the saga of two stains :: Okan Arts
the saga of two stains

the saga of two stains

By Patricia Belyea  

SEATTLE WA  I’m embarrassed to say that I recently got ballpoint ink on two important quilt projects. How? In the name of economic efficiency, I made a change to my stitch pattern transfer process. Then, with all my gear out, it was time efficient to transfer patterns to two, not one, projects!

Oft times I draw my hand-stitching pattern on a piece of paper, then trace it onto Dritz® Quilter’s Transfer Screen with a Sharpie.®  I pin the screen in place on the quilt and mark the design with a blue Clover® Water Erasable Marker.

Pattern Transfer Tools

My one piece of transfer screen was getting hard to use as it was muddled with linework from previous designs. So I bought a new package ($7.99 at Joann’s but much less with a 40% off coupon).

In a stroke of brilliance, I traced my patterns with a black ballpoint pen knowing I could clean the inked linework off the screen when I was done. When I applied the blue marker, some of the black ink got dampened and transferred onto the fabrics with the washable blue ink!

The first project impacted by the black ink was a healing quilt named “Saint Jane.” The quilt includes some fabric from a pink seersucker shirt given to me by my mother, Jane Belyea. The black ink stained the main area of seersucker—a huge problem!

Immediately I tested every solution I had in my house to remove the stain—Zippo lighter fluid, rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol, acetone and lacquer thinner. Then I went to the hardware store and bought Motsenbocker’s Lift Off, only to learn that my spray bottle product was for hard surfaces. Nothing worked so I began internet research to find a resolve.

Stain on Saint Jane quilt

I bought Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover and waited a few days for it to arrive. My tests on a scrap of seersucker worked, so I continued onto my quilt project. I followed the instructions carefully, rubbing with a very soft toothbrush and waiting 5 minutes before rinsing out the affected area. I’m thrilled to say that all the ink miraculously disappeared from the pale, fragile fabric.

I tested Grandma’s Secret on my other project, a 10′ table runner commission—made with freemotion quilting on luscious yukata cottons and wool felt. The black ink lightened on the test fabric but the remaining linework was too visible for my comfort.

In researching more, I learned about Amodex—an ink and stain remover formulated by a family who owned a printing company over 50 years ago. I knew this would work! I immediately bought a bottle online but after waiting nine days (was it the holidays?), my order had not shipped. So I cancelled the first order and bought the product from another vendor. In two days, I had Amodex in hand.

Stain Removal Test with AmodexThe test on the sample fabric was not too successful. I did get all the ink off the beige cotton but the unstained surface was badly roughed up. I proceeded with using the Amodex on the table runner, planning not to rub the stains too much.

Unsuccessful Stain RemovalDisaster is the best way to describe the final result. Not only did I not remove much of the ink, the Amodex pulled the dye out of the fabric leaving discernible greenish blotches.

What’s my next course of action with the table runner? I call my mistake a hands-on learning experience and start from scratch again. Already I’ve cut and washed more yukata cotton, and bought more wool felt. Onward!

UPDATE: I have spoken with the president of Amodex Products about my stain challenge. The table runner is now at the Amodex corporate headquarters so their team can take a look at my results. The president is also sending me a bottle of Amodex directly from the company office for me to try again. I appreciate the attention and look forward to their thoughts on my problem.

FINAL UPDATE: After two months, Amodex returned my table runner and let me know that my fabric was not colorfast. And yes, I did get another bottle of Amodex.





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