Thursday, November 13, 2014

Home For the Holidays…NOT!

Yesterday I finished prepping the Primitive Gatherings’ ‘Home For the Holidays’ wool blocks.  They will provide me with lots of hand stitching to do while traveling South to the Palm Springs area NEXT month!


I thought that you might like to see how a poor soul transfers a pattern when they don’t own a light box…:o( Yes, poor me!

You improvise……

I take my sewing machine table top…the one that clips onto my sewing machine and slip a book under each leg to raise the height of the table…


This is so that I can open up my Ottlite and slide the light under the table…(I know… not a great pic but you get the idea!)  I bought a Tap Light for this purpose but found it doesn’t have enough juice to illuminate through the thick paper.. but the Ott is way more powerful!


Now I can see the whole outline of the printing and angel…OK not a very clear picture but again, you get the idea.  Trust me, in real life I can see the angel and the printing.


If you are a regular reader than you saw me prep the wool applique motifs HERE.  They have been glued together and I can handle them without having them fall apart. 


Remember I am going to be working with these in our truck and can’t have them falling apart, so a wee dab will do …Roxanne’s Glue to the rescue!  (I make sure to dab where I won’t be stitching, so I am careful not to go too close to the edges!)


The Ottlite worked so well that I could see through the wool to mark off my stitching lines on the wool candy canes!  SWEET!


I ended up using two different pens…only because the Micron 01 was running out of ink.  The Sharpie fine tipped pen worked great…maybe even better and it’s a lot cheaper than the Micron.  Both are permanent ink pens so you have to be careful.  They leave a nice, very fine line that will get covered with the Valdani threads.


See nice and clear and easy to see!


I don’t use the Fixion Pilot Pens because I don’t want the ink to disappear accidently (it’s happened) and I find the stitching line is thicker.


So there you have…all ready to roll!!  Now remember, I am NO EXPERT!  Your way is probably WAY better, easier, faster, cheaper, neater…etc…so please SHARE with us how YOU do it!  We are always open to suggestions and improvements!


Ohhh…I am loving these blocks!  They are now safely tucked into a plastic tote, along with matching threads, needles and scissors…all ready for their adventures south!  Can’t wait to get stitching…

Have a thrilling Thursday and Happy Stitching!~P


  1. *LOL* I do the same thing with my acrylic table and Ott-lite (minus the books--my table must sit higher than yours).
    There are so many different ways to prep wool for applique. I've had formal instruction in two methods (from Lisa Bongean and Kim Diehl, actually), but I tend to do it my own way. Your system seems very efficient. I may have to try it. : )

  2. I think your way of doing the transfer is great.....I have a light box and the surface is much smaller than what you are using....funny story my friend was working on a project in their car driving on the freeway and the window was opened just a crack and some wind caught her fabric and out the window it went.....her husband would have stopped and looked for it, but she had an extra piece so they just kept driving.....

  3. I forgot to ask my question to everyone.....why does everyone love fixion pens they take the color out of the fabric.....and while I was at the Houstion quilt show....I heard someone saying that they have bleach in them......I don't know if that is true, but if so that poses another problem to the fabric.....

  4. My sewing chair [for hand sewing] has two wooden arms, and I lay a piece of plexiglass across them, and put my little led light on the floor by my feet - and that's my custom light box, lol!!! Whatever works is good! Love all your blocks, hon!

  5. Sew ingenious! You are leaving a little later this year for warmer weather. Hope you don't hit too much bad weather on your drive.

  6. That is going to be such a cute wall hanging. I love it! I've tried several different methods for wool applique and found I like using a fusible the best. I tried the glue method once and had glue everywhere! I have since found the glue bottles with the tiny applicator tip. I recently took a class from Lynda Hall (Primitive Pieces by Lynda) and she doesn't glue or pin her applique down at all, just places it and sews! I tired that on a small wall hanging and it worked but I'm not sure it would work well while traveling. Can't wait to see your finished piece.

  7. I have been doing my wool with a fusible but I am going to try your method. I think the wool won't be stiff and my needle won't gum up. Love your idea for the light table. You are so inventive!
    Someone mentioned the "Frixion" pens. They do bleach out fabric. I now only use them for embroidery. Only problem I have with them is remember to stabilize my fabric before I trace the pattern. Had this happen only once so far. LOL!

  8. Great Project for your road trip! Enjoyed reading about how you prepped it.

  9. Somewhere in blog land a few years ago I saw someone suggest using a clear plastic tote box along with one of the fluorescent stick up lights that you can buy as a light box.

    The idea is to turn the plastic tote upside down and place the light inside to have a raised surface and then you store the light inside with other things when it I use. I had a small acrylics sewing table and bought one of the lights but then there is the issue of the machine cut out I went to the local home improvement store and bout a piece of plexiglass and just lay it onto op my sewing table. It is idea because it is about 18" x 24" and I can tape my image and move it around to trace the images.

    Something to consider while on California this weekend is use a coupon at Michael's or Joann's and buy s light table!

  10. I love those blocks too! I have a light box - bought it at Hobby Lobby with a coupon - and it's wonderful. But there's really no good way to transfer a pattern onto dark wool unless I use fusible or freezer paper. I think I do something different on every wool piece I prep! blessings, marlene

  11. I used to use a glass table or a window, but easier with a light box. Though, somethings do not fit on it, like larger stitchery patterns, so i use my door window.


  12. I am loving your blocks, re transferring I do have a light box but usually pin the design onto the window then the fabric and that works well providing it is not dark of course!

  13. You are ready to go! Happy holidays in the desert! Lovely here now. And clever light box.

  14. Thank you for the great tutorial. Pigma Pens and Ultra Fine (Permanent) Sharpies are also my best friends.

  15. I use my table surround as well! You are all set to ride shot gun, keep head down and stitch! Really like this project. Need to pull out some projects and get busy myself! Big day will be here before we know it!

  16. I have a light table but have thought I would like one with a built-in light instead of having to slide my Ott folding lamp under it. But then, I would rather spend the money on fabric. You have improvised well and I have one of those sewing tables you are using. Would give me a larger tracing surface.