I’ve been doing some secret sewing the last couple of days. Nothing I can show right now, but it’s been good for my paper piecing skills, and you’ll see the results soon!
Today, I got back to the Cloths of Heaven quilt. Before I sew on the border round the landscape and do an epic amount of hand lettering on it, I wanted to check how the silver metallic ink would stand up to being handled and washed. So today, I put a sample of the original Faber-Castell Metallic Marker silver ink through the washing machine. Hmmm. Not so very permanent, then. Not at all permanent, in fact. There’s only the faintest ghost of pale pigment left – see Test 1 in the image below.
After a bit of online research, reading of Amazon product reviews, and testing a fairly wild gamble, I have a winner. The pen of choice is the Pentel Paint Marker in silver, an oil-based, pigment-rich marker that has to be handled quite carefully, and stored upright, but which does the job. I washed the sample in pure soap flakes and hand-warm water, cold rinse, and bingo! It survived intact. I also tested a Uniball Signo Gel Pen in silver, which didn’t make it. On top of that, I also tested all three pens with a thin layer of Mod Podge sealer over the top of the lettering, which preserved it poorly in the case of the Faber-Castell and the Uniball, but quite well in the case of the Pentel. However, it also changes the colour of the fabric behind it, dries to a rough surface and stiffens the ‘hand’ of the fabric quite noticeably, so I would not use this option unless it was the only way. I also think it would be unwise to subject the ink to the rough and tumble of a washing machine. That’s OK, this is going to be a fairly delicate piece, and handwashing is something I’d have recommended anyway.
Once the pen was decided, I tested it on the fabric I wanted to use. Sadly, the contrast of silver on green splotched with silvery blobs isn’t quite what I hoped for. It’s OK, but not great. So I tried a different colour, and it works much better. The border around the landscape, which will contain the poem, is going to be blue instead of green. I’ll use the green somewhere else, it’s too lovely to waste. The problem isn’t really apparent in this photo; with the light catching the silver, it disappears quite a lot into the background.
A couple of you have mentioned that I should should do something with all these test pieces, and I’ve taken your advice. I’m also creating the Book of the Quilt (as opposed to Movie!), which contains all my original sketches, notes, test pieces, stitching samples, swatches, etc. I will give it to my niece together with the quilt, so she gets some idea why the thing has taken so long!
More secret sewing tomorrow, and then I can get back to work on the Cloths of Heaven. Can’t wait – I’m loving this project!