Marking Sydney’s quilt

Sydney made a batik quilt a couple years ago.  It’s cute, but it’s a real mess, with some seam allowances that I’m having to repair as I find them.  She wanted to hurry and I got tired of trying to slow her down. 

Anyway, the top got finished and it sat because she wouldn’t piece the back.  I finally did that over the summer, and then we pin basted it, and now I’m quilting it.  What better to quilt onto a top that is very organic, with batiks and leaf prints, than bamboo.  But, how to mark it?

Once, I saw a picture of some bamboo and I saved it and printed it and traced what I wanted off of it onto plastic and I ended up with this.


That’s a featherweight bobbin to show size.

But, I’d have been forever trying to quilt a large quilt with a pattern that small and a template that was 8 1/2 x 11.  I needed it bigger.

So, I used my handy overhead projector, just like the one your algebra teacher used, if you’re old enough to remember overheads, with the knob that made the top go up and down for focus.  I can remember one time, half way through a math class, a student asked the teacher if she could focus it.  It was off just enough to be making us all a little queasy.

Anyway, back to the point, I blew it up to this size.


You’ll have to click that for a good look.  The same bobbin is on it to show the difference in size.  This is on the big sheets of paper that they use in conferences for teams to write interminable lists of suggestions for “how we could include more people into our team” or “new ideas for greater profitability”. 

Anyway, I digress again.  I used this one and a blank sheet of paper to make a second copy by free motion quilting the drawing without any thread in the machine.  This needle punching method is a great way to make multiple copies of something.  I wish I’d made more than one copy. The second copy doesn’t have the pencil markings on it, just holes.  Don’t iron your template.  It closes the holes and the chalk can’t get through, hence my need for a second copy.

Next, I laid the paper on top of the quilt and used my pounce, which incidentally, you don’t pounce. 


You lay it on top of the template, tap the center with your pointer finger, good and hard, and then rub the pounce pad around.  As the chalk goes into the holes, the holes disappear and when you remove the paper, you get this.


It is kind of fragile, so this is not the way to mark a whole quilt.  The first section I did, I tried to mark a whole template at once and the marks did not last that long.  But, if I mark just one section at a time, it lasts plenty good for me to see it through all of that section.  So, I’m marking one bamboo stem at a time.

Don’t touch the markings with your hands.  The sweat will remove the chalk, so use gloves or these great grip and stitch pads.  These are my faves now because I don’t have to take them off.  I just let them go and my hands are free to thread a needle or whatever. 


The only time I couldn’t use them, and had to use my gloves, was the very edge of the border of the red silk quilt.  There was nothing for the right hand pad to rest on and I needed my fingertips to control the fabric as it went under the quilting foot.

Also, don’t shake the quilt or brush it with your hand.  Most of the dust will come off as you go over it with the needle.  But, some will get under the quilting thread and stay until the quilt is washed.  They say you can iron it out, but I’ve never tried.  Never needed to.

I only have a white pad, so it only works on medium to dark fabrics.  That’s fine on this quilt, but if I was marking a light quilt, they make a pounce with blue chalk.  As the pounce gets to be a more useful tool, and as I learn what it will do and what it won’t do, I expect to be buying a blue one.

When I was done, I ended up with this.


I like it.  Sydney likes it.  Rob likes it.  I think I hit this one out of the park.

Be well.  Have a great Wednesday. 



Impera_Magna said...

Love it too! Thanks for the tips for blowing up stuff and making the marking template with that big newsprint paper that is oh so useful during those thrilling meetings... *wink*

Kim West said...

You should try golden threads paper for smaller designs. It comes on a roll, and is awesome for pouncing. I have both colors of pounce... after you have two "pouncers" the refills are a bit cheaper..

Kim West said...

You should try golden threads paper for smaller designs. It comes on a roll, and is awesome for pouncing. I have both colors of pounce... after you have two "pouncers" the refills are a bit cheaper..

Elizabeth said...

Lane, that is lovely.

I'm going to have to start keeping a sharper eye out for things that I can turn into quilting motifs. Thanks for the great tips!

xo -E

lw said...

Love the bamboo. You had me worried with the smaller scale pattern, though-- I've had bad results with small patterns if the quilt tops aren't square, and from what you said about the piecing, it's a good idea to enlarge the quilting.

Cynthia L. said...

Hello stranger! I love the idea of bamboo on the quilt. The snippets of color on Sydney's quilt are stunning. I love batik. Thank you for the tutorial for quilting. I will give it a try!

Piece by Piece said...

The bamboo quilting looks great.
I have a white pounce and silly, well, more like stupid me, never thought enough of the powder would pass through the holes from the sewing machine needle to transfer the pattern, so never even tried it.
Will have to try that when I return from my vacation, as I have a couple of tops that are waiting to be quilted.

Kath said...

I'm glad you explained about the pouncing, I had heard of it, but didn't know how it was done. I inherited some little wooden handled tools with blunt needles, I'm pretty sure now they are for making the holes in the template.
I'm sure this quilt will be a great success. Is there anything Rob can help with? It'd be lovely to have the whole family involved.

Rebecca Grace said...

Love your bamboo motif! Thanks for the explanation of the pounce stuff. I'm still searching for the perfect quilt marking system. I am SURE I would get all mixed up and make a disastrous mess if I tried to mark the quilt as I was working. And as soon as you said that sweaty hands would make the markings come off, my hands instantly started sweating... ;-)

Sandi Colwell said...

Hey Lane,
The quilt looks awesome! Thank you so much for the tip about the pounce and having it go through paper! I can't wait to try it.

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qltmom9 said...

Wow! THAT is SO cool! You just saved that! Lovely.~