Sunday, January 23, 2011

The little sampler that taught me .....

a big lesson!

This Sampler Sunday offering is from Ewe & Eye & Friends and again I don't remember the title. I think it had something to do with Napa Valley or Sonoma since that was what had been charted rather than Modesto. I stitched this up after we had transferred by my husband's employer from Modesto back to Ohio. We spent 3 years in California and it was an interesting time. Modesto was a nice Californian town to live in but I truly missed the change of seasons and my grandmother back in the Midwest. I was very happy to come back to Ohio.

Now to the lesson this sampler taught me.... hand-dyed floss can bleed - A LOT!!! Since I don't stitch in a hoop or a frame my pieces need to be ironed when I'm finished and I like to use steam. Well when I ironed this piece the mulberry bleed horribly. I tried rinsing but it only helped minimally and in the end I took a q-tip dipped in bleach to remove the mulberry stains from the linen and from some of the berries and stitching.

I know I know -- not the greatest idea but it worked and I am okay with this not being a piece for the ages.

From then on I have pre-treated my hand-dyed fibers. First, I rinse them in warm water and swish them around in a clear glass dish - some colors you think would run don't and others are a complete surprise with how much dye is released. I have also seen that more hand-dyed fibers are sporting colorfast labels. I like that a lot. After rinsing, I lay them out on paper towels and squeeze out the excess water. Since I'm usually doing a bunch of floss at one time they sit for a while and even when you think all the excess dye is released you see tell tale stains on the paper towels. Okay after I've done the first rinse and set them aside for a minute I rinse them again in a bowl with a capful of Retayne - a dye fixative. I return them to paper towels and take them to the ironing board where I steam iron them dry. Yes this is a lot of work but I haven't had any problems with hand-dyed floss bleeding when I do this and I can stitch confident that I won't have problems when the piece is finished and I iron it for the final time. Does anyone else pre-treat your hand-dyed fibers? I'd love to know your technique.

Well I did get a little sewing done this weekend and I'm almost finished with my Crazy Mom QAL top and I put up an old UFO Stack-N-Whack piece on my design wall. I'll show some pics this week and maybe I'll have some progress on that front too.

Hope your week will have some quality crafty time.
Happy stitching -
carol fu


  1. Thanks for the "Colorfast" lesson - like you I steam iron everything when I've finished stitching - I've not had any problems with "bleeding" - yet - but will be ultra careful from here on out - Modesto - a lovely sampler!

  2. Great idea to use the bleach on a Q-tip! I have a cross stitch that was given to me and my friend washed it before she gave it to me, and the red floss ran. Now I know how to fix it! :0)

  3. Very pretty. I love anything with houses and I love how you've personalized it.

  4. Carol
    I'm sorry to hear of your issues with the floss. I dabble in quilting and always wash my fabrics, upon purchase. I was taught to make the final rinse contain either table salt or white vinegar...this helps set the colors...I would imagine it would work on the floss, also.
    Once, when I had trouble with dyes running on a finished cross stitch piece, I gave it a rinse in white vinegar and water and the bleeding was removed!!!!!!!!!!
    Hope this is some value.
    Busy Hands...Happy Heart

  5. Wow, what a process! I try to keep my pieces neat (so far I have all but avoided putting a clamp/qsnap on over my stitches) and only iron once because I like them to puff up or stand up a bit when done. I've heard that you should only iron once if you can help it because it makes the stitches lie more nicely as the steam cinches up the linen.

    Oh, I also spritz the piece front and back with a fine mist sprayer filled with distilled water rather than using a steaming iron. I'm hoping this will help with any potential running!

    Beautiful piece, as ever!


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