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Thread: Marking quilts frustration

  1. #1
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    Marking quilts frustration

    I really want to do some free motion quilting of an actual design on my quilts on my domestic but so far trying to figure out how to mark the design on the quilts has been an act of futility.

    I really like the blue markers that go away with water. But I cannot see the marks on the dark fabrics and the "white" water soluble ones don't work. There is no visible mark and I've tried three dritz ones and none of them worked. They almost seem dried out. So I can mark the light fabrics in the quilt but nothing for the dark fabrics.

    So, I got the pounce pad and a couple of the full line stencils. I got pink and white. Well, that was a complete waste of money. Yeah, after beating the poor pounce pads within an inch of their lives to get the chalk flowing, the result is a blurred mess that wipes away with barely a touch. It definitely works better when I do it on a hard surface but I have to wipe the pad across the stencil 10 times to get anything to show and the act of 10 wipes makes it a blurred mess and not crisp at all. If I do manage to get the whole quilt marked it will all be gone when I baste it.

    I could try it after basting it, but on the softer surface, the pounce pad is worse than useless.

    I've tried the sewline fabric pencil and I have the same problem of the line barely showing at all and to get a line that shows, I have to press hard enough to break the led or go over and over and over and over the same inch. That is going to drive me to drink to do on a whole quilt.

    Is there any product out there that actually works?
    What am I doing wrong?

  2. #2
    Junior Member margied's Avatar
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    I'm no help just going through the same thing right now. Hope you get some ideas that will help us both! I have found out from past experience with chalk - mark one motif at a time then quilt it right away otherwise the marks start rubbing off. (it was just a simple star outline for a QOV - nothing fancy - with a template and chalk, it worked out)
    MargieD

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I have read posts that say white chalk works pretty well. It's kids' chalk, and you can sharpen the point with a pencil sharpener. Haven't tried it myself, though.

    Beware of the blue markers -- make sure you rinse out *thoroughly* with water (not just misting). I unpacked a white muslin top I had marked with the blue pen before quilting and there are very weird brown dots in the quilting lines. I obviously thought I had rinsed it well, but clearly I had not rinsed it evenly. Parts of the top have no markings; other parts have brown dots. There is no rhyme or reason I can see to the dots, other than being associated with the quilting lines, so I assume I was not as thorough as I thought when I rinsed.

    Edit: I have used white soap slivers to mark dark fabrics. The soap has to be old and dried out. Not sure how well they would work with a stencil, though. My biggest problem is that the edge of the soap would get flattened pretty fast, so my lines often ended up thick.

  4. #4
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    There is a paper that you can buy called Golden something, I think. I have some and will try to find it and give you the correct name. Any way, you can trace your pattern on to the paper, pin the paper to your fabric and just sew through it. It is kind of light weight so doesn't become embedded in your quilt. Or if you have a repeating pattern that you want to use in a large area, say in the outer border, you can trace on one piece of paper, then cut multiple sheets of paper, stack them together and sew over the design without thread in your needle, then attach to your quilt where you want the design and follow the holes punched in the paper. Hope this makes sense. I had never had much luck with marking pens, etc. either, but this system worked for me. Although, now I mainly do FMQ without a pattern. Sometimes, following a design in the fabric works well.
    Last edited by suern3; 05-14-2015 at 02:25 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member katybob's Avatar
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    Boy, do I feel your pain! I've had the same experience as you. Have you tried Golden Threads paper? I've had some success with that, although it's a little tedious picking out the paper if the design is fairly intricate. Most tissue paper would work the same as the Golden Threads pap.

  6. #6
    Senior Member katybob's Avatar
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    Great minds think alike, Suern! LOL

  7. #7
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    If you are not opposed to washing the quilt when done, you might want to try Sticky Fabri-Solvy. It comes in printable sheets or rolls that you can draw a design on. Once you draw or print the design, you peel the backing and it sticks to the quilt. It is semi-opaque, so you can see it on dark fabrics. I used the sheets and cut off any extra, which i used for smaller bits that I drew by hand (or you could put a design under it and trace before applying). You quilt thru it, it washes out when you are done. Shop around because it can be expensive. I've gotten deals on ebay, so you could check there. I prefer it to the Golden Threads paper. The paper keeps tearing before I can get my design done, and it gets very frustrating for me.

  8. #8
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    Actually, I have tried Golden Threads and it worked fantastic for an easy design. But I don't see how it will work for a more detailed design. But that might be my best option. The Golden Threads worked great! I was just hoping to find a direct marking option as it seemed like it would be simpler with quilting on a domestic.

    I'm beginning to think that a more complicated design is just not an option on a domestic sewing machine. But even if you go to a long-arm, there has to be a way that experienced quilters are marking their quilts.

  9. #9
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    I find the white Sewline works better if you wet the tip.

  10. #10
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i use a sliver of bar soap to mark dark fabrics... it stays quite a while
    Nancy in western NY
    before you speak T.H.I.N.K.
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  11. #11
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    My neighbor uses freezer paper. She bastes first. She draws the design on graph paper for a guide. Then draws the design on freezer paper. She has matching marks so the designs line up. Then she uses a stencil cutter to cut the design lines into the freezer paper. She does small sections at a time but she sews through the cutout lines. She uses freezer paper so she can press the freezer paper to the quilt top. she may also pin some areas. Shesaves and reuses the paper.

  12. #12
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    Sounds like I need to 1) give soap a try or 2) see if can transfer the design from the pounce stencil to the Golden Threads. Soap sounds like a good thought with the dark fabric. I do wash my quilts as they are bed quilts or throws that the whole furry family uses with the humans in the living room.

  13. #13
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    DON'T mix the pounce with the blue marker. The blue marker will be set if you hit it with the iron and the pounce needs to be ironed off. I did that once and spent tons of time washing out the blue before ironing off the pounce.

    You could transfer your pattern to the goldenthreads paper.

  14. #14
    Senior Member jokir44's Avatar
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    I like the Clover white pens for dark fabrics that you remove with steam. It tells you on the package that it takes a few seconds for the lines to show up so don't retrace. I've also used contact paper if I have a repetitive design.

  15. #15
    Super Member meyert's Avatar
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    I feel your pain.. I have tried a lot of things with varying success. I always seem to go back to the Crayola fine point washable markers. They fit in my stencils wonderfully..... I have used the pounce and while its fast its messy and rubs off before I can get everything done. I have done the school chalk too.. which is better than the pounce, but it rubs off too. Maybe someone has tips on how to keep the chalk from rubbing off??

  16. #16
    Senior Member katybob's Avatar
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    I'd forgotten about the Crayola markers. They worked great for me, too. The yellow one should show up on your dark fabric.

  17. #17
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    Been there! You can use cheap aerosol (not pump) hair spray to keep the chalk on the quilt. Just don't spray too close as you will blow the chalk off. Haven't tried it on blue chalk. Maybe test first? Heard blue is tricky to wash out. Golden threads paper or tissue paper works OK, but if you have a lot of crossovers it is hard to get the paper out from under the stitches.
    I use Crayola washable markers when I mark, and don't remember not showing on dark fabric. If you can't see it, try another color. If I remember correctly, orange is good on navy. It can't be seen from across the room, but it will be a couple shades darker than the original.
    A couple weeks ago, someone on this board said they use Pellon 541 washaway. I bought it, but haven't used it yet. I did mark on it, worked good. Cut a little piece off and it dissolved right away. Got it at Hobby Lobby, used 40% off. Someone said Joann's has it too. It is on a bolt, not in a package. I was thinking I could use glue sticks to glue the scraps together for smaller projects or spaces, so that nothing goes to waste. You might want to check it out. There are two kinds of washout. One looks like plastic. You DON'T want that one. The correct one to use looks kind of like the fabric they use for the cheap "fabric" grocery bags they sell at markets.

    There is also something called a Haro marker. It is a semi sharp edged plastic tool that "presses or creases" a mark on the fabric. Haven't tried it, but have seen it used on TV. I have seen it at Joann's in the notions. Good luck!
    Last edited by yngldy; 05-14-2015 at 06:16 PM. Reason: additional info

  18. #18
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    You should use regular white chalk on it, it marks on every thing but white

  19. #19
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    I feel ya. I think I tried everything. I've used the crayola washable for a while now and have to say I'm very pleased. My last one was a red white blue log cabin. I used a different color on the white than the blue and red. It became a little monotnous marking it but when I was finished the marks stayed and didn't rub off and all washed out in the end.

  20. #20
    Super Member patski's Avatar
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    I use the stencil and lightly spray fabric first then use the pounce, it stays in place much better and just irons away
    Patski
    always learning

  21. #21
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    patski, do you spray with water?

  22. #22
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    I like the frixion pens which come off with heat, final press. It is also easier to mark before making the sandwich , ie without softness of batting/ wadding.
    I've never had any trouble although I have read comments on here where they have left marks. I have three colours blue, red and black use on different colours try to keep blue with blue fabric etc., black used where colour match.

    i also use them to mark my diary as you can rub out changed plans.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  23. #23
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    I am definitely going to try the crayola washable markers, have read a few times now how useful they are. I am the type of person who needs a really visible line to work with.

  24. #24
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    Interesting thread. I use the Crayola markers also--make sure they are the washable kind. Am going to try putting the pattern on paper and adhering it to the fabric and sewing through it.

  25. #25
    Member crb45's Avatar
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    I use crayon a washable markers for marking quilting designs. They always wash out. Thin tips makes it possible to use stencils. The orange, red, and yellow show up on dark fabric. Give them a try!

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