Have Your Say

10th June 2022

Transferring Designs – Your Responses

We spent the last few issues of All Stitched Up! addressing the problem of transferring embroidery designs. We only scratched the surface of the issue, so we were gratified to receive some wonderful thoughts and ideas from our readers on how they tackle this. The articles also raised a few more questions and prompted a few people to want to try some of the suggestions, so we feel it has been a success all around.

Several people wanted to share some advice on Frixion pens and responded to our question asking why you’d want to freeze your embroidery. Alison Tolhurst was taught by her mother that if natural fabric has stubborn creases that won’t iron out, dampen the fabric and then place it in the freezer until frozen.

If you then re-iron, the creases will come out and, although your Frixion pen lines will reappear, the second ironing will remove them.

Glenda told us that one very good reason for putting your needlework in the freezer is to get rid of bedbugs! Although hot water and a hot cycle in the dryer usually takes care of them, this isn’t suitable for everything, especially your delicate embroidery. Glenda puts these pieces in the freezer for a week or so, which does the trick.

Lorraine Knox told us she knows of someone who transported their quilts to a quilt show in the aeroplane hold, only to discover on landing that all the lines made using a Frixion pen had reappeared! We can imagine there was quite a bit of last-minute ironing going on. 

She also told us that a friend had used a Frixion pen to write an address on a parcel, which was then left in the car in the sun for a while. Her friend returned to discover the address had completely disappeared!

Line McBride now loves Frixion pens, but before she discovered them, she used to use a 2B lead pencil. Because the lead is softer than a regular HB pencil, she never had any problem removing the marks. She would use a soft toothbrush, cold water and a bit of detergent and they’d easily disappear.  

Line did agree with us about exercising a bit of caution with Frixion pens as she has discovered some of the pen colours, especially the darker ones, can leave a mark even after you’ve used heat. This just confirms the importance of testing any pen on a corner of your fabric before you start, just to ensure it can be adequately removed.

In relation to using a lightbox, we also had several ideas sent in. Bridget O’Brien admitted that she doesn’t have a lightbox and finds it very tiring trying to draw up against a window. Her solution has been to use the plexiglass tray that is attached to her sewing machine. She tapes her fabric and pattern to the tray and with a bright LED light underneath, she has her own, homemade lightbox to use.

Ann has also found a way around having a lightbox. She removed the drop-in seat from a dining chair and placed a piece of Perspex over it. With an Anglepoise lamp underneath, Ann could transfer designs kneeling in front of the chair.

She admits that this was a while ago – she doesn’t think she could kneel for that length of time now!

Ann also told us she has used all three types of erasable pens, although she discovered that the marks from the air soluble pens usually disappear long before she is ready! She loves Frixion pens and, when she first discovered them, would use them to transfer pattern markings from dressmaking patterns. However, she learnt the hard way to only iron a seam or dart that had already been sewn, not the whole piece. It only took her a couple of frustrating sessions of losing all her carefully drawn marks before she got into the habit.

We’ve had plenty more responses to the series that we will share in coming weeks, but it is never too late to get involved in the conversation, so don’t hesitate to write in.

Now, a little bit of sad news. Many of you may remember Peggy Kimble from Canada, a wonderful lady and talented stitcher who was a frequent contributor to All Stitched Up! She would regularly send us a story about what she was doing for World Embroidery Day and we always enjoyed hearing from her.

Peggy Kimble in ASU #174

Friends of Peggy informed us that she passed away in April. She had recently celebrated her 99th birthday in December 2021. Peggy was an inspiration to everyone who was fortunate enough to meet her and she will be sadly missed.

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