Fixing Accidental White Markings on Quilts

Fixing heat set marking pen marks

Fixing heat set marking pen marks

This post falls into the “oops” category, which is a new class I will be teaching at the AU Machine Quilting Festival in October, 2014.  The oops was a white marking pen, which had been accidentally heat set by a newer quilter.  First, I tried water and other products to remove the marks, however, nothing was working, so I knew then the marks had been heat set.

The fix was actually pretty simple to do.  I pulled out my Inktense pigment pencil set in 3 colors since I was coloring on batik cotton fabric.  I colored right on the fabric, and then blended using fabric medium.  Worked like a charm!  Here is the after photo for comparison:

markingoopsfixWhat looked like a fatal flaw to this quilt became a creative opportunity to fix it.  What would I have done if the marking had been in blue or black pen?  I would have probably made them all equal, then softened the look by judicial use of ribbon, fiber or crystals to make it look intentional.  Having white permanent lines just made the process easier.  Of course, another option is to send back to be redone, too.

One more close-up photo.

markingopps2Now you know what to do if you see this oops on one of your quilts or a customer quilt.  Happy quilting!  Carla

Lyn’s Quilt Finished!

I am finally done with Lyn’s beautiful and colorful modern quilt.  Lyn is one of my quilting friends, who taught me to improve my binding technique, so I wanted to do a nice quilting job for her in return.

Here is the quilt hanging on my dining room table:


For Lyn’s quilt, I wanted to maintain the visual impact of her colorful quilt, yet provide some interesting texture quilting in each colored block area.  I achieved this by using some freehand quilting designs of my own, also using some commercially purchased quilting designs, too, and finally, in some areas, I designed and digitized my own quilting designs , too.


In the image above, feature digitized quilting designs by a variety of designers, including one by Krista Withers in the blue area, this design by Jodi Robinson in the gold area, round pearl sashing in the light blue area by Jessica Schick, and the two designs in the red area are as yet to be identified.  I promise to edit when I find the designers for proper credit.


The photo above shows you a wider view of this quilt.  My eye was drawn to the red space with my sprocket design as it is was “poofing” up in the bottom left hand side, then I realized I had forgotten to stitch-in-th-ditch that block, so the quilt went back on my table to fix.  An easily correctable oops.  My fix makes the seam lay down nicely, as shown in this photo below:

SID example by Carla Barrett

SID example by Carla Barrett


I hope you enjoyed following me as I quilted Lyn’s quilt.  I am happy with the finished quilt, and know Lyn will be, too.  It lays very flat, so I was able to maintain my quilt sandwich tension correctly as well.  This means the quilt should hang very straight.

I have already started my next quilt, a lovely wallhanging for Teddie.  I promise to show you her lovely quilt when I am finished.  Meanwhile, have fun with your quilting projects!  Carla

Open Call for Quilting Mistake Images!

smallestfrogLet’s face it- we are imperfect people who make lots of mistakes in life. After all, if we were perfect, life would be perfectly boring, right?

So I am in the midst of class development for a new machine quilting class I start teaching in the Fall, called “Avoiding The Oops.”  I realized that I need more photos to illustrate some of the common machine quilting issues seen by quilters.  While I can replicate many common errors for class samples, it would be helpful if any readers had a photo to share on this topic.

Hence my “Open Call” for photos showing any type of quilting oops.  I promise you will be fully credited for your photo, if used.  To send me photos, just click on the contact link, above, and I will write you back.  Or, just leave me a comment and I will get back to you.  If I use your image, I promise to send you my helpful and thorough class handout for this class when I am finished.

copyrightbadkittyWriting this class has been fun!  Once you start listing all the various errors that can be made in quilting, you realize, from the growing length of my list, just how easily it can be to make an oops- no matter how experienced you are.

What is a quilting “oops?’  Trust me, you know it when you see it, quilt it, or view it at a quilt show.   Quilt show judge comments are another good source of quilting “issues,” that you may wish to share, too.

Carla Quilting Oops Tip– When I was a brand new quilter, way back a decade ago, one of my first lessons learned the hard way was to clean my machine head thoroughly and frequently as I worked on a quilt.  Why, you might ask?  What went wrong?

I had a client quilt that happened to be very scrappy.  It had only one or two white areas, but in quilting, Murphy’s Law often comes into play.  I knew enough as a new quilter to clean out my bobbin case frequently, and wipe down most surfaces.  I forgot to wipe under the machine head though, right next to the needle, which had a build up of oily lint.  You guessed it, this greasy oily lint decided to float down onto the quilt top, landing on the white space, leaving a mess once you touched it.

How to Fix?  First thing I grabbed was some cornstarch to soak up the oil.  Once dry, I carefully vacumned up the cornstarch, taking care not to stretch the area.  This didn’t work, so next step was some Dawn detergent, carefully applied with a q-tip.  Another failure, so on to grease removal product B, C, D, and E.  All failures.

The solution for this quilt was to remove quilting from the white fabric and surrounding area, then to carefully remove the triangular piecing with the oily stain, and to use this piece to cut a new white fabric piece.  There was no need to offload the quilt from the frame, the fix was completed while the quilt was loaded.

This new clean white fabric piece was carefully sewn back in, making sure the batting also had no oil/grease residue.  Then the space was requilted.  I kept the stained piece to show the client my oops, and then the fix- in the spirit of full disclosure.

The best part is that my fix was flawless!  You could not tell that there had been an oops, or a repair.  I used the same technique to restore the space as taught to me by a quilt restorer friend.  Anyway, I never repeated this oops again.  Plus, I learned to keep my machine head and surrounding area clean and pristine, too!

Thanks in advance for anyone contributing to my Quilting Oops list and photo gallery.  Regards, Carla