Really, just because you read it here, don’t necessarily believe it!
I recently read an important revelation about marking on quilts, on one of the most respected quilting blogs out there. Well, important if quilting is a big part of your world and something comes along that makes quilting easier.
Marking a design on a quilt is always fraught with peril: will the mark still be crisp and visible after I’ve stuffed it through my machine a bunch of times? Will I have to immerse my quilt and then block to get rid of it? Or will it leave some sort of undesirable permanent mark after I’m done? These thoughts plague me.
Let’s back up. All I want out of a marker is a crisp mark that disappears forever after I’m done. Seems simple enough but that is not a guarantee with the current markers out there…until the Frixion pen came along. Frixion pens seemed perfect: crisp, clear marks available in a variety of colors visible on virtually any fabric. And they go on easily yet disappear with just a puff of steam! How cool is that? Seemed like the perfect system.
There were just two problems: on some fabrics they leave a “ghost” of the marking (and there’s no predicting which fabrics are susceptible) and, they can reappear in temps below 14 degrees. I wrote about all of this here.
It seems silly to be concerned about what happens to your quilt if it gets cold, but to competition quilters (like me!) who will ship their quilts to venues, this is a big deal. I can’t ship my quilt off to a venue and have it arrive with marks on it.
According to a well respected quilter, the trick is to steam the mark away, not just iron it! Wow, really?? That was earth shattering to me-I’d love to be able to use the Frixion pens on my quilts!
So I literally ran to my sewing room, grabbed a scrap and marked away, then steamed one side and just ironed the other. And I mean I steamed and steamed it just to be sure. And ran to the freezer and popped in my test sample and waited for it to get cold. Tap, tap, tap-this is Big Stuff to me.
This is what I got-what the heck?? It certainly DID reappear in the cold! Is it just that particular fabric perhaps?
So what’s going on here? I really don’t know. I just know what I see before my eyes. It must work for her, but it sure is not working for me.
On these two fabrics the mark disappeared, but get this: it disappeared whether I ironed or steamed! The steaming made no difference.
The end game is this: even when someone you respect says you can do this or that to your batting or thread or quilt, test it on YOUR scrap first! There may be some odd combination of factors that make it wrong for your quilt. I can’t explain what happened here with the Frixion pens, I just know that they do indeed bloom back in the cold, just as I wrote previously.
Test, test, test anything that might damage your quilt. What worked for someone else may not work for you.