Friday, May 24, 2013

A Trick for Precision

As promised in my last post, I wanted to share the method I used to make the "J" monogram and to create such a precise wavy line on the glasses case I made for my mom.

I learned this trick in The Magic of Crazy Quilting: Second Edition by J. Marsha Michler.  (However, I traced my "J" from another source.) 

The book recommends tracing your design onto tracing paper or tissue paper.  I only had colored tissue paper on hand, so I used that.  (Please note, I was extremely careful not to get the tissue paper wet.  Have you ever seen the color leach out of wet tissue paper?  I was worried it would stain the fabric.)

The other key suggestion was the use of a HARD lead pencil.  I found a website stating the higher the number of the lead in a pencil, the harder it is.  So, I used my husband's 4B art pencil.  I also learned that was a HUGE mistake.  Apparently, the larger the number with a "B" after it, the softer the lead.  And the easier it is for the lead to transfer to the thread as it pulls through.  (My clue should have been that it was darker than a #2 pencil.  The harder the lead, the lighter the mark.)

Anyway... I traced the "J" onto the tissue paper and basted it into place on my block.  Next, I embroidered along those lines.  I used DMC #8 Pearl Cotton in white.  (Later, I wished I would have chosen a darker color so it would have stood out more.)

Then, I tore the tissue paper away and carefully removed the pieces that remained.

This left me with a monogram to embellish.  (You may be able to see the top section is a bit dark, due to the pencil lead transferring.)

I loved this method!  (Michler gives more tips in her book and has two fonts of letters.  Did I mention her book was one of the best gifts I have received?!  It was not even on my wish list.  I thank my husband for buying it all the time.)

Knowing I wanted to use this method in the future, I began searching stores and craft stores for hard lead pencils.  (In the U.S., if the # is followed by an "H", the bigger the number, the harder the lead.  It also means the lighter the lines, though...)

In the end, I purchased a 5H pencil from  It arrived just in time to make the wavy line along the lower-left seam on my mom's glasses case.

I also found a set of four decorative rulers I had purchased from Creative Memories years ago.  The wavy one was perfect!

As you can see, the line is very light.  (I wondered if I should have purchased a 4H pencil instead, but this worked.)

Making the monogram, I discovered some of my fabrics were not very forgiving.  It was difficult to smooth out the needle marks from tacking the tissue paper into place.  So, this time, I tried to stick to the seam lines as much as possible.

Using 2 strands of green DMC floss and a stem stitch, I embroidered the wavy line.

After removing the paper, it was ready to embellish!

Did I mention that I love this technique?!  (It gives me SO many ideas for the future.)

On a more personal note, and a bit off subject... It seems by body and food have decided to have a few disagreements, without my consent, of course.  It could be a lot worse, so I am not seeking sympathy.  However, I must say that for the past month, I have been truly grateful for a hobby that allows me to simply sit and stitch.  I have several projects going at once (to stave away boredom.)  As it turns out, being a mysterious woman and a bit of an enigma is not as glamorous as it sounds - lol!  On the bright side, it has allowed me time to complete the two glasses cases shown in my last two posts.  And I hope to share more projects with you soon.

In fact, I am hoping to finally finish my next CQJP 2013 block today.  I have used a few new techniques and ideas with it, and I think I like the results.  Of course, with every new section I work on, I am certain I am about to ruin the block.  Someday, I hope to feel more confident.  At the moment, I am just glad I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

This is the before picture of my CQJP 2013 March block prior to any embellishment.

I am off to finish it up so I can share the transformation with you soon!  Thank you for stopping by.


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