I should have known better…it was red, it was next to white, it was silk, it was me. I really thought I had pre-washed it:
And I even forgot to take a photo of it before I soaked out the blue wash out markings. It really was pretty; the pristine white cotton next to the glow of the flaming red silk. The quilting created a wonderful visual texture – line and shadow that sculpted the surface. All was well until the soak, sigh.
I knew to use Vicki Walsh’s dye bleed removal technique. It is the gold standard in the industry. Many a high level competition quilter has used her process to remove a dye bleed from a quilt, so I knew it to be reliable. But it is a heart-stopping process that begins with immersing and soaking your quilt in the hottest water you can get out of your tap! So I dutifully did that.
And I got this. You are supposed to let it soak for 12 hours but after 8 it looked like this and it was obvious that further soaking would not help.
Now that is just butt ugly, no retrieving that. You can’t tell from the photo, but the white turned an ugly light brown; none of this is good.
A couple of things to note though:
– My silk dupioini was probably dyed in China and their dyes are known to be unstable and prone to bleed. In all fairness, the manufacturer probably did not intend for the silk to be washed.
– Vicki Walsh’s method does work….on cotton and apparently on silk Radiance (45% silk/55%cotton).
– No, none of the cotton fixes will work on silk (vinegar, et al). Cotton is plant based and silk is, well silk worm based.
It was a goner. Not discouraged, I thought I’d take my beloved silk and set the dye with Retayne:
This photo was taken after the thirty third rinse! But I thought Retayne fixed bleeds!? So I got on the phone and called Dharma Trading, one of the best places on the planet to get fabric dyeing supplies and blanks. Lucky me, Dharma is about 90 min away if I need to visit in person. They are amazing.
The Dharma people educated me: Retayne is for plant based fibers. There we go again, cotton, not silk. Even the Dharma people didn’t have a great suggestion. They did suggest a Retayne soak in cold water but they were not confident that would work. And you see above, it didn’t.
Still, I really really really wanted red silk for this! I want the sheen of silk against the matte of the cotton. Red cotton in this piece would be so ordinary. I dug into my considerable Radiance stash and found this flaming red. Love it! Silk Radiance looks and feels like silk charmeuse on one side and cotton on the other. Would it bleed? I got it wet in warm water, put it atop the white cotton and put that on the concrete in my backyard on a 99 degree day. No bleed.
I got right to work and got this far. I intend for this one to be similar to the first. It is a little tricky to quilt this sucker though. I want to quilt each square differently so I need to travel in the ditch when I hit a seam.
That means at times I will be quilting through the Prairie Points – 4 layers of interfaced silk plus the seam. I stabilize my silk with Pellon 865F (Bi-Stretch Lite). I have bolts of it but when I run out I will use the Quilters Select’s product, Fabric Prep. Both products control the fabric but barely alter the hand of the fabric.
That meant I could not use a ruler to quilt those lines. A ruler foot could not go over that bulk of the seam + Prarie Points, but my BERNINA #15 foot would glide right over it. I had to free hand those quilting lines, which means they will be imperfect. Fine with me!
Since I could not use a ruler, each line had to be marked. I find myself frequently wanting the gentle curves of a very large circle, so I broke down and bought a set of rulers from Linda Hrcka at the Quilted Pineapple. They are great rulers, a pricey investment but I do see using them for ruler work in the future. I used all of them on the ruined piece.
An amusing note: This is my third attempt at producing a SAQA Auction donation quilt for this year! I wrote about my previous attempt here, here and here. Is the third time a charm? This has been a long journey to create one stinkin 12″ square quilt! I only have until the end of the month to make this, I can’t have another fail!