Quilts I Own: The Red Quilt

So I’ve been thinking about how I haven’t really had a lot to post lately (I say that, but have three in progress posts, all very overdue, which I could expand out to six, but won’t…) and that got me thinking about how I should do a series of posts about the quilts I own. Not the ones I’ve made, though I’ve got a couple of those, but just the quilts that are in my possession, all of which were either given to me or which I liberated from my Mom’s house. The quilt I’m going to talk about today was kind of given to me, but kind of bought by me. Bought for a song, really, hence the kind of given to me part of it…

Back in I think 2010, my mom’s family had a family reunion – it was held out at my Aunt Helen’s house in the Fraser Valley in BC and relatives from the US (California, Alaska, Montana… no wait, North Dakota… the one with Mount Rushmore, maybe that’s South Dakota?) and all over western Canada came out for the weekend. In order to pay for the food and a bit of the water/electricity bill and all of that, the family donated items for a silent auction. My Aunt Helen took me upstairs to one of her closets and pulled out a pile of unquilted quilt tops and asked me to help her decide which one to put into the silent auction. My aunt at one point quilted A LOT (she’s more into making glass beads now), but she (like me) had a lot of finished tops and not so many finished quilts, so from the few she pulled out of the closet, I picked the red Double Irish Chain. I LOVE a red quilt, so hells yeah.

Quilting Detail - Red Irish Chain

I was ever-so-slightly afraid that my family members would bid like… $5 and a two-four of beer for this double or queen-sized entirely hand-stitched quilt, so I made sure to put down the first bid, and I bid $50. I thought for sure someone would bid above that, but I wanted it to at least start with a number less insulting than I thought some of my family members might give it. Nobody outbid me. (I mean, c’mon! It’s hand-stitched! It’s made of fabric, which is not free or even cheap! It came attached with a promise to get it quilted and usable! This was worth so much more than $50!)

It took a couple years, but when my aunt was coming through Calgary in 2012, she brought me the hand-stitched, hand-quilted quilt:

Red Irish Chain

Love! Did you see that quilting detail? The entire thing is hand-quilted in a one-inch diagonal grid! Crazycakes. When I got it, it was covered in cat’s hair, which I have some allergy issues with so I was going to wash it, but then I discovered some cat’s claw marks in it too:

The Dangers of Cat Claws!

Two edges of the quilt had several claw gouges in it, right along the edge of the binding, and I was afraid to wash it, just in case those clawed areas ran or frayed a lot. So instead I folded it up and put it away in the closet for two years, until this week when I decided to just suck it up, chuck it in the wash on gentle and see what would happen. SUCH a bad idea.

Forget the claw marks, which did fray a little, and which I think I should just whip-stitch together and then patch a bit of red blender fabric over top of. Forget that entirely, instead, think about what happens with cheap, non-quilt shop quality red fabric:

Cheap Fabric!
Cheap Fabric!
Cheap fabric!
Cheap Fabric!

The staining is almost all of it from just one fabric in the mix – that one with circle dots and stripes on it. Everywhere that fabric is up against a white patch, it has bled. (Sometimes it even blend from folded over areas in the wash-machine and the white patches it was touching were also bled all over.) It’s so frustrating and so disappointing because this is such a lovely quilt and I was really looking forward to having it in rotation with some of my other bed quilts. But to be honest, I could be a lot more upset about than I am, I’m going to try washing it with Oxy-Clean and see if it helps, but if it doesn’t… I’m still just going to use it. It’s a nice quilt, even if it does look like it went a dozen rounds with a sippy cup of juice.

20 thoughts on “Quilts I Own: The Red Quilt”

  1. Lovely quilt,if that doesn’t work, try colour catchers, I had success with them on a red and white quilt and I had washed the red before I used it. Quilt is fine and I threw the rest of the red fabric out just in case It got used by mistake. Bev

    1. Do you have a Canadian source for Colour Catchers? We used to sell them out here several years ago, but nobody seems to carry them any more! I had bought a pile of boxes when they were discontinued at the grocery stores here in Calgary, and then haven’t seen them since. (I looked on Amazon.ca and the prices are ridiculous. Like $25 a box ridiculous.)

  2. I’ve had some colour run issues in the past when refashioning clothes, not sure if you can get it outside of the UK but I use Dr Beckmann Colour Run Remover – you leave it to soak for as long as you can then wash it and the run comes straight out. I’ve even used it on silk. Fabulous stuff.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I did a bit of searching and it didn’t seem to be available outside the UK (and none of the sites I looked at would send it outside the UK), but someone else has suggested one of our Canadian chain stores that supposedly sells it. So I’m going to have to see if the one nearest me actually carries it! Here’s hoping!

  3. I googled Dr Beckman’s and it does appear to just be in the UK. However, for a quilt like that I think I’d bite the bullet and just order some. It is a beautiful quilt. I never wash a quilt without putting a couple of color catchers in with it and have never had a problem. I don’t know if it works after the damage has been done, though.

    1. As far as I can tell, they don’t sell Colour Catchers in Canada any more. They were available for a while, and then they were discontinued (and I’d bought every box on the clearance rack at my grocery store when I saw them, but have used them all since). I had rather hoped my aunt pre-washed the fabric, though of course a bad fabric can bleed through multiple washes, if it’s really bad!

      I’m going to try OxyClean anyway, it’s supposed to be good for stains, so we’ll see! (I did look into the Dr Beckmann’s stuff, but every site I looked at doesn’t ship outside of the UK.)

  4. London Drugs sells Dr Beckmann’s and Sugar Pine in Canmore sells another brand (not Shout) of colour catchers. I haven’t them yet myself but did some research when I had a bleeds pink batik recently.

    1. Huh… that’s good to know. I work across the street from a London Drugs, so I’ll definitely have to pop in after work and see if that one’s got it anyway! Thanks!

        1. Ohh.. thanks for the link! Funny when I searched it, all I got was sites in the UK and of course none of them would ship to Canada! I’ll definitely bookmark this in case I can’t find them in store. I checked amazon.ca for Shout colour catchers and the seller there is charging $26/box! Yikes.

          1. I had found the same thing when I was looking. There is definitely another brand available in Canada because I’ve seen it at Sugar Pine. I’m planning to dip my toe more into batiks so it’s definitely been on my mind.

            1. Maybe I’ll need to make my way out to Sugar Pine someday if I don’t find something in the city 😀 (Surely I will, but I have family in Canmore, so why not? I think I’ve only been once in the six years I’ve lived in Calgary.)

    1. I know, right? And she’s got a husband, at least two pets, (at the time) two kids at home (one of them disabled), (at the time) one grand-kid, and a full-time job. Crazy. I have only one of those distractions (the job) and I can barely manage to tie my shoe-laces in the morning, forget hand-quilting a bed-sized quilt.

  5. It really is so beautiful. Can’t believe all that work for 50! I’ve heard people have good look with also throwing in some color catchers, even the second time around.

      1. That’s so kind of you to offer! I actually found that other brand people in the comments were mentioning Dr Beckmann’s so I’m going to try that out and see what happens – hopefully it’ll help!

    1. It’s pretty crazy, isn’t it? I told my aunt I’d pay for the backing/batting and that, but she wasn’t having it.

      I’ve picked up some Oxy-Clean, so I’m going to give it a soak with that and see if it helps, and then I got some of that other brand colour catcher, so I’ll wash it a couple more times with some of those, just in case that fabric isn’t done letting its dye free!

      On Sun, Jun 1, 2014 at 10:08 PM, Work-in-Progress Girl wrote:


    1. Thanks for the link – sonethibg to keep an eye out for! I actually found some Dylon run remover the other day and tried it yesterday -success! I washed it again after that with some colour catchers (Dr Beckmanns) and they bith came out quite red do I think I might have to keep being very careful with this quilt. On 2014-06-06 12:34 AM, “Work-in-Progress Girl” wrote:


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