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Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Love/Hate Affair With Red Thread

It is the time of year again that I start thinking about Christmas designs, and that always brings me back to one of my pet peeves of crocheting; the fact that red thread almost always bleeds onto other colors.
I love using red in my designs; to me there is nothing prettier than a red Irish rose.
The red Irish roses really make the Hummingbirds and Roses Doily
And honestly, I wouldn't know how to do a Christmas design without using red.

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"

The cottage from "Christmas in Gingerbread Land"
But, through the years, I have learned through sad experience, that if I use red thread next to a lighter color in a design, the red will run onto it if the item ever gets wet.
I have been told by some that DMC thread is colorfast, but I have also heard stories that it will run, too. I have been told to soak the thread in salt water or vinegar; but I cannot figure out how to wind 350 yards of size 10 thread off of it's cardboard center and wash it, without ending up with a tangled mess. And honestly, who really wants to go to all that trouble just to be able to use a product that should be colorfast anyway?
So now, I just include a warning on my patterns that red thread tends to bleed, so be careful not to get it wet. Since most of my items do not get a lot of use (I use them for decoration, so they don't get dirty) this works for me.
Vintage potholders from the 40's
A few rust stains, but no bleeding of the colors!
But here is the odd thing; I have in my collection several old doilies and potholders made in the 30's, 40's and 50's. Some of them have red roses on white backgrounds; some are red with white trim, some are white with red edging. All of them have obviously been washed, but none of them have the bleeding that happens on my new designs.
So, my question is this; if it was possible to  make colorfast red thread in the past, why can't it be made now?
I hope some smart thread company will come out with a red thread that is truly colorfast; when they do, I know  they will make many crocheters happy.

5 comments:

vikki said...

Looking foward to the Christmas designs!! I don't have a problem with bleed too much..I think it depends on the quality of the thread. No stores around here carry anything other than royal or aunt lydia. I am not a fan of either. So I order online and buy a whole bunch at one time..for dye lots..

Gramma Rita said...

When I read the subject of this post, I just knew it was going to be about bleeding. I totally agree. I've had problems with several colors bleeding, and from various thread makers. It is so frustrating. I bought several balls of gorgeous hand-dyed thread online and imagine my dismay when the colors bled. :( I try to remember to check the threads before using them, but sometimes in my excitement to use the thread, I don't...and then regret it later. An online friend once suggested to me that I take a small piece of the thread in question and put it between two layers of damp/wet paper towels. Leave it for a little while...usually 15-30 min. is plenty...and if there is no color on your paper towel you're good to go. Otherwise you might want to choose a different thread.

Have a nice day! :)

MamaLezlie said...

I love the hummingbird doily, as you know. Thanks for letting me know about this. I'll tell my mother. Your doily was her Christmas gift last year.

crochethuahua said...

I have yet to find a red thread expensive or not that doesn't bleed. Sometimes blue thread will bleed. If you look on the old balls of Coats&Clark's, Lily, etc. it says "boilfast". I take this to mean it is colorfast. I see all sorts of Christmas doily patterns but am afraid of the bleed over.

* Lucienne * said...

OMG!! What a wonderful crafts!!!!
I`m completely in love!!