What I’m Working On…

I had a super busy week…I had company and lots of time was spent getting my foster dog, Izzy settled.  I had one absolute must in the sewing room.  My deadline quilt HAD to get together.  I managed to get some sewing done working with other projects as leaders and enders as I sewed.

Before I get into all of that, I have a question from a blog reader.
Julie asked:
“You may have already addressed this in the past, but I have a question. Do you ever worry about the red fabric running when the quilt is washed? I love the color red and think your UFO is stunning, but I try not to use reds much if at all for that reason and it may just be that I am old-fashioned. Perhaps with prewashing and today’s fabrics, it is a non-issue?”

I don’t believe it is as much of an issue as it previously was.  I believe that manufacturers have worked to correct that but still, I know many are concerned about that.  I’ve had a problem here or there in the past but nothing big.  Just as a caution I use Color Catchers.  You can find them HERE on Amazon.  I regularly put about six of them in the wash with any quilt I put in the washing machine.  If they all send up saturated with color, I throw six more in and rewash the quilt without drying it.

If anyone else has an opinion on this I invite you to leave a comment in the comment section.

Now onto what I was sewing.  My Bowtie UFO was front and center as my leader and ender while I worked on the deadline project.

The first thing on my agenda was to fix the twisted block.  I’ve had several eagle-eyed blog readers tell me I needed to turn the block that is second down in the second row.

I ripped it out and then fixed it.

All better.  If you remember this was a UFO that a blog reader sent to me.  Part of me wonders if they quit on the project because they didn’t want to deal with the twisted block.

It honestly only took me about 10 minutes to fix.

Here the top is together minus the corners…

I put the corners on and then took it to the kitchen to iron it.  With Izzy, my foster dog here, I’ve been taking several projects and working on them on the main floor of the house.  Izzy isn’t completely house-trained but really good.  She will pick up things off the floor and I worry about her in the sewing room as fabric and pins can sometimes be on my sewing room floor.  So for a bit, I’ll work on projects that can at least partly get attention on the main floor.

As I was ironing I noticed I did the same thing and twisted a block.  It’s the one with a light-colored center that tripped us up.

I took that one out and ended up putting a different colored block there instead.

Much better…

Here I have it all together and ironed.  Now I have to figure out what I’m going to do with it next.  It didn’t come with a pattern so everything is up to me.  Any suggestions?

I have some more of the red fabric left but I didn’t get a chance to measure how much.  All I know now is that I got it a little further along and that’s always been my main goal.

Getting that center sewn together all happened as leaders and enders while working on the deadline project.

Next, I cut the binding strips for my True Blue quilt.

I sewed them leader and ender style.

I still had more sewing to do on my deadline project so I started sewing the hourglass blocks into more rows again as leader and ender style.

I got four more rows sewn onto the main piece.

…and FINALLY, I got my deadline piece sewn.  WHEW!  The backing is ready.  It just needs to get to Carla.

Then hopefully back to me and I can get it bound and sent out.  I can’t wait for this project to be DONE-DONE.

I did squeeze in time to film two more videos in my Free From ABC.

You can find E-F-G-H-I in this video…
Push the triangle play button to watch or click THIS LINK.  You can go to the video and save it then you can watch it later on your television or device.

Here are letters J-K-L-M
Push the triangle play button to watch or click THIS LINK.  You can go to the video and save it then you can watch it later on your television or device.

If you are new to the series please check out my Youtube channel HERE and start with the first episode.

I squeezed in a ton of sewing for how busy I was.

I’m hoping to get two more videos filmed this week but who knows what will happen around here.  The only thing I ever know is not to make plans because once I do…things go crazy.

Just a reminder…I’d love advice on what to do with my bowtie quilt and answer the blog reader’s question, how do you work with red fabrics?

39 thoughts on “What I’m Working On…”

  1. Hi Jo,
    It looks like you press your quilt tops after they’re all pieced rather than along the way. Do you just lay out the top and press with no mind to where seams go? I’m always trying to press the right direction, but am wondering now if that’s completely necessary.
    I love reading your blogs and love all the advice you give.

  2. I have a black and white quilt that has a fuschia backing. I washed the backing in fear it would turn the white to pink. Still would use color catchers. I rarely wash any fabric except red and black. When you are doing a scrap quilt it doesn’t matter much. I prefer the crispness of a new fabric. For your hourglass I would probably add a thin accent border and then a larger one and call it done. If you have enough red for the larger, go that route. Would make a great lap quilt or baby or child

  3. I’d love to see a thin black border, then either the red or red floral larger border. I use the color catchers also, but have used Synthrapol or Retayne, to get the dye floating around out.

  4. I quit using the Shout color catchers because the new ones have a strong scent. I use Carbona color catchers. They are scent free and work just as well.

      1. I have found that washing in Dawn dish soap will stop fabric from bleeding and keep the dye from being absorbed by a different fabric. I have even been able to get the dye out after a quilt has been dried. I have a top load washer, fill with water, than add about two teaspoons of dish soap. I always do a second rinse cycle when washing quilts.

        1. Vicki Welsh is a quilter who dyes fabric and wrote a PDF describing how Dawn Dishwashing Liquid and a long soak in very hot water can expel excess dye from fabric. I purchased a lot of yardage of both a navy pindot and a green pindot. Moda. But both fabrics “ran” like crazy. A good long soak (the green took about three tries) and I had very successful results. Vicky is a treasure. I have tried it with a bleeding red also. Great results. Sometimes it is the fabric surrounding the red. One will pick up excess dye but another will not. Some fabrics pick up excess dye when soap is involved. I prewash all my yardage and keep a lookout for excessively colored water.

          1. I agree! I had a quilt with a lot of scrappy reds that bled when washed even though I had pre-washed everything. I soaked it with Dawn and you can barely tell that a lot of the background fabrics had been pink from the reds bleeding.

            Long Dawn soaks are my go to method for any fabric that leaves dye on the color catchers.

  5. Hi Jo, I love watching your Youtube videos. I keep wondering, are you monetized on YouTube? If so, I will make sure to watch the commercials.

  6. Love your hourglass block quilt! I agree that quality newer red fabric doesn’t seem to bleed when washed. I prewash everything in the sink but don’t find that reds are a problem unless they are older fabrics. Once or twice I’ve tossed out older red fabric because it continued to bleed no matter how many times I washed it. (Five times is my limit!)

  7. haha, in my experience BLUE has been a runner. I use color catchers and pull it out of the wash promptly! Might have to look for Carbona catchers. As to the bow tie. It would depend on the amount of red you have left. I always like a bit of a border so the center floats and then you can add anything you want for a border depending on how big it needs to be. flying geese might be nice for a change. A four patch could be nice too. I am sure you have enough fabrics in your stash to keep the feeling it already has.

  8. I also use several color catchers ( a couple Carbona and a couple SHOUT) when I wash a quilt for the first time. But just as important, DO NOT let your quilt sit in the washer after it’s done! Dry them immediately, or colors may bleed to other parts of the quilt.

  9. I use color catchers and put a little Dawn dishwashing liquid in the wash when I have red, and I do this each time I finish putting the binding on because I like the look of a washed quilt. If I ‘gift’ a quilt I’ll supply color catchers with it and leave it to them to ‘wash’ or not wash.

  10. my suggestion on bowtie. use squares the same size as in center of bowtie and make a border with squares, like checkerboard or film strips, then a red binding.

  11. I think since the bow ties are the focus of the quilt, I would do a simple red border around it. With a simple border, it would set the bow ties off. I think a picked border would make you loose the center and your eye would be drawn to that instead of center. Just my thoughts.

  12. For the bowtie quilt I would make a narrow black border then a 3 to 4 in outer border. Try out different fabrics for outer border.

    With regard to red fabric I find the bleeding of colours is more manufacturer dependent not colour dependent. The worst fabric I had bleed was a lime to emerald green. Dark purple as well can be bad. I now wash all fabric and quilts with colour catchers!

  13. I’m an evangelist for prewashing. As soon a fabric comes into my house it gets serged and washed with a color catcher. More often than one would expect, the color catcher shows a bleed. It usually is not significant, but I am often surprised how much a yellow or orange will seep into the water. I am not surprised with blue, which I see often. I’m more surprised when I don’t get any residue on the color catcher. Of course, I don’t prewash pre-cuts, but I tend to avoid them. I make things for other people so I like to know the fabric is clean when I start using it.

  14. Hi Jo, I really enjoyed your videos; watched this weekend as I quilted a project I didn’t want to do. LOL. I think the bowtie needs some borders. Love the red! I prewash all fabrics that come into my house. If it’s in my sewing room, it’s preached.

    Have a good week!

  15. For the person worried about red bleeding fabric, one of the first quilts/wall hangings I made bled and I was so devastated. I was able to get the red bleed out by soaking in the bathtub in Dawn and water. Now I soak all of my reds and other saturated colors before using them for 24 hours in a mixture of 1 gallon water, 1/4 cup salt, and 1 Cup vinegar. If the rinse water is very deeply colored after a 24-hour soak, I soak in a new mixture of salt, water and vinegar for another 24 hours. I have not had any problems since then.

  16. I don’t wash pre-cuts, but I do wash any yardage that I buy and I use Color Catchers (also, my nose seems to be sensitive to the sizing in new fabric). Red has been the worst in my opinion, but I’ve also had issues with some blue fabric (batik in particular).
    I have a quilt that was gifted to me that had quite a bit of red fabric in it. I noticed that some of the red color had bled while it was on the guest bed – someone must have spilled some water on it. I washed it with the color catching sheets and laid it out flat to dry. That took care of most of it, but there are still a couple of small bleed-spots on it – I hope they come out the next time!
    I also had some trouble with some older fabric that had some red in it – I had pre-washed it and it seemed fine, but it bled when I starched it. Fortunately it came out when I washed it again…

  17. My suggestion: a border ( perhaps 6”- 8” ?) of a medium intensity color other than red. I think that it would frame the top beautifully and allow the blocks to shine.
    I love all the choices that you make and can’t wait to see the finished quilt!

  18. Jo you do such beautiful work, quilts and counted cross stitch. I appreciate reading your blog, knowing there will always be something different. Thanks. I use Color Catchers, as well. They work well.

  19. Your bow tie quilt shouts out red and black borders with a black binding to me. (Yes, I love red also.) I don’t find new reds bleed as much as dark blue does. I still prewash with Color Catchers most fabric except for precuts. However, if I’m not making a quilt from stash but have all new fabric, I just wash after it’s made with Color Catchers. I do reuse Color Catchers until they are pretty saturated, I just add some new ones to monitor bleeding with each batch.

  20. I too use color catchers when washing my completed quilts. I never use more than 1 color catcher sheet and I have never had an issue with bleeding. I take out of washer immediately and look it over really closely before tossing in dryer. I use chalk powder to transfer my quilt stencilz. Before washing quilts that I use chalk on I lightly rub a Fels laundry bar over all the chalk lines. This seems to be working. I prewash flannel yardage but no other fabrics.

  21. I like the geometry and old-time look of the Bowtie quilt, but it seems to call for frame. Maybe a narrow low-volume border-perhaps pieced, but nothing too overpowering, then a red binding. To me this quilt says “simple is better.” It will be fun to see what you choose.

    I agree – reds are better than they used to be, but when I used sizing on some gifted charity blocks last winter, I “printed” my new ironing board cover with the pattern of holes in the iron’s sole plate…in fuchsia! It’s a one-of-a-kind design for sure! LOL. Now I throw a dish towel over the board until I know for sure it’s safe.

    Thanks for all the tips for managing dye problems. I don’t usually prewash new fabric and I’ve used Color Catchers for ages, but didn’t know about Dawn-what doesn’t that stuff clean? I haven’t felt the need to set dyes with salt & vinegar since my spinning days…and that would be wool spinning, not exercise biking…but I’m glad to have the reminder. Whew! What a lot of information and inspiration today. Thanks everyone.

  22. Barbara Firesheets

    Your Bow Toe quilt looks great! What size are your pieces? How about a small black border, then larger red border, black binding. Or small black border with a larger scrappy piano key border?

  23. Virginia Grenier

    Here’s how I use Shout Color Catchers: 1 sheet per yard of fabric and I’ve never had a problem with bleeding. Some might think I’m wasting sheets but I’d rather do that than end up having to rewash something or have bleeding to deal with.

  24. Virginia Grenier

    Here’s how I use Shout Color Catchers: 1 sheet per yard of fabric and I’ve never had a problem with bleeding. Some might think I’m wasting sheets but I’d rather do that than end up having to rewash something or have bleeding to deal with.

    In regards to borders for the bowtie quilt, I think a narrow accent (1 1/2 to finish 1 inch) in a dark like black and then scrappy piano keys.

  25. I wash all my quilts in cold water only. I did a red,white,and blue and washed in cold water only and no fading and I don’t pre wash my fabric. Believe me, I was hoping it wouldn’t fade and when it came out of washer no red on white so good.

  26. On bow tie quilt, I would add a 1-1/2″ (cut) light border first, then add a braid border of medium/dark fabrics.
    I do not prewash any fabrics. I wash after quilt is finished in cold water with just 1/2 of a Shout color catcher regardless of colors in quilt. I haven’t had a color run.

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