Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Marking Dark Fabric and a Finish

When I make table quilts for myself I always use muslin for backing. The chances of me running low on table quilts are slim and none since they are one of my favorite quilting projects. Mine are always going to be quilt side up or rolled up in a drawer waiting their turn!

For a gift, and especially to a non-quilter, I like to use a coordinating large print fabric so that they can flip it over for a second look. I love toile prints and will use them as often as I can. Like this beauty.  
On a reversible quilt, the quilting has to look good on both sides. Often what works for the front would look odd on the back. With that in mind, I decided to extend the grid quilting I was planning to do around around the blocks all the way across the quilt through the borders.  How best to mark the extended lines on a dark print?

Plan A: I started with a white chalk pencil but quickly opted out of that. The point went dull too fast and I wanted a crisp line to sew 1/4" on either side of.  

Plan B: I found a white marking pen in my drawer and tried that next. Total fail! It was so faint I couldn't even see it.

Plan C: I dug out a roll of painters tape, lined my 6.5" by 24.5" ruler up against the line from the block and put tape down along the edge of the ruler.  
Then I used the edge of the tape to sew 1/4" away followed by flipping the block around and repeating the process. Better, but so time consuming. After doing 1/3 of the quilt I was over this method. On a side note: I need better task lighting at my machine STAT.  No wonder I make more mistakes sewing at night!
Plan D: I dug around a bit more and found my Hera Marker. Bingo! One quick score along the ruler line made it easy for me to use my presser foot edge and sew perfect 1/4" seams in my grid pattern all across the top. If you enlarge the picture you can easily see the crease line made by the Hera. Such a handy tool. I used my Hera on the rest of the top and was done quilting it in no time.

EDIT:  Since there have been several questions about the Hera in the comments I thought I would clarify that the white tool below is the Hera. It's made of plastic and has an edge along the curved part on the right. It leaves a crease/score on the fabric that you can use as a guideline for quilting. Over at Milk and Honey Quilts you can see a really clear photo of how a top looks after using a Hera.  
Here's the finished table runner. The pattern is Linda's Simple Trio from the book "Mostly Table Runners" by Calico Printworks. The fabrics are from a Faye Burgos collection for Marcus Brothers.  
Aren't they gorgeous? Good thing I have leftovers to make something to keep as I'm giving this one away to someone who I think will love it as much as I do.
This was my New Project Reward after finishing 10 UFOs. It feels really REALLY good to start AND finish a new project! I think I bought this fabric about 4 years ago, so it's nice to make a little dent in the Fabric With a Project in Mind stash as well. Baby steps right?

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday@Freshly Pieced.


  1. Does the hera marker actually make a mark? I thought it just left a crease line. None the less - I am envious of all your are finishing.

  2. You are doing such a great job getting so many UFO's finished! The tool that is white in the above picture is the Hera Marker you are talking about? I have one and thought it was a bone folder. I use it for folding cards etc. when scrapbooking. Is this what you used for the line? I had no idea if so that it would do that. Thanks :)

  3. Perfection, Deb!! I love the use of the toille. You have a lovely table runner for someone!

  4. Very pretty! I love toile as well. Good choice! I use tape to mark quilting lines, but now you have me thinking I need to get a Hera.

  5. Deb you're a gem, thank you for showing the different process's for marking quilting lines...I was taken with the tape method until you showed the hera marker, I have to confess I'm not sure what one is so I'll google it. The table runner is so pretty.

  6. Yes, I have Teri's questions - does the hera marker just score things, or leave an actual mark? If it just scores, any idea how long that lasts? Does it stick around with handling of a large quilt?

  7. Simply gorgeous runner and quilting! Thanks for sharing how you marked your lines...I have tried everything but not the hepa so will have to pick one up.

  8. I like the idea of being able to flip it over so both sides can be used. A wonderful idea.

  9. A Hera marker is something that I've been meaning to buy since forever. Just seems never to remember it when I'm in the shops. Thanks for the reminder! :)


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