Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm doing my part to expose a very big secret - Pilot Frixion Pens

Are any of you readers like me and hate, absolutely hate, using the chalks (all varieties and colors) and even all the different pens and pencils out there for us quilters/sewers to draw on our fabric with? Whether it be for a quilting motif or a applique placement marking?

If you haven't tried any of these yet or if you have and don't mind using them, let me explain why I hate them and why I've begun feeling frustrated at my quilting frame.

Why I hate:
1) Some don't write well.
2) Some don't come off well and I hate rubbing with a damp cloth over quilting stitches!

Why am I starting to feel frustrated at my frame?
I'm not a good artist. I draw stick figures and my sense of spacing and design have not yet improved enough to free-hand/free-mind quilting motifs into all my quilts.

I read Green Fairy Quilts, blog and I am jealous.  Flat out, green-eyed monster, jealous of her creativity the designs she not only comes up with but executes.  I love her work and found myself thinking, "I should send a quilt out to get quilted like that one day." Of course, I immediately could not justify the expense b/c it would be a quilt for me, and not a show or anything and don't I have a 17" throated machine named Midge sitting on Mr. Sumo the frame?  Why yes, yes I do.  Then I sat down to figure out why I was so jealous. I realized it was because I felt I didn't have the freedom to set up designs like she sometimes does, meaning, I didn't think I had the patience or desire to do custom quilting.  I felt it was a chore to draw the designs before I quilted and get them off.  The alternative is to quilt over designs printed on paper and tear away the paper (lots of work). I suppose I could also use water soluable stabilizer but that would get expensive, don't you think?

Then I was reminded by the Man up in the sky, that when one sits down to get rid of an ugliness (like jealousy) in oneself, good things come.  I opened up a blog post the next day by Susan at Quixotic Crafter. She commented on tessting out a pen (a pen you can buy at Staples, Target, and probably even Wally World, too) for her applique marking.  She wrote on the fabric and then, with her embossing gun, applied heat. The ink disappeared. As she mentioned (and I later read on the box), it won't reappear unless the quilt is exposed to 14 degrees or less temperatures.  No kidding!!!!
That's the secret, folks. This WORKS!!!! I'm so ecstatic.  Really, I'm beyond ecstatic.  I need to send Susan wine, or chocolate, or fabric for sharing this.  I need to send the person who figured it out something good!  And, Pilot, the manufacturer, are you reading? You should be marketing yourself in the quilting community!  Holy extra profit, batman.
 These are erasable pens and Pilot's niche is the ink is developed so the heat from the friction of the eraser on the paper, removes (erases) the ink from the paper. Obviously, some clever crafter somewhere thought to try this on fabric and use an iron or a dryer.  (At least, Susan's post says you can use an iron for heat but I haven't tried it.)

I tested it on scrap fabric (blue, red and black ink) with a blow dryer on the high setting.  Worked like a charm.  So, I started marking up my Double Wedding Ring. 

Then I quilted and then I erased.
Of course, then I remembered I loved you and I know I like it when I see something in action so I showed you the simplicity of this all.  Similar videos but in the second, I count out the 4 seconds it took to get rid of the ink.

What do you think? Are you adding these pens to your shopping list now? I'm seriously thinking of stocking up on more than the initial 3 I bought.

This solution is great because it enables me to see what a block will look like "all done" and whether I like it. In this instances, I felt the center of the ring didn't have enough quilting so I added more of a design to it. 

In the wedges, I tried out several designs and erased all until I got to the feathers and liked them.  I love these pens! 
Hope you try them out, too and let me know your thoughts.

Oh, and by the way, I am not jealous of anyone anymore. I found my block and have a solution. I am not as good of a quilter as she is, nope, but it doesn't bother me in the least. I am so stinking happy to be able to move to my own next quilting level, that's really all that ever mattered.   We forget, too often, that it's the journey that is so rewarding.


tara said...

I love this pen too. We demo it a lot at work and we sell out very fast. Great quilts!

Candice @ Made With Love said...

I also love the pilot pens. I think it was the best find at Quilt Market! :)

P. said...

Thank you so much for this post! I not only learned that I'm not the only one who struggles with the same things, but there is a solution, and it can help us move along in our own personal quilting skill level. Great post and thanks for sharing what worked for you. I'm going to have to look for those pens.

Pat said...

I have used the Frixion pens. Most of the time they work great, but I've had them remove color from the fabric after they are ironed. I've had it happen on two completely different fabrics. Be careful and test.

Barb said...

Yvette send me some of those pens, I have yet to try them. I do want to say that I love your quilting, you are doing a fabulous job, you should be so proud.

Quiet Quilter said...

I'll be going to town this Friday..the pens are on my shopping list right now!

Quiet Quilter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barbara Sindlinger said...

As always, test your fabric before you use the pens. I had trouble getting the orange and pink out of some fabrics and they kind of bleach out darker fabrics and batiks. But I still use them for a lot of other quilt projects.

rubyslipperz said...

Back in the late 70's, we were taught to use either #2 led pencil or "col-erase" pencils. My lines wash out quite easily, and don't fade unless they are washed.

I'm not sure about the Frixion pens. Does the ink actually wash out, even if we can't see it? If the chemical stays, over time could it wear on the fabric?

But, then, again...I don't really know much.


Gari said...

Thanks, I think I will try it. I need to improve my freemotion quilting but with NO artistic ability, I need to be able to quilt on the lines and not always using a panto.

QuiltNut Creations said...

Get out of my head. I feel the same way as well. I can not draw. Okay, I can do stick figures but that it is. And I feel that with the clients I have, they wouldn't pay for quilts quilted that heavily customed. And yet I still want to learn and am afraid to take the leap and just try. You are not alone!

Karen said...

OMG - really!?!? I am SO glad I sawa this! Buying stock in the company right about now = thank you!

Quilt+Bitch said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I was about to do research on quilting markers and have had really bad experiences with a few of them and gave up. So thank you. I will be looking for these pens.

Talented Chick said...

So long as you don't expose your quilt to cold temperatures the ink will remain hidden. It is NOT gone. You merely need to apply heat and the ink will go back into hiding. It is still there my friends. Sorry.