Marking Without Leaving a MarkApr 30th, 2012 | Category: Machine Quilting, Product Reviews
Last week, we looked at a number of tools that can be used to mark quilting designs on your quilt top. At the end of the article, I noted that it is possible to mark your quilts without leaving a mark. In fact, I wrote an article last year – To Mark or Not to Mark – that addressed this very subject. So this week, borrowing from that article and the follow-up post Marking Quilts Update 1, here are some ways not to mark quilting designs on your quilt top.
Golden Threads tracing paper is wonderful for this. It comes in rolls of various widths and it tears away cleanly and easily. I trace my design onto the paper, then staple several layers underneath. By stitching through all the layers using my sewing machine without thread, I can create many hole-punched versions of my design at once. I pin the tracing paper onto my quilt, stitch the design, then remove the paper.
Simple Foundations Translucent Vellum Paper from C&T Publishing is see-through, 8 1/2 x 11″ paper that can be used in a printer, and tears away easily after stitching. It can be used in pretty much the same way as tracing paper in terms of stitching right through the paper onto the quilt. The beauty of this paper, however, is that the machine quilting designs can be printed from your computer rather than traced.
Here is an example from my quilt Flourish on the Vine.
One-quarter inch quilter’s masking tape works particularly well for quilting straight lines without marking them. Simply lay the tape alongside a ruler or other straight edge, pressing down lightly to adhere it temporarily to the surface. A strip can be reused several times before it loses its stickiness.
Clear contact paper
Traditionally sold as a shelf or drawer liner, the adhesive backing on this inexpensive material makes it very useful as a temporary template. I trace or draw my shape onto the contact paper, cut it out, stick it onto my quilt, then quilt around the shape. Again, the template can be used many times – providing you don’t accidently stitch too many holes into it!
A Hera Marker is a plastic spatula-like tool that “marks” fabric by applying pressure. It leaves a groove in the fabric that can be followed for machine quilting. Like any marker, it is more visible on some fabrics than others – but worth a try.
Tear-away stabilizer, wash-away stabilizer, and freezer paper would all work too. Stitch around a freezer paper template or stitch through a marked design and tear or wash away the stabilizer. Let us know if you have any other creative ideas for marking quilts without leaving a mark!