Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bleeding Reds

I lost my peace of mind today.

It isn't something I can go out and get, but is the result of something I do and keep doing that provides me with a sense of calm. For me, it goes beyond my thoughts or mind, and enters my body and my soul.

When one of my earliest quilts needed washing, I put it in using cold, the right gentle wash, and know that I pre-washed the fabrics before piecing. Yet, the red on the back bled onto only one of the white fabrics on the front. 

Pink. Yes, it turned that one fabric pink. And it makes me crazy to look at it. I really loved it as a black and white.

Oh sure, it made cherry blossoms, one could say. It is a dull pink.

However, I have two quilts (WIP) that I have been scrap cutting that have reds in them.  And I pre-washed every fabric, especially the reds before cutting.

This morning, however, I took one of the projects out of its box and pulled the reds from their baggies. I had to see if they were really color fast so spent an hour doing what I thought would work to remove unfixed dye.

However, I learned that I made a mistake and have to rinse the fabrics I soaked in vinegar because it will eat the fabric!

So much for what I thought I knew. Back they go to rinse out the residual vinegar. 

Horrors!!! After three rinses, the water was still turning pink. Evidently the vinegar reacted on the fabric exactly the opposite of what I thought. It has an acid in it! So of course, it was already 'eating' its way through. I plan to rinse yet again before going forward.  And I thought red was going to be the only issue. Blues can do the same thing! 

This ended up being a great lesson about fabrics and dyes, about setting fixed dyes and removing unfixed dyes. I had no idea there was a difference. 

SHOUT puts out a color catcher product that goes in the washer but doesn't say what is in it. I took all the pieces, put them into a laundry bag and put it into the washing machine with a Shout catcher. I read about a variety of products and know that I have to do some more research to see what works. Some are for pre-washing fabric, some for the first time a quilt gets washed. I know I need to get a better handle on fabric dyes before committing to any of them.

I'm attending a quilt show the end of the month and plan to visit as many vendors as I can to see what they suggest. 

I know that some people do not pre-wash their fabrics and maybe I have gone to excess over this.

However, before this happened, I planned to make quilts using a red-white-blue theme and now am not sure I want to do it before solving this color issue.