Saturday, September 18, 2010

Disappearing Blue Pen 22 Years Later

In the late 70's and early 80's a lot of people making their money from presentations to quilt guilds, at symposiums, etc. were saying things like, "There is no history with these disappearing blue markers.  Even if you do wash them out, your quilt could fall apart in 50 years!"
I haven't had 50 years to test those theories.  But now I can show you the results of spraying with water after the marker was in the fabric for 22 years.
You can right click on the photo and open it in a new tab or window to see if you can detect any remaining marker damage.  You might see some tiny spots where the water from my spray bottle skipped an area, but the marks are gone!  I remember a relatively famous quilter (30 years ago, anyway) warning me that the marks would turn brown, and that they just might shred the quilt.  That didn't happen either.

Okay, it hasn't been 50 years--yet.  And I admit that these days I rarely have a reason to use those disappearing blue markers.  And more often than not I just choose not to use them--but, frankly, that's because they used to arrive with a full tank of the ink--these days the tanks are much shorter, are rarely more than two-thirds full, and the price of the markers has escalated by 400-500%.

Still, I feel a whOle lot better about blue disappearing ink pens now.
The flip side is that if you live where there is lots of humidity, the ink would have disappeared in a lot less than 22 years.  (I know that because I marked a lot of my grandma's nursery rhyme designs on blocks for a quilt for Sweet Teen when she was two.  Life became so complicated that the embroidery didn't happen--and the ink is gone.)

Here's a peek at the Circling Swallows block in the same quilt.
I apologize that today's photos leave so much to be desired.  Last night the needle was in the fabric when Sweet Teen phoned and said, "Come and get me, Mom."  So the machine needle is still in the quilt and I just shifted the quilt a bit to get photos.
I'm so glad I decided to make these old blocks into a quilt.  The fact that it's a sampler made it fun to piece into a top, but it's even more of a challenge to decide how to quilt it.  I love the fact that it's giving me the opportunity to try some new quilting ideas in smaller spaces--as well as an opportunity to try variations of designs I've quilted before without committing to an entire quilt.

Yard work needs to come first today, but then I plan to get back to quilting, fabric organizing, and, oh, yes, weekend catch up chores including making more yogurt.  Mmmmmmm.

Happy quiltmaking.........

1 comment:

Dolly said...

Oh, I'm so glad that your experiences with the blue pen have been good. I remember ironing over the marks and them turning brown. And, like you, I remember the 'scare' that they would rot every line of the quilt where they were drawn. Frankly, I've had much more trouble out of chalk, but that's my own fault for buying it at the lumber store instead of the quilt store.....big price difference.....BIG DIFFERENCE, PERIOD--lumber store chalk has grease in it !

That's so neat to see those old blocks with new machine-quilting.......and so funny to see that I just thought that, having been a person who would have thought it blasphemous, practically, to machine-quilt old traditional blocks !

Enjoyed your post, and thought that the pictures were great !

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...