Sunday, November 11
2B or not 2B or transferring patterns with a pencil
Regularly I get questions about how I transfer my embroidery patterns to fabric. For a long time I mostly answered it with 'a water soluble marker'. However recently I had noticed that some of my embroidery work had yellow-y stains. I wasn't sure what caused it until I read this blogpost on Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread blog. So while it isn't 100% proven that the blue water soluble markers caused the stains on my embroidery work I am definitely more cautious about using them.
I mentioned this on my Facebook page and Judith (a very talented stitcher, check her work here) suggested using a 2B pencil instead. Now the wonderful thing about the blue markers was that I could change a design halfway a project and wash away the lines (or so I thought) so I thought I'd do a little 2B experiment to convince myself this ordinary grey pencil could do the trick too. I have also read that some people use a HB pencil for tracing which is a slightly 'harder' pencil. The higher the 'H' number a pencil has (9H for example) the lighter the mark. High 'B' numbers are soft pencils which give dark (black) marks. An HB pencil is right in the middle.
I traced the little envelope (it's from this pattern sheet) by sticking the pattern to the window, putting the fabric on top and tracing the pattern onto the fabric with the 2B pencil (photo on the left). After that I tried to wash it out by simple rinsing it with water (photo on the right). The traced image is not completely washed out but has faded a lot. After that (not pictured) I used some detergent for hand washing clothes (and water obviously) and the marks seemed even less visible after that.
So...all in all I'm not unhappy with the results. Tracing with a regular pencil has a lot of advantages. Pencils like these are always on hand and the transferred image has fine, delicate yet clearly visible lines. Certainly for designs that you are not planning on changing halfway this is a method of transferring worth trying out!
There's a few other things I wanted to share with you. I started a new (smaller) shading/furry stitching project. And yes I traced it onto the fabric with a 2B pencil as well!
More about this project later this week.
Recently I wrote about the fabulous Illustration Stitch A Long me and Bridgeen are hosting on Flickr soon (starting January 2013). You can grab the button if you are stitching a long with us or want to promote it on your blog.
P.S. Less than one day to enter for the Mostly Ms Marvelous Rabbit Sewing Pattern Giveway!