Saturday, April 27, 2013

A great marking tool, quilting baskets & nine patches and chickadees!

Marking dark fabrics is challenging but this tool solves that problem! It is a mechanical chalk pencil made by a French company, Bohin. The pencil comes with a little package of six refill chalks. The chalk makes a lovely fine line. It was expensive (I think it was $15 Canadian) but it works so well that it was worth the investment. I especially like the fact that I use it with a stencil and the chalk does not come near the stencil because it is protected by the silver cap. When I use a chalk pencil I find that the edge of the stencil rubs the chalk and makes problems for me. The Bohin mechanical chalk pencil solves that problem!

I’m mking progress quilting my baskets and nine patches quilt.
The quilt is anchored vertically and horizontally with stitch in the ditch. I discussed this technique in my April 23 post, machine quilt a big quilt on a domestic machine my way. The solid squares have feathered wreaths quilted but haven’t decided what motif I will quilt in the centre. Maybe I’ll just stipple but I'm open to suggestions! I have some really pretty gold Bottom Line thread (made by Superior) which I think I will use.

I envy quilters who know exactly how they are going to quilt their piece in advance. I am more of a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of quilter. I like to let the quilting evolve organically which generally means I don’t have a clue what I will do but just hope that I’ll know when I get to the point where I have to make a decision! And that is what happened with the baskets. I figured out what to do with the setting triangles and am quite pleased with the result.

BUT I still had no idea about the baskets. The solution for me is to set the quilt aside for a few days and do nothing. At some point I just start doodling on paper to see what happens and the answer eventuall comes to me.

The quilting design gradually evolved from the doodling. I am satisfied with the result. I think it has just the right flourish! I could have quilted more but the white fabric has a finish that makes it very difficult to quilt so I think that I will stick with this simple design.

Once I've finished quilting the baskets (I'm about a third of the way done) I'll bind the quilt and then I’ll go back and finish the centre and that includes quilting all of those nine patches. I did a few with a neutral colour Bottom Line thread. This is what they will all look like when quilted. I have my work cut out for me!
I leave you with a picture of a little embroidery done by my sweet little Mummsie!  You may recall that I appliqued four of them in my quilt Flora and Fauna, Parts of the Garden. Looks like Mom also loves these little birds! This little chickadee measures a tiny 2 ½”! My Mom does such lovely embroidery. I'll be showing you much more of her work in the coming weeks.
If you haven't visited Quilting Gallery's Show and Tell please do so. There are some really interesting wall hangings to see - there's loads of inspiration to be found. Mine is titled Flying Fish School. So pop on over and vote for your favourites before Monday at 6:00pm EDT.
Flying Fish School
Until I post again, happy sewing!


  1. I have a marking pen from Clover which is fabulous as well. It's one that has a fine roller ball and you can buy different colours of the mines as well. I got a white one for dark fabric. You can't see the lines at first, but once the pen dries it quickly becomes visibly and the best part, iron over the fabric and all the marks are gone. Just awesome.

    And I know what else is awesome, that little bird your mum made!
    I can see where you got your talent, now! ;)

  2. doing the doodling helps clear the mind, I guess??

    1. I never thought about it that way but I think it does help do that! I neve have a plan for a doodle - I just doodle mindlessly. If I do something interesting I might try to repeat it in a shape I want to fill on my quilt. Repeated doodling helps build confidence in creating the design when you are ready to go to the quilt! I sometimes just doodle with my right index finger on my left palm!

  3. Beautiful quilting and great to see how your thoughts evolve. I can relate to the "evolving organically" - and sometimes that is the best because you see which parts need more quilting by how they sit. I don't have a suggestion for the centres of the large squares - but I know it will be lovely whatever you decide! Thanks for the tip about the chalk pen.

    1. Hi Evelyn - I find that if I preplan it generally doesn't work out as expected. My best ideas come from creating as I go!

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  5. This is reposted because of too many errors.

    I was thrilled when I found that pen, too. The only problem is that I'm reluctant to use up the chalk. How difficult is it to find refills?

    The pattern of leaves you've put into the baskets brings to mind fleur de lis for the center of the feathered squares ... especially since you have gold thread tempting you.

    My trick for doodling quilt patterns is to use Press'nSeal. I tear off a sheet and place it over the area of the quilt and then doodle my design with a felt tip pen. You can see through the Press'nSeal, it sticks to the fabric (no residue left behind), and the marker does not penetrate it. I like to see how those drawn lines interact with the actual block pattern. Some people have left the drawing on the quilt and sewn through it, but I've found it tricky to remove from the stitches. I prefer to stick the drawing to a piece of cardboard and stand it up near the machine as a visual reference while I'm quilting.

    Glad to see your "Flying Fish School" in this weeks Quilting Gallery presentation of quilted wall hangings. It got my vote ;-)

    1. That is a terrific idea to use Press'n'Seal. I agree with you about sewing through it as I think it would be tricky to remove. I've used tissue paper that way and then a little pot scrubber gently rubbed over the quilting generally removes the bits of paper. But is is a nuisance and I would rather avoid it.
      I've not yet had to buy the refills but I've seen them in sewing stores so hopefully when the time comes it won't be a problem!
      And thanks for Fluing Fish School. Next week is applique so I think I'll enter Flora and Fauna, Parts of the Garden!