While locked down at home during Covid 19, I saw that EQ8 came out with computerized patterns for the famous Dear Jane quilt, and I thought that if I decided to do one block each day it might be the thing to get me out of bed in the mornings. This worked very well as each evening I planned the next day’s block, selecting the fabric, and then when I went to bed, instead of worrying about the pandemic, I fell asleep planning which technique I would use to make the block in the morning. Then, after breakfast each day, I would make the block. And in 169+ days I finished all the blocks (I had to make one twice because it didn’t come out the first time, and I missed a few days along the way; also a couple of them took more than one day). I grew to appreciate what Jane Stickle had gone through during the Civil War, although my isolation and uncertainty was far less that what she had suffered. And I was fortunate enough to live in a time when a vaccine was quickly being developed. In fact, I was able to get my first vaccine a couple of days after I finished all the blocks. After that, I did the sashing, the border, the quilting, and the binding to create a large queen-size quilt. The only fabric that I needed to purchase was for the backing and the binding, the rest of it was made from scraps in my stash, and the background fabric from old sheets.
I have always made it a habit to prewash all my fabrics so there would be no shrinkage or bleeding when my quilts were completed and laundered. However, when I laundered the finished quilt, it appeared that 2 blocks, one dark blue, and one dark red, bled onto the background color making it splotchy and bluish looking, especially on the sewn quilting lines. This was very upsetting. I searched on-line to find a way to deal with it. My go-to place for advice was quiltingboard.com where I found some suggestions. These sent me to the website https://www.colorwaysbyvicki.com/save-my-bleeding-quilt.html#/ written by Vicki Welsh. Vicky is a fabric dyer who has developed a technique for getting rid of dye that has bled onto quilts. Her technique includes soaking and agitating the quilt in an ample amount of very hot water and Blue Dawn Pure Dish Detergent. This idea made me very nervous. I thought if I put the quilt in very hot water there would be even more bleeding. I wrote to Vicki and asked her about it, and she kindly answered saying that the Blue Dawn soap molecules would absorb the excess dye and carry it away the same way that detergent carries dirt away on clothes in a washing machine. I hesitated for a few days, but the quilt was not looking good, and I finally decided that I believed in science, and Vicki seemed to really know what she was talking about. So I got ready to do the work: I needed to use a bathtub for soaking the quilt, and we have a large Jacuzzi type jetted whirlpool bathtub, but it is at the other end of the house from the kitchen, where I needed to boil water to make the water in the tub hot enough. The instructions called for ½ a cup of detergent, but my quilt was very big, so I added ¾ of a cup. I thought the water jets would help with the agitating. Well, what the jets did was create a mountain of suds that quickly started to overflow the tub. I stopped the jets and grabbed a bucket and started removing the suds and dumping them in the shower stall, for lack of any other place to put them. But the pile of suds kept growing as the shower stall filled. Finally it all calmed down and I noticed that the water was a dark blue. This was upsetting, but Vicky’s instructions said that if that happens, just empty the tub and refill with clean hot water. I schlepped more boiling water from the kitchen and filled up the tub again. This process was supposed to be repeated for up to 10 hours. I was already exhausted. The water was now a light blue. I decided to leave it for a couple of hours and try again. When I came back later and emptied the light blue water, the quilt was sparkling bright with no bleeding. I was thrilled! It, of course, was soaking wet and extremely heavy. My husband and I were able to load it into a large garbage bag and take it to the washing machine to rinse all the soap out of it. Unfortunately, after putting this quilt through so much washing and agitation, there was some damage at several seams in the quilt. I inspected it thoroughly and fixed all the places that needed some repair. I am so pleased with the way it looks now!