The Day My Quilt Bled and Almost Dyed

We’ve had this quilt on our bed for about 5 years.  I think it’s the third quilt I ever made, done all in my hand-dyed fabrics, and I’m quite attached to it.  I’m still amazed that I took on this project when I had minimal sewing/quilting skills and was sewing on a cheap Singer sewing machine.

Here’s a photo of the squares before I decided on the final layout.  It’s the light blue squares that would become a problem….

So, the other day I threw the quilt in the washing machine, as I’d done a number of times before, ran it through the dryer and put it back on the bed.  Then, to my horror, I saw that some of the red dye had bled onto the light blue squares!

It was too sad to take any pictures.

This had never happened before.  Though, looking back, I’d probably always washed the quilt with Synthrapol, and this time I used regular detergent.  I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to fix the bleeding.

The next day, I scrubbed Synthrapol onto the dye stains (using a toothbrush), put some Synthrapol in the machine, and washed and dried the quilt again.  The bleeding was less, but still quite noticeable.

You can see it here:

And here:

Fortunately, the next day I had a guild meeting with the PAQA group, and I asked for their suggestions for saving my quilt.  The ideas boiled down to:  washing again in Synthrapol in cold water (I’d used warm), washing with Color Catchers, or over-dyeing the squares to hide the bleeding.

With little to lose, I went for another washing–this time in cold water.  I poured some Synthrapol on the offending areas, added 5 Color Catchers to the load and hoped for the best.

The results were much better, though not perfect.

Here’s the first square:

And here’s the second:

When looking at the actual quilt, you can still see some bleeding if you know where to look.  But at least it’s not obvious and most people would never notice it.  I think I’ll live with it a while and see if it bothers me — I can always over-dye it later.  Besides, it gives me a reason to work on a new bed quilt…


Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One–two—
why then ’tis time to do’t. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie!
A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it,
when none can call our power to account? Yet who would
have thought the old man to have had so much blood in
Lady Macbeth from Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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