Magic pen

I’ve had a few enquiries recently about the templates that I’m using for my 2023 Intuitive Daily Stitching, and I’m in the process of gathering together some grids and motifs into a new PDF.

Windows for March, circles for April

My linen/cotton cloth is too thick to trace directly from a paper template, so I’ve had to find alternative ways to transfer the lines and marks. I usually use a window as a light box, taping template and cloth to the glass while I transfer the shapes with a pen. I also wondered about using this iron-on transfer pen, which I’ve had for a few months and hadn’t got round to trying.

I tried it on this leaf template – (I’m planning to use this one in October – nice idea, yes? – I’m seeing red and gold falling leaves). Unaccountably, I really didn’t expect the pen to work at all. But look! I did a little squeal. I used the pen to trace around the shape on the blank side (the back of the paper template – if you print on thin paper you can just see the print on the other side of the page), placed the drawing over a scrap of linen and touched an iron (on silk setting) to the paper, and hey presto. Instant, and very easy.

Sulky iron-on transfer pen

The pen says it’s permanent, which I’m assuming means it won’t wash off, and that of course means that I will need to cover the lines with a stitched outline. But since I usually do that anyway, that’s no great problem.

Isn’t it great when a gadget works as it should? Tell me what time/labour-saving sewing tool you like to use.

Author: Karen

Textile and mixed media artist

18 thoughts on “Magic pen”

  1. My cotton fabric is backed with flannel so it is not easy to trace using a light box. But I went over the template lines with a fairly thick black marker and then I could see to trace them. But I like your idea of using the iron on transfer pen. Where did you get those great templates?

    1. A great idea, Norma. I’m making the templates – these are the ones I’m using this year. I’ll bundle them up for the shop at some point.

    1. Ah, frixion pens, of course – I’ve heard of them but haven’t used one yet

    2. Les stylos frixion sont très bien et magiques ! En France nous L’utilisons beaucoup.

  2. I like marking with Fons&Porter mechanical chalk pencil for hand quilting.

  3. I’m a fan of a modern variation on prick-and-pounce … I make pin holes in the outline on paper, put the paper over my cloth and poke a water-erasable pen through each hole … then remove the paper and connect the dots on the cloth with either erasable or permanent pen

    1. that’s exactly how I do mine, Liz – though now I’ve discovered The Pen things might just change a little 🙂

  4. I’ve had so many alarming experiences with design transfer pens and pencils that I’m not sure I’m game to try another variant! (says she, who is currently painting the garden beds of a piece of canvaswork with acrylic paint!)

    1. Haha, that sounds like a lot of fun, and an entirely sensible thing to do 🙂 This is my first adventure with a pen like this and I’m easily impressed, so we’ll see whether it turns out to be something I end up using again…

  5. Hi Karen. I fancy trying some dyeing, of threads and have been collecting avocado stones and onion skins in anticipation(!)………… trouble is I don’t know where to source plain cotton, silk and linen threads. Do you have any suggestions please?
    I’ve started a stitch journal and am really enjoying it so many thanks for that. Such a good idea and so good for the soul.
    Any help with thread search much appreciated. The avocados and the onion skins are beginning to annoy me …….!
    Take care

    1. I think Oliver Twists on etsy still sells undyed threads – maybe try Stef Francis as well? Good luck with your experiments. So glad you’re enjoying your stitching 🙂

  6. Lately I’ve found the Frixion pen invaluable! I can even sketch out a design I want to see, and if I don’t like the look of it just iron it away and start again. Wouldn’t be without one now!

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