Quilter's Academy - Volume 2 - Sophomore Year

Vol 3 - Junior Year

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Project 9 - Interlacing Circles - Marker Madness

I am a woman on a mission - to find the perfect marker for me!  Today was a sewing day (yesterday and tomorrow are non-sewing days) and I spent it marking out the designs for my quilt top.

The results are pretty funny, as you will see.  Taking my cues from Harriet's last comment, I started with a  blue wash-out marker - this was good, but the marker I have is 'Fine' and the line is so delicate, it's difficult to follow without focused concentration.  With a dozen or more things to think about at once (it'll be a while before the basics become automatic) I didn't need the added extra work of struggling to see the design lines.

Ditto the ceramic pencil.  The white showed up nicely, but was invisible on the yellow, and again a very thin line which at this point, doesn't suit me.

Next was the air dry marker, but it's purple, so fairly useless with my dark blue and purple fabrics.

I picked up the new marking crayons I bought at the quilt show, but didn't try them as I haven't fabric tested them yet.

Studying the design again, I whipped out a pocket knife and opened a few of the packed boxes (I'm moving and packing for those new followers who don't know) and dug around until I found the golden threads paper.  Now I know that my last attempt at using this was less than successful, but this design doesn't have close quilting lines and shouldn't be too difficult to tear off.

I traced the design and Voila!  Lines I can see and follow easily. 

Golden Threads paper - I ended up losing the half circles and adding 4 more full circles after taking this picture.

Ok, the rest of the designs I had stencils for, so out came the ponce powder.  I ponced hearts inside all the circles.  The scallop design I had done earlier on the floral border with the ceramic pencil, ended up being too difficult to see clearly, so I replaced it with a squiggly hearts design.  The purple border got an orange peel treatment and the big outer border proudly sports the feather/cable design.

Check this out -

The whole thing is a mass of powder  - and I was worried about being able to clearly distinguish lines - LOL

I was wearing black when I did all this - I got more power on me than on the quilt!  Ok, it looks a mess, but remember that most of these lines will disappear before  I get to quilt them.  What I appreciate about stencils is, if the design fades too much or disappears, it's relatively easy to re-do them.

Fun time is over, it's time to sew!  I made up a practice sandwich which I used to practice the designs, to get the tensions right, and to warm up before starting on the quilt - a great tip from Harriet.  After 30 mins playing around, I was ready.

I'd decided not to ditch quilt this top, so I used the basting spray to hold the layers firm.  I know I've been warned against using this as it can gum up the machine, but I was worried about the layers shifting without the ditch stitching to stabilize it and took a chance with it.

The paper worked pretty well, except for it moving and getting crumpled and pleated in spots.  It even tore on the edges which I had to hold together while I stitched.  Pretty tricky!  You may have noticed in the above picture that the centre paper isn't pinned. (click on the picture to enlarge it for more detail) I missed it, which actually turned out pretty well.  I found out it's actually better to attach the paper just before sewing it.  The pinned papers got crumpled and torn just from being folded and rolled in the quilt.

Here is the first try..........

I used Sew Art nylon in the needle and Gutterman cotton in the bobbin.  The needle is a size 80 microtech which is making quite large holes.  I think I'll go down to a size 70.

Easier to see from the back

I have nine of these to do. The theory is that the last one is bound to be a major improvement on the first one, so if that's the case, I'll be pretty happy.

I find it a bit ironic that while a busy, patterned fabric can hide a multitude of beginners mistakes, not being able to see the markings well enough to follow on a busy, patterned fabric, almost guarantees mistakes!

I did 3 of these today, the rest will need to wait for a bit.  Can't wait to get the the borders, they are my favourite type of quilting.


  1. This is the sort of thing that gives me nightmares. I think I'll need to take a class of some kind to have the confidence to do anything other than stitch in the ditch. Oh, and bindings. Have mercy.
    Great job!!

  2. Great idea. How did you like tearing away the paper. I hate that part. I'm always wondering myself what to do when I have different fabrics and no one marker to show up on them all. I'm wondering how a spray basting glue would work on holding the papers down?

  3. Hi Fullgrownwoman - you don't need classes, you need Harriet's books! Quilters Academy lets you make lots of nice tops to play with when you get to the quilting. Heirloom Machine Quilting tells you everything you need to know to get out of the ditch. The whole point is to practice and not be afraid of quirks & imperfections (love the quirks or love your un-picker). Go for it!

    West Michigan Quilter - the paper tore off easily - it's when the quilting lines are too close together I have problems. I thought about using a glue stick, but placing them just before sewing seems to do the trick.