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Thread: Making Quilting Stencils / Marking your quilt

  1. #11
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I like using Crayola Washable Markers on Sulky Solvy to mark patterns. Once you sew it, you tear off the larger pieces and the rest washes away. Since I always wash my quilts when they are done, it works well for me. What I do is to draw or trace my pattern onto paper, put the Sulky Solvy over it and trace. Then I use safety pins to pin the Sukly Solvy to the quilt.

    It's similar to the Glad Wrap, but you don't have to pick the little bits out between the stitches because it all washes away.

    Also, Golden Threads paper works well, but you do have to tear that away. If I am doing a quilt with many blocks of the same quilting pattern, it's easier. I stack several pieces together and sew thru the design with no thread to make pinholes. Then follow that design on each block.

    As far as these 2 methods go, they are very similar timewise...the Sulky Solvy is more prep work, the Golden Threads is more at the end to tear off the paper. I use both depending on my mood at the time. The best thing about either method is that you are not marking directly on the quilt.
    Last edited by katier825; 04-15-2012 at 03:08 AM. Reason: additional comments

  2. #12
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    There are a number of ways to make your own stencils. I will try and mention a few here but need to do a more detailed explanation. I wrote an article about 5 years ago for the Fons and Porter magazine. I will try and find it and make it available. I want to find my original and not the edited one that appeared in the magazine. And yes, I can send the article without copyright problems as I wrote the article.

    To make a really successful stencil, you need a flexible plastic. Most plastic you find in shops are too hard and still to cut the slots for a stencil. Even with a craft knife it is difficult. The best and easiest is to use a flexible plastic such as DBK which is blue plastic. It is sold through shops and on line from The Stencil Co. It cuts easily with the craft knife - such as Xacto or the Olfa knifs. The best knife if you can find them are the double blade Xacto or Olfa. however both have been discontinued but might be available in some craft departments/stores. They cut a double line. The double blace that is still available, that I am aware of is one that the two blades are on the end of a circle type attachment. They are a bit more expensive than the two mentioned above as the blades are not changable.
    However, a stencil can be cut with a one blade craft knife but will have to cut the two lines to make the groove.
    One quilt teacher does show how to use the harder plastic and use a groove cutter used in woodwork. I don't know if a demo is on line but will search for it. She says the Amish use the method.
    Several years ago a student brought in a stencil she had cut out of freezer paper using a one blade knife but again had to be careful in cutting the groove. It made a successful stencil.
    An old method is to draw your design on a plastic and then put a large needle in your machine withut thread and stitch over the lines to make small dots. Chalk was then rubbed over leaving the design on the fabric and then filled in with a pencil or other marking piece.
    There is a stencil made on a stiff like silk, almost like a silk screen for printing and you use the pounce powder to rub over and leaves a marking on the fabric.
    When you are considering the shape or design, look at it and see if you can use a template (shape without the grooves. Many simple designs can be traced just using shapes. If you want specific designs - sports, animals et, then look in the craft store for a painting stencils. Many have the open shapes that can be traced around for your design.
    But remember that the stiff plastic used for templates are not easy to cut the grooves.

    As to makers. Many many on the market. My recommendation are: Multi-Pastel Chalk pencils which can be found in quilt shops or craft stores. They are made by General Pencil Co. I only use white and light gray and sometime the dark gray. I avoid colored pencils because even tho they will say washable, they are not always so. Some use the colored chalk successfully. I can't. There is another pencil - also made by General Pencil Co which is a black washable graphite that works. Looks dangerous because the lead is larger but does erase and wash out.
    One that I have had success with is the ceramic mechanical pencil = under names of Fons and Porter, Collins, Sewline Thin white lead that is strong and marks well and does erase. I recommend to always rub or erase as much of the marks off (with pencil or chalk) to remove as much of the surface marking as possible before washing. I use the lint brush you find in pet stores or other stores. It is a flexible plastic (usually oval in shape and black) Gently brush the marks. This is working good for me when I mark with white on black.
    I like to keep the pencil sharp and will mark about 12" and then hit the tip with the pencil sharpener.
    Chalk pencils will break so you need to be careful when sharpening. I use the battery sharpener and when sharpening will twist the pencil while sharpening as that appears to make the sharpening more even and more gentler.
    If you have a light colored fabric that you are marking then sometimes it is possible to trace the design using a light box. For large pieces I have a 24"x48" piece of plexiglass. I open the dining room table and put the plastic over the opening with light under the table.
    These are some thoughts about stencils and marking.
    There are times when you need to make your own stencil type product to mark. However, consider your time vs the cost of the stencil. Sometime the cost will be worth it to buy the stencil if it is appropriate and fits.
    It is not easy to find a large selection of stencils at shops as they take up a lot of space. Search on line for places that mail order. The Stencil Co and Quilting Creations International are two mail order companies.
    You will also occasionally find good selections at the larger shows. There was a booth here in New England this past weekend at the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo that had a good selection. If you are going to Paducah then there should be two or more with stencils. I know there will be one booth downtown and another at The Rotary Club venue.

  3. #13
    Junior Member willowwind's Avatar
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    As far as marking. have you tried the friction pens? They disappear when ironed, with heat. They come in dark colors & bright colors. I find them very reliable & easy to get rid of markings afterwards, just press with an iron.


    Cathy S/Willowwind
    Cathy S/Willowwind

  4. #14
    Junior Member flhomeschoolmom's Avatar
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    I make my own templates on a regular basis. For templates that I don't have to use a lot, I use cardboard or paperboard (cereal boxes). But when I want one sturdier, I use butter tub lids. It's inexpensive, recycles, and I can easily make more without having to run out to the store.

    As for marking on the fabric, I purchased some fabric marking pencils at Wal-Mart. They do wash out but it's not advised to iron over the marks before washing. I've also used chalk, #2 pencils, and Crayola fine tipped washable markers. The washable markers do work well, but I always use the lightest color possible and wash my quilt top in cold water and detergeant before ever ironing my seams.
    Last edited by flhomeschoolmom; 04-15-2012 at 06:25 AM.

  5. #15
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    There has been some negative reporting on the Fix-On pens. While the lines do disappear and return if cold, the cold reference is usually mentioned when putting the quilt in the freezer. Who puts their quilt in the freezer...However, they might (do) return when left in a cold room over winter. Also the one report from a highly respected quilter said that even with washing, the lines will return but very dim. The quilter posted on one of the other sites but believe she might also have a web page. Her test was very thorough.

  6. #16
    Super Member Iamquilter's Avatar
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    Post making tensils and markin your quilts

    Quote Originally Posted by kristakz View Post
    Does anyone make their own quilting stencils? I hate the idea of buying them - my blocks are seldom standard sizes, and often I'd need to buy a stencil in several sizes in order to do my quilt. So I'm trying to figure out how to mark my own designs on the quilt top. I tried buying some template plastic and cutting that to make a stencil, but it was (I guess) too thick, because cutting an intricate curve was a complete disaster. So, do you have any suggestions for making my own stencils?

    I've also tried sewing over paper templates - and I hate having to pull the paper out later.

    I'm also having a heck of a time finding something to mark with. I bought a pounce pad today, and that's not too bad, but I'm finding it doesn't always leave a legible line. none of the pencils I've tried are working at all. not sure if it's my fabric colour, or something wrong with the pencils, but unless I press REALLY hard, I get nothing. And they all say to mark lightly.

    Any and all suggestions appreciated. I'm getting desperate today.
    I got all my stencil material from the hospital and use the burning pencil to cut them, and use the Fons and Porter silver and white to mark all my quilting designs. The Fons and Porter marking pens will erase very easy, you can just rub over the marks after they are quilted or use the eraser at the end of the marking pen. I wouldn't be without them any more.

  7. #17
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    I just draw straightly onto the block with a water soluble pen. It doesn't matter if I take a couple of goes if something gets a bit wonky as it will wash out anyway. Saves time and paper and $$$.

  8. #18
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    Stencil markings

    I have bought stencils and use a chalk pounce which really speeds up the marking process. However, I have had problems with the blue chalk on a white fabric. What marking chalk do you use for light color fabrics?

  9. #19
    Member janbland's Avatar
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    See if you can buy the book... Quilting Dot to Dot. She has great instruction on tracing you designs on paper; particularly resizing the designs to fit your block. You can then stitch through the paper without thread to create holes and use your pounce pad to mark your quilt. If you trace on one, you can stitch through several layers of paper to create multiple "stencils." When using the pounce pad, you "pounce" to get the chalk on the sponge, but rub it across your stencil to get your marks on your quilt. HTH

  10. #20
    Super Member judykay's Avatar
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    Thanks for the idea, I am going to try this.
    Happy Quilting
    Judy in Lower Michigan

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