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Need the secret (or maybe just some advice) with bleeding batiks

Need the secret (or maybe just some advice) with bleeding batiks

Old 06-05-2012, 05:27 PM
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Default Need the secret (or maybe just some advice) with bleeding batiks

I love batiks. Love all the colors (well maybe not anymore). I have a yard of about 20 different pieces. I decided on a quilt to use some of them in and got nervous about them bleeding so I washed them. And washed them and washed them again. I've washed them all 3x in hot water with color catchers and they are still bleeding. Now I'm really afraid to use them. Funny (not very) I was told (by a LQS owner) good fabric from a quilt shop wouldn't bleed. Apparently that is NOT true. Does anyone have any sure fire ideas that might help me? Right now as far as I'm concern this fabric (all of it) is worth using.
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:32 PM
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you could use retayne or synthrapol to fix the dyes.

before i tried those though i would try to wash them normally in cold water. maybe all this hot water/colour catcher stuff is causing more problems than regular washing would.

i use batiks a lot. the only ones i've really had a hard time with were the gee's bend quilt kit fabrics. i got them on clearance at the lqs and decided right quick they were for wall hanging only.

good luck!
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:36 PM
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Here is what I wrote recently on here - but like "stillclock" - I think that I would not have used the hot water - just lukewarm water:

I started buying batik fat quarters about a year ago for a pattern - then found another pattern, so decided to buy 1/2 yards - then decided that I really liked the batiks - so graduated to yards. I read so much on here about the batiks bleeding that I decided to see if they did - and boy, did they. I have a pure white dish pan in my kitchen sink and one day it was empty and clean - so I put a drop or two of liquid detergent in the pan with just a little bit of water and gently swished around the fabric - I would then rinse until the water was clear - sometimes it took many, many rinses to become clear. I laid them on big thick towels and rolled them up and then put the fabric over a clothes line that I had my DH to put up in my living room. It did not take them very long to air dry and they did not wrinkle very much either. I would say that a good 1/2 of them did bleed. I actually had to throw away two of them as they never did stop bleeding.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:09 PM
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This is in no way a slam on anyone but why do you wash your fabric in hot water? With all the detergents being formulated for cold water why would you pre-wash in hot? I can understand using warm water on a baby quilt or a charity quilt. Quilts I give away I always give washing instructions.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:27 PM
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I love batiks too and have found that if I wash one at a time in Luke warm water by hand and rinse, most of the time they run clean. If I have one that bleeds dark I let it sit in water for about 10 min or how ever long it takes me to settle an argument between my kids, then I squish it after sitting. If it keeps bleeding like that I give it time in water to let all the loose dye out. And it works most of the time. Usually after about the 3rd sitting it is a little tinted but otherwise good to go. When I am done with the quilt I do use 2 or more color catchers in the wash. So far it has worked really well. Knock on wood.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:28 PM
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Are you washing them separately so you can tell which one(s) is bleeding or are you washing them all together? I use batiks almost exclusively and have never had to wash any of them more than four times before bleeding stopped...and most never bleed at all. Anything that you can't get to stop bleeding can always be used in a non-washable project, but you have to know which particular fabric that is.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:54 PM
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I would pretreat all with Retayne, prior to cutting. Most quilt shops carry it , if not it is available on line.
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:32 PM
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Bleeding is actually not the problem. The problem fabrics are the ones that pick up the loose dye. Test those fabrics with the batiks and if they don't pick up any dye make the quilt.
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:49 PM
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There are a couple of different reasons why batiks (and other fabrics) may bleed.

One reason is that there is excess dye in the fabric, caused by the manufacturer not rinsing thoroughly enough. That is the type of fabric that will stop bleeding after one or two washes. A different reason is that the manufacturer has not properly "set" the dye into the fabric. These fabrics will bleed almost forever, because the dye is still unset.

For the first situation, washing once or twice will solve the problem. For the second problem, which sounds like the one you have, you need to use Retayne. Retayne will permanently set dyes. It is widely available online, even from Amazon. Most fabrics will become dye-stable after one treatment with Retayne (which, incidentally, requires hot water to work). A few fabrics will require 2 treatments with Retayne. Any fabric that still bleeds after that should not be used in a quilt. When using Retayne, you do not want to mix colors; use Retayne with all the reds, all the blues, etc. separately. Otherwise you may get bleeds that become permanently set into the wrong fabrics.

Synthrapol is another handy item to have on hand. Synthrapol does *not* set unset dyes. Instead, it suspends unset dye particles in water so they are rinsed away instead of settling into other fabrics. This is what you want to use on a quilt after it is put together, for its first washing. Synthrapol, like Retayne, requires hot water to work.

Also, as someone else mentioned, different fabrics receive bleeds differently. You can have a bleeding red fabric, and one white fabric may become stained red while the other never accepts the free dye.
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