Thursday, May 20, 2021

Seeing Red

 In April I posted about my poodle quilt that had begun to bleed when I tried to get a spot off it.

  I asked all of you what I should do.  I even asked if I should just get rid of it.  I was certain it was a goner.  But many of you responded particularly the Sues...and guess what, I took ALL of your advice!  

It just took me longer because a) I was so upset about the bleeding and b) I had to get the garden ready for summer.

The first piece of great advice came from Sue P.:

"Of course you must bind the quilt.  It already has a story.  I would call it: "Black and White and Bled All Over!"

Sue made me laugh which was great!  She reminded me that it was a quilt and not the end of the world.  The great thing about a quilt is that you can always use your failed experiments or wonky pieces for picnics or other things.

Did you know that poodles actually originated in Germany and not France?  The word "poodle" comes from the German word for puddle and the dogs were bred to be water retrievers!

Sue also suggested dabbing the bleeding area with Walmart all purpose cleaner with bleach which she highly recommended.  But I then talked to Beth and she suggested a more organic approach.

"First place the area that bled over a basin or bowl and tie it down firmly so that the weave of the fabric is showing.  Then squeeze lemons--actual lemons--remove the pulp and seeds and carefully poor over the stained areas.  Follow that procedure by rubbing some salt over the stains as an abrasive.  Then hang the quilt out in the sun to get a good bleaching."

I did that and guess what the red disappeared!  Or I thought it did, because afterwards I realized was that the dye was also all over the backing! 

I finished binding the quilt and along the way realized that the lemon had stained the white and even had turned a little tan.  It gave the piece a nice urine stained look.

"This quilt is cursed," I told my husband.

Scout as a baby.  She is a "blue" poodle and was born with a grey face!

 I didn't take a photo although I should have.  Instead I decided to bind the quilt and try Sue S.'s and Susie Q's advice.  

Susie Q. first commented to wash the quilt  "I would use 3-4 color catchers and then I would wash again until no more bleeding."

Sue S. completely agreed with Susie Q:  "And don't dry it until it's through bleeding.  I had a quilt with lots of black fabric on top and an old red childrens' fabric on the back.  I was expecting the black to bleed so threw in a few catchers.  It was that dang red and boy!  did it bleed!  I washed twice and then warned my daughter-in-law about her washing it too (it was for my grandson)."

Scout with her boyfriend Mac.

In the middle of multiple washings and half a box of color catchers, I realized that we needed to always keep this quilt no matter how it turned out.  My husband and I had already invested so much time in it and if it remained flawed that was okay too.  We are all flawed.

I hung it on the line and hoped for the best.
Every stain was gone.  On the front and the back.  And the lemon stain was gone as well.  It looked perfect and even good enough to give away.  But we are keeping it.  It's part of the family now.
The photos look slightly yellow but that is because it was still dark here this morning and sunset when we took the quilt off the line.  Believe me, it's a nice crisp white!

I want to thanks ALL of you for helping me save the poodle quilt!  Your support and advice was invaluable during this learning lesson.  Thank you! Thank you!  Thank you!

My only problem now?  Is that I made this top earlier in the year:

Beth told me to test some scraps of the fabric to see how stable the dye was:

Okay so not so stable.

 Per Beth's suggestion, I'll zig-zag the edge of the top and repeatedly wash it with color catches until the dye holds before quilting.

In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful day and remember that tomorrow is Flower Friday!  If you want your photos included, email me at!


  1. Thanks for sharing all those tips. I'm sure we'll all use them in time. I would suggest running a small bead of fray check around that quilt top before washing it. I feel less distortion than zigzagging. It will eventually be in the binding.

  2. Here's a link to Colorways by Vicki. Her method is a very popular one with quilters.

    1. Just what I was going to suggest. I've never tried her method, but I've seen lots of photos of quilts where it worked.

  3. now, if I can just remember all this good advice!