Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Story of the Yellow Chalk Continues

Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions about removing the yellow chalk from my jelly roll quilt, and those who made such kind comments about the quilting.

After searching the website of the company that makes the product, Birch, for information on removing the chalk with no luck, I sent them an e-mail requesting help. I have to say, their customer service is excellent. They are the only company that I have contacted using their online e-mail form who has ever actually called me back. And not just 1 staff member but 2! Thank you Birch.

This is what they told me:
  • Sometimes the sizing in the fabric can retain colour from the chalk. It may wash out with the first wash when the sizing washes out.
  • If the quilt has been in the heat (eg been ironed, been in a hot car or near a window in a hot room) the colour from the chalk may set.
  • Try the following ways to remove the chalk - make sure to test on a scrap piece of the fabric first...
    • Use a soft toothbrush to gently brush the chalk marks off the fabric. You could also try a paintbrush but it may be too soft.
    • Wash the quilt in lukewarm or cold water with a mild detergent (eg wool wash)

They also recommended that any marker should be tried on a scrap piece of the fabric to make sure it can be removed, before being applied to the quilt top.

Unfortunately neither of these suggestions worked for me. Using a toothbrush softened and blurred, but did not remove, the chalk lines.

I then tried washing it in cold water with a small amount of fabric softener (suggested by a friend's mum who is an avid quilter). After washing it twice, the chalk had completely gone from the darkest blue fabrics, been reduced by about 50% on the mid-blue fabrics and barely shifted from the lightest fabrics. I was devastated to the point of tears. My wonderful family comforted me the best they could.

Our friend's birthday party was on Saturday night but I was in Melbourne for the weekend so couldn't go. The rest of my family all went and gave Miss J her present then texted me photos.

Miss A and Miss J holding up the completed quilt.

She loved it. From all accounts she didn't even notice the yellow chalk marks. I'm so pleased she liked it & that I managed to get it finished in time for her party.

I need to get the quilt back soon so I can attach a label as I ran out of time to do that before leaving town. I'm thinking I'll run it through the wash another couple of times while I have it. Hopefully each wash will reduce the amount of chalk left. Although they haven't really noticed, I know it's not supposed to be there and I think it looks terrible!

Anyway, I hope this info helps some of you. I certainly will be testing any marking tools on a sample of the fabric I'm actually using before marking my quilt tops in future. Having a deadline is not enough of a reason to miss out this step!

Have a great week everyone.



Maria said...

oh Tracy sew sorry you have had sew much trouble with the chalk.
the quilting you did is lovely and I see that Miss J does love her quilt.
Hope the rest of the chalk comes out when you get the quilt back and wash it a few more times....

Lin said...

Such a shame - I do hope the rest washes out next time. Anyway, it seems as though the quilt is very ,much appreciated by it's new owner. xx

Jo said...

I wouldn't stress too much about washing it. Let her use it and she can wash it. This will get her over the fear of washing it.... So glad she liked it

Christine said...

What a wonderful gift you have made. Im sure it doesn't look as terrible as you imagine, we are always hyper aware of faults in our own work.
Thank you for the warnings and information, I often use chalk pencils for things.