Hexy Quilt for Do Good Stitches


My hexy quilt for Do. Good Stitches is finished and looking great. But it was quite the ordeal getting it there.

I was so happy when I pulled this one out of the dryer yesterday. This is definitely my best free-motion quilting to date—my stitch lengths are starting to even up and my stippling is getting more curvy and flowing. And I couldn’t be more pleased with the design (which uses my Hexing Around block tutorial), not to mention the color palette. The ladies of the Do. Good Stitches Love Circle did a fabulous job on these blocks.

And then …

… I saw this.

And this.


Um, horrified! I’ve never had color-bleeding problems before. Just to be on the safe side, I wash all of my quilts with Shout Color Catchers. And they do often catch some dye. An amazing amount of red ended up on the Color Catcher when I washed my Warm/Cool quilt. But I’ve never had anything like this happen—and the Color Catcher that was in the wash with this quilt only came out with a tiny amount of blue on it! I don’t know how foolproof Color Catchers are supposed to be, but this one clearly didn’t do its job at all.

It wasn’t just one fabric that was the culprit, but appears to be at least two—one of which was in my own block, and it was a Park Slope print from Free Spirit! I am stunned that a high-end designer print like this would bleed so badly. If anyone has any thoughts as to why this may have happened on this particular quilt, please share. Because I’m stumped.

But thanks to wonderful advice from Jeni and several other ladies on Flickr, I’ve managed to clean up this disaster pretty well. Shout Ultra Gel stain remover, a bottle of Oxi-Clean, and three trips through the washing machine later, and the dye stains have faded considerably. In fact, it might be difficult to find them if you don’t know where to look. I hope so, anyway! And this quilt is nothing if not extremely clean, after four launderings. : )

I’m super happy with the back. I love the blue, green, and orange floral plaid from Meadowsweet, but it’s not the most usable print in the world. But on a back? Perfection! And it works great with my palette for this quilt.

This quilt is off to Wrap Them In Love, which distributes quilts to needy children around the world. Thank you, Love Circle, for contributing! I also was conveniently able to do this as part of Lynne’s Hex-a-Long at Lily’s Quilts, which you can check out here. Thank you, Lynne!


Quilt stats
Design: My own—see Hexing Around block tutorial here

Size: 44″ x 61″

Quilting: FMQ stippling by me on my home machine
Completed: September 2011

40 replies
  1. Sweet Pea
    Sweet Pea says:

    Wow, this is beautiful. FMQ worked a treat! Well done.
    So glad you got that colour out…guess this is a risk when working with lots of white/very light colours along side bright colour.

  2. Jeni
    Jeni says:

    PHEW! So relieved for you that you got most of it out! So scary when stuff like that happens, especially on such a beautiful quilt! I really need to try out your block tutorial! 🙂

  3. Becky
    Becky says:

    wow, I've never seen bleeding like that either! man am I going to hold my breath when I wash quilts now! Glad you were able to get them out, it's a beautiful quilt.

  4. Linz
    Linz says:

    Oh my heck! I can't believe it bled like that!!!! I would have sobbed. I am SO glad you got the stains out!! This quilt is just wonderful! It is SO beautiful and will make someone so so happy!!

  5. angela
    angela says:

    Yikes! I have used that Park Slope print lots and have never had bleeding problems. Did you use a different detergent than normal? I always look over my quilts before going into the dryer to catch issues before they set, luckily I haven't had any yet!

  6. Lee Heinrich
    Lee Heinrich says:

    Gorgeous quilt! I love what you did with the back. I've had bleeding issues with two quits lately, and both were designer fabrics (older prints, but still high quality). Oxiclean helped a ton. We should be on a commercial!

  7. Allegory
    Allegory says:

    Oh my goodness! I can't believe it bled! I need to run off and get some Oxi-clean and some Color Catchers just in case for my future sanity. That quilt is stunning. I'm so glad you were able to tackle those stains.

  8. Donna~~
    Donna~~ says:

    I've had this problem with some reds on white and some turquoise batiks on yellow–EVEN though I prewash everything and try to test for bleeding–and all were high quality fabrics. I think some of it is luck–how they were positioned in the washer, how fast you got it out before the dryer, etc. I used something called Synthrapol to remove the extra dye (recommended by my quilt store–said it might save it, but no guarantee and no certainty how it might affect the fabrics–it's a product used in fabric dyeing). It worked well. I now not only wash EVERYTHING, but anything that bleeds gets rewashed in Retayne before it goes into the sewing room. Sometimes I am amazed at how much fabrics bleed if you soak them(designer or not). Glad you got your quilt "cleaned" up.

  9. Rebecca Fiedler
    Rebecca Fiedler says:

    I had a problem with some special batik prints once. When I showed it to more experienced friends, they told me about Retayne (as Donna mentioned) so I've been using it since. So far, so good.

    I'm glad yours turned out alright in the end.

  10. Megan
    Megan says:

    Glad you got the dye out. One of the bleeds looks like a blue block was pressed against the white during the wash and the friction caused it to bleed over. I've done that before with regular laundry.
    Anyway, glad it came out with Oxiclean. Woot-woot.

  11. Jenniffier
    Jenniffier says:

    Oh no, you linked to the fabric… that is very bad for me I am in a spending money mood right now, and I don't have any to spend currently! Sorry had to make a second comment just for that.

  12. Letterpress
    Letterpress says:

    Good advice here. Glad you got the bleeding out. My old fabrics (even the reds) don't bleed and I heard once it was because formaldehyde was used to set the dyes, which we don't use now. Don't know if it's true, but something has changed.

    I prewash nearly everything, which is why I hardly every buy pre-cut goods (try and pre-wash those. Not). But even if you prewash, it's not always a guarantee.

    It's a lovely quilt! Bravo to you!

    Elizabeth E.

  13. Leanne
    Leanne says:

    I love the quilt, it is just beautiful! I am a dedicated pre-washer, so I generally wash the quilt itself without a care, sometimes with a colour catcher for good measure. It is nice to know that the bleeding can wash out too.

  14. Poppyprint
    Poppyprint says:

    This quilt is so pretty and I'm sure it will bring someone a great deal of comfort and love! I pre-wash anything blue, red or black (after a soak in Retayne). I'm sorry you had this experience, but so happy you were able to get that blue outta your white!

  15. Elle
    Elle says:

    Timing is everything! I just had a similar thing happen. I was ironing blocks for a storm-at-sea quilt that I started during Hurricane Irene, and I noticed as I was spraying some water from my iron that the blue dye from one of my batiks was transferring to my white fabric! I always prewash, so I was shocked! I ended up putting all the pieces from that fabric in the sink, rinsing a ton of times, filling 2 Shout color catchers, and eventually all of the extra dye had come out, but I'll still be taking extra care when I first wash the quilt, just to be sure. Glad you were able to recover your quilt…that would have been so sad! Now that I have a front loader, it's harder to tell if I am having extra dye, but hopefully between a Shout color catcher and ironing the fabric dry I can set any extra dye. And then there's always crossing fingers!

  16. Dan R
    Dan R says:

    Thank goodness the bleeding came out!. I generally don't prewash, but often make an exception for blue and red fabrics — but not light and bright ones like in your quilt.

    The quilt is beautiful. I'm crazy about the back!

    And I find it a bit unnerving that I posted a see-through picture of my laundry crisis quilt today, without having seen your post.

  17. Linda
    Linda says:

    Ah. Fabric bleeding. I've had my share of bad experiences. Twice for sure, and one of those times it honest-to-gosh brought me to tears. Both times red bled. This is PRECISELY the reason I PREWASH all my fabrics, no matter what! And if I think I'm going to use several red prints in a quilt, I hand wash them separately in the bathtub with salt in the water. You would not believe it; I've seen PINK water. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and for confirming why I always prewash.

  18. Kim
    Kim says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I was looking for help for a friend that had this happen with a red, white, and blue Log Cabin quilt. We will try what you posted. Your quilt is lovely.


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