Friday, January 29, 2010

In Which Tonya Scares Herself but All is Well in the End

I almost lost it today. I washed two quilts for the book that have a lot of white in them. White is still pretty new to me - I never used to use it much at all - I was partial to black. Anyway, I used dark color fabric for the backing on both these quilts. When I pulled them out of the washer it looked like the dark colors had bled onto the surface of the quilt (despite two boxes worth of Color Catchers which really do work well), particularly in all the quilt lines. Aaaagh. I ended up washing them a second time hoping the stray color would disappear.

They didn't look any better after the second wash, but I threw them into the dryer for 15 minutes on low to see what would happen. As it turned out, whew, the quilts just looked horrible when wet. None of that was actual bleeding.

So I am saved. I have been worrying about using the dark fabric for the backing anyway - because when I'm up close I can detect a bit of darkness in the white of the top. Do I always need to use white or offwhite on the back of quilts with lots of white? What do those of you who work with lots of white do?

No, you don't get to see any pics of cute kitties with these quilts - they are all washed and cat hair free and need to stay that way. I have the door closed to the guest bedroom - it will be interesting to see if Pokey comes out from under the other bed anytime soon.

But here is a kitty pic for you. Nine days ago I took this photo of Howler, but the hair on his belly (remember, he had surgery last month) still hasn't grown much more than this.


18 comments:

Brenda said...

whew! glad it worked out!

Clare said...

In which Clare says she does exactly the same with the Quilts 4 Leukaemia quilts. Every time I use about half a box of Color Catchers and every time I yell "somebody didn't pre-wash their red fabric". Every time when the quilt dries there is nothing there, except a slight run off from the perle cotton.

I don't think you need to use white or off white backings. Just remember to pre-wash before you use it, which you do anyway, and don't forget that it will look as if it has run, but it hasn't.

Are you deliberately not showing these quilts until the book is done? I'm agog!

sewprimitive karen said...

Glad that was OK after all! Looks like Howler definitely needs a good nap lol.

Gypsy Quilter said...

Whew, that is scary. I remember having fabrics bleed on client quilts and once having to make a whole other quilt. I generally use light backs on non-Amish quilts, so I'm afraid I can't help with that part.

BUMBLE BEANS said...

oh man, thank goodness!
I usually use salt... I have never had any problems.... (it's never hurt my machine either, as some like to say) Your stitching looks fabulous Tonya! Looking good!

Patricia said...

I use light colored backing on quilts with lots of white---and natural batting. It seems to help. Those sheets are great!!! I don't prewash anything (I know I am a BAD girl) and even with red or purple batiks, I haven't had a problem with the sheets. I don't though wash in hot water---warm or cold for me. Maybe that makes a difference. BTW, your quilts are beautiful!

qltmom9 said...

Oooo...those teasers are sure beautiful!!! GORGEEEEOUS quilting!
I have had quilts bleed because I've washed them GALORE, *AND* I used hot water (kids' quilts) to kills germs. I had two bed wetters and I still let them USE their quilts. Eventually even the worst bleed has washed out...and trust me I've had BAD bleeds. Red flannels bleed more than anything else. Still, I use what I like on the back. If I think it might bleed, I'll wash it on hot a few times since varying degrees of shrinkage is not going to be a big problem. I've used a more dense batting to soak up some of the bleed too.
Lucy (in IN)

Anonymous said...

I love the way quilts look when they're wet - if you hold them up to the light they're like stained glass! I use a lot of white on the fronts and usually a medium color such as light blue for the backing. Bleeding hasn't been a problem so far, although Gypsy Quilter's comment makes me nervous!

-Holly in CA

Sew Create It - Jane said...

I know just that scary feeling you are referring too...If you hadn't already thrown it in the dryer I would have suggested as much. It's amazing how you can see through the stitches when the quilt is wet. Glad they turned out well!

Cute kitty pic.. :o)

Teresa said...

Beautiful Howler...

I usually don't use a dark on the back of a quilt with lots of light...mostly because one I had machine-quilted...the tension must have been too tight or something because I could see that fabric on the front. It's never been a problem when I hand quilt.

I am mostly a new fabric "washer," but I still use the color catcher sheets and hold my breath (and turn around 3 times and spit into the washer sink...) until I make sure things don't run.

I generally use a light to medium backing fabric...tone on tone if I want my hand stitches to show...busy if not!

Can't wait to see the quilts!!!

In stitches,
Teresa :o)

Kathy said...

Once I made a client a quilt from her son's t-shirts which has been washed many, many, many times. One of the shirts was red.....and would you believe the color bled onto the light colored backing at each quilting stitch! Both of us were shocked!!

Can't wait to see your quilts in the book!!!

Lisa & Jason said...

Color catchers are amazing for this. I throw a couple in for mixed color quilts or new clothes.

The Scrappy Bee said...

Must admit in the "olden" days when I was using white/cream a lot, it was wise to consider the back of the quilt. I found busy prints and dark backs always influence the top not matter what batt I used. Batting is better now, but I probably stick with an medium-medium on the back. Never thought I'd see white come back, but as always syles change and it probably good for us, although we are loath to admit it.
Bonnie Bus

YankeeQuilter said...

If I use a lot of white in the quilt I use a near white backing...just a habit I guess. I've had that same scare many times when washing quilts -particularly vintage ones that I have no idea how the fabric was treated prior to my dipping it in the bathtub! Just and FYI - there is colored batting out there in some 1920-30 quilts and it hazes through when wet too. Very scary!

Chris said...

I'm so glad it all turned out okay.

black bear cabin said...

whew...glad it was all good in the end :)
what brand of color catchers do you use? i have a red and white quilt that needs to be washed and i am cringing just thinking of it!

charity said...

White looks like a wonderful background against the colorful patches.That is why it is a favorite base color.

Cheryl Arkison said...

Color Catchers are the best invention ever!

I don't make a lot of white quilts, to be honest. But with those I have made I've used both light and dark backs. No major problems either way. I did have some running with one particular fabric, that's it.