Monday, 27 January 2014


Almost forgot I was a blogger for a while there. No particular reason,although I have been on Instagram a bit more since upgrading my phone at the beginning of the month.

Classes are ticking along nicely and the first workshop of 2014 is now under my belt.

My beginners are all busy layering up and starting to quilt. One of the trickiest questions that comes up is how to mark a quilt if you want to - my favourite method if I need to make a mark is to use soap ends. I also quite like the Chaco chalk pens but only in yellow & white, an ordinary pencil is pretty good for hand quilters and the Hera marker is a safe but not always easy to see, option.
I have always avoided pens, both air and water erasable and I'll explain why.
Several yearss ago I heard a talk by a quilter who was also showing her collection of quilts. One was a few years old at the time of the talk and it was obvious for all to see, just where she had marked her quilt because all the colour had leached out along the lines she had drawn years before with one of those pens.
Recently I have noticed a lot of interest in a particular kind of pen that seems popular with quilters - they are NOT marketed as pens for those of us working with fabric (so I am not bad mouthing them) but I have a few of them and have used them e.g. in marking HSTs where it doesn't matter as you cut along the drawn line anyway. So they can be very useful in the right place. I even demonstrated them for such tasks, as the disappearing ink when ironed made for a fun interlude. But one of my beginners has learned the hard way, not to mark quilts with them..................and has kindly agreed to me showing what happened when she did.

I think perhaps this has happened as the colour is dark and so will have a high concentration of die. Pretty heartbreaking though.

And while in teacher mode, I have another wee tip - at last week's workshop one student was putting together her Contrary Wife blocks and wasn't getting the best view of her progress. I snapped quickly with my phone - it's always a good idea to photograph a layout (if you don't have a design wall) and then look at it straight on, on a computer screen. It can really make a difference to your decision process.

I have managed some sewing too - in my last post I was able to report all my Mystery blocks done - I now have them all joined up and the wadding purchased. But I have no backing so I can put off the quilting for a wee while yet.

I posted Lucy's Bee blocks off to her today - the butterflies, as shown in the last post but now sporting smart antennae!!

I also did Bee Blessed blocks for Judith, nice and easy this month but I think they will also come together well in a quilt.

Isn't it good to be almost at the end of January?


  1. I always take pictures of my layouts on the phone, works a treat. Can't believe we are nearly done with January already!

  2. Has the person tried washing the quilt that was discolored by the pen? I had the same thing happen when I marked a quilt awhile back but it want back to normal when I washed it. Hope it can be salvaged!!

  3. The purple quilt is lovely! Excellent advice about the pen.

  4. Love your mystery quilt top! And not going near one of those pens, though to be fair I hadn't up until now anyway.

  5. Thanks again for the blocks S! I can't wait to get out of Jan! Jxo

  6. Thanks for the pen advice. 1/12 through 2014 - very scary. Di x

  7. Good tip about the soap ends! I usually use a propelling pencil or chaco pen, but will give the soap ends a try next time.

  8. Have been wondering about how to mark a quilt, now know what not to do, thanks Sheila!

  9. I have just been thinking about how to mark a quilt for hand quilting. Thanks so much for the tips before I started!

  10. I'm not sure exactly which pens yu mean, butI use the Frixion pens , and have had no problems at all. I love the quilt top with the circles. It should look brilliant when it's quilted

  11. Thanks for the tips. I worry about the marking pens but I wonder if marking helps with the issue. I just love your mystery quilt, all those circles are my favourite.

  12. Constantly taking photos of stuff I've made to help with layout, value and colour placement as even with a design wall I am too close to my quilts if that makes sense!??

    Great tips as ever!

  13. I avoid marking pens for exactly the same reason - I use either pencil (to mark sewing lines) or chalk/hera marker/watercolour pencil for quilting lines. I hope your student can do something to mitigate the marking problem...



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