A Whole Lot Ventured, Nothing Gained

It was a soggy day here today. Rain, rain, rain with just a few breaks. I can never get too worked up about the rain, especially when we've had plenty of sunshine this spring. After all, a day of rain gives me a good excuse to spend the day in the sewing room. The kitties know what to do:

Yes, as a matter of fact...this IS my favorite quilt.

This morning I got a good start on binding the Intel Underneath quilt.

Binding a quilt requires turning four corners, and that's how I track my progress. I always start close to the first corner so I can turn one corner right away. It feeds my delusion that I'm speeding along and almost finished. As I was sewing this morning, I decided to try to get one side done per day, and today, I sewed right up to the second corner. That way, I can start off tomorrow speeding along by turning that second corner right away. [The woman is smarter than she looks!] So with all of that, I'm happy to say that I'm one-fourth of the way around.

Speaking of smart (or not) my next trick was to sandwich Joseph's Quilt today, 

but I was forced to stop dead in my tracks upon the realization that I didn't have enough scraps left over of my backing fabric. I checked my stash, but I didn't really have anything else appropriate. I didn't even have enough left from the borders to piece together a back. That was too bad because I was really hoping to keep this scrappy, and buying more fabric wasn't a part of the game plan. Still, I got online and found this Kaffe Fasset print that seems to have all the right colors.

I want to use the green/blue from the inner border and cornerstones for the binding, and so I wanted something with those colors. I think this will work just fine...I just hate buying more fabric when I have so darned much in my stash already. Oh well. The trials and tribulations of a quilter. It's a hard life, no doubt about it.

So then, I decided I would get a start on quilting the "We are the World" quilt. 

Oh my. What an epic fail. I'm starting to think that when I get all high-falutin' intending to write a tutorial about a new technique I'm trying out, I should just turn off the lights and leave the sewing room immediately. So here's what happened.

You might remember that I got this bright idea about using a purchased pantograph to quilt this quilt, and I found the perfect design on Urban Elementz.

And I wondered on this blog whether anyone had ever tried this, and several of you gave me some great ideas along with links to videos about how to do it. I took it all in...thank you, by the way...you are all so smart and helpful. 

Then I decided that in addition to purchasing the pantograph, I would need these two products:

The Quilt Pounce product comes in white as well, but since my quilt has a white background, I needed the blue chalk.

So then I unrolled the pantograph and measured out the width I needed and then used the "Quilting Paper" pictured above to trace out the design. And I used my ruler to make sure I had it straight across the pantograph.

Then I used painter's tape to tape it to the pantograph. This worked great, by the way. I was able to tape it down securely, and then pull the tape back up when I was finished without damaging the pantograph or the quilting paper. It worked as slick as a post-it note.

I needed a 60-inch length (or width, depending on how you think about it), and so I set about tracing off 60 inches of paper dolls using my fine-point Sharpie...which, I might add, is not particularly "fine". Anyway, it worked.

And when I had it all traced, including the design across the top and bottom to help with placement of the rows, I pulled up the painter's tape and prepared to make a template using my unthreaded sewing machine with a heavy-duty needle. My goal was to make holes in the pattern and then mark the quilt with the Pounce.

If your sewing machine is like mine, you'll have to turn off your empty thread and bobbin indicators to be able to do this.

And then, I went to work. This was quite a slow process because I wanted to get the holes exactly right over my tracing.

When I had that all finished, I placed the template over my quilt for marking. (And I'm using a practice quilt here.)

So then, I got all ready to mark it when I realized with a start that my blue chalk was not iron-off, as I expected, but required washing or wiping for removal. Oy.

So I stopped here to do a little more internet investigation. For one thing, I wanted to know if the blue chalk came in an iron-off variety. No, it does not. So then, I wondered if it really did come out in the wash. In other words, I wanted to know this was going to actually come off my white fabric before I marked the quilt. I read a few alarming reviews, but eventually was satisfied that it would come off with a one part water, one part vinegar solution if all else failed. Besides, I was just practicing at this point, and so I continued on.

I used the Pounce by wiping it over the holes of my template, as instructed...

And voila! Cool, right?

Well, not so fast there, Cowgirl, because things are just about to get ugly.

First, I turned my empty thread and bobbin indicators back on and then got everything all threaded up and ready to go.

Then, without folding the quilt, I moved it approximately five feet from my work table to my sewing machine, and look what happened!

The marks rubbed off so easily, it was unbelievable. I couldn't even get one design stitched right because I couldn't see my markings any more. What was left on the quilt was easily "bounced" off just by the needle piercing the fabric! What a totally worthless product! I was pretty disgusted with this because this stuff isn't cheap.

I did manage to quilt a little bit further to the right just to see how it worked, but I was thoroughly dissatisfied with the way the Pounce chalk performed. 

One of the videos I watched prior to beginning today's endeavor discussed the "iron-off" Pounce and she demonstrated how it wouldn't rub or "bounce" off the fabric. The problem is that the "iron-off" Pounce is only available in white. 

So...rats. I have another idea about this. I'm going to layer the quilting paper and create 8 templates for myself (the number I'll need to cover the whole quilt) and then just stitch through the paper. It will be more of a hassle that way because I'll have to pick all that paper off my quilt. I really want this design to work, however, and so I'm willing to persevere until I get it right. For today, however, I figured I'd had enough frustration. I just left everything where it fell, turned off the lights, the iron, and the sewing machine and left the room. Some days just aren't good days for sewing.

There was a break in the rain at that point, and so I went outside and filled the bird feeders. While I was out there I saw the first of the black-headed grosbeaks. 

And as I approached the feeder, I saw a totally new bird to the yard...this evening grosbeak. Double cool!! 

It's not a good day for the birdcam, but you can bet I'll have it out at the first opportunity. These aren't my images. Rather, they're images I took from Wikipedia Commons. I discovered the site today. People donate their images to the public domain, and they are free to use.

I guess the day wasn't a total loss. Tomorrow is my birthday...a big one...The big 6-0. Our window-washer guy is supposed to be coming up, and I'm supposed to go to Zumba. Just the same, I'm going to try again to make this pantograph quilting work for my domestic machine. Your suggestions and tips are always welcome.

Mike and I have a dinner out planned for tomorrow evening and I'm looking forward to it. Do you have Cinco de Mayo plans?

22 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lyndsey said...

What a rubbish product if it brushes off before you've had chance to do the stitching. I like the design and it will look great when you get it to work. I like to start the binding near a corner so I can say I'm working on the second side. It seems to speed the process up. Great work getting the one side done.

Wishing you a very happy 60th birthday Barbara.

Sher S. said...

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! hope tomorrow is full of sunshine and roses, maybe birthday balloons too.
The cats have the right idea...curl up with a quilt and snooze. Love the birds, I have a little yellow bird that has started coming to my feeder by my sewing room, not sure what it is, but he's quick. Glad the binding is going so well. I'm 3/4 way around my quilt, will finish tonight and mail out tomorrow. I have a chalk pounce marker but haven't tried it. Now I'm not so sure I want to do that to my quilt. Thanks for the heads up. Enjoy your day tomorrow.

Kate said...

Happy Birthday! Hope tomorrow turns out to be a really great day.

Sometimes you just can't make scraps work for the back. Hopefully you what you ordered will go right back out.

carla said...

Oh!!!! Happy Birthday!!!! Hope you have lots of fun!!!! I will be waiting to see your quilting!!! I know you will get r done!!!!!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Happy May Birthday! I would do a pratice with the paper stitching as I wonder if like with paper piecing, if you don't have the smaller stitches, when you pull the paper away, will it pull your stitches. I know, you wanted something positive here. I know you will work out a solution.

Junebug613 said...

Happy Birthday tomorrow! I hope you have a spectacular day! I always wondered about those pounces. I had a bad experience with blue chalk on my niece's quilt. It was supposed to wash out, but some of it didn't, even after several washes. I've used the paper method, and while it is more work picking out the paper, I prefer it. I just use long, needlenose tweezers for any little bits. Oh those are some pretty birds!

WoolenSails said...

A very Happy Birthday to you!
I like your idea and nice for a running design. I do have pouncing chalk, still need to try it. Usually I use the roller chalk pen and free hand the designs and then do my quilting which never follows the lines, lol.


Carol D. said...

My sister just had her big 6-0 birthday on Saturday. I made her a travel sewing caddy (see http://dillmansdallies.blogspot.com/2014/05/finished-project.html). Hope someone is treating you today. Happy birthday!!!

Betty said...

Great minds think alike! I approach my binding the same way, makes me feel like I've accomplished more after the first corner is done.
I hope you have a very Happy Birthday!

Cath said...

Oh dear! I kinda feel a bit bad because I think I got you going down this road. Very disappointed in how the pounce worked.....what a waste of time! I hope your new plan works out and I will be watching with bated breath as you try it out. Happy, Happy, Birthday for tomorrow and enjoy your night out.
Cath @ Bits 'n Bobs

ipatchandquilt said...

Happy birthday! ( van harte gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag! ) thank you very much for showing us what happened with the chalk. Big bummer! I have used a blue-purple chalk pen and that did NOT come out after washing the quilt. I will not ever use that colour again!!!

Donna said...

Happy Birthday! Hope your day goes better today! Have fun!

Lynn - JnL4God said...

Happy Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great day and a nice Dinner tonight. :)

Dana Gaffney said...

Happy Birthday my friend, I hope your day is wonderful and the night out even better.
I was a "try a pounce" person too, so sorry, but I've never had a problem like that, even when a stencil moves and I want to get the chalk off I can't until I wash it. I wonder if it's the little needle holes. Now I need to experiment.

Marei said...

What a total drag about the pounce chalk. I have a pounce but haven't even opened the package in the 6+ years I've owned it. Maybe there's no reason to EVER open it, eh? Sending you love & wonderful wishes for your 60th birthday, my dear friend. :)

Kelsey said...

How very frustrating....I wonder if the chalk might stay on better if you sprayed it with a little hairspray and let it dry before moving the quilt to help it "set"? I would imagine hairspray would wash out easily given that it must get on our clothes when we spray it on our heads...

Andee said...

I love that you too have a delusion when binding, ha...me too! When I get to the binding part I am always ready to be done too! I have never used Pounce, but learned alot from your post in case I ever do!

Carole in Nebraska said...

A friend of mine swears by "Press and Seal" wrap to mark and quilt through...no pins! I tried it once but my design was maybe too tight for this technique and I found a whole new vocabulary as I tried to remove it. The paper doll design looks more forgiving. I don't have very much success with any of the chalks but I absolutely love the Frixon pens.

Brown Family said...

Very good info. I thought the blue chalk I bought was removed with heat! I will have to check it out!

Dar said...

Happy Birthday to you too. Didn't know it was, but I'm not surprisd that you are a Tarus too.

A suggestion about the pounce problem. Get the white iron off one (Miracle pounce) and mix about 1 teaspoon of the blue color in it. This should be enough to distinguish it from the white backing enough to see it and the iron off powder should hold it on so you can at least quilt it. I never use the blue full strength no matter where I use it - longarm or domestic.

quiltzyx said...

How frustrating! I know my friend Jean has used the Pounce for her hand quilting - but maybe it was only the white. Good luck!

I am always surprised at how big Smitty has grown!! I don't know why, it isn't like I haven't seen any pictures for the last year...!! And Gracie is beautiful, as always!

Michele said...

Well drat. I have some of that pounce that came with my longarm but I haven't tried it yet. Thanks for the warning. Now I'll need to see if I have the iron off version or not.