Saturday, April 03, 2010

Quilt block drama....


Each year my guild makes a donation quilt to raise money for a local camp for children with cancer. Usually the quilt involves a lot of applique and usually there is a bit of quilt block drama involved...

Last year it was a missing block - which only reappeared after it had been remade! Most often it is a block that gets stained, fabric bleeds, or the stitch-er uses a new pen, pencil, or other marker that ends up showing on the quilt block.
Most of us have been there. We get a new "toy" and want to try it out right away so we skip over the "try this on a scrap of fabric before using on your project" step. This year it was a green sureline marking pen (or is it a pencil?) On the backside of the block she traced the entire pattern then used the basting from the back applique method. All good until....When she was done the green marker was still visible in several spots from the front. She tried dabbing a bit of gentle detergent on the spots...no luck.

Now I have used the same sureline markers and not had any problems so we tried to brainstorm what had happened. It may have been the heat-setting before wiping any marking off. She had left the block in the Augusta heat (we have already been in the high 80's!) and had ironed the block several times while appliqueing. The good news is a paste made from a little Borax mixed with Woolite was applied to the spots with the marks (front and back of the fabric) and left to set for about 10 minutes then rinsed in warm water took the marks out. Looks good now, no?!
What she didn't do that made possible to save the block:
- Do not use harsh abrasive materials (like a toothbrush!) on the fabric. Even if the mark comes out the fabric gets a worn out look and the area jumps out at you.
- Do not use bleach unless you are willing to bleach the entire block...what a risky business since this block had some rich colored fabrics.
- Do not repeatedly wash and allow the fabric to dry...keeping the spots damp while you work on them seems to work best.
- Do not iron blocks with stains on them...it only makes the process more difficult.
Speaking of stains...everything around my house is covered in a fine yellow haze. The pine pollen this year is unbelievable! My poor car is a mess...not that I can see it very well as my eyes fill up with tears...where is the rain when we need it!

14 comments:

Tammy said...

Great advice for trying out new things. I'm guilty of just going ahead - ack, sometimes it's okay and sometimes not. Wow, I can't belive the pollen - my allergies kicked up just seeing your car.
Happy Easter!!

sewkalico said...

What a beautiful block - definitely worth saving!!

Cathy said...

Great tips, so glad the stain came out it's a very beautiful block. I can't believe the amount of pollen you have, everyone must suffer from allergies with that amount around. xo

KQ Sue said...

I had a similar experience with that white marker with the purple cap on the end that removes the marking from the white cap end. I was traveling from TN to FL on a to frequent basis, and had a Christmas sampler I was working on in the car. A majority of the fabric was white background prints. I removed the marks as I finished each block and everything was disappearing. One trip during the summer I opened the box to sew and all the removed marks had came back in brown, and permanently. I stick to the silver pencil, hara marker or white tailors chalk. (Avoid yellow tailors chalk, it doesn't steam out as it says on the package.)

Shasta said...

I'm glad you were able to fix the block. I've never heard of pine pollen - wow! Here we have flowers from pussy willow and maple, magnolia, and cherry(?) trees. It seems like there is always something to clean up! Good luck with your allergies. Mine are starting to threaten to act up again too.

Michele said...

Boy, I'm right there with you on the pollen! Everything is covered in a fine yellow haze.

Love both applique blocks you showed. Could you share what pattern/book they are from? Happy Easter, Michele

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

I had problems with that green Sureline too. I think it was because I pressed too hard and made too strong of marks. It did come out eventually, but scared the you know what out of me first. don't miss that pollen!

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Gorgeous appliqué blocks!

Glad you got the marks out and the blocks was saved...so worrying when you find out things are more permanent than hoped.

Judy in Michigan said...

Thanks for the tips! Good to know. I've used yellow chalk (chalk-o-liner - I think it's called) and it is hard to get out too. I had to wash the block several times to get all the yellow out but it did come out. Maybe I press too hard also but then again, I can't see too well. Happy Easter and have fun with all the crowds next week !!

Loris said...

Beautiful applique block! Thank you for the tips to clean and avoid problems. Best wishes for the group effort.

moramargaritaster said...

Nice and great applique block.
Great tips to clean and avoid problems.Thanks

Have a nice and great week.

Janet said...

Alls well that ends well, no heat ever before washing is a good rule for markers. It's a beautiful block.I'm a wreck with allergies now, I can't imagine what that pollen must be doing to some people.

Micki said...

Glad that you resolved the problem! The block is so pretty!
Micki

Michelle said...

Years ago I had trouble getting the blue pencil out of one of my quilts and I've never used a pencil again.