How to wash a red-and-white quilt: our staffers’ “catchy” secret

From Red & White QuiltsIf you’ve ever washed a quilt that featured red fabrics, you might remember holding your breath when you took it out of the wash for the first time. Did the color bleed? Did I prewash my red fabrics enough? Will my quilt be ruined?

Sometimes red fabrics have us, well . . . seeing red!

If the possibility of a color bleed has been keeping you from making quilts with red fabrics—and especially if you’re not sure how to wash a red-and-white quilt—we’re here to say that we found what works, so you can toss that worry away!

We asked Martingale staffers to share their best tips for washing red fabrics and red quilts. Several people responded, but surprisingly, we received the same answer again and again. We think that’s a good thing, as everyone agrees on a reliable solution for catching bleeding colors red-handed!

So, what’s the #1 fix? It’s in the laundry aisle of most grocery stores:

No red tape here—Just Shout ColorCatchers. Who knew so many quilters swear by them? Here’s what our staffers said:

Tracking Tradition Virginia (Purchasing/Accounting): “Prewashing and ColorCatchers!!!”

Karen J. (Director of Marketing): “I use Shout ColorCatchers for all of my quilts and remove them promptly from the washer so the quilts don’t sit. I’ve never had a problem since I started using them.”

 Karen S. (Content Director): “Use a ColorCatcher sheet. Or two! And don’t just use one the first time. The sheets attract dye that runs in the water so that it doesn’t go back onto the quilt. If there is any red on the ColorCatcher after washing, make sure to use one the next time you wash your quilt too.”

 Jenny (Content Editor): “I made a quilt for my mom in dark red and white—she washed it once and some of the red bled onto the white. We threw it in the wash again with a ColorCatcher and it actually helped—almost all of the red was removed from the white. Now whenever my mom washes her quilt she throws a ColorCatcher in, just for good luck!”

What if you’re unable to find ColorCatchers in your area? One employee had a great alternative:

 Tina (Managing Editor): “My method is super basic: cold water and an extra rinse cycle, with a white scrap thrown in to see if the dye is still bleeding. If the white scrap is pink, wash and rinse again with a fresh scrap of white.”

A simple scrap of white. Sounds like an old-school ColorCatcher to us!

Now that you have a “catchy” plan for your red fabrics, you can roll out the red carpet and enjoy making gorgeous quilts from Red & White Quilts—here are just a few examples form the book:

Flower Power
Flower Power by Helen Stubbings

Sweet Dreams
Sweet Dreams by Lissa Alexander

Ruby Jubilee
Ruby Jubilee by Karen Styles

Daydreams
Daydreams by Camille Roskelley

Scarlet Song
Scarlet Song by Kim Diehl

See nine more quilts from Red & White Quilts >>>

Red & White QuiltsHow do you usually wash your red-and-white fabrics and quilts?

  • ColorCatchers to the rescue!
  • I use Tina’s method—a white scrap works wonders.
  • I wasn’t sure how to wash red fabrics; now I’m in the know!

Tell us your color story in the comments!


Quilt-Along Roundup, Week #2

Are you sewing with us during the Quirky Little Quilts Quilt-Along? Here’s a look at what participants have been up to this week! (Browse participant’s Instagram posts here.)

Win this fabric from Marcus Fabrics!Everyone’s Nine Patches are looking so nifty!

If you’re sewing with us, be sure to use the hashtag #QuirkyLittleQuiltsQAL so everyone can see your progress. When you post using the hashtag you’ll be automatically entered into a random drawing to win a pretty bundle of Sheryl Johnson’s fabrics from Marcus Fabrics (right). Winners will also receive five books of your choice from Martingale—and it’s not too late to get started! Get your copy of Quirky Little Quilts, start sewing your blocks, and photos of them on Instagram or Facebook—we can’t wait to see how your blocks turn out!



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