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Using color catchers

Using color catchers

Old 10-15-2019, 06:11 PM
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Default Using color catchers

When using a color catcher on flannel before using, do I use it until a color catcher comes out clean, & then I know it will no longer bleed when quilting with it?
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:22 PM
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I always just use it once and nothing bleeds again.
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:15 PM
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I use color catchers when I wash my fabric the first time. If the color in the catcher is very dark, I will wash the fabric a second time and if it still is extremely dark, I may not use it. Depending on the fabric if is looks like the color is washing out, I won't use it. (I had that once with some home-dyed fabric I bought at a quilt show. And another time with some blue flannel fabric and it looked so distorted I should have taken it back to the store.) Otherwise, I am not concerned about it. When the quilt is finished, I wash it with a color catcher and usually give a few color catchers with the quilt with instructions to wash it in cold water and use the catcher the first couple washes.
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:19 AM
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When I had the rug business and dyed all my own fabric, there were times that I ran color catchers a second time. Some of the very dark blue greens were troublesome. I would wash it again and add new color catchers, I'd use several on 30 yards of fabric. They would come out slightly tinted but I never had a problem past that.
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:42 AM
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In my experience color catchers will never come out "clean". They will always have some color or gray to them after using them. This doesn't mean however that your fabric will continue to bleed into other fabrics. At most I've only washed something twice. Usually once and I consider it good even though the color catcher has a lot of color to it. I've never had anything bleed in a quilt doing that.
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Old 10-16-2019, 04:15 AM
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I also do the "look and see" method of prewashing. If the color catcher is really dark I will wash again, or double check the piece I'm suspicious about. You can rub damp cloth into a white paper towel for example and see if more dye is being cast off.

I've only had problems once and it ruined a quilt, the maroon dye was not set properly. I had a sophisticated maroon, silver/grey and blue color scheme with sparkles of white. I prewashed the fabrics and didn't think about it but I always wash quilts before giving them away. To my horror not only were the squares of white now baby pink but a few pieces of a poly blend white had snuck into the top and they stayed bright white.

Here's a picture of the offending fabric. They both started out the same shade of maroon. The darker one has been washed at least twice (once by me), I found it at a thrift shop. The "orange" piece was the same color and is the same fabric as ruined the quilt. The dark one I used in my original quilt in the blue colorway -- which was colorfast and had no problems. The lighter one has been washed at least 6 times now and still runs like a sprinter!
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Old 10-16-2019, 05:48 AM
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I use a color catcher in every color or mixed load of my everyday laundry. I've never had one to be white after use. The catchers stop the dingy look. I haven't had but a couple of quilt fabrics bleed over the years and that was my fault for not testing it first. I test the darker colors by steam pressing a sample on a piece of white muslin before cutting. If color shows on the white then I don't use it. I don't waste water, power, products and my time trying to save it.
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:07 AM
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I always sew a strip of the new dark fabric to the lightest color or white fabric and wash it with a load of laundry and a color catcher to see if it bleeds. When I wash a quilt I usually put between 3-5 color catchers in washer.
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Old 10-16-2019, 07:25 AM
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I soak my fabrics (like colors together) first to see if there is any dye release -

after I am satisfied that the fabrics have "good manners" - as in not releasing any more dye to color the water -

I want to be "comfortable" with putting a red, a white, a pastel, and a navy blue or black fabric - all in the same wash without fretting about what color the white or pastel color will be when taken out of the wash.

then they get gently washed and dried and added to my stash.

My things go to people that may - or may not - have "good sense" when it comes to washing the items - so I want them to "survive" ordinary washing techniques with no worry on the part of the washer.

Even with the precautions I usually take, it is always a good idea to dry the item as soon as it has been washed. Wadded wet fabric will sometimes transfer color. (Ask me how I know this!)

Last edited by bearisgray; 10-16-2019 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:13 AM
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My things go to people that may - or may not - have "good sense" when it comes to washing the items
LOL Reminds me of my youngest DD who's quilt I made for her was almost falling apart. She was washing it once a week with her sheets using bleach. This same child ruined a very expensive wood cutting block by washing it in the dishwasher after every use. I never thought she didn't know not to do this. Being the youngest everything was always done by older sister or me.
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