Sunday, 15 April 2012

Marking quilts

Oh dear.  Another stash report, and another step backwards.  I ordered 10 yards of black fabric last week, because I needed some for my April colour challenge quilt.  That arrived on Monday, so up go the stash numbers.  I did manage to baste and start quilting one quilt, which accounts for 4 yards of backing used.  So, net 6 in this week

Total this year:
39 3/4 yards out, 75 1/2 yards in
Net for 2012: 35 3/4 yards in

I am having a heck of a time with this current quilt. I want to use a custom quilting design, but I can't figure out how to mark it easily.  I used tracing paper for the blocks, and stitched through it.  But it is such a pain to remove the paper later, that I hate doing that.  For the borders, I can't figure out what to use.  None of my pencils are showing up - plus the fact that I really can't freehand this design, so tracing isn't really an option anyway.  I wanted to create my own stencil, but the template plastic I have is too heavy to cut in intricate (or even not so intricate) designs  It seems to work best when cutting straight lines with scissors, which isn't what I want.

How do you mark your designs on your quilts?  And do you make your own stencils, or purchase them?  I hate to buy stuff I'm only going to use once, and (for borders especially) I can't see stencils being that easy to reuse.  Every quilt seems to have different border sizes.  And the design I want, if available at all, usually doesn't match the size of my border.


  1. The easiest way I ave found to make quilting stencils is the draw the pattern onto bristol board, or something stiff like that. A file folder or even card stock will work. If I can't draw onto the bristol board, because the design needs tracing, I'll trace onto a piece of paper which I then glue down to the bristol board, cut to the size of the border. Then, I put the biggest needle I have into my sewing machine, leave out the thread, and free motion on the lines to leave little holes, that pouncing chalk will go through. In a pinch on lighter fabrics that pouncing chalk won't show up on, I've used ground cinnamon. It shows up, and smells good too.

  2. have you tried tracing your design with permanent pen on tulle? Then you use that as your stencil - just draw over the lines with whatever you want to use to mark the quilt - I like chalk pencils.

  3. Here's how I make quilting stencils: use regular printer paper or graph paper. Use clear packing tape, like you would use to seal cartons for shipping. Two layers on the front, two layers on the back. Cut out with a double-bladed exacto knife, leaving bridges to hold it together. This is much easier to cut through than template plastic, but it's still thick enough and sturdy enough to work as a stencil. Note: DO NOT MARK WITH SHARPIE - IF ANY TRANSFERS FROM THE STENCIL TO YOUR QUILT, IT WILL NEVER COME OUT. (Ask me how I know...) Hope this will work for you!

  4. glad to read the marking comments--I have a top I need to "fix" and I'm having problems. Grrr.

    If I have to mark something--I like General brand chalk pencils. They come in several colors. I don't iron or do anything to set the color. A friend used one of those disappearing ink pens to mark a quilt for hand quilting. The frame sat in her living room where it got great sunlight from the picture window. The sunlight set the disappearing ink--and it NEVER came out.