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Marking an original design on a dark colored top for longarm quilting

Marking an original design on a dark colored top for longarm quilting

Old 02-06-2016, 12:03 PM
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Default Marking an original design on a dark colored top for longarm quilting

I mark most of my designs out. While it isn't my favorite thing to do, I take the time to do it to get the look I want and maintain some continuity throughout the design. Here is a quick tute on how I go about marking the dark fabric in my top. This is only one way of many that it can be achieved.

For this particular method, first thing I do is starch and press my top. the starch acts as kind of a film on the fabric which makes removing marks easier.

I draw out my design actual size. This was my first conception, a drawing based on the famous 19th century Japanese woodblock by Hokusai called the Great Wave of Kanagawa
This ended up being too complex and lifelike for the quilt so I modified it to be more stylized and fill in the background more. I draw on tracing paper so I can see through it for placement on the quilt. I usually make several copies because the transfer process ends up ruining the paper. The stylus gouges into it and tears it due to going over the same lines repeatedly:

I use wax free white transfer paper and a stylus to transfer the drawing to the top. I do this on a hard surface before loading. I used the table on the back of my LA where pantos go to do the marking. You can find this transfer paper at artist supply stores or on line. (for light fabric I would use Saral graphite paper). You can use a sheet over and over before it quits transferring.

Here is the drawing placed on the quilt with the transfer paper underneath. I go over every line with the stylus to transfer:

Here is the transferred drawing. As you can see the lines are very faint and hard to see:

So I go over it with a chalk pencil in white. I picked this one up at an artist supply store and really like it.
See how much easier the lines are to see

This design is going in the border of my quilt. It took approximately 4 1/2 hours to mark the entire border of a 94 x 106 quilt with a 10" wide border using this process. It is time well spent IMHO. Now I can load the quilt and start quilting. The bonus of tracing this design so many times on my top I now have a muscle memory for the design and have kind of figured out a thread path for continuous quilting (with some back tracking and echoing thrown in).

Here is the design all quilted out:

I don't stress about staying exactly on the line, in fact in many places the line was simply a guide to help me quilt the waves out. Most of the chalk and transfer lines brush out with a towel. The remainder will wash out. I will make sure to post the whole quilt when it is done.

Hope this helps people with ideas on marking a quilt.
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Old 02-06-2016, 02:07 PM
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Great tutorial and that's one of my favorite woodblock pictures.
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Old 02-06-2016, 04:39 PM
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That is a wonderful demonstration/explanation - and you make it sound so easy - your work is amazing.
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Old 02-07-2016, 02:26 AM
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Thank you for this, your design and quilting look amazing.
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Old 02-07-2016, 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by GEMRM View Post
That is a wonderful demonstration/explanation - and you make it sound so easy - your work is amazing.
My thoughts exactly! And people wonder why it costs so much to have a quilt LA quilted! (me included, until I bought a short-arm and started doing my own quilts, and I am still in the learning stage after 4 yrs!)
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Old 02-07-2016, 06:19 AM
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Beautiful workmanship! I have used the same method, but used a dressmakers transfer wheel with the spiked wheel so my lines were dotted instead of solid. My design wasn't nearly as intricate as yours so I was able to follow the dots, which probably would be more difficult with a complex design like you used. Can't wait to see the finished quilt.
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Old 02-07-2016, 06:35 AM
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do you have any trouble with your markings distorting from moving the top around on the frame?
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Old 02-07-2016, 04:48 PM
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Tartan, I know isn't that print the most amazing thing. I love it and all the variations of it that have cropped up. When I was googling images of it I came across a SAS quilt with the wave embroidered over it! So cool. If you google images "storm at sea quilt with great wave off kanagawa" it comes right up. You should try and get your hands on the book "Hodusai's Mount Fuji, The Complete Views in Color" by Jocelyn Bouquillard. It has the Wave and tons of other very cool woodcuts he did all featuring Mt Fuji with author's commentary. See if your library can get it for you. I keep threatening my DH that we will trek down to the City and see one of the original prints at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Kathy, I have not experienced any distortion of the marks on any quilt when I mark like this and I have done it on several. sometimes a bit of smudging towards the end from the quilt being rolled up but never so badly that I still couldn't follow the mark.
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Old 02-07-2016, 05:37 PM
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WOW! Beautiful....
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Old 02-07-2016, 06:14 PM
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Oh my Goodness. This is a beauty like I have never seen. I couldn't live long enough to do this. I love it. You are a wonder.
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