Monday, 23 February 2015

Lily Rose: Colour Run Disaster

I am just so mad with myself! You'll know that I always recommend pre-colour testing all your fabrics and especially batiks. But did I actually go ahead and do that? No I didn't! I did a quick spot test with some water (not following my own method) and thought that would be fine. I took this image with a big sigh of relief, thinking I'd accomplished so much making this quilt in so little time.
Here it is being washed in preparation for those final finishing steps. I'd even purchased some Colour Magenet sheets to use 'just in case' as a back up.
But straight out of the machine, and all is not well. I notice some magenta in the water and cold rinse straight away. Then I lay it out flat on my table with some absorbent towels beneath.
Oh no!
The dye has run right in the focus of the light background. It can't be covered up and as the background is beige and printed, it can't be bleached out either. And the right side of the centre background has turned a pale lilac hue.
My heart just sinks. So much work potentially ruined with such a basic mistake. I can't live with this kind of smear on my quilt. Especially as its a wall hanging. I know this dye run will drive me crazy in the long term. My only option is to get it out. I even consider unpicking the bouquet, but I've stitched it down by hand really thoroughly and it will be next to impossible to do. And it will mean losing all my embroidery embellishments too.

I would normally never recommend using something I've never used before as a fix, but I really have no option and have to act quickly. I drive down to the shops to pick up some dye remover. The only one I can find is Dylon. Strangely, there are no instructions on the packet as Dylon assumes you will throw it in the wash. But I'm hesitant to wash my quilt again and worry that Dylon might actually release more colour rather than collect it. After all, its made to clean up garments, not fabric saturated quilts. I decide to mix a tablespoon into a glass with some warm water.

Experimenting mid disaster is not a good idea, but the fact is, I can't live with the stain above and really don't have any other options. In the car on the way back home I reason that I will unpick and salvage what I can of the applique and remake the rest on a new background (I don't have enough of the current fabric). So it's really a case of trying to save my weeks of work.
I start 'painting' my stained areas with concentrated Dylon. I saturate and immediately blot the area with a clean white, dry cloth. I also have extra dry white cloths beneath the quilt to absorb excess moisture too. I saturate and blot continuously. 
As I start cleaning up, I notice small pools of discoloration all over the background that didn't immediately show up as a stain but will certainly come through as the fabric dries. I saturate and blot these areas too. My batik vase is the cuplprit and you can see from the back that it has run a fair bit.
Over on the front, the released dye has created a halo around my handles and I can't get them cleaned up with the paintbrush alone as the Dylon is making the fabric bleed when it comes in contact with it. I'm so glad now I didn't throw it in the wash as per the instructions as it would have bleed much more. I have to unpick my vase edge details and the handles to clean up the stain properly. I will then restitch the handle pieces back down when the stain is removed.
The stains lift after 30 minutes of blotting and re-saturating the stained areas. I wait for the cleaned up areas to dry and check the back as well before repeating the process. If stains aren't thoroughly removed at this stage, they can ghost and come back after the quilt is quilted, ironed and hanging on the wall. This is why it's important to make sure the back is clean as well as the front. When I am satisfied that the fabric is clean, I stitch back my vase handles,

It looks like Dylon SOS has saved the day. I love this product, its a new 'must have' in my laundry now.I'd previously never used it before for anything so its been a nice surprise. To be honest, most products for the laundry which I have used for stain removal have been total disasters on my own shirt fabrics. I'm just so glad this worked.

It's definitely time for me to have a coffee and a lie down. I have a pounding headache from the stress of my own stupidity. I really should listen and take my own advice regarding pre colour testing.

Shortcuts are never so. I know that better than anyone.

38 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry that this has happened. If it had been just in one area, you could have covered it up with a butterfly (our go-to cover-up for little boo boos on quilts.) I take it that this will not be washed at all in the future?

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    1. Yes, 'stick a butterfly on it' is an expression that sings in my ears!

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  2. I feel for you I know you put a lot of work into this quilt top - I'm so glad you got the bleed out. When that has happened to me I leave it soaking in a lot of water a second time with color catchers, change the water out and do it again and again - I do not normally wash my top in the laundry like you do before it is quilted though, I assume you just had it in the washing machine to soak out glue and not for a regular wash? Good luck in the rest of the quilt.

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    1. The glue is really never a problem for me because Elmer's is a starch but I suppose it must vary depending on what you use. The problem with batiks is that they don't just bleed - they're so pigment intense that the colour catchers don't get them in time. I had double the amount of colour catchers in my wash and it still didn't stop the batik, I'm so annoyed with myself and to make matters worse, my colour testing tutorial is my most popular tutorial, if only I'd followed it!

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  3. I am so sorry this happened to you! I have done extensive testing on dealing with bleeding fabrics. I hope you will take a few minutes and go to my blog and click on the Save My Bleeding Quilt button. You will see how I learned to fix bleeding quilts and to make sure fabrics will not bleed later. I don't mean to brag but I'm pretty sure no one else has done the testing that I have done. Your quilts are spectacular and you don't deserve these mishaps! Http://vickiwelsh.com

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    1. This is great Vicki, thanks so much for getting in contact, I'll have to link to it somehow on this blog if you'll allow it- what a great resource you've put together for us all.

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  4. Oh, thank goodness it came out! It would have been worse than awful to have to unstitch and restitch! Thanks for sharing your experience about Dylon. Your quilt is beautiful!

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  5. I have done something similar with an EPP project. Like you I didn't follow my own advice. Fortunately the color catcher worked and I was so relieved. I figured I would have to remake a good portion. I hope it all works out for you without too much trouble

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  6. Oh Esther . . . thank goodness you were able to get it cleaned up.

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  7. Thank you for sharing this potential disaster with us....it is wonderful to learn ALL your methods in creating masterpieces! I am so glad you were able to save your Lily Rose! It is stunning! Carol in SA

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    1. Thanks Carol, I think its so important to show all the steps too.These things happen and whilst its annoying to have photos taken at the time while I'm 'living' it, I know I would like to read about it if it had happened to anyone else - because many of us know better but sometimes we get so inspired that we run away with ourselves and forget things - like colour testing!

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  8. What a horror story! So glad you were able to remedy the problem after much distress and anxiety. Your quilt is so beautiful and you have worked so hard. Congrats on your solution. I'll have to see if Dylon is available in the U.S.A.!

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  9. Oh Esther a quilters worst nightmare I think. Thank you for been so thoughtful in all your stress to stop and take photo's all through this disaster, so many of us will learn from these visual photos. Your Lilly Rose is so so beautiful what a story you will have to tell at your next lecture when you show it completed???? Glenda

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  10. Once the quilt is finished, throw the Dylon run remover in the wash with it. How did you manage to rinse it out completely by spot treatment? It is very strong, I would be worried about it eating the fabric over time. It worked for me following their directions. BTW Jenny Bowker said the Australian version of Nappisan works. (the Nappisan in the UK is different it seems). Phew. I am glad it worked.

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    1. Interesting. Napisan has bleached the few things I have used it on, I have some in the house for tea towels but was worried to use it on the beige background as I didn't want to lose colour. I was feeling pretty good about the Dylon but since I read your comment yesterday it has occurred to me that I will have to re-wash now - I have no choice. I am concerned that the Dylon might remain in the fibres and bleach them over time. I will have to re-wash the whole thing. And thoroughly too. I'm worried that Dylon in the wash generally will bleed the batik too much. I will think about over the next few days...

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  11. That must have been heartbreaking for you. I'm off to wash all my fabrics for Oma's Blues now this morning before I start.

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  12. Oh ouch! Many comments on blogs and forums I follow about pre washing or not and the ways to fix if things run. I never trust batiks, they always run, always prewash in synthrapol, this sets the dyes. http://www.dharmatrading.com/chemicals/synthrapol-detergent.html Here is a company that sells it all over the world. Glad you found a solution.

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  13. Oh no! Poor you! That must have been so stressful. So glad you were able to rescue your beautiful Lily Rose.

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  14. Oh boy, Esther what a story, a lot of stress but you managed to get a good solution! I hope you may still enjoy this great appliquation and never use batics again I presume? greetings, Conny

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  15. What a nightmare - luckly you manged to save the gourgeous quilt! I see that Field Trips in Fiber is among your favorites, se does have some good tips and tricks concerning this bleeding subject.

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  16. Dear Esther


    Recently, I washed a king size quilt, made with jellyrolls. It has nearly 4000 squares in it. It is handquilted. One do not think to prewash precuts. The colours ran, if I had washed the top before quilting it, I would have saved a lot of heart ache. The only recourse I have left is, unpicking the quilting and washing with colour catchers. I am so glad you could rescue your beautiful Lily Rose! The Jellyrolls I used, was not batiks.

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  17. Oh Esther my heart sank when I saw your photos of all that bleed of colour to your background.
    I don't usually wash my quilts. I am worried about my Oma's Blue so I will see if my blues blend straight away. I am happy to see you save your wonderful Lily Rose. whew. It is gorgeous.
    Bunny

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  18. How heartbreaking for you after all the work you put into your quilt but what a relief that the Dylon product worked!

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  19. Great save! I'm glad it all worked out. It is lovely!

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  20. Whew! Your painful experience had a good ending. Hurrah for Dylon rescuing Lily Rose, and your sanity. I had a similar experience with batiks bleeding on LE. Fortunately, the stains were removed, the hours of time involved a teaching moment unlike any other I've had as a quilter. Those squirrely batiks, wonderful fabrics that they are, surely need close monitoring.

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  21. I am so glad you posted about this disaster, Esther! My very first hand stitched applique attempt was a BOM and after finishing all of the blocks, my iron happened to leak on one of them and I discovered that a red batik I had used for my red cardinals and my stuffed berries was a bleeder. So the blocks are a UFO over on the shelf for nearly a year now, since I didn't know what to do about that fabric. In your case, do you feel that your finished quilt will be washable, or do you think that purple vase will continue to run and bleed on the background fabric? Is there a way to get all of the excess dye out of that fabric, or set that dye so it no longer runs, once you've already stitched it to other fabrics in your project? Or is this wall hanging now a "wash only over my dead body" project?

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    1. Ha! I love that Rebecca Grace, but no - I am going to re-wash it because that Batik fabric has to be purged of all its loose pigment or it might bleed in the future. I feel that Lily Rose has to be washable. I do have some quilts that are non washable because they are art quilts, but Lily Rose will be in a high traffic area and I just know that if I don't fix this now it will haunt me later somehow.

      It's bad timing for me as I am going away for the rest of the week to teach classes, but when I get back the first thing I will do is re-wash to fix the batik and I will blog about that as I do it. I'm also worried about the Dylon - its an excellent product but I have to make double sure I haven't left any behind as it might corrode the fabric over time.

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  22. Oh Esther, poor you, I feel for you! What a lesson! I would need something stronger than coffee, LOL!
    Live and learn, I suppose :-)
    But thank you for sharing your terrible experience with us. I must admit, I don't always pre-wash, I like to work with new fabrics, so I always put Colourcatcher with any quilt I wash, although it seems that even that would not had been enough in this case!
    xx

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    1. Live and learn - exactly! I've made so many quilts that I got lazy on the colour testing,what a lesson and when I'm so busy too

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  23. OMG! I hope that the coffee and lie down revived you as well as you seem to have revived the quilt. Well done on managing to rescue it!

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  24. You poor thing!! Of course you were exhausted after spending all that emotional energy on rescuing your quilt. It must have been a scary few hours for you as you worked through all the options in your mind. I'm very pleased that you managed to rescue it. It will be beautiful when it eventually hangs on the wall.

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  25. Esther, I have used Synthrapol as recommended by Kate & had excellent success removing any bleeding problems that have arisen.

    I always prewash, but still have had bleeding in applique which I usually do with freezer paper & glue the edges. Even fabrics that have not run in a pieced area have run when used in applique. Apparently some dyes will react with the dyes.

    I make a diluted solution of the Synthrapol & spray on the area & fabric affected, then wash in machine with Synthrapol using warm rather than hot water & have had good results with this method.

    Dawn, BC

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    1. Thanks for the advice Dawn, I actually have Synthrapol but was struck dumb when I actually needed it! So annoyed with myself...

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  26. What a stressful thing to have happen after all the beautiful work you've done. So glad it has worked out well. Hope your quilt brings you much happiness when it's finally hanging on the wall.

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  27. oh Esther, I am so glad that you were able to get the bleeds removed from your quilt. I would have been so upset if it was me.

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  28. Thank you so very much for posting about that painful experience. We all owe you a debt of gratitude for the reminder to not take SHORTCUTS! But, if you do, with determination and confidence, the problem can be resolved. Thank you Esther for sharing your story.

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  29. Thanks everyone for your kind message of support. What was I thinking??! My colour testing tutorial is my most popular one and I have taught this over and over again - but did I take my own advice?? I did not!

    I will be blogging another post when I re-wash this quilt, fingers crossed!

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