My Bleeding Quilt: What I Learned….

It’s  Tuesday!  Time for another tip….or many in this case…πŸ™ˆ

It’s been a quite a week.  I went from ecstatic 😍, to panic😱, to acceptanceπŸ™„. I learned some valuable lessons, some about quilting, some about life….πŸ€”

This is a little long, excuse me for it’s length.  If you are border with the details, skip down to the section entitled Perspective.

Still, on a high from QuiltCon, I finished quilting my “Dazzle” quilt!  

The quilt is from a pattern called Dazzle available at our quilt shop.     

I used a fat quarter bundle of Kaffe Fassett fabrics and added some stunning Dupioni Silk!  The texture of the silk and the colours of it fit perfectly with Kaffe’s fabric.  I was very happy with this fun quilt.

Then I quilted it. I used some of the things I had learned in my classes at QuiltCon and was thrilled!  Ecstatic!  Yeah, probably have made better quilts, but it was the newest, and the things I learned at QuiltCon were coming together in my head in a way that fit with the way I quilt.  I had plans of entering my Dazzle in Central Alberta Quilt Show coming up in a few weeks!  Not cause I thought it would win, not at all, just cause I wanted people to see it.  Since I used water soluble marking pen and cause I have just become convinced it is a good idea, I got ready to block it, put it in the washing machine on rinse cycle with 6 colour catcher sheets. This is Wednesday evening.

Yup, you guessed it! Or if you follow me on Instagram you already know… To my horror when I got the quilt wet,  the purple Dupioni silk bled!  BADLY!  Panic set in! I never did get pictures at this stage, too panicked to get pictures….  Into the washing machine it went, with a little synthropol I had on stock, and 10 colour catchers! As it was washing, I went on line and started reading πŸ“–. The first thing that comes up when googled, is an article Save my Bleeding Quilt by Vicki Welsh, a fabric dyer, who has done some testing on Bleeding fabrics.  She said washing machine does not have enough water, it needs to soak in lots of water.  So I was running again πŸƒβ€β™€οΈ, shut off the washing machine, put it in a tub and carted it off to the bathroom, bumped it in the tub with water and all the synthropol I had and a whole box of colour catchers!

Back to reading Vicki’s directions.  She said Dawn detergent is as good as synthropol. I usually buy Sunlight, but I went and looked at what I had, and low and behold it was Dawn!  So in half a bottle went! πŸ˜œπŸ‘€ You would not believe the bubbles! Back to reading.  Oh, the hotter the water the better!?  Really, on my wool batting quilt?  Oh well, I will listen, so in went a little boiling water to heat it up some.  More reading, soak at least 12 hours.  Hmmm.  That meant about 9 am and I have Pilates class in town at 7:30-8:30.  So in the am off to Pilates I go, come home again, via the grocery store for more Dawn in case I need it.  Drained the water, rinsed it many times to get rid of the suds.  The more I rinsed the less dye there was in the water.  I am feeling hopeful…have a good look, and I am thinking it looks ok.  Some pink in seam allowances, but end at seam allowance edge so is it just shadowing?  Bleeding in spots I had originally seen it were gone. So back into the washing machine I put it just in drain and spin cycle.  Pull it out, dump it on my styrofoam to start blocking it.  OH NO!  NO!!!  Now there are more purple spots and big yellow spots ( still not sure if the yellow came from the lime green or orange silk)! 😱😱😭😭πŸ˜ͺ still too panicked to think of pictures….I would later realize the spinning must have caused dye to come out cause it was ok when it went in….

So now back to on line I go, also read something from Margaret Solomon Gunn on Facebook.  She also states Dawn walks as well as synthropol.  Margaret said 1st Don’t Panic! Deep breath! Oh boy needed to be reminded of that. She also said do not give up.  Ok, good, I will be persistent. I read what she said , and noted she referenced to Vicki’s post.  I re-read Vicki’s post. I had also posted on Instagram and was reading the many suggestions there.  Lots suggested dawn. So ok, I will soak again. But I used so much water rinsing the quilt I only had cold water left.  So into the feeezing cold vehicle (it was -32 C -23 F) and off to my daughters to use her tub and hot water.  Soaked all day while I worked. Took it home after work, refilled tub and soaked again overnight.  Next morning, Friday, rinsed.  No better, maybe worse….😱😰 Re-read everything I had read.  Decide I am not using hot enough water.  So use only hot and add lots of boiling water and dawn.  On the way to work I think to myself, the first overnight soak was the most successful and I used synthropol.  So I go into our store and buy another bottle of synthropol, drive home again, open the quilt up and rub synthropol right into the bleeds, submerge it again with more synthropol in the water.  Half a large bottle!

Friday night I think there  is progress, so I repeat with lots of synthropol rubbed in, lots of added hot water, as by now I am convinced the hot water is key.  Repeat Saturday morning with the last bottle of Synthropol we have. So Saturday nigh, I have no more synthropol and I just did not know what else to do, so I rinsed and rinsed.  Blotted with towels and laid out to block.  There are still yellow,spots, but the purple is pretty much gone, but does still show in spots. 

Sunday morning, as I came into the room, the light reflected on the quilt and my heart soared!  Despite everything, the quilting did what I wanted!  There was texture due to the play of light on the quilting lines!  Exactly what I learning about at QuiltCon from my classes with Pamela Wiley! The damage is still there, but the quilting worked….

Here are some close ups of the damage….

You might not realize it, or be able to tell from the pictures, but the prints are very faded and the silk is looking bad, very little colour left and white fuzz on it.


I hope if you skimmed the above that you read this!

I am not as upset as you might think I am from reading the above!!! πŸ€”πŸ™ƒπŸ€—

Some things were going on just before this happened and while this was going on that have helped keep things in perspective.  

First there was a terrible car accident in the very small town I grew up in the week before.  A little town called Amisk, Alberta, population 200, lost an entire family in a head on car accident with another single driver, also from Amisk, also dead on scene.  The family were well known, one of those families well respected and heavily involved int the community.  I knew Tim, the father killed.  But even more unsettling for me is Tim’s daughter who was killed is my nieces best friend.  My niece had just spent the weekend with them….and the loss of her friend has left a big hole in her life.  

Second, my daughters friend Amber from her school days lost her mother to Cancer this week.  Jennifer was 52 years old, one year younger than I.  Too young.  Amber spent time at our house, and I feel close to her.  Amber is really struggling with the loss of her mother, and it wrenches my heart….

Saturday morning Kathleen and I attended Jennifer’s funeral, while my niece, brother and Sister-in-law attended the Funeral of the family killed at Amisk. Perspective……

Here is what I learned:

1. It’s just a quilt!

Yup!  It is JUST a quilt!  Not my even best, not my first, not my last, just a quilt along my journey…..

I kept wondering why I was not more upset!? πŸ€” I was a little disappointed, preoccupied by it and I tried really hard to rescue it. However, even though I have always been an emotional person, who cries easily, I was ok….not one tear.  

Cause it’s just a quilt!  I hyperbolize a lot (ask my hubby)!  I will often be heard saying I just Love a quilt, ice cream, TV Show, etc.  But the truth is love is the wrong word.  Love is a feeling of affection for a human being, one who’s presence makes our life richer….. 

It is just a quilt…

2. I still had creative growth!

I will not be able to enter this quilt in the show I planned on, but so what!  I still enjoyed the process of making it!  I still was able to try some new things in the quilting!  And I can still see the results and appreciate them!  πŸ–πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ¨

I will bind it and keep,it as a reminder of all,of these things….

3. I will still NOT Prewash!
Yup!  My friend Susan (also not a prewaher) asked if this was going to make me a pre-washer.  My immediate answer was No!  25 years of quilting and not prewashing, and this is the first problem!  As well, it was the silk that bled.  I do not think even knowing that I would pre-wash silk.  How do you do that when it frays so much? However I may be scared to use silk again…..

I still like the look and feel of unwashed fabric better than washed fabric!  I still do not like to touch unwashed fabric!  I still believe pre washing does not ensure it will not bled!  I still hate ironing all that fabric after washing!  I still feel the new dyes being used are very stable!  

Nope, not going to ever convince me to pre wash!  That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it!😼

4. Always have synthropol on hand!

I will never not have a bottle of synthropol waiting in case I need it! We sell it at our store, and it is not a fast mover. We discussed once whether we should even carry it any more…. On Saturday we decided we will always carry it, does not matter how fast it sells, when you need it you need it! πŸ‘

5. Colour catchers are not as good as I once thought…

Colour catchers were used, lots of them and did not stop anything from happening…..πŸ˜•

6. The hotter the water the better!

The best results I had were with VERY HOT water, like half was just boiled, the other half was the hottest setting in my tap. As a friend said, it is hard to put hot water on my baby (your quilt) but t works!  Wish I would have known that the first soak!

7. Next time I would soak my binding fabric with the quilt!

After I wrote most of this I started binding my Dazzle, and discovered my binding, origannly the same off white, looks startling white next to the quilt….πŸ™„

8. I was pleased to see my tie offs held!

I do not bury threads!  I have not the time of patience for it.  I literally have hundreds of stops and starts!  I have a method of tieing off I learned from Claudia Pfeil.  If you ever have a chance to take a class from her do!  Anyways I looked and looked and all tie offs held firmly…..πŸ‘€πŸ˜Ž

9. I have great friends who support me! And that is more important than the quilt!!!

I do have a wealth of support! My friends at home kept asking me how it was, in person and in continuous texts.  And my on line friends were also amazing!  Your words of encouragement and suggestions were appreciated!  It is easier to keep perspective when you are so supported! 🀝🀝🀝

MY FRINEDS, YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO ME! The more friends I add to my life, the richer it becomes…..
Wow!  That was long, and got a bit sappy!  I think writing it all out was therapeutic…..thanks for reading!

Still stand by, it’s only a quilt…..

Still loving what I do……😍😍😍


16 responses to “My Bleeding Quilt: What I Learned….

  1. That is such a wonderful perspective. Your quilt is beautiful – when you first posted it I went to purchase the pattern but shipping to US was cost prohibitive. I enjoy following you.

  2. Oh, the horrors Ardelle!…Bleeding is just the worst. Everything I know and have passed on to others (many times now) originally came from Vicki. I could have helped you immensely had you just emailed. First off – to this day,I will prewash or presoak in hot water anything darker than tan, especially aquas, reds, purples and ALL Radiance silks. I refuse to use dupioni ever. It does not tolerate water. You are blessedly lucky that the fabric did not just disintegrate in the water. Another fellow quilter had her quilt all but fall apart when the dupioni was soaked to remove the bleed. All the color catchers are the reason the other fabrics lost their vivid color. Just use the Dawn and hot water. It is all that is needed. BUT…if you use silk, and it is fine to, know that all marks must remove with dry cloth or air. You can always send the quilt to a dry cleaner to be cleaned. JMHO at no cost!

  3. No matter the bleeds…it’s still a beautiful quilt that will keep someone snuggle warm. Isn’t that it’s purpose after all? Beautiful!

  4. It makes your heart sink when you find that your precious quilt misbehaves and bleeds while you are trying to block it. I have been there myself and it’s stressful. The colour catchers are not as good as they say, l once put some in the machine and while they caught some colour a fabric which was touching another had a lot of die transfer. I think the answer lies with the silk, the hotter rhe water the more dye comes out, Bethanne Nemish had bleeding with one of her silk quilts and wrote about it. You are right in saying everything in prospective. ….. .Every quilt is a learning curve. Great quilting and a great quilt.

  5. Just a suggestion. I have used oxyclean with great success on a quilt I was going to show with red bleeding. I put several scoops in the bathtub and dissolve in hot water. I then turn to cold, swish around and place quilt in water. I add a few color catchers. I leave it at least 24 hours and look at it every once in a while. when finished I press out water and put in washer on gentle. On this particular quilt all the red came out and I was able to show at quilt show. I also use it on my vintage quilt tops I find to quilt. Has taken all the yellow out and bleeding that happens with old fabric. Since I have done this I have seen recommendations to use this on the web.

  6. So sorry for the loss of your friends. Thank you for Perspective, you sounded possessed, lol, Reflection of our actions brings us back to reality and the important things in life.

  7. Your words of wisdom through experience are very inspiring. I marvel at your work. We all need to be reminded of things that are “just a quilt”! Thank you.

  8. You’re handling this so much better than I would be. Maybe next Tuesday you would share how you do your tie offs? I would love to see it.

  9. You have the right perspective! Silk is not known for being colorfast even with multiple washings, and it’s worth noting that both Margaret and Vicki are talking about cotton fabrics. I once had a bad experience with a wool batting felting up in a multiple wash situation so you’re lucky your finished quilt still looks flat after all the washing. With all that was going on in your life that week, remember it’s still a beautiful quilt!

  10. Oh such a nerve racking read! You ended with fabulous perspective though……..yes it IS just a quilt, but it is stunning. I sure would be interested in hearing more about the tieing off method.

  11. Thank you for taking time to tell us about your bleeding on your beautiful guilt, and possible remedies. I love folllowing your blog.I have learned a lot from you. I would like to know the method you use for securing your stops and starts. I often worry if mine will come undone. So sorry to hear about the loss of your friends.

  12. The depth to which I am fascinated by this discussion kind of makes me feel like a nerd. But thank you so much for sharing your experience. I, too, often think “It’s just a quilt”. I wanted to tell that to the woman whose quilt I made bleed. But I thought that might be a bid insensitive! By the way, the bleeding on that little embroidery piece of hers came from the printed design on the white fabric she bought. – not from the embroidery thread. The design is made w/ washable ‘ink’ – it’s made to wash out. NOW I know….

  13. Lots to learn from your words. Thanks for sharing all of it. Your priorities are on the money and will carry you through whatever comes your way. It’s just a quilt…

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