suggestions on how to wash out two small areas of mouse 'stain' so that I can go ahead and sandwich and quilt it before any more time passes.

I have taken it outside to inspect it closely and shake out a modicum of dust.
I've taped it and removed the bulk of cat fur, but the two small visible mouse stains are a concern for me.  I am aware I could simply hand wash out the areas and let them dry, BUT....we all know there is residual oil in the material from the cat food sitting for goodness knows how long.  A - n - d there's most likely some additional transfer of the mouse "stain" to other areas of the quilt top as they moved about  - and as the material had been folded on itself.  So, what I'm saying is, the need to get it all clean before quilting it is necessary.

I am ready to put it in the wash (although I am cringing at the thought of damage to the seams), and have it folded - seams facing inside - and placed in a smallish lingerie laundry bag.  The wash will be cold water and the cycle will be 'delicate' - so low, low, low agitation.  Will this work, do you think?  Sink soaking/washing and bath tub soaking/washing are not currently options.

Oh, and I checked. "inaction" is a word.  Huh.

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