Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tea Towel-ish

Hi, I'm Stephanie, aka "Venus de Hilo". Victoria kindly added me to the group here a while back. I've been lurking quietly and sitting out the tea towel challenge (due to lack of time and a suitable tea towel) while admiring your works here... until I came across this in the stash today:
This looks like an Indonesian batik, but is a print on very soft, light cotton -- exactly like some Indian dishtowels in my kitchen. It's 40" high, with selvedge top and bottom, and is hemmed on the right, with a raw edge on the left where I'm guessing there was originally a matching hem. There's a good chance it was in fact produced as a tea towel.

I received it as part of a swap several years ago, at which point it disappeared into the stash. The colors are not at all "me" but it's too nice not to do something with.

One problem: there is significant color bleed from the dark indigo, so big swaths of the background are noticeably dingy. Is that something that can possibly be reversed, even to a small degree, by washing in .... whatever might help?? I'm on the fence about working with it if the dinginess is permanent, and very willing to risk trying to ameliorate that even if the result is a disaster.

I'd love some stain-removal, color-brightener suggestions from any fabric-care experts with an opinion.

In the meantime, it's great to be here. I've been enjoying poking around, thinking about what block challenges I might undertake, and checking out your blogs.


Glen QuiltSwissy said...

Color catchers go into every load of wash I do. Since I have been using them, frank has not had pink underwear once!!!

If you find them buy several boxes, they are a bit difficult to find here. Target had six boxes, and I came away with all of them.

I know of some quilters who will baste them to areas they thin will bleed when they wash their quilts. I use them both in the wash to prevent color bleeds and for pieces w
That have already bled. I tear them in half and toss in the washer. And I will use it two or three times before putting it in my odd scraps bucket.

Who knows, I may have a winning piece in that box!!!!

Willa said...

I enjoy your work from our past encounters; it's great to see you posting here. I do hope you overcome the stain problem; I would love to see your efforts here. Welcome!!

(Sorry, I have no stain experience.)

Kathy said...

I am not a fabric care expert, but I can relay an experience that worked for me. I had some red bleed into white sections of a quilt I made. It was a big quilt and I didn't want to get the whole thing wet again without knowing if my efforts worked. I read in a web page, such as, that really hot water is what makes Synthropol work. Synthropol is the stuff used by dyers to remove excess dye from their fabrics. One can purchase it at good quilt shops, usually. The site went on to say that one can even remove stains with really hot water only. (Unfortunately, I didn't write down the web address, but if you persistently search synthropol or stain removal, or removing excess dye from fabrics, you may come across it.) Anyhow.... I remembered a technique my grandma used to remove fruit stains from napkins and blouses. She filled a tea kettle with a lot of water and brought it to a boil. Then she had someone hold the cloth fairly tightly so that she could concentrate her pour over the place of the stain. She poured a lot of water slowly on the stain. I tried that on my quilt, with a white pan placed to catch the water so I could see if color was truly being removed. It worked brilliantly to remove both the color that had run into the white and also to remove any excess from the fabric that was causing the problem in the first place. It is certainly worth a try. Good luck

Paulette said...

I'm so happy to see you here, Stephanie! I remember when we were working on kaleidoscope quilts a couple years ago. Your work is beautiful and I'm excited to see what you make of your piece!

I have used this "recipe" for stain removal with success. I'm not sure if it will remove dye, but it did do a good job of brightening and cleaning.

Venus de Hilo said...

Thanks for the suggestions and welcome.

RIT dye makes a color remover that is probably Synthropol or similar, but will save for last resort, as I'm concerned it would remove too much color.

I'm going to try an Oxi-Clean soak with a Color Catcher sheet, followed by white vinegar rinse today as I have those on-hand. Other solutions will await an errands run.

Unfortunately, my Google search for advice revealed that if this cloth went through a heated dryer the color bleed has probably set permanently. Hope not...

Venus de Hilo said...

Update: Oxi-Clean is a miracle-worker!

What I did:
Dissolved 2 TB Oxi-Clean and 1 TB Borax in about 2 cups very hot (close to boiling) water.
Added about a quart of water from the tap to cool down enough to get my fingers in there (in rubber gloves), and added a Color Catcher sheet.
Dunked the cloth in and gave it a good swish and left to soak.

10 minutes later the water was almost black! So I dumped it out, rinsed the cloth, and started another fresh bath, same of everything as before.

Soaked about an hour, with lots more color released, then rinsed. Rinsed a second time in cool water with a hefty glug of white vinegar, then rinsed and rinsed again, rolled in a towel to get water out, and air-dried until I couldn't wait any longer and finished drying with the iron.

Almost all the dingy tone is gone (the color catcher sheets are a hideous gray-peuce now) and the cloth is ready for playtime.

It will live on the design wall while I await inspiration. I've got a nice spot for a narrow wall-hanging, so will work within appropriate dimensions for that location.

Rosebud said...

OxiClean alert. I used it on some coffee stains on a beautiful sweater without testing first and it took out the color and ruined the sweater. Have not had any other atain removers do this before!