Monthly Archives: February 2014

Inky Jams and Paper Thin

I’m working on a series of pieces that I want to have words on and it has to be done fast, inexpensive and easy. Printing on fabric is perfect. I can use lots of different fonts, sizes and arrangements. I have used my home printer to print on fabric before and it has worked great. You just iron your fabric to the waxy side of freezer paper, cut it to the same size as printer paper, put it in your printer and print. So that’s what I did. The first sheet came out just as I remembered with no problems. The second sheet got jammed up in the printer. The third sheet got jammed up as well.

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Okay, now I’m beginning to wonder if the printer is out of whack. So I print the copy on plain paper and everything is fine. I tried it again and the fabric/wax paper combination jams again.

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Now I’m on YouTube checking out other options and suggestions. It looks like I did everything right but now I’m becoming concerned about the fabric not being pre-treated and the printing running and fading once I get the printing to work again. This bunny trail leads me to Dharma Trading Company (http://www.dharmatrading.com/) to buy Bubble Jet Set 2000 and Synthrapol.

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Okay back to the drawing board. Someone on YouTube said to press the fabric into the wax firmly and to check for bubbles in the fabric. Alright back to the ironing board and pressing. Now the fabric and the wax paper are one, really one. The printing goes better but now I have black marks on the top edge of the fabric.

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So it’s back to YouTube. I learned about the little fuzzy pieces of threads that might be on the leading edge of fabric/wax paper. These little threads will grab the ink in the printing process and spread it around. Now I’ve got my finest appliqué scissors trimming the fuzzy threads off the edges. Yea, one sheet goes through okay. Boo, the next one jams.

I need a break before I tear my hair out. It’s back to the bunny trail. I’ve got enough trashed samples to try something. Let’s see if the printing will run or fade if it gets wet or washed. I put one of the printed disasters into the bathroom sink and turn on the water. Nothing happens. I swish the fabric around in the water. Nothing happens. I scrub it and I can barely see any change. I add some soap to the water, swish the fabric around and scrub it real hard. Finally I can see some real difference. And after all of the water, soap and scrubbing, I can still read the printing.

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Alright, I am using black ink only. Maybe the stuff I bought from Dharma works great on colored printing. Wait, I just remembered something I learned many decades ago about colored fabrics that have dye running in the wash. White Vinegar!

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I still use it with my fabrics that refuse to hold their dye when wet. Dye catchers are great most of the time, but some fabrics are still a problem. So why not use White Vinegar and water to set the ink? It’s cheap, fast and worth a try. I soaked the good printed fabric pieces in a solution of 1 part Vinegar and 4 parts water for a few minutes. Well, maybe longer as I got side tracked.

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I’m still bummed about the printing. It’s more Youtube and more information to glean. If the wax paper is curling as it enters the print rollers, maybe I need a heavier paper. Now I have the cardstock out. (I have a partial ream of bright green left over from an anniversary party.) I start this time by cutting the fabric slightly smaller than the cardstock. To get the fabric to stick to it, I used temporary spray adhesive to the back of the fabric and then iron the two together to seal the deal. To keep the fuzzy fibers from catching the rollers and causing ink to spread, I use Scotch Magic Tape on all of the edges. This kind of tape sticks and is removable.

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Yreka! Finally I have a process that I can get to work fairly consistently. Yeah, I know. There is ink on the tape that transferred to the fabric edges. Now I know why. The tape wasn’t pressed down real good before I sent it through the printer. There is also some discoloration at the bottom of the fabric not in the photo. The can of spray adhesive I was using was running on low and the fabric shifted in the printing process.

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No matter what method works for you, I hope my inky jams and paper thin messes will help when your printing on fabric goes wonky. And with Valentine’s Day this week, think about printing something personal to include in your quilted gift. If you start with the fabric and the freezer paper method, maybe your first try will work too. If not, go with my last method and skip the frustration. Please let me know if you have a better way of printing on fabric that doesn’t jam up in the printer or cost a lot of money. And if you do try to print on fabric, share in the comments what you did with it. I’ll post on Thursday what I just finished now that I have some successful pieces of printed fabric.

Ice and Does It Really Matter

So what have I been doing the last few days?

  • Saturday: I emptied half of the spare room so we could fit in another large shelving unit. Now most of the boxes of fabric, sewing supplies, and drafting notebooks are off the floor.
  • Sunday: Super Bowl, I moved 2 more laundry baskets of fabric off the futon so we could watch the game. Bad move; I pulled something in my back. My sewing project changed to studying a new quilt book for a class I’m taking next week while I iced my back.
  • Monday I worked some more on my Fortune Cookie Fortune series and iced my back again. I’ll post a tutorial next Tuesday about my challenges printing on fabric.
  • Tuesday I worked on the design wall with my Bow Ties and iced my back some more. Here’s where I’m at:

I’m trying something I learned from Alex Anderson on http://www.thequiltshow.com about creating an implied boarder. I think my “white/black” triangle insets are losing the zig zag pattern. It needs more sameness to create the flow I’m looking for as the triangles zig and zag between the bow tie blocks.

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Okay, It’s starting to look better. The best things I’ve done so far are to put everything on the design wall and take pictures. All of the areas that glare at me from the small photos look just fine on the wall.  I think my biggest challenge is my small pile of “white/black” fabrics. I guess its back to the quilt stores to buy some more fat quarters.

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  • Wednesday was my guild meeting. As program chair, I invited Bill Volckening www.billvolckening.com  to come speak about his New York Beauties. Wow! Check out his website. He brought several tubs of quilts covering the last 150 plus years and everyone was stunning. One of the things Bill pointed out that I found surprising had to do with the skilled execution of each quilt. All of the older quilts were not perfect in their piecing. The points weren’t pointy, and seams didn’t match. The newest quilts were pieced with precision. While both sets of quilts were beautiful, he noted that the newer perfectly pieced quilts looked flat next to the older less perfect quilts. This got me thinking about all of the time and effort I put into my piecing, quilting and finishing. I struggle at times to create the design in my head so every seam is straight and true, every fabric is perfectly placed (note the photos above) and then fear the quilting will ruin the top. In the end my quilts have a story to tell beyond the perfect and not so perfect sewing. I just need to remember when I’m at the sewing machine deciding if I need to rip out that last seam or not, will it really matter to the story if the points don’t match.

DaGMT

I Susan (a.k.a. nimbletheedle) who believes she can use up all of her fabric in her life time (I plan to live to 252 years old) am joining Quilting Hottie Haven’s third annual DaGMT (Drop and Give Me Twenty) event and pledge to quilt for at least 20 minutes every day of the month of February, 2014. This will help me FINISH the projects that are out for all to see in my living room, dining room and kitchen (really this is my work space) giving my husband a place to sit without moving something out of the way, and maybe a new space to put the ironing board so it won’t be used for a staging area and drop off point at the top of the stairs. It is also my hope that the other hotties joining DaGMT will hold me to account to my commitment least they find me buried under an avalanche of blocks, scrap fabrics, bags, boxes and totes of unfinished dreams and promises. I also want to thank quiltingpiecebypiece who I found while stumbling around http://wordpress.com , which led me to www.evapaigequiltdesigns.blogspot.com and her brilliant concept DaGMT.

So let the games begin. Here’s what’s on my design wall right now.Image