Friday, September 7, 2012

Windham Fabrics -- we need to talk!

Let me start by saying I love Windham Fabrics.  I have bought yards and yards of them.  And the fabrics used to make this quilt definitely taught me more lessons than I wanted to learn!
This is Waffles by Aardvark Quilts.  I love the simplicity of her designs and the clarity of instructions.  I made it about two years ago and finally quilted in when I went to see MacQuilts in the spring.  The fabrics are the hand-dyed Gees Bends solids that I paid a pretty penny for several years ago at the Chicago International Quilt Festival.  The fat quarter bundle had about 20 fabrics in them -- all neatly tied up.
I really liked the shading and coloration of many of the shades and they reminded me of Cherrywoods (YUM!).
BUT -- when I opened them up and started to think about what I wanted to do with them -- I was in for a not-so-great surprise.  The fold lines on about half the fat quarters had offset and had a faded look.  And not just a little bit -- a whole lot.  And when I say "fold lines" -- these were not at the edges where sun/light might have caused them -- they were in the bundle where the FQs had been folded and compressed against another. They actually mirrored the lines of the actual fold of the fabric.  I've never seen that before and I hope never to see it again.
Here are some leftover scraps and I've put pins in the discolorations in case you have trouble seeing them.  I was beyond not happy when I saw this and how many fabrics were effected.  Some to the point that I couldn't cut enough strips to make a block.  I know this was not the fault of the quilt shop and I believe they were not aware of the problem.  They are very reputable and were always my favorite booth at the quilt show each year.
When I saw the offsetting and started researching how to handle them before I did anything else -- there wasn't much out there.  There were lots of comments from other quilters who talked about bleeding and washing them with Retayne beforehand. I particularly remember one quilter saying that she was washing her red fabric when the water splashed on her white blouse and it looked like she had cut herself!  Really?

I ended up washing similar colors in small loads with Retayne and color catchers and watched the rinse water.  For those that had a lot of color in the final rinse, they got to go back through the same process one more time.  I also checked the FQ bundle that mom22smartchix bought and hers were equally bad so it wasn't just mine.  Small comfort in that.

I don't know anything about hand-dying, don't know the proper terms, don't know what may have gone wrong but I do know that this was not a good experience - nor typical of Windham Fabrics.  Interestingly, if you were to buy the fabrics today, they come with a suggestion that each color should be washed separately and line dried!  

Fingers crossed for the final washing now that the quilt is finished!

I hope your week has been full of good surprises.  Jan

31 comments:

Nancy said...

Yikes, definitely a disappointment. Did you write to the company? If not, send them a link to this post: they need to know about it.

Susan@Organized31 said...

The quilt is gorgeous! You look at your quilt and see the frustrating experience. I look at your quilt and see beauty. Thanks for sharing.

Tonya Ricucci said...

oh yeah, that group had serious bleeders in it. I've washed the red a number of times and I had to boil wash the navy before it stopped bleeding... feel sorry for anyone who didn't pre-wash. The fade lines wouldn't bother me as much. but yes, not a well-made line of fabric. cute quilt though.

One Minnesota Quilter said...

Obviously the company is aware of the problem if they are sending out information to prewash each piece separately. Unfortunately, problems like this are not solved overnight for a company and they are trying to handle it as best as they can.

Your quilt is great looking and the quilting is nice on it too! :)

Judy

Marcia aka The Little Pink Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nina Marie said...

You know for years I loved hand dyed fabrics and paid big $$ for them - not thinking I could ever learn how to do it. Finally I bit the bullet - read a few books - read more blog tutorials and learned how! Its MUCH easier than I thought and fulfilling. I only dye once or twice a year but I do a ton of it then and love the way my fabrics are coming. I don't know if its cheaper in the long - probably - but I do know that I can trust my fabrics not to run or fade because I control the process. Not to mention - its very cool when you say - ohh yeah - I dyed all those fabrics myself!

Bonnie said...

Wow... what a terrible experience. I would let both the company and the seller know what happened. (in fact I'd write the same letter to both so they know what you wrote to both.) There is nothing they can do about it now but might want to keep your good will by sending you a little surprise. And, if they don't it's not that time consuming. Marcia implies that you stored them where they were exposed to sun. A careful reading of your blog refutes that. The fading was folded inside the fat quarters not where it was exposed to the sun. It is so disappointing when fabric fails to be wonderful all the way through. You, however, made a fabulous quilt with the fabric. It looks wonderful. So congratulations on that!

Nann said...

Looks as though you managed to make waffles out of lemons, to mangle the metaphor. Perhaps the FQs in that bundle had been refolded to hide the fade lines?

I do like the pattern!

QuiltSwissy said...

I love aardvark patterns, that is my paperweights I am working on now.

What an experience with the fabrics. You should definitely let them know about the problem.

glen

Marcia said...

I must apologize.I must have been reading too quickly and missed where you said that the fading was on the inside of the folds. Please accept my apologizes.

Crystelle Boutique said...

your quilt turned out fabulous! Love the simplicity of the design and the awesome colors.

How sad about your faded fabrics... :(

Crystelle
http://www.crystelleboutique.com/

Jill said...

Another beautiful quilt - such a shame about the faded lines in the fabric!


Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a fabulous week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success
http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

Dar said...

Your waffle quilt is fabulous. Love the intense colors. I too would have been very upset to find out there was fading inside a FQ bundle. I have hand dyed fabric several times and I always use Synthrapol as my final rinse and you do not have to separate them into separate colors like Retayne. I also test with a damp cloth rubbed over the dryed hand dyed to be sure it does still have extra dye particles in it.

Emily {Creative Chicks} said...

never had much experience with hand dyed fabrics but your quilt is beautiful. love "solids only" quilts!

Pat said...

Great quilt and quilting!

M-R said...

Beautiful quilt! Sorry to hear about the fade lines. That happened to me recently too -- so annoying!

Sara said...

I could look at the Gees Bend quilt you did all day so pretty!!!

Sorry about the fabric..I would be very mad too. Hope you can work something out with the company somehow.

Cynthia@aquilterbynight said...

What an eye-catching quilt - just stunning.
Too bad about the fabric glitches though. Glad to have found your blog through your Quilt Story link - look forward to following.

Nancy said...

I think "hand-dyed" says a lot. It's hard to get all the dye out of hand-dyed fabrics. Your quilt is absolutely beautiful! I'm sorry you had so many problems with it, though.

a maidenhair fern said...

Fascinating! and I love your FMQ. Nice job.

Connie said...

That is too bad about the fabric discoloration but it is still a very beautiful quilt! Thanks for sharing.
Freemotion at the River Linky Party Tuesday

Kati from Kati's Quilting said...

Hope your colors didn't bleed, it would be a shame! It's a gorgeous looking quilt and I love the circuit board quilting on it. I'll just have to make one of these, not necessarily in solids, but combining other fabrics. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful work!

scg said...

great quilt, hope you don't have any more problems with it!

Hitch and Thread said...

The final result is stunning!

Kelli said...

Hi, I just found your blog through MRL's Thurs. Think Tank. :) Nice to *meet* you. I am a new follower. I LOVE this quilt. Sorry you had all that trouble with the colors, it sounds like a bit of a nightmare to me. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you and sending best wishes for the final washing, too! It's so gorgeous. Love the color combos. You can probably guess that I have a 5 yo boy, as the first thing that pops to my mind when I see the quilt is Legos. Ugh! haha It's so beautiful, though, I just LOVE it!

Rebecca Lynne said...

Alright lady...let's see... First you rock for linking up to TTT THANK YOU! Second, quilt is stunning. Third, dyeing was my specialty in college and the trick to setting is steam. Steam steam steam hot hot hot. Of course we had a special steaming thingy at school to do this...however you can create a similar result with a hot iron and some scrap muslin. Place the muslin on the fabric, steam iron it, the muslin should pick up the excess dye and the heat should set the dyed fabric. Honestly, having the quilt hangout in a steamy bathroom rolled up with another cloth would probably be a good idea too. And, you can use that dyed muslin for something too! It'll kind of be like a tie dye!

Melissa Corry said...

What a beautiful quilt. Sorry to hear about the crazy lines in it. I don't know to much about how to get that out. I have learned a lot about getting pen, marker and crayon out of quilts (5 kids) but not how to get rid of fade lines. sorry.

Janine said...

Your quilt is really beautiful. I hope it washes ok. The fade lines and bleeding sond like a nightmare. I always pre-wash with colour catchers but I've not had anything like this happen.

JanetK said...

Sorry to here about those fabrics. What a nasty surprise! But your quilt is fabulous!

Becolorful said...

That had to be disappointing. Your quilts all turn out fabulously though. Thanks for sharing on BeColorful.
pr

Debi Bolocofsky said...

This quilt is so beautiful. I love it. You are so talented. Thank you so much for sharing with Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party last week.
Debi