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Thread: Thread color bleeding

  1. #1
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    Thread color bleeding

    I have just had an "interesting"(pretty scary) experience with Mettler quilting thread in my hand quilted whole cloth quilt. I have been working on this 'wedding quilt' for 12-13 years and it is finally finished!! The back is maroon, the front white so I stitched it with maroon thread. I bought (I thought) good quality products from the fabric to the batting and the thread. When it was completed, I soaked it in cool water to remove the blue wash-away markings. These came out wonderfully. When it was dry, I spread it out on the table to examine it and noticed some slight pinkish areas around some of the stitches. Panic! I conferred with some of my quilting buddies and decided on a plan of action- wash with Orvis soap, warm water, Retayne and some color catchers. End result was great - no bleeding from the thread but I have 2 pink color catchers! I am still gobsmacked at the idea that this supposedly quality tread would bleed like this. So, beware. Not sure how one prewashes quilting thread. Anyone else ever experince this phenomenon?

  2. #2
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    Yep. I just finished a quilt that was white on the front, cobalt blue on the back. I quilted (fmq) daisy-like flowers that all ended up with very pale blue centers when I misted the water soluble stabilizer. (I sometimes draw my quilting design on that instead of using paper. Way easier to remove!)

    Anyway, the area where the thread crossed multiple times is now pale blue. I used quality blue thread in the bobbin, & quality white thread on the top. I never did get the blue out. Both the white fabric & the white thread are tinted blue in the centers.

    This is a first for me....never had it happen before.

    Oh....I have never pre-washed thread...or even considered doing that.
    Last edited by mindless; 06-30-2018 at 08:53 AM.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    My goodness! My heart was in my throat as I read this. I have never had this happen to me. Actually, I do not have too much Mettler. Mostly I buy Sulky. I am so glad that you were able to get it out.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

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  4. #4
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    Cotton thread picks up colour really well. I suspect it picked up the colour from the backing fabric. Disappointing for sure.

  5. #5
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    Cotton thread picks up colour really well. I suspect it picked up the colour from the backing fabric. Disappointing for sure.
    this was my thought also.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  6. #6
    Super Member givio's Avatar
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    I agree with Tartan's thought. It doesn't seem like it's the thread color bleeding. Color is probably bleeding from the backing and adhering to the thread, coming through the needle holes and going onto the thread. Especially with the example listed of the daises turning pale blue in the center, which sounds like they should have been white because of the white thread and white top-- making it obvious in that case it's the backing that made the thread and top surface blue.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    My coats and clark and connecting threads never bleed. I am sure it was from the dark backings. Light color backing would probably be a better choice.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  8. #8
    Super Member Irishrose2's Avatar
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    I agree that the released dye came from the backing fabrics. The thread was just an innocent bystander.

  9. #9
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I too agree about cotton thread being a magnet for loose dye particles. I had a hand quilted quilt that I had made my markings with the blue chalk that comes in Chaco liners. The blue washed out of my fabric just fine but had imbedded itself into my yellow cotton quilting thread and turned it a subtle green color.

    Do you have any of the thread left? You could always test it by cutting off a good size hunk of it (around a yard or so) and submerging it in a white cup with water to see if you get any bleed. Most likely it is/was the backing fabric.

  10. #10
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    I've not had this problem. I'm also a novice quilter. Somehow, the theory of the thread transferring the die from the backing doesn't make a lot of sense. I'm not questioning that the cotton thread would pick up the loose die from the fabric. The cotton thread would have to have a huge amount of wicking capacity to accomplish that.

    If the backing contained that much loose die, wouldn't it stain all of the front, not just the thread and it's surrounding area?

    Also, if this is true, wouldn't it make a good argument for using polyester?

    bkay
    Last edited by bkay; 07-01-2018 at 06:23 AM.

  11. #11
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    IowaStitcher, do you have any unwashed maroon backing left over? If so, can you dampen a white towel and rub it on the fabric? I think we'd all be interested in the results.

  12. #12
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkay View Post

    Also, if this is true, wouldn't it make a good argument for using polyester?

    bkay
    Yes, which is one reason why I machine quilt with Poly threads. But mostly I use Poly in my LA because I much prefer the way it performs and looks in the finished product. And the polys I use don't make any lint. Even the best cotton quilting threads produce loads of lint when put through the speeds a LA puts them through. Some are much worse than others. King Tut is about the only cotton I will use in the LA and even then, I don't use much of it. And no telling what the quality is now that Superior Threads is now owned by Premier Needle arts. The same company that owns Handiquilter and Connecting Threads.

  13. #13
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    I have tried your suggestions of testing both the thread and some backing fabric in water. No dye was evident from either. I then laid them on a piece of old white sheeting to dry. No dye transfer there either. Since this was all hand quilted and I am sure I prewashed both backing and top fabric I'm not sure how this dye transfer happened. I used the maroon backing fabric as the binding and saw no color transfer to the front when it was washed.So, I am completely baffled. Thank goodness for color catchers. And thank you for all your ideas.

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