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Thread: Batik Jelly Roll Quilt, concerned about colors bleeding

  1. #1
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    Batik Jelly Roll Quilt, concerned about colors bleeding

    I am just about done piecing my quilt made from a jelly roll of batiks. Because it was a jelly roll, I did not prewash the fabric. The lady at my LQS knows I don't prewash fabrics, but recommends it for batiks "because they are dyed from the outside". So . . . my question is, should I try to soak the top in something before the quilt is sandwiched? Or wait until its done and do it? Or both? The fabric for the backing is also batik.

    The quilt top has a gold (non batik) sashing. Appreciate all the expert advice.

  2. #2
    Super Member meyert's Avatar
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    I have only used batiks in 2 quilts, so I am no expert. What I used was yardage and I did prewash. I don't believe there was any excessive bleeding in the batiks that I used.

    There was a time that I would prewash everything - would have been afraid not to. But this year I have completed 12 quilts that the fabric was not prewashed. (none of these were batik fabrics) I washed the final quilts with synthrapol and color catchers and everyone of them turned out great.

    Do you have any scraps left that you run some tests with?

  3. #3
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    Don't do a thing but throw it in the wash with about 6-7 color catchers. I am a batiks girl and never prewash. The only batiks I am hesitant with are reds and navy's. But all's well so far.

  4. #4
    Super Member Quiltngolfer's Avatar
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    I don't wash my jelly rolls either. I do use Color Catchers when I wash the quilt though. You may want to put 2 or 3 color catchers in with the quilt when you wash it. I wouldn't advise washing the quilt top before quilting. I did that once and it was a mess! The patches wrinkled, and I thought I would never get it pressed out.

  5. #5
    Super Member Jeanne S's Avatar
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Size:  100.0 KBI don't think I would try to wash the top before quilting or you could have lots of fraying and distortion. I recently made a scrappy batik quilt and did not pre-wash. It also had white Kona cotton accents, and I worried about bleeding too. So after I finished the quilt (binding and all), I washed in warm water with about 6 Color Catcher sheets. There was very little bleeding, and the white stayed white! But I would use lots of color catchers in your first wash just to be safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeanne S View Post
    Name:  P1110711.jpg
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Size:  100.0 KBI don't think I would try to wash the top before quilting or you could have lots of fraying and distortion. I recently made a scrappy batik quilt and did not pre-wash. It also had white Kona cotton accents, and I worried about bleeding too. So after I finished the quilt (binding and all), I washed in warm water with about 6 Color Catcher sheets. There was very little bleeding, and the white stayed white! But I would use lots of color catchers in your first wash just to be safe.
    Thank you all. I will keep working then and just use a lot of color catchers after I get it quilted.

  7. #7
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I sew hundreds of yards of batiks.. and no matter who the manufacture ...you can not be certain they will not bleed. Use sythropol in the wash once you complete your quilt. Color catchers are effective, but I find synthropol to be the surest method.

  8. #8
    Super Member Jeanne S's Avatar
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    Also, there are several previous posts on this topic you might want to read. In some of them Prism99 mentions Synthropol requires hot water to be fully effective and lots of water as it keeps the dye suspended in the water. Some say they use it and color catchers. If you do get some bleeding, do Not put it in the dryer as that may set the bleeding dyes. Instead wash it again with Synthropol, color catchers or both as the bleeding dye can still be washed out at this point. I only wanted to wash on cold water and just used color catchers and luckily didn't have bleeders.

  9. #9
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori S View Post
    I sew hundreds of yards of batiks.. and no matter who the manufacture ...you can not be certain they will not bleed. Use sythropol in the wash once you complete your quilt. Color catchers are effective, but I find synthropol to be the surest method.
    I agree with the sythropol, but you can also test scraps if you have any left over from the strips. I amalso not a prewasher, but am currently starting to use batiks so have to be wary of it
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  10. #10
    Power Poster Annaquilts's Avatar
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    Don't prewash. If you are concerned about the dye running use a color catcher. Batik is made with really hot water so it should not shrink.
    Anna Quilts

  11. #11
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I make a lot of batik quilts, many with strips/layer cakes that have not been prewashed. I wash the finished quilt with 2-3 color catchers and have never had a problem.

  12. #12
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    You want to finish the quilt before washing, as the quilting will hold everything together. Soaking a top is extremely risky. For one thing, you do not want multiple fabrics soaking in water; if one of them bleeds, there is plenty of time for the other fabrics to absorb the loose dye. Also, fabrics shrink at different rates; you can end up with a massively distorted top which you can never get to lie flat again without tucks and wrinkles.

    The first wash of the quilt is important if there is a risk of dye bleeds. The most foolproof method is to use Synthrapol with a ***lot*** of hot water. Synthrapol suspends loose dye particles in the water so they can be rinsed away instead of settling into other fabrics. You still need a lot of water to dilute any dye bleed as much as possible. Most domestic front-loading washers do not use enough water. I take mine to the local laundromat and use their largest front-loader (can handle up to a king size). Never let a damp quilt sit before drying; the fabric-to-fabric contact while damp will promote movement of dye. Remove immediately from washer and either toss in dryer or lay flat (with fans to speed drying if done indoors).

    Synthrapol is often sold in quilt shops, especially those that cater to dyers. It is also widely available online:
    http://www.amazon.com/Craft-Synthrap...dp/B000YZ3UHQ/

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    Quote Originally Posted by toverly View Post
    Don't do a thing but throw it in the wash with about 6-7 color catchers. I am a batiks girl and never prewash. The only batiks I am hesitant with are reds and navy's. But all's well so far.
    I have never washed my batiks and so far have never had an issue.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Judylee2's Avatar
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    I have started playing with batiksand really love their ability to blend with each other no matter what the color. So far washing in cold water and a few color catchers has worked extremely well for me. If there was any bleeding, it just blended in with the rest of the quilt and I didn't see it!

  15. #15
    Super Member meanmom's Avatar
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    I use batiks almost exclusively. I never prewash. I use all colors and mix them with white etc. I throw in some color catchers and haven't had any issues with bleeding. I alway check it to make sure before I put it in the dryer. Good luck.

  16. #16
    Super Member duckydo's Avatar
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    when I give a quilt to someone I always tell them to use 4 or 5 color catchers to make sure the colors don't bleed. I don't prewash anything. I have always heard if you wash some of the fabric that you need to wash all of it, as it won't shrink the same when washed. I have washed fininshed colors in color catchers and I have very good luck.

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    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toverly View Post
    Don't do a thing but throw it in the wash with about 6-7 color catchers. I am a batiks girl and never prewash. The only batiks I am hesitant with are reds and navy's. But all's well so far.
    I agree. I never prewash, but definitely do the color catchers when washing after completion.

  18. #18
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Just to be clear, color catchers do not prevent bleeds; they soak up bleeds. Also, they are meant for light bleeds. If you have a heavy bleeder fabric in the mix, color catchers can be overwhelmed and not able to catch all of the loose dye. Probably the safest first wash is a combination of Synthrapol and color catchers; however, Synthrapol requires hot water to be fully effective.

    Most modern fabrics do not bleed a whole lot, but it's still possible to buy a bleeder fabric. There are two types of bleeder fabric -- one that is oversaturated with dye, and one which never had the dye properly set during the manufacturing process.

    For the first type, the bleeding will eventually stop as the excess dye is finally rinsed out of the fabric. Fibers can absorb only a finite amount of dye; if the manufacturer has not thoroughly rinsed the fabric after dying, excess dye particles remain in the fabric until the user rinses it all out.

    The second type is probably more rare. When the dye is not properly set, the fabric can continue to bleed indefinitely. First wash will release the most loose dye into the water, but subsequent washings will continue to release dye. When there is not a lot of dye being released into the water, color catchers are sufficient to absorb the particles. However, the color catchers again can absorb only a finite number of loose dye particles. A bleeder fabric can release a *lot* of dye the first time it is exposed to water.

  19. #19
    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    Just to be clear, color catchers do not prevent bleeds; they soak up bleeds. Also, they are meant for light bleeds. If you have a heavy bleeder fabric in the mix, color catchers can be overwhelmed and not able to catch all of the loose dye. Probably the safest first wash is a combination of Synthrapol and color catchers; however, Synthrapol requires hot water to be fully effective.


    Most modern fabrics do not bleed a whole lot, but it's still possible to buy a bleeder fabric. There are two types of bleeder fabric -- one that is oversaturated with dye, and one which never had the dye properly set during the manufacturing process.

    For the first type, the bleeding will eventually stop as the excess dye is finally rinsed out of the fabric. Fibers can absorb only a finite amount of dye; if the manufacturer has not thoroughly rinsed the fabric after dying, excess dye particles remain in the fabric until the user rinses it all out.

    The second type is probably more rare. When the dye is not properly set, the fabric can continue to bleed indefinitely. First wash will release the most loose dye into the water, but subsequent washings will continue to release dye. When there is not a lot of dye being released into the water, color catchers are sufficient to absorb the particles. However, the color catchers again can absorb only a finite number of loose dye particles. A bleeder fabric can release a *lot* of dye the first time it is exposed to water.


    You are correct. Someone on the board (zozee) also had a recipe that works quite well instead of using Synthrapol but also uses color catchers, the thread is called "recipe to keep colors from running". I have tried it several times and it works well.

  20. #20
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    definitely like everyone has said don't pre wash. Just use the color catchers. I just finished a twin with nothing but batiks for my little girl and stupid me forgot the color catchers in there but had a couple old towels. well the quilt gods were watching over me and the quilt didn't bleed one bit. YEAH!!! I usually have a small amount of discoloration on the catchers when i do use them normally. so use them use them use them!!! (I also use mainly batiks in my quilts)
    when life gets you down go and talk with a little kid. They will help you work out even the worst problems with their simple logic.

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    I have recently finished a batik quilt for my SIL. 1 of the fabrics she chose was a deep burgundy that I prewashed 'just to be safe'. It ran a LOT. Used the above recipe then purchased Retayne & washed 2 more times, each time with a couple of color catchers. The last time there was just a faint pink of the color catchers. Should I get her Synthrapol along with color catchers or will it be safe with just color catchers now??? Thanks.

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    I'd suggest that you wait until the quilt is quilted.

    If you feel that you can't wait, then fold the quilt into 1/8ths and pin it up so that it can't unfold. Wash on light /gentle setting in cold water, use whatever laundry detergent you normally use and add a couple of color catchers. Unfold to dry in the dryer or lay out to dry.

    I did it that way once, but wouldn't go through the bother again.
    A quilt is like a good life. It's full of mistakes, but, in the end, it looks pretty good.

  23. #23
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctrysass2012 View Post
    I have recently finished a batik quilt for my SIL. 1 of the fabrics she chose was a deep burgundy that I prewashed 'just to be safe'. It ran a LOT. Used the above recipe then purchased Retayne & washed 2 more times, each time with a couple of color catchers. The last time there was just a faint pink of the color catchers. Should I get her Synthrapol along with color catchers or will it be safe with just color catchers now??? Thanks.
    Retayne sets dye, but is not guaranteed to keep working in hot water. Synthrapol requires hot water to be fully functional. In this situation I would give her color catchers and tell her to wash it in cold water in a machine that uses a *lot* of water -- a laundromat front-loader, if necessary. No one can be absolutely sure, but I would think that is safe. Keep in mind too that not all fabrics pick up loose dye particles so, even if a fabric does bleed a little, that doesn't necessarily mean that other fabrics will be discolored. Plus, with batiks, as someone else mentioned, a few mild bleeds do not stand out anyway.

  24. #24
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    Thanks Prism! After making this quilt I've started rebuilding my batik collection. I think I may still get both of us some Synthrapol & gift her that & color catchers. This thread just got me thinking to do all I could to prevent any problems.
    Thanks again for all the info on this Board!!

  25. #25
    Super Member Yooper32's Avatar
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    I made a large white background of white muslin with a center of pink and red blocks forming a large heart. None of the fabric was pre-washed. When it was done, I washed it with three color catchers and they did their job beautifully, no coloration on the white anywhere. I too send color catchers when I mail a quilt to someone with instructions on how and why to use them if I have not washed the quilt .
    Yooper32 aka: Donna B

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