Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's Not So Easy

Recently I was machine quilting my
"Sun Kissed" stashbuster's quilt.
My machine was in good spirits and it
just hummed along.
The challenge came before I started to quilt,
when I was deciding what was going to be  the
best and least obtrusive way to mark the quilt
with the patterns I had decided to use.

There was no one answer.
And there is not always an easy answer.
Sounds a lot like life!

Sometimes when the markings are easy to see,
 it can be an issue to remove them when you're done.

I took a class from Jinny Beyers almost 25 years ago
and I have always remembered her comment about the blue wash
way markers that many people find easy to use.
The markers were fairly new at the time and 
she was concerned about the residual chemicals that probably
remained in the fibers even after washing.

"In 50 years, would we find quilts that 
are deteriorating along the quilting lines when the
quilts had been marked with the blue marker?"
We still don't know, do we?

When I  handquilted everything, I would
premark my entire quilt before I started.
It is easier to mark a flat quilt on a hard
surface rather than one that is basted already.
The other positive is that it is
 easier to plan for perfectly designed borders on paper before
 marking willy nilly along the fabric edge and realizing that the pattern isn't going to fit.

In the case of premarking, the marked lines had better stay put until the quilting is done.
 I use a very fine mechanical pencil in regular lead or
a white Prisma pencil. 

Generally, by the time I was done quilting,
most of the lines were faded, so it works out perfectly for me.
(Unless I had been very zealous in my marking.)

In marking this quilt, I was struggling to figure
out the best method for marking a stencil pattern.
I was only using a portion of the design so I couldn't pounce
 it on to the quilt top, it was on white cloth so I didn't want anything
that could possibly pose a problem to remove, and I didn't want to
take the time to trace the patterns on to Golden Threads paper and
then have to tear it away.
Not every way is the best way in certain situations. 

I finally settled on a tried and true method, using a
General's chalk pencil.
The chalk color was light enough not be be a problem and it was easy to mark
just the portions of the stencil that I wanted.

My only complaint with those pencils comes in the sharpening.  To keep
a sharp point is a challenge.  The chalk wears down quickly and
it continually breaks in even the sharpest hand held sharpener.

So by the time I got to the borders, I barely had enough
pencil left to finish the job.
But it worked out.

I'm working on the binding now, and it'll
ready for Thursday's class.  Show you then.

Isn't it interesting how challenges in one simple part of  life can
teach us how to face challenges in other parts.
Until Next Time-

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