Monday, January 01, 2018

Preparing a Quilt for Shipping

Since it is almost time to ship quilts to California for QuiltCon2018, I thought I would write a post today about how to prepare a quilt for shipping.  It is important to follow the instructions sent from the organization.  This will generally include things like a hanging sleeve and a label.  It may also tell you to cover your label for judging, so that the judges only see your entry number and not your name. Next comes the part about actually putting your quilt in a box.  The quilt shown here is my i Quilt.  It is not going to QuiltCon, because, well, it has already been (in 2015).  But it was happy to volunteer for the purpose of this demonstration!  :)

Step one, find a clean place to lay out your quilt.  Put the back side up.
The next step is very important.  Get a tape roller and carefully look over the back.  Remove any stray threads or pet hair.
To minimize wrinkles in your quilt, scrunch up a bunch of long tissue paper into rolls.  Use one of these tissue rolls each time you fold your quilt.  It does not matter HOW you fold it.  You can fold it in half and in half again, or in thirds, but each time you fold it, support the fold line with a roll of tissue paper.
This is the first fold.
Bigger quilts require more folds.  Use your long arms to smooth the scrunch tissue paper as close to the inside of the fold as you can.  Now you can see half of the front side of your quilt.  Get the tape roller out, and check for loose thread again!
This is the second fold.
Each time I fold the quilt, and more of the front shows, I use the tape roller to clean it.
This is the third fold.
Check again for loose threads. Notice above, the tissue roll does not go all the way across the fold.  That is because there is already tissue rolls near the edges from the previous folds.  This is the first crosswise fold, and I use a smaller chunk of scrunched tissue. Be sure to rotate and flip and carefully check to make sure that any loose threads are removed.
The last fold.
Now, the quilt is folded to it's final shipping size. Place it in a plastic bag, along with any required forms.  Always include the shipping address and a return address inside the bag.
I always like to use a clear plastic bag, so that my quilt will not be accidentally mistaken for trash at it's arrival destination.  And, it is a good idea to close the plastic bag with tape, but do not over-tape it.  If you make it super difficult to unwrap, and a volunteer has to use scissors to open it, well, you are asking for trouble! This is a situation that is easy to avoid. 

Find a box for your very precious package.  If it doesn't fit into your box, do not squish and stuff it.  Either, find a bigger box, or refold your quilt. I like to have some room all the way around my folded quilt.  If there is extra room, be sure to stuff the empty space with more tissue paper.  Do not use packing peanuts for quilts.  Ever.  It irritates the stuffing out the receiver! Close up your box and then you can use a LOT of tape. 

Other notes:
*Packages are sometimes damaged in shipping.  Shipping tubes are worse than boxes as a general rule.  Also, don't leave any loose tape or torn edges on your box.  These can easy get caught up in the machinery used to transport packages and rip your package open.  Make sure the outside of your box is clean and smooth! I always cover the shipping address in packing tape.  I don't know if that's necessary or not, but it seems like a good idea. 

*YES, insure the value of your quilt while shipping. And consider requesting a signature for delivery.

*And, it is well advised not to write the word "quilt" on the outside of your box. 

And, may the odds be ever in your favor!


Rachel Parris said...

Good information. Thanks

Leslie Tucker Jenison said...

Good stuff. In addition, I use archival tissue to wrap my quilt before I place the shipping info inside the plastic wrapping. It makes the contents less obvious.

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

Thanks for this post. I'll be shipping our guild's QuiltCon charity challenge quilt later in the month. Just curious, but do you ever fold your quilts on the bias? Also do you find certain batting types resist creasing better than others?

Kathy York said...

Thanks for your questions! I never fold my quilts on the bias. I do know that however you fold your quilt, if you leave it folded that way for an extended time, it will cause some damage along the fold lines. The best practice for storage would be to refold your quilt along different fold lines ever so often, 3-4 months, or 6 months, or yearly (No idea about the time frame). For shipping, your quilt will not be in the box very long, so I don't think it matters that much. I have opened quilts for QuiltCon, and the ones that were folded on the bias were no less wrinkled than the others. Also, tutorials I have seen for folding on the bias, do not mention stuffing the fold lines with archival tissue paper. I would think that however you fold your quilt, the fewest fold lines would be best, and I have seen folds on the bias requiring more folds...By the way, when I volunteered for QuiltCon, all packages were opened, quilts were checked for hanging tubes and labels, etc., and then refolded in big squares, stuffed in plastic bags, and stored in giant cardboard boxes for the category they were in. No special effort to reduce wrinkles at this stage. If you sent it in folded on the bias, it is refolded in squares (rectangles), and moved along. If you send it in with tissue on the folds (like I do), the tissue is removed, the quilt refolded, stuffed in a plastic bag and moved along.
Regarding return shipping, Houston's quiltfest does the absolute best job ever in wrapping and returning quilts. That's where I learned how to fold and stuff folds with tissue paper, from opening my quilts returned from Houston.
And last, certain types of batting. Yes, some probably resist creasing better than others. But, there are other factors like: the fabrics you choose, the density of the quilting, how long it is folded, etc. I have used lots of different batting and for me the most important issue is what it "feels" like when I am using it. Most of my utilitarian quilts (ie., traditional and modern bed quilts), can be washed and spread out flat to dry, which removes creases. I do not leave my art quilts folded for storage, so those do not get creases at all.
Sorry for the seriously long and wordy response!

Poppyprint said...

Excellent info, thanks! I heard from a longarm Quilter that wool batting is less likely to crease from folds but I have no first hand experience.

pennylanequilts said...

Thanks, Kathy! Each show seems to handle quilts differently after they are received. I guess all we can control is our initial packing and shipping.