Thursday, April 4, 2019

Rainbow Hexie :: That Nearly Turned into a Disaster!

We can do the same thing over and over again without issues, and then one time the norm changes and throws you for a loop!  It doesn't happen often at all, thank goodness, when a quilt bleeds and seemingly ruins the entire quilt.  The real shocker was that I hadn't even washed it when the worse bleeding I've ever encountered happened.

Before I share the finished quilt I'll share how this happened, how I fixed it and what I learned along the way.

32" X 49"

This was a baby quilt I made just because.  Because I had the pre-cut Hexies and it seemed like a quick and easy quilt to throw together in between projects.  You can read about the entire process here:  I Was in a Mood.

Normally I use my Hera Marker to mark my lines for quilting.  It has always freaked me out to use markers or pens on fabric, so I resisted the urge and stuck with what made me comfortable.  It wasn't until the past couple of years that I dipped my toe into markers.  The Dritz purple Disappearing Ink or the blue Mark-B-Gone water soluble pens seemed to be the two that everyone used.  Certainly if everyone used them, surely I could as well.  And I did, occasionally, depending on the project.  I never had any problems.  I'd spray the blue maker with water to make it go away and it worked well.  It was never a problem or issue until now.


I had finished quilting and had sewn the binding on the front when I decided I wanted the blue lines gone.  So I sprayed them away and let it be.  When I went back I was shocked!  Heartbroken!  And a little bit ticked off when I saw the reds were bleeding like no ones business!  I thought it served me right using a red without pre-washing, but who in their right mind washes precut shapes? 

That led me to be proactive, which didn't help at all!  I sprayed an Oxy Clean stain remover on the area and scrubbed the heck out of it.  Then I scrubbed it with Dawn dish soap.   Rinsed and rinsed and rinsed, with no change at was actually worse!  

My dilemma was do I even bother with hand stitching the binding on the rest of the way, or do I cut my losses?  I decided finish it.  If the bleeding doesn't go away it'll make a beautiful quilt for my future dog!  During the fiasco I posted on Instagram sharing my bleeding issues and so many people shared their sympathy, but most importantly their solutions!

What I learned is blue Dawn Dish Soap and a hot water soak is the method of choice to remove bleeding.  Letting your quilt soak for 8-10 hours will make all the difference!  All I can say is it worked for me.  I threw in a couple color catchers for good measure, but hot water and Dawn...was the magic I needed.  

One comment said that the blue maker has a solvent to dissolve the ink resulting in dissolving the red dye in the fabric.  Say what?!  It made sense and right before I started this post I actually read the back of the pen packaging.  It said: Some fiber contents, fabric finishes or dyes (red and pink in particular) may not be suitable for use with this pen.  I guess I didn't ever read the back before and relied on other experts to read it for me!

Even though this wasn't a 'major', 'serious', 'important' quilt for me, it still took hours and hours of time and care to make it.  No one wants to put all that work into something only to have a horrible mishap to live with.

The end results were this.  No sign of bleeding!  This little quilt was saved!  I guess that means I won't be getting a new puppy anytime soon! 

I don't know if I'll give up the purple or blue markers entirely, but I'll use the Hera Marker for the majority of my quilting needs.

If you hadn't seen the original bleeding pictures you never would have known there had been a problem.  Whew!  Relief!  

There are any number of solutions on the Internet.  Google it!  But the most prevalent solution is Dawn Dish affiliation...and hot water!

Now, that quilt reveal!!

It isn't a large quilt, but it sure is pretty!  Rainbows win nearly every time!

I used a white thread for all the quilting.  At first I thought I might use a variegated rainbow thread, but veered away from that after I did the first round of straight lines.  I first stitched in the ditch around all the hexies and triangles.  

From there I did an Orange Peel curve in all the white triangles.  It was just so easy and effective!  

I knew I'd keep it simple with the rest of the quilting, using straight lines to form the stars in the colored hexies.  There wasn't any special technique or Free Motion quilting involved.  Just straight line that intersected to form stars. 

In an effort to use my stash, the backing is a 'comma' fabric and since it wasn't large enough for the entire back, I added white strips on the top and bottom.  Extending the goodness!   

And a pile is always my finishing photo go to!  This is the way my quilts that I use look like in real life!

I know the very last thing we ever want to see is fabric bleeding in our quilts.  Maybe it isn't a quilt that you are invested in, or it's just a quilt that you feel like making to itch the quilting scratch.  The heart stopping realization that that has happened is certain to give anyone a moment of pause.  Thankfully it doesn't mean your quilt is forever ruined, or that there isn't help out there.  I'm very thankful for all the input, sympathy and tips to solve my bleeding heart...

Has this happened to you?  Do you have any solutions for fabric that bleeds?



  1. Oh my, how awful! I have never trusted the fabric marking pens, I have heard of the line coming back to if the temperature changes dramatically. I ams o glad that you were able to save it, we don't have Dawn washing up liquid in England so would need to find another life saving substitute. x

    1. I've learned a valuable lesson with markers on quilts! I'll be using my hera marker a lot more!

  2. Wow, I can just imagine your stomach dropping and your heart breaking at the sight of that red!! Very well done for persevering and coming out the other side, and you have taught us all a very valuable lesson :) It's a beautiful quilt too, love your quilting so much!

    1. It was a shock to be sure! I was certain there was no hope for it when it first happened. Reds are the worse! Thankfully the Dawn treatment came through for me and I hope it helps others who may experience the same problem.

  3. I have never had a problem with the blue markers and have used them for years but I have had trouble with reds and batik's bleeding and do the hot water soak - never have use the Dawn but keep hearing about it all the time that I think I will add it to the laundry room. Glad you got your bleed out.

    1. Normally I wash all my red fabric, but precut shapes?! If I use them again I may hand wash just to avoid any issues! I had never heard of anyone having problems with blue markers which is why I opted to try and use them. I’m sure I’ll use it again, but I’m also sure I’ll use my Hera Marker as the first option! Dawn seems to have been the secret weapon!

  4. I know that horrible sinking feeling! It's such a lovely quilt it would have been a shame to give it to the dog who would never appreciate it!
    We don't have Dawn here, but when my fabric bled, I just washed it again with some laundry detergent for delicate fabrics and SEVERAL colour catchers. That worked!

  5. Great save for a lovely quilt. Good choice on the quilting. I think the bleeding issue is just one of the reasons why I don't use red fabric. I made something long, long ago and had it bleed and that was the end of that project (thankfully it wasn't a very large project). And, truth be told.................I have prewashed batik precuts after advice from a very experienced/professional quilter and fabric store owner advised me to (lots of dark blues and purples). It was a lifesaver in the end as my background was white. (Just meant an enourmous amount of pressing.) Nadine W. N. Cali

  6. It makes me so happy to see the results of your rescue work on a such a beautiful quilt. My heart stopped right along with yours when you shared about the bleeding problem. I have had some issues with bleeding (orange) but not to the extent that you did. I was able to get it out with my usual laundry detergent (I can’t use Dawn in my washer) and color catchers. Dawn is awesome though! I know first-hand that it works on chocolate. :) I’ve wondered—but haven’t tested—whether the content of batting contributes to the extent of bleeding. It seemed to me that 100% cotton was worse because it maybe more quickly absorbed the liquid? (A damp piece of cotton batting works great on a blood spot if you prick your finger while sewing.) It seems to me that color bleeds aren’t as dark when there is at least some poly in the batting. Can you shed any light on this based on your quilt? I have a quilt to quilt next week that is my first time making with an unwashed strip pack. I’m a little nervous, but I do have Dawn handy.

  7. What a happy ending you had, major relief. Thanks for the information, which I know will come in handy in the future. I keep the color catchers on hand. I love the white quilting on all the different colors. It gives an added element to the hexies. Congratulations on this finish.

  8. Wow! I never knew that about the blue markers! It makes complete sense, though. Kind of like when you remove Sharpie from a white board by drawing over it with erasable pen. The two interact in an unexpected way. Thanks for sharing your mishap so we can all learn! And I'm so glad you were able to recover on this darling hexie baby quilt :)

  9. I've always been nervous about marking my quilts. In my last finish, my Purple Sage mini, I discovered that you can actually set a Frixion pen marking -- at least it set on that quilt. Grr. And I recall a mishap with the purple marking pen where I marked the quilt and then, not thinking, ironed over it. Oops. Permanent mark. I am better with chalk or my hera marker. Glad you were able to get the red out. I have a log cabin runner that I should try the Dawn soap thing on. Do you have to keep the water hot for the whole 8-10 hours while it soaks?

  10. I'm so so glad you were able to get the bleeding out. also, you should probably go ahead and get a puppy...

  11. It does take hours to fix a bleeding issue (if t can be fixed). I’m glad you were able to find a solution!

  12. Oh wow I am so glad everything turned out fine in the end. I can imagine your sinking heart when you saw the bleed. So you said Hot water and soak for 8-10 hours, are you adding more hot water during that time?

  13. I love your quilting makes a star pattern. A friend had a recent bleed and Dawn was the solution. I hope I don't have that experience, but at least, I'll know what to do.

  14. So glad you were able to save this lively quilt. I had a dark blue binding billed once. It is so disheartening. I used synthropol and hot water to remove the excess dye. I think the water temperature is key. Thanks for sharing!


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