The Sad Little Penguin Quilt

A Tale of Bleeding Fabric

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This is my tale of woe for my sad little penguin quilt.

A cute little thing. Made not for any special reason, but just because...

It started innocently enough. It was a little wall hanging paper piecing pattern I'd found in the now defunct "The Foundation Piecer, The Pattern Journal for Quilters Who Love Paper Piecing". It was July and that meant hot here in Illinois. I needed something cool and refreshing. This little pattern was like falling into a tall, ice-cold glass of lemonade.

So I gathered my fabrics and got straight to piecing.


Nope, not this time. This baby was never, ever going to be washed, so why bother? This was strange for me, because I always prewash. But my bee-mates didn't. Live a little, I thought, and took a walk on the wild side, skipping my usual step.

Now, I'd found just the perfect little white-on-white fabric for the snow and this absolutely brilliant royal blue batik for contrast.


Itty-bitty paper pieced border! Now that took a bit of time to do, but it was done and I was on the final pressing before layering my quilt sandwich.

Now I don't know about you, but I quilt with gusto!

The top was on the ironing cold iron, too.


I knocked that iron over and its cold water went splishy-splashy everywhere...including my poor little quilt top.

You guessed it!

That captivating blue batik, the only one just perfect for this silly little quilt, had bled all over the white snow fabric.

Wash it I did. Hand wash...machine wash...many times...dye magnet...OxyClean...and everything else I could think of. But I was never able to get all the blue out. And the poor little quilt has never been finished.

Moral of this Sad Little Tale

Even if you don't prewash, pretest your fabric to check for bleeding for quilts you care about.

...and now the rest of the story...

I've had this page written for awhile, but wanted to find this top for a photo. Just knew I'd tucked it somewhere.

And I found it...tucked in a group of other finished, but as yet, unquilted tops. I thought I'd pretty it up a bit before photographing...spritzed it with a bit of water to iron, because, hey, I have done everything to remove the bleeding blue color.

You're guessed it!

This sad little penguin quilt top has bled again!

Lesson learned! Always test!!!

Share Your Own Tale of Bleeding Fabric

Have you had a fabric bleed in a quilt? Was it before or after it was finished?

Were you able to save it?

Share your story with quilters who know just how it feels. That gut-wrenching sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you see it for the first time.

Did you find a remedy that worked? Please share that, too!

What was the final result?

If you can bear to, share a picture with us.

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Other Tales of Woe...

Click below to see other stories (and possible remedies) shared by other quilters...

Sister's Quilt 
A lady in our church congregation thought it would be nice to have a Sisters Quilt. Every lady who wanted to participate would make 10-inch quilt blocks, …

Bleeding fabric in a twin size Dutchman's Puzzle 
Randi shares... I had my son help me choose fabric for his quilt. Red was/is his favorite color, so of course, it was a bright solid he chose. I prewashed …

Worth trying this remedy? 
I do feel for you dear quilter. I see you have tried all things but there is another remedy I have heard that might be worth a try. I have never had …

A Christmas Table-Topper and a Bed Sized Christmas Quilt 
Katrina wrote to share... I was successful in getting the bleeding red out of my quilt by using a Tide Bleach stick and being very quick about getting …

My daughter's baby quilt... 
I made it for her out of navy, lolly pink and cream with cotton, silk velvet and rayon textiles. I popped it in the bath with plain did not …

Quilt backing...another story of bleeding fabric 
I had two large pieces of quilt backing, both white bases with cute prints of flowers. I also had one smaller piece of hot pink that needed to be washed. …

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