Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lessons Learned Linky #3

Thanks for dropping by the March segment of the Lessons Learned Linky, a special place to share all the things you discover in your quilting journey in an effort to spare others the distress of learning the hard way.
If there's anything I'm skilled at, it's making mistakes. So here are my astute observations from last month. Firstly, you may remember the new Add-A-Quarter Plus Ruler I introduced to you with a free snowflake pattern. The following picture illustrates its proper use. The skinny side is also good for scraping difficult to grasp fabric debris off your cutting mat and into the trash. What you don't see here is the piece of packaging tape wrapped around the edge of the ruler because somebody nicked it with their rotary cutter.

Lesson Learned

Do not use the tapered edge of the Add-A-Quarter Plus Ruler to cut a straight edge on irregular chunks of fabric when the thick edge is completely sufficient. Otherwise, the rotary cutter will slide up that thing like a skateboard ramp and veer dangerously close to your fingers. Then you will have to repair it with packaging tape so you don't look as dumb as you feel when taking tutorial photos. One side is for folding; the other is for trimming.
There's no way I'd just do one foolish thing in the course of a month that even has an extra day. Therefore I bring you a tale of marking pens. I used the Sewline Air Erasable Pen to mark a quilt with a short deadline. Unfortunately, the purple marks did not rapidly fade, and days later they remained. Using the eraser from the Sewline Duo only served to make the marks appear even more vividly. I was able to drench and scrub them out, but that's not ideal. As for the Sewline Duo, the marker makes thicker brown marks that can successfully be erased with the accompanying eraser pen. Unfortunately, if you don't like your original markings, and attempt to make new ones in a place where you have erased, your markings will vanish. It is also a bit tedious to go over every mark you made with and eraser. I've used the Clover Air Erasable Marker on precious projects, and found that it erased much quicker than the Sewline version. This makes it a better choice if you intend to get around to your quilting immediately. It also makes a very thin purple line. I like the ease of erasing a Frixion pen with heat. Unfortunately, like a germ, the ink is still there whether you see it or not after pressing. The ink does leave a white shadow, which is more apparent on certain fabrics than others, and can resurface in in it's original color in the cold. Another important factor to note is that you should not use a Friction pen when you have no desire for your ink to vanish. For example, noting which fabrics to use in each section of a paper-piecing pattern, or drawing an elaborate design on paper and proceeding to leave it in a very hot car (Buh-bye design!).

Lesson Learned

Test your marking pens out to know which is the best fit for your project.

I've bought myself a new iron because my last one was very bad and did this to the backing for a mini. It could have been much worse. I'm relieved it didn't do this to a completed top.

Lesson Learned

Replace your iron when it starts acting naughty instead of after it creates unforgivable damage.

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  1. All very good lessons! Being a scientist, when someone told me the Frixion pen marks come back in the cold, I took a scrap of white fabric, marked on it with a black Frixion pen, erased it with an iron, and stuck it in the freezer. After a few minutes, the mark was back! Even though I live in the South, I'm not using Frixion pens for marking. I find that the Clover air erasable purple pen is very good at coming out, but I really prefer a mechanical pencil. Since I wash my quilts, it's not an issue.

  2. The "bad iron" only happens if you are on a deadline & have just enough light fabric to finish your project. I have learned to use the "blast of steam" feature or cleaning feature of my iron to prevent that. The brown stain is caused by burnt lint in the steam holes of the iron. I put some water in my iron, I usually use it dry, & do the shot of steam thing over an old towel until all of the yuckies are out. I usually use Dritz Iron Cleaner at the same time to get all the burnt starch off the sole plate.

  3. I have ruined a quilt when my iron acted up. Thank you for all of the goofs, it helps even advanced quilters.

  4. I think my iron is definitely in the acting up stages... sigh. I think this is more than enough sign that I need to do more thinking about replacing it!

  5. My DH got me a new mini ironing board for Christmas and the first time I used it, my iron browned the muslin looking covering. I checked the heat and it was on Cotton, but come on! Anyway, now whenever I iron it smells like burnt toast. I'll make a new cover for it soon as I get the time. Sigh. He got it because my old one he thought looked raggedy. If he ever sees this one, I wonder what he'll think. Oh well!

  6. Some great tips! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  7. Oh, the dreaded spitting iron! My (almost new) iron ruined an applique piece for me. It was my first try and had some mistakes but geesh - it was like the iron spit on it on purpose... I love using the Frixion pens but only use them on white fabric or when I know the mark won't show, like marking the lines for HST's.

  8. I'm going through the ironing leaking stage right now! It makes me so mad! I thought if I bought an expensive one, It would last longer. Not the case! I freak out using any kind of marker/pens on my quilts. Instead I use my Hera marker.

  9. Hi Afton, This is my first time visiting your blog. I found you through a comment you left on Fabric Mutt about your linky party. Great idea to have a link up for tips and lessons! I've just added a link to it, myself. I love your tips for this month, too!