2/23/10

The great stencil search

Well, it's snowing and all the Austinites at my office have walked away from their very important work and gone outside to frolic. Hmmm, what's wrong with me that I'm still....oh, wait, in line with TX weather, the snow has now turned to rain.

If you've been following, you know that super el cheapo (that's me) is trying to learn to make quilt stencils. Searching and reading and practicing and searching and reading and more practicing. Most of my attempts have not warranted a blog post as they have resulted in the waste of a whole lot of very expensive ceramic lead and template plastic.

What have I learned? The heated carving tool to cut template plastic did not work for me. It left sharp rough edges that were breaking the points off every pencil and snagging everything. And, I couldn't get smooth lines.

So, I tried a craft knife and the template plastic. Still didn't work. Still rough edges that snagged and didn't give a straight line and ate up the ends of both water erasable pens and pencils.

Next, I bought a quilt pounce. And, I tried it on the template plastic stencils I had already cut and the result was that the plastic snagged the loosely woven threads of the pounce. So, I took a machine needle and poked holes in the template plastic along the drawn lines and that didn't work either. The chalk wouldn't go through the small holes and onto the fabric, whether I rubbed the pounce or patted it (a pounce is meant to rub, not to pat).

Last try this morning was to cut the shape out of paper with the craft knife and rub over it with the pounce and guess what??? It worked perfectly. And, that was with a plain piece of copy paper. But, copy paper is fragile. I only need to print my current design 16 times, so it's going to be fine for that, but I will probably use freezer paper next time. The plastic coating should add a good amount of stability.

And, I'm going to try one more thing on the template plastic. I found a quilter who uses a dremel to drill holes into the plastic, which would solve the problems I had where the plastic puckered around the needle hole, which prevented the plastic from laying flat on the quilt and gave a rounded edge to the holes instead of a flat edge like a purchased stencil has. Anyway, one more thing to try. That would make a very durable stencil, but might be overkill. I don't know that I'd need a stencil to last for more than one project, so paper might fit the bill quite nicely.

Ok, update, now it's snowing again...no, I'm pretty sure that's sleet, but hey, the Austinites don't seem to know the difference.

No, it's rain.

Sleet.

Snow.

Rain again.

Oh, for Pete's sake, is the weather going to be bad enough to go home or not???????

Lane

4 comments:

kheli said...

My heated woodburning toolkit came with an exacto blade attachment. It still leaves the top edges rough, but I am more pleased with the result.

lw said...

I think I would be tempted to try sanding the template gently with the aforementioned dremel tool.

By the way, I use a sanding wheel and my dremel tool to give my dogs a pedicure. It removes only a little at a time and the dog pulls his foot away whenever it starts to get warm from the wheel friction before you get close to the nerve.

BlueRidge Boomer said...

I vote for......heading home!!

kwiltmakr said...

Sounds like the paper is your best bet and the easiest too. Sounds like a lot of work for a one time use with the dremel tool and all of that. Why do things have to be so complicated anyway? We got more snow over the weekend, gee I am sick of it.