|Such a Quick Method of Transferring a Design!|
Here's what I'm finding: When you see these stencils and powdered marking chalk products demonstrated at quilt shows or in online videos, they are usually demonstrating these products on a single piece of fabric that is laying on a table top. Transferring a stencil design with chalk powder works much better against a flat surface, and I could not consistently achieve a clean, full design transfer unless I had some kind of flat surface pressing up against the bottom of my quilt. With smaller stencils, I had good results transferring the stencil design with my machine head positioned so that I could support my quilt with the ruler base while transferring the design, but if I was trying to transfer a large design, like a border pattern, I would need to rig something up beneath my frame in order to get a clean transfer of the entire design.
|White Zinc Stearate Magic Chalk on Left (Orange) and Pounce Chalk in Blue on right (Yellow)|
|80% of Magic Chalk Bounced Off As Soon as I Began Stitching|
|The Blue Pounce Chalk That's Supposed to be Harder to Remove|
|This Time, I Wet My Fabric Patch Before Applying the Stencil with Chalk Powder|
|Still Pretty Hard to See Once I Start Stitching|
1. Is there a difference in the amount of vibration between different quilting machines? Is my APQS Millennium just "bouncier" than Jamie Wallen's HandiQuilter or someone else's domestic sewing machine that they are quilting with?
2. By the time a quilt top is loaded onto my frame, it has been HEAVILY starched. I starched every seam of every block throughout construction, because starch helps me achieve a flat, square quilt top with nice, crisp points throughout. But maybe the quilters who are using stencils with powdered chalk to mark their quilts are not starch fanatics like I am. If we were to compare a heavily starched piece of cotton fabric to an unstarched piece of cotton fabric under a microscope, I'll bet the unstarched fabric has a rougher surface texture that the chalk powder is able to settle into, especially into those tiny holes in between the warp and weft yarns. My starch has probably filled in those holes and smoothed any microscopic yarn slubs that the chalk powder could have grabbed onto, giving me a nonstick quilt surface kind of like Teflon in a frying pan.
|All Stitched Out|
|These Look Better Than the Ones I Quilted Two Days Ago|
|The First Two Attempts at Quilting This Motif|
|Still Not Great, But Better Than the First One!|
|Still Wet. From a Distance, Can't Really See Anything Anyway|
|Super Bad Tension MUST Come Out!|
So, where does that leave us? I think I have some more lousy tension to rip out and restitch before advancing the quilt. It's hard to tell for sure until I roll that bit up onto the pickup roller of the frame, because I get vertigo when I keep crawling under the frame and trying to look up to evaluate the stitching. Now I'm wishing that I'd taken the time to attach the zipper leaders to my canvas leaders (I've had them for three years, still in the package), because it would be so much easier to unzip the top edge of this quilt from the pickup roller, flip the quilt backside up to locate and remove the bad stitches, and then zip that edge right back onto the frame to resume quilting. Woulda, shoulda, coulda! I can't attach zipper leaders while I've got a quilt loaded on the frame, though, so I'm just going to have to keep rolling the quilt back and forth to rip and restitch one yucky bit at a time.
Happy Thursday, all of you. I hope you get some time in your sewing rooms today!
I would want to rip the bad tension area out too because if you are using the quilt on a bed or whatever you would still see them from time to time and they don't look good and like you say - you wash and dry the quilt and who knows what would happen to them - I'm surprised some said to leave them in. Once I had someone give me a machine quilted baby quilt to pass on to a charity I was collecting for and saw one big area of this on the back of the quilt - I couldn't in good conscious pass it on - I marked the design with my blue wash out pen and ripped the whole area out and restitched it before continuing it to the donation - the person that made it hadn't to have seen it as it was near the binding area that she stitched by hand but still hadn't fixed the bad tension area.
You are learning a lot doing this. I am sure as I can be the starch is not helping you with the marking. It does sit on top of the fibers and some starch backs heavily to help them move when quilting on a sit down machine. I love my zippers. It is so fast to put something on and a dream to check tension. I did get another set of leaders so I could have the other if I needed it....doubt I ever will! I even like it for table runners,etc as it is so fast. I have heard of some sort of camera that people have rigged to see the underside of the quilt, not sure I’ll ever do that but I can see it would be a help.
I bought my used Millie from a woman the quilts for a living and uses pounce marked stencils to mark her top off the frame with good success. I suspect you are on to something with the starch being the culprit, but if you wanted to try one more product, she uses an "iron off pounce" that I can't readily remember the name of, I just have those words in my notes from the day I picked up the machine.
I've taken a couple of classes with Jamie Wallen. He's great. One of his suggestions was to very lightly mist your chalk lines with cheap hairspray. He used aquanet, I think. Not soak the quilt in it, not spray back and forth; just one "chhhht" over your lines. Haven't tried it myself, but am going to because I'm having some of the same issues with the chalk bouncing off.
It's funny... I've had one of those pouncy things to use with the chalk and could never get it to work. I was told to "pounce" it for about 5 minutes to load it with the chalk. I probably pounced it for an hour over several sessions and finally gave up on it. You are probably right that the starch is keeping the chalk from adhering to your fabric. It's looking good!
When the next person needs information about how to mark quilts, by, you will have encyclopedic (well maybe dictionary) knowledge! When you figure this all out it will be encyclopedic. Your quilting is getting better and better. Keep moving forward.
Dorie Hruska of Forever Quilting, uses an APQS longarm and speaks of using the Miracle Chalk with stencils. The work I have seen is with commercial stencils rather than homemade needle hole type. I wonder if she could be of any help.
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