Sunday, 28 July 2013

Washing Quilts - In Praise of the Colour Catcher

You may have noticed that lately my blogging has not been as prolific, and that I may not have had the chance to comment and respond to your kind comments.  Apologies. My excuse is that I have been busy completing my Red and White Pinwheel Quilt ready for the deadline for the NEC Festival of Quilts, which is being held in Birmingham on 8th-11th August 2013.Besides being time consuming, and having to quilt on the hottest day of the year, there have been a few other traumas along the way which I though I would share with you. 
 
As you may know, for marking this quilt I have been using the blue Wipe Off Fabric Marker, to draw on my quilting lines.  I have  found it really successful, and would use it again.  However, to start with, I was removing the blue pen marks as I went along, which was fine until I realised a problem.
 
I am not *stupid*.  When I made the decision to make a red and white quilt, the first thing I made sure of was that I gave the red solid I was going to use, a good 60 degree wash, to make sure that the colours would not run. However, somewhere along the way, I completed the top and put the sandwich together, using  a lovely red spotty fabric, and started quilting.  My eye may have been off the ball at the time, as we were building a house.  It was not until quite far along the quilting process, when I was removing the blue Wipe Off Fabric Marker with a very damp cloth, that I noticed that the water had caused the dye from the red spotty backing fabric to bleed onto the white of my quilt ..... take a deep breath
 
Red dye bleeding onto white fabric Colour Catcher
Red dye bleeding onto white fabric
It was difficult to proceed with my quilting until I knew for sure that when the quilt was finished it would be a Red and White Pinwheel Quilt, not a Pink and White Pinwheel Quilt. Luckily, I still had some of the backing fabric spare, and I decided to do a test run.

Dylon Colour Catcher
Dylon Colour Catcher
I put some yardage of the spotty red fabric, an old white pillowcase, and a Dylon Colour Catcher sheet in the washing machine on a warm wash, and waited for the results.  As you can see it all worked out perfectly.  Yes, the colour did run, but the Colour Catcher did the trick of collecting the loose dye particles. 

Washing Quilts - Colour Catcher Test Run
Washing Quilts - Colour Catcher Test Run
Quilting of the Red and White Pinwheel Quilt continued right up to the deadline, but before it was packaged up and delivered, it had to be washed.  Even with the test I had done, and the results plainly in front of my eyes, somewhere inside of me still had some doubts, and I had reservations about this moment. A few days before, I noticed a comment by Karen at Celebrate Hand Quilting about washing quilts, and I contacted her for some reassurance. Thanks Karen for your advice, at the right time! 

The quilt went in the washer on a COLD WASH, with NO detergent, with FIVE Colour Catchers.  At this point I still had the blue markings on the quilt, and I needed to rinse them away, without detergent, which worked a treat.  Within a few minutes, with the loose red dye, it looked like a bloodbath in the washing machine, and I could see that all the Colour Catchers had taken up a lot of dye ... take a deep breath.   

So I drained the first round of water off, replaced the Colour Catchers with FIVE MORE, and started the process again.  There was a lot less red dye in this wash, but the Colour Catchers still took up a lot of red, as you can see from my final collection of Colour Catcher sheets drying on the sink in the laundry room.  Once this was rinsed, I finally did a wash with some detergent in it, and THREE Colour Catchers in it.  By this point I had moved onto a different packet of Colour Catchers, and I found that Dr Magic Snatch a Dye, which I purchased from Lidl, works just as well.

Red and White Pinwheel Quilt drying on the Sheila Maid
Red and White Pinwheel Quilt drying on the Sheila Maid
As you can see  - the final results show a Red and VERY White Pinwheel Quilt, which I am very pleased with. During all this time, my husband has been thoughtfully searching for Red and White Pinwheel Quilts on Ebay - just in case.
I never really had an interest in Chemistry when I was at school, but I would like to thank  all the Chemists that were involved in the development of this wonderful product - the Colour Catcher.

13 comments:

  1. I am so glad it worked for you!!! it is scary seeing all those red/pink color catchers though isn't it. I will need to buy more color catchers when it comes time to wash my red and green quilt - I know I will be doing it two or three times just like you before it is all clear. It is hard for me to not be spritzing my blue marker out while I am quilting my quilt but I know I have to leave it be.
    Your quilt turned out so pretty I'm glad I was able to help you.

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  2. I make lots of red, white, and blue quilts. I am not a pre-washer of my fabric, either. I use color catchers all the time, and love them! I have a friend who made a quilt for her son. The red in it bled. It "lived" like that for a couple years. She was visiting and decided to try washing it with some color catchers, and it came out. Years later! I'm so glad your quilt was rescued. Good luck in the show. I would love to see pictures!

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  3. I'm so pleased out worked out for you. I have only just discovered this product. Thanks for the information, I didn't realise that you could possibly need to put so many into the washing machine at once. The results are brilliant and I love your quilt.

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  4. Phew! That all sounds a bit hairy. What a nightmare! The result looks as if it is worth all the effort. Now you can relax!

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  5. Such a beautiful quilt Frances! I am glad the colour catchers worked for you, I use them all the time, I always put one in a wash with my old quilts just in case.

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  6. Wonderful work! SO Glad that your color catchers worked for you. Good to know too from Joanne that it still can work years later!

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