Tips and Tools Tuesday – Be Careful With the Blue. It May Make You See RED!

One of our sons-in-law  is a huge University of Alabama fan. HUGE fan.

So, I decided to make a quilt for him using Alabama themed fabrics.

I made sawtooth star blocks alternating the flying geese fabric. Half of the  blocks had grey (like their mascot, an elephant) and the other had white with Alabama emblems on it.

I quilted it with football shapes.

And quilted each year that the University of Alabama won the National Championship.

I used a white mechanical pencil to draw the footballs onto the black fabric.

To mark each championship year and other motifs, I used a water erasable pen.

I tested the marker on the fabric before marking the whole quilt.  It came out just fine. But, I only made a small blue line on a tiny bit of the white of the fabric.

As you can see in the example above, the numbers written on the white background fabric were written over some of the red parts as well.

The problems occurred when I sprayed the markings with water to make them disappear.  Most of the marks vanished immediately. Some needed a little extra water to coax them out. But, I was not prepared for what happened next.

The red motifs began to bleed into the white!!!!!

How could this happen?

I prewashed and dried all of the fabrics with the express purpose of avoiding color bleed! There was no evidence of the red color bleeding anywhere! It was good to go.

And, I tested it! Or so I thought.

Note to self…… make sure to make test marks over all of the colors in the fabric even if pre-washing has been done!

Below is a photo of what the fabric was supposed to look like in the quilt.

Instead, this is what you see.

There is nothing I can do about it now. The faint red is there.  (Sigh.) At least it’s faint.

I have learned from my mistake and wanted to pass on the knowledge.

I have used a product called Retayne to prewash red fabrics, but, I was out of it. So, after washing and no signs of bleeding, I thought it wasn’t going to.  I’m wondering if it’s because I only sprayed the quilt with water instead of submerging it to remove the blue marks. Perhaps the fabric showed no signs of bleeding  when washed because there was plenty of water for the excess dye to float out into.  By simply spraying the fabric with water, there was nowhere for the excess dye to go except into the only water around which was just in the fabric.

Well, our son-in-law  loves it and that’s all that really matters. He knows I made it because we love him dearly.

But, the next time I use fabric with red in it, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be putting it through all kinds of testing BEFORE I sew it into a quilt!

Happy sewing!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.