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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Creating a stencil

I thought you might be interested in how I made this stencil. This is only one of many ways I get a design from the paper to the quilt top.

I first draw the design on paper with pencil. I can make changes easily by erasing and redrawing.

When I get a final drawing, I trace it onto a piece of clear acetate film. The kind made for computer printers. I get mine from an office supply store.

I trace the design using a dark permanent marker. Sometimes I scan and print the design with the computer printer and black ink. Either way, I want the drawing dark enough that I can see it when the film is on the quilt top. Next I sew on the marked line with my domestic machine. There's no thread in the machine. I'm using the needle to make tiny holes. I use the longest stitch length setting.

As you may know, acetate is slick. I don't want it to slide around when I'm using it so I paste some of this on it. Making sure not to fill up the holes I just made.

Here you can see the rubber cement placement. It's covered in chalk dust after using it for awhile. The rubber cement keeps the stencil from sliding out of place as I wipe across it with a chalk pad. The cement does pick up chalk but this isn't a problem. When it starts to fail at keeping the stencil in place, simply paste on more rubber cement. Just paste over the old stuff because it won't matter. It takes only about 5 minutes to dry to tacky state and I can start using it again.

A close up of the cement in the center area of the stencil.

Don't do as I did and put the cement on the wrong side and use it that way. I made the mistake of using my stencil with the tiny raised dots on the front side and this is what happened. It nearly rubbed the surface of the pad clear off. I had already used the stencil and stitched several already so I didn't want to turn it over. The raised dots should be on the underneath side where they will happily help hold the stencil in place.

When the buildup of rubber cement and chalk start to bug me I simply rub it off with my finger. The cement easily rolls up into little bunches that are tossed away.

I hope this helps get your stencil ideas flowing. Just think of all the possibilites of designs you can create. A word of caution though. Be extremely cautious when using blue chalk. It's very difficult to remove from a top. I don't use blue chalk myself because it once ruined a special quilt. Threw mine away and never replaced it. Some people have mixed 1/4 teaspoon of blue with a whole packet of white and found it still too difficult to remove.

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