Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Saving A Quilt

Last fall I decided to wash the king sized double 9-patch quilt that we have on our bed for the first time. So into the washer (on gentle cycle with cold water) she went along with 5 color catchers.


I have read about other quilters having problems with their high efficiency washers when washing quilts. I also have a HE washer. I don't know if it was the washer or what but my red border bled, really bled. 


Some of the color catchers were pink but basically I think they were useless. They sure didn't catch the red color in this quilt!


I rinsed the quilt several times in cold water but it didn't do any good. I hung the quilt on the clothesline to dry and I've used it anyway.



What is interesting, to me, is how the white fabrics in the 9-patches didn't absorb the red dye and turn pink. But the white fossil fern fabric squares in between the 9-patches just sucked it up.

And see those red streaks on the blue fabrics, this is so annoying!

Last winter, on another blog, I read what they did to save a bleeding quilt. (Sorry, I thought I had the post bookmarked but now I can't find it!) They said to soak the quilt in HOT water with Dawn Pure dish detergent for 12 - 24 hours and NOT to use color catchers.

I checked at several stores, but I couldn't Dawn Pure, so I bought a bottle of Dawn Ultra Platinum. The label says it "Power Clean" - "powers away 48 hour stuck on food in seconds". Great, but can it remove red from a quilt? 

I've had the bottle of detergent setting on my kitchen counter for several months. I had to wait until it was warm outside to try this. I certainly can't soak it in the washer, I can't soak more than 20 minutes in my HE washer. And I don't have anyplace in the house to soak it other than the bathtub and I didn't want to tie up the tub for several days.


Monday was the day. I scrubbed a empty mineral lick tub, placed it on my garden cart and pulled it up to the milk house door. The hottest water on the farm is in the milk house because you need really hot water to wash the pipeline and the bulk tank.


I pulled the hose through the hose port and started running the hot water. The instructions said to add a good measure of dish soap, a good measure? What's that? I dumped approximately a cup in the tub, that should do it. I cringed when I put the quilt into the tub of hot water, because I never wash quilts in hot water, but into the hot water she went. I had a wooden spoon I used to push the quilt down into the water because this water is HOT, you aren't sticking your hands in there.

When the quilt was covered, I turned off the water and pulled the wagon into the garage to soak for 12 - 24 hours.

On my way out to the barn this morning, I pulled the wagon out of the garage and up to the milk house. She was looking good. I filled another tub with cold water and placed the quilt in it to start rinsing out the soap. I let it soak, went and did some of my morning chores, came back, swished it around and put it in a different tub with cold water. I did this for 6 rinses. When I was done with my chores, I squished the quilt into a 5 gallon pail, took it into the house and spun the excess water out in the washer.


When I hang a quilt on the clothesline to dry, I always hang it so the right side of the quilt is on the bottom, out of the sun. And yes, the backside of the quilt is from mom's stash. Mom bought yardage, not fat quarters. 

I ran errands while the quilt was drying. When I returned home an hour later, it was very windy and the quilt was about ready to blow off the clothesline.


I brought her into the house and she's back on our bed.


She looks so much more like the original quilt I made. There are some 9-patch blocks that have pink fabric in the blocks but the white fossil fern fabric actually looks white again. And the light blue sashing is blue, not purple!


The pink did not disappear from this block but she looks better than she did in the picture several photos above!

What a relief, my quilt looks lovely again.

So what did it? Did the hot water or the soap make the red dissipate? 

I hope I never have this problem again, but if I do, I'm going to try soaking the quilt in hot water without the soap to see what happens. Rinsing a wet king sized quilt is not the easiest thing to do much less doing it 6 times!

***Monday evening update - Karen left this link to Save My Bleeding Quilt. I remember reading this information when I read the post on the other blog about a bleeding quilt. Just in case you need the information.***

Linking to - Quilter's Monday, Fiber Tuesday, Esther's Wednesday WOW!Sew Fresh QuiltsMy Quilt Infatuation, Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Show Off Saturday

23 comments:

  1. I don't know if you had seen this link or not but Vicki has had such good reviews on this method. She has used it and others have too. http://www.colorwaysbyvicki.com/save-my-bleeding-quilt.html I hate the new washing machines - I have only had mine for 3 or 4 years now and need to call a repair man as it won't work at all now. I would really just like to buy a new plain old fashioned machine and have them deliver it and take this one away!! Glad you got a lot of the bleed out of your quilt

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  2. You certainly are a trooper to do all that work by yourself.
    I have a good ole fashioned top load machine that will rinse in warm water since we often have poor pressure with our cold water. The front load HE machine I had a few years ago and gave to my daughter-in-law did not begin to clean the dirty farmer clothes.

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  3. Which red fabric bled? It's my biggest fear!

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  4. Your quilt looks positively wonderful after this treatment! I remember seeing a similar post on another blog earlier this year that had similar results. Looking forward to trying this with a pink/fuchsia and white broken star quilt we bought several years ago at auction that still bleeds a little every time it is washed. The fabrics in that one are probably late 1980s or early 1990s.

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    1. Let me know how your quilt turns out. I hope it works!

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  5. So glad you got most of it out!! What a job! Hot water usually seals color in - so it is amazing how this worked! I remember having a sailor dress many years ago and the deep navy (attached) tie dyed all over the white dress. I used quite a bit of lemon juice and rewashed it and all the navy came out. Not sure how that would work on quilts though! Wonderful results with your method!!

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  6. Oh Gretchen my heart did sink when I saw the first photo's of the bleed but how happy I was to see the end result after so much work, but boy that was HOT water from the milking shed. How beautiful it looks back on the bed Hugs Glend a

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  7. Oh what a hassle. I'm sew glad it has washed up nearly like new again

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  8. Hi Gretchen,
    WOWEE! What a great post. On man, I sure felt your pain in those first few paragraphs. What a great story - I never would have thought the hot water and Dawn would do the trick.
    Roseanne

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    1. I don't know if I would have written the post of the hot water and Dawn wouldn't have worked. I would have been a very, very, very sad quilter. Now I'm happy again! The thing is, my husband never noticed the quilt was pink! I guess he thought that was hot it was supposed to be.

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  9. I'm sooo glad you were able to rescue your quilt but goodness what a task. I've heard quilter's talk about Dawn but I'm not sure what it is, is it,I wonder, what we Brits call washing up liquid?

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  10. I had a red and cream nine patch quilt that did the same thing, though not quite as bad. I too find it fascinating that only some fabrics pick up the dye, while others stayed cream. This was several years ago, and we still use the quilt. I wonder if the detergent + hot water would still work.

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  11. I had a yellow and deep blue batik quilt that I washed and the deep blue bled all over the yellow. I used Vicki's hot water and dawn cure and it completely removed all the bleeding. Glad that your quilt looked better after using her fix.

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  12. Whew! Great save! Thanks for the info and links! Printed it and posted in my sewing room! I dont want to sew on prewashed fabric....even starched it isn't as crisp.....and haven't had a bleeder yet! But it is a matter of time!

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  13. Great information - I pre-wash fabrics, but probably need to soak the darks longer - will make sure I do that. I had one quilt bleed and it is still waiting to be quilted (circa 2005) It was hand appliqued and I had always thought I would go back and redo the blocks, but have not. I will keep this information close by! Great outcome for you!

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  14. Interesting post, so glad you had a happy ending!

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  15. I hope this never happens to any of my quilts, but well done for saving it. I'm very glad for you that it is almost back to normal. I found my way her from Woot Woot

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  16. beautiful quilt, so glad it worked for you.

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  17. Amazing story...so glad that most of it came out !!

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  18. Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm very happy for you that your quilt is beautiful again. I don't wash my fabric before quilting and am so afraid this is going to happen to me one day. Good to have your information!

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  19. Oh this is heart breaking! But very well done on persevering with the soaking, so glad it more or less worked :)

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  20. Oh, I am so glad you had a happy ending to this story. I am going to save your info just in case it happens to me. I hold my breath every time I use red, navy or black in quilts. Thanks for the tips. Karen

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  21. Wow, what a story!! I'm so glad that the tedious process of washing your quilt in the bucket helped so much. I can't imagine how frustrated you must have been to see all that dye bleeding. I don't know what's in that Dawn soap, but I've heard from several people that it's the key ingredient.

    Thanks for sharing your tale of woe with a mostly happy ending!

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