Yikes! I finished stitching the very last block of a loooong project, spritzed the back to remove the water-erasable pen that I had used to mark the pattern for the back-basting method, and left it to air-dry overnight. The next morning I wandered into the studio and was pretty aghast to see that the red fabric had bled onto the white background.

Here’s the back of the block, with the lovely embellishment that was completely underappreciated.

I always pre-wash my fabrics, but don’t generally test them for colorfastness. I’ve had no trouble to speak of with fabric bleeding in my quilting career… but there’s always a first time!

I drank my coffee and considered what to do. I knew there were products designed to pick up excess dye molecules, and I had heard of something called Color Catchers that you could get at the supermarket. I decided to give that a whirl. It would be a Grand Experiment.

I had to go to three places to find the product. I had no luck at the drug store or the supermarket, but found it at the hardware store.

Color Catchers™ are white sheets that you are supposed to throw in the washer with your loads of laundry so that excess dye from one garment doesn’t redeposit on another. I had no idea if it would help my situation or not but thought it wouldn’t hurt to try.

Starting with cold water, I soaked and swished the block in the sink with a Color Catcher and a little detergent. Nothing much happened that I could see. I repeated with lukewarm water, then on to hot tap water, soaking and swishing, soaking and swishing. After a good bit of soaking and swishing… yay!!! The excess red dye came out of the white background fabric and my block was rescued! And the Color Catcher was pink.

My Grand Experiment was a success, and now I don’t have to restitch the block!

Until next time,