Sunday, April 9, 2017

Out damned spot! Out I say!

I had an interesting experience with a Frixion Pen that you might find helpful. 

I know that it is advised that we just don’t know what the pen will do to fabric in the next 100 years since it was never developed with archival properties on fabric in mind.  And while we don’t know what will happen in the next 100 years, there are some things we do know now.

We know that friction will remove the marks (friction causes heat and it is the heat that removed the mark) but that extreme cold will bring it back.  So we now know NOT to mark a quilt with quilting designs, remove the marks by heat and then send our quilts off to a quilt show to be judged in the dead of winter.  The marks must be washed out to be truly out.

I found out something even more drastic!  I made a small quilt with the plan to send it into a magazine for publication.  As I completed all the appliqué and piecing I contemplated the quilting design.  My quilt top was made with commercial batik fabric from a reputable fabric company, quilt shop quality.  I marked a quilting design in the border of the quilt top but when it was complete I decided I didn’t like the looks of it so I ironed it away.  Only it didn’t go away!  Where the markings had been there was now no color.  The chemicals in the pen had bleached the dye away from the fabric.  I was left with a faint white “mark” that was now permanent.  (Fortunately for me there was enough random white in the batik that the offending “marks” did not show too badly.)

Alarmed, I decided to see what the Frixion pen would do to hand dyed fabric.  I found the same results on Cherrywood fabric and my own hand dyed fabric.  Then I got to wondering what the Clover White Pen did under the same circumstances.  My mark on the Cherrywood turned from a white mark to a black mark.

I now use both pens to trace my appliqué shapes only.  I really like the fine line both pens produce and I have no problem with marks not disappearing inside the seam allowance.  So I will continue to use the pens freely there.  I don’t know what pen/marker I will settle on for quilting design marking, but before I use anything on my future projects, I will test-test-test…no matter what the fabric.

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