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Thread: Using Black Fabric (or not)

  1. #1
    Super Member jillaine's Avatar
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    While I love the drama that black fabric brings to a quilt, I've been avoiding it for a couple of reasons:

    1. black typically fades fast and badly-- i.e., you don't knowif you'll end up with a red-black, a green-black or a charcoal-black, etc...

    2. black is a magnet for dust and pet hair and sewing thread and anything else that happens to be around.

    What are your experiences and thoughts about the best use and care of black-based quilts?

  2. #2
    Super Member Maggiesmom's Avatar
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    Never had a problem if it is good quality black fabric. The quilts I have made are usually applique and I don't have plans to wash them that often.

  3. #3
    Super Member featherweight's Avatar
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    I use black in many of my quilts. So far, I have not had a problem. I try to buy good quality fabric so it shouldn't fade. I intend on keep using it. I think it is very dramatic in a quilt.

  4. #4
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    I used it once for sashing and a narrow border. I'm also a dedicated pre-washer of fabric and YES it's a magnet for all of the above. The quilt now resides in England and I only got to visit it once since I sent it over. It was well and good at that time (about 1 year after it's receipt), of course I have no idea how many times she washed it.

    I didn't have any problem with the initial "fade" though. It was just as black coming out of the wash as it was going in. I had even used a dye catcher and I know the catcher wasn't darker.

  5. #5
    Senior Member pennijanine's Avatar
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    I love to use black Kona in a quilt. I think it enhances it and really makes any other color "POP"

  6. #6
    Super Member quiltingnonie's Avatar
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    The key here is to buy GOOD quality. Ask me how I know! :roll: :roll:

  7. #7
    Senior Member ThreadHead's Avatar
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    Hate black material---nuf said!

  8. #8
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    I avoid black but only b/c of all my cats, and 2 of them are pure white lol

  9. #9
    Super Member Barb_MO's Avatar
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    I've used black a couple times. Working with Warm & Nautral cotton batting, I really had a problem with the fuzz on the black. But once it was finished and washed it was ok.
    I'm not sure what brand is a good black, I used Robert Kaufman.

  10. #10
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I use a lot of black fabric, a LOT. I prewash it with Retayne, and when the quilts are done I wash them in cold water, using half the amount of detergent the label calls for, and use a detergent without optical brighteners (like Cheer Dark formula). They don't fade.

    Dust shakes off; I don't have threads all over the house, just in the studio where there are no finished quilts; and my cats are black. No problems there. :D

  11. #11
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    If I really have to use black ( not a fan) I use a ploy cotton blend, it holds color better than the best 100 percent cotton , Yup I know this is not a popular choice, but it is theonly way to get the longest life from a black fabric.
    The pet hair is another issue... thats one of the reasons I do not use much black, everyone I know has a dog. So unless its going on the wall, I rarely use it for a bed quilt.

  12. #12
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    Maywood Studios Black Magic will NOT fade or bleed. As for cats, well, pet owners wear black clothes. And black and grey cats lie ton white/light quilts. What's the difference?

  13. #13
    Super Member jillaine's Avatar
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    thanks for all the great responses. So it sounds like Kona and Maywood Studios may have the best quality black AND that I should not exclude the idea of a poly-cotton blend... mmm... thanks so much everyone.

  14. #14
    deema's Avatar
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    I use black. I like black. I'm making a quilt for my husband that has a completely solid black background with applique on it. If it fades, it fades. Stuff fades, it won't stay perfect forever...but it will be well loved, even if the black isn't true black anymore.

  15. #15
    Senior Member quilter1943's Avatar
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    I have used a solid black that Keepsake Quilting used to call Amish black. I don't know if they still carry it, but it was excellent and did not fade. Lately with so much black in muted patterns and batik, I haven't used a solid black. They still have it. Just search for Amish Black. It's $6 a yard.

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    I use Micheal Miller JET black and it has never faded, even in the sun...I tested a piece before I bought the whole bolt...the Kona faded and turned purple...

  17. #17
    Super Member quiltingnonie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilter1943
    I have used a solid black that Keepsake Quilting used to call Amish black. I don't know if they still carry it, but it was excellent and did not fade. Lately with so much black in muted patterns and batik, I haven't used a solid black. They still have it. Just search for Amish Black. It's $6 a yard.
    I love this product!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok
    I use Micheal Miller JET black and it has never faded, even in the sun...I tested a piece before I bought the whole bolt...the Kona faded and turned purple...
    This is what I've been using with great results. It has a really deep rich velvet-y look.

  19. #19
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    there is supposed to be a NEW double dyed black, but I have not found it yet, not even at my distributors!

  20. #20
    Super Member jillaine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok
    I use Micheal Miller JET black and it has never faded, even in the sun...I tested a piece before I bought the whole bolt...the Kona faded and turned purple...
    Phew! Good (or not) to hear about the Kona. I almost JUST purchased a solid Kona black jelly roll that was on sale. Decided against it at the last minute. Thanks for this intel.

  21. #21
    Super Member huntannette's Avatar
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    i usually get a black with very small prints in it...i use it a lot and never had any problem
    Quote Originally Posted by jillaine
    While I love the drama that black fabric brings to a quilt, I've been avoiding it for a couple of reasons:

    1. black typically fades fast and badly-- i.e., you don't knowif you'll end up with a red-black, a green-black or a charcoal-black, etc...

    2. black is a magnet for dust and pet hair and sewing thread and anything else that happens to be around.

    What are your experiences and thoughts about the best use and care of black-based quilts?

  22. #22
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    I made an absolutely wild (and definitely not award winning) quilt with all the techniques I wanted to try and leftover fabric. I used black for the backing and bring it out for soccer games and picnics to toss on the ground. It never looks dirty and it has washed well.

  23. #23
    Senior Member vschieve's Avatar
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    Rinse the black fabric in clear water with vinegar added. The vinegar sets the dye.

    I had to prepare for a tee shirt quilting class this past Saturday. We were told to rinse all of our FQ's til water was clear. Mine were fine, no fading 'til I got to the 2 1/2 yards that I plan to use for border; a light black. It kept fading and fading into the water.

    Then I remembered from way back in the '60's when madras plaids were big. Instructions were to soak it in vinegar water before washing! Now why didn't I think of that sooner?? So I added about 1/3 cup of white vinegar to a pail full of rinse water and swished my black fabric in it over and over just waiting for the dye to make its de'but but hey, it came out clear!!

  24. #24
    Senior Member Tudey's Avatar
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    I have used the Kona cottons black with good results. Also, I believe it;s Keepsake Quilting that has the Amish black, which is a very good, true black. I use a lot of brights and autumn colors, so I love to use black to make those colors "pop" in my quilts.

  25. #25
    Super Member dglvr's Avatar
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    Tudey the quilt in your avatar is beautifal.
    I live to use black. I"ve not had any problems with.
    And I have black dogs so I don't worry about that. It ads warmth and character to the quilt. :thumbup:

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