Eighteen years ago a pre-stamped dresser scarf came into my possession, never having been stitched, but carrying a dark pink stain.
I didn't know what type of stain it was. If I tried to wash it first the stamping would be removed; should I go ahead and embroider it and take a chance that the stain was permanent? This is when I turned to Kathleen (http://yesteryearembroideries.blogspot.com/2012/12/in-my-fr) who does absolutely beautiful embroidery work and had posted a recipe for removing stains from old linens. She told me to do the stitching and see what happened when trying to remove the stains.
I worked on the scarf for two winters, finishing it a few weeks ago. I mixed up the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and treated it. The pink stains didn't come out, but the brown water marks did.
Since the scarf was folded twice, the stains are on both ends and in the center. I believe it's a chemical stain rather than organic. This is my idea of how it became stained: probably there was a piece of paper with red ink on a picture, a glass with ice in it was set on the paper, and the moisture condensed on the glass and ran down onto the ink, soaking into the fabric. Who knows? I'm still glad I finished it, and the stains can be covered with a lamp or book or something. However, it won't be going into the hope chest. But, it's pretty in spite of being stained, don't you think?