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Organic Marking Tools

Let’s face it, not everyone likes working with chemicals of any kind. Some have sensitivities or allergies to contend with. I consider my self fortunate that I don’t fall in that category. Some just prefer not to use pens, pencils, crayons, etc on their fabric. I have some solutions for that.


Ground Cinnamon

A plus here is the smell. Fill your sewing space with the scent of cinnamon and you may never need your kitchen again. Will brush or wash off. In my previous post, I talked about Ultimate Pounce Powder. You can add a pinch of cinnamon to that powder on very light fabrics.

Old Fashioned Bar Soap

Make sure that it is plain, unscented and is free from oils. You can cut off slivers to use for marking. The soap easily washes away. I have had soap get on my iron; if that happens, wait until your iron has cooled off and simply wipe away with a damp rag.

Last for today is a Hera Marker. The edge of it is sharp (not like a knife so you won’t hurt yourself) . It leaves an indent in your fabric. This will not show up if you mark your fabric on a hard surface, so it’s not the best choice for some applications. When marking a quilt sandwich, the batting gives the squish you need so the lines show up. When marking pieces of just fabric, I use my ironing surface or lay on top of a piece of batting.

My eyes are not the best, so I sometimes struggle to see a Hera Marker line. I have found if I turn down, off, or cover my sewing machine light that I have better visibility. (My lights are LED, if yours are not, I strongly discourage you from doing this as it could be a fire hazard.)

That concludes my organic choices. Have you tried any of these options? What were your experiences? If I haven’t touched on a something that interests you, don’t worry, there’s a few more techniques yet to be explored.

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My Favorite Marking Tools

Today I am going to talk about a few different marking tools. These are my personal favorites and are listed in order of preference. I will explore more in future posts, so stay tuned.

Let us start with my go-to marking tool. I empty a Chaco Pen Style liner and fill it with Ultimate Pounce Powder. Both must be white. I use a can of air to make sure all the Chaco powder is removed; careful as the end cap can fly across the room and yes, I am speaking from experience. This liner fits perfectly in the Westalee Design Crosshair Squares. The Ultimate Pounce Powder will brush, wash, or iron off. Pounce Powder comes in different types and colors so be sure it’s the Iron Off Ultimate; again, only in white. I think I have 3 of these in various locations in my studio. If it shows up on my fabric, this is what I use. I always have one next to my machine for those times I mark on the go.

Styla
Eraser

Next up, Sewline’s Products for when white doesn’t show up.
I like this Sewline Styla Ceramic Roller Ball Water Erasable Pen because it’s a fine line and fainter than most water-soluble pens. Their Liquid Eraser is a great way to remove the lines without having to wash the entire project. It works just like a pencil eraser.
It is a liquid with a ratio of 5 drops to 4 Tbl. so, it lasts a long time.
I’ve seen other similar erasers and the nibs (soft end that soaks in the liquid) fall apart. I’ve been using the same one for a year. They are replaceable.

Finally, Frixion Markers. Yes, I have read and heard all the horror stories. No, these are not formulated for use with fabric. I get it, some people really don’t like these and adamantly discourage everyone from using them. Here’s the thing, I don’t normally make heirloom quilts. I make utilitarian ones AND I have never (knocking on wood) had a mark come back. On those occasions where I don’t want to take even the slightest chance, I don’t. Now for a few tips.

A few tips for using these.

  1. Use the color markers, not the pens with metal tips. These have felt tips and will not scratch your fabric, which is my unproven reason why marks appear.
  2. Treat your fabric prior to marking with a starch. I’ve tried a few brands. Again, unsubstantiated, but I believe it puts a barrier between the marker and the fabric.
  3. This isn’t a strength contest, use a super light hand. The mark only needs to show up enough for you to see it.
  4. A fine line marker was recently released. Not a fan. The tip on the one I tried started falling apart after a few weeks.

Well, those are the first 3 on my list. Over the coming weeks, I will share some more.

Few last thoughts: I often remind my students that all the information we find in the world is most likely based on an individual’s experiences. I have done my own tests, but I don’t run a lab. Run your own experiments, EVERY SINGLE TIME! I cannot stress this enough. And test all the variables. Farbric: was it prewashed? did you starch it? Batting; I had it absorb a marking pen once, this did not end well. Thread: Had a student suffer a mishap when the cotton thread she used would not release a wash away marker. Read the directions. Did you know that some water-soluble inks need to be rinsed in clear water? Translation: Do not use detergent to remove marks. Rinse, then wash with detergent if desired.

Sew that’s it for now. If there is a product you want to know more about, let me know. If I have experience, I’ll share. If I have the product and haven’t used it yet, I will run a test and let you know what I find out. Are you curious to see what’s next on my list?

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OPEN FOR BUSINESS!

 

BLOGsHOT

 

WHAT!

Well fellow quilters, I’ve decided to become an educator for Sew Steady®, showing tables (we all love those tables) and Westalee Design for Sew Steady. What is Westalee? Well it is a designer of ruler feet and ruler templates for the domestic sewing machine. I am super excited. I have been working with the templates for a few months now and plan to share what I have learned very soon. Apologies for being absent this past month, but once the decision was made there was a lot to do. Now that my store
is open, I hope to devote more time to YOU!

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My Studio Makeover

I started thinking about revamping my sewing studio about 6 months ago. The more I thought about what I wanted, the more I put the project off.  Seems to be a running theme in my life, over think the project instead of actually doing anything Thunderstorms are common here in July and August so I convinced myself that it would be the perfect time. 

Step one:Empty the room.

I wanted to work with an empty pallet. I set up some tables in the family room and started hauling things out. Once the room was cleared, I began configuring the set up: 2 sewing cabinets, 3 machines, one cutting station, one pressing station. I moved the cabinets up against the walls; they had previously been somewhat in the center of the room. What a difference! I’m thrilled with the amount of floor space it opened up.

Step Two: Spend Money

Whenever I go off on an organizing spree, it somehow costs me money. I decided to get a cutting table. A super sturdy one would have been my first choice. I ended up buying a craft table at a big box store. (It was on sale half off and I had a coupon for 15% off that.Super Sturdy will have to wait until I’m rich and famous.) When I was younger, assembling furniture was a fairly regular event. The thought of sitting on the floor let alone getting off the floor sent me into a tizzy. Then I saw my kitchen table, lonely, waiting for me to use it. Using allen wrenches, screwdrivers, etc is so much easier standing up or sitting in a chair. The most difficult part was getting my new table off the kitchen table.  My next spending adventure was  wall mounted magnetic knife racks. I know I’ve seen this before, but it is genius. I got two and they hold my scissors and rotary cutters. No more cute little silverware holders lying around, ok falling on the floor. I added a magnetic pen cup to put my sheaths in so when my scissors have to travel, they can do so safely.

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Magnetic Knife rack

Step Three: Make mistakes

Yep, we all make them.  Measure twice, cut once. I discovered this also applies to putting holes in your wall and not just cutting fabric. So now I have a few more holes in my wall then what I need, or actually want. I will either figure out a way to cover them, use them or eventually repair UGH! them.

Step Four: Step Away

Sometimes you just have to walk away. I am happy with how the space is coming together, but I really really want/need some creative time. I’m taking a break from organizing, cleaning, spending, etc. to make a table runner.

I’ll return to this project in a few days.

Sassy Notions