Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Bleeding Quilt

Bleeding happens...especially when working with  batiks and lots of unwashed pre-cuts. But I recently had a quilt bleed on me that had never done that before....and I had washed it in my machine at least three previous times. It was a quilt I was using in Paris and when a corner of the quilt got some blood on it...I placed just that corner under cold water. The blood was gone but then I had a dark brown fabric bleeding into my creamy background. (Terribly sorry...once again I forgot to take the "before" picture.)

I was patiently waiting to get my king-sized quilt back to Alaska before washing it. There was no way I was going to tackle that in our Paris apartment. I had read a great article on Vicki Welsh's blog about how to take care of bleeding fabrics in a quilt and as luck would have it, Vicki had a button on her blog linking to her file on the subject which was just what I needed to get me into action. I've added her button on the left side for you to access her wonderfully detailed information.

The first step is soaking the quilt in hot water in a bathtub for 12 hours, using Dawn dish washing soap. What you see are plastic containers filled with water on top of the quilt to keep it submerged in the water. Vicki's great. There was also 15 minutes of acting as a human washing machine...agitating the water was a major workout! Hard to tell with the soap bubbles but the water was instantly brackish....yucky!!!

After 12 hours of soaking...this is what it looked like...very scary!!!

And another picture of the water draining. Double yuck!

I had to do a second 12 hour soak. I added less soap...the water hardly changed color.

The next day I did a third soaking for just 6 dyes present in the water so then I did two rinses in cold water. This was a lot of work over two days! I then threw it in my washing machine for a normal washing.

After tumbling it in the dryer it looks wonderfully clean! I do think some of the fabrics faded a bit...or maybe my quilt was really dirty after living in the big city of Paris for three years!

The area of bleeding was like new again!!! The brown star points were the previous offenders.

Now I would like to find the time and energy to wash all of my quilts using this method. Perhaps a good winter project!

Speaking of winter... 
We have had lots of rain and when the skies have cleared for a few hours our scenery has been spectacular...except for that new dusting of white stuff on the mountain tops. We Alaskans call that snow...Termination Dust. Our summer has definitely terminated and our autumn will be too brief.  


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I have been following Vicki for a long time and love her washing instructions. Glad it worked for you it did for my red/cream Dear Jane quilt too. Love your Alaskan scenery!

Vicki W said...

I'm so glad it worked for you!

CecileD said...

That's a great finish for your quilt and I love the style vintage he has now.....

Cathy said...

I had that happen when the backing of a quilt bled. It was a blue backing, so all the cream coloured backgrounds on the front turned grey! Yuck. I did the same as you, 3 days of soaking in the bathtub, and it came out almost as good as new.

audrey said...

I had to use her method too when one of my quilts bled on me. It is a tremendous workout and takes a long time.:) So glad for her information though as it is a lifesaver. Very happy your quilt made it through and looking so well!

LizA. said...

This method saved a quilt for me too. I had a new quilt with lots of reds that had been prewashed. The first time I washed the quilt several of the reds started bleeding. I did Vicki's Dawn soak and saved the quilt. I have since taken all my red fabrics and given them the Dawn soak. Next up will be all my batiks and other dark colors.