Sunday, 17 February 2019

Quilt Stamps

Hello!

Thank you very much to all who linked up to the January Furtling post - I had planned to pop on a few days later to write this post but then my router died and I've had to wait for a new one to be delivered.

In my last post, I mentioned that I got a set of quilt stamps for Christmas and had a few enquiries about them so I thought I'd write a post explaining all about them and where to find them.

I first saw these stamps on Instagram, on Annie's Patch Pix feed in August (she got hers at Festival of Quilts) and had quite a few chats to her about them while I dithered about which set to start off with and which ink pad(s) to buy.  In the end, I decided to get the large Le Moyne Star set because that included a 2" (finished) square and that was the size/shape I thought I'd get most use out of in the initial months - I have plans to sit and stamp my way through my scrap boxes, making postage stamp/nine patch/double nine patch/Irish Chain blocks as well as room in my sewing room (it's a little room with a lot in it). I also bought the small acrylic block to attach the stamps to - the description for each set tells you which size you will need.



Let me first talk about buying the stamps.  If you are in the UK, you need to go to https://www.rinskestevens.co.uk/quilt-stamps-1/ to buy the stamps.  If you are in Canada or the USA, you need to go to https://www.rinskestevens.com/.  Currently, there doesn't seem to be a way for an individual to buy direct if they're in the EU but not in the UK (you can use the .com site for wholesale orders) or anywhere else in the world, but I think some shops are starting to stock them and you can always see if a friend will have them sent to them and then forward them to you. I found the Rinske Stevens staff very helpful when I used their contact page to make an enquiry, so that might also be a way forward if you don't live in the UK/USA/Canada.  They're also on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rinskestevensdesign/ and have featured on Hochanda, so maybe that might work for non-UK EU folks?

I didn't buy the ink recommended on their site, but bought Versacraft fabric ink pads from HandPrinted instead because I'm awkward like that! I bought the white one first but soon realised I needed a second colour and couldn't decide so bought the three which I thought would be most useful and have already used them all.

Versacraft fabric ink pads in (clockwise from top left) Sand, Ash Rose, White, Cool Grey.
The stamps are stored between two plastic sheets in the packaging they come in and you simply peel off the stamp you want and stick it to the acrylic block - no glue or faff involved!  When you've finished with it, wash it (I just run it under a cold tap, but you can use soap if you wish), peel it off and put it back in the packaging once it's dry. It's really easy to swap from one stamp to the next, but I can see that additional acrylic blocks could be useful if you're doing a lot of stamping with several blocks to, say, prep a complex block or several blocks.  As it is, I'm only using the 2" square at the moment.

2" square block on the small acrylic block, ready for use.

I tend to work a lot on my lap rather than at a table (I find sitting at a table very tiring and really can't do it for long without symptoms flaring), so I use a table mat as a sturdy but light surface to work on when I'm stamping.  (Which explains the background in the photo above!)

I realised after ordering the stamp set (Mam found the website confusing as each set doesn't have a separate page so I couldn't just email her the link - in the end, I ordered it myself and had it posted to her house so that she knew the right one was ordered) that it would be perfect for my LV scrappy trip quilt - I had intended to machine piece the quilt (it was supposed to be a quick make *chuckles*  I started the cutting in January 2017.  Quick! *laughs so much it goes silent*)

...where was I?  Oh, yes!  I had intended to machine piece the top so all the 2.5" squares (well over a thousand of them) had been rotary cut and I just couldn't face drawing on all the sewing lines so I could hand piece it, but neither could I sit at the machine for long enough to even make one block a week.  Then it struck me that I could use the 2" square stamp to stamp on the sewing lines and actually get the piecing started.  Hooray!  This is my set up for stamping (usually on my knee, but in this case on a piece of white card so I didn't have to crop out my knees):

Ink pad, stamp, coaster (purpose will become clear) on a table mat.
 Of course, because I'm stamping pre-cut fabric, rather than stamping a bigger piece of fabric and then cutting along the (stamped) cutting lines, I can't stamp in the usual wrong-side-of-the-fabric-facing-up-and-press-the-stamp-onto-it method because I can't see the edges of the fabric clearly enough to line everything up.  Instead, I ink up the stamp and place it ink up on the mat:

I've found that one light press on the ink pad on one half of the square and then the same on the other (it doesn't quite fit on the ink pad) is sufficient to stamp two pieces, but it's all personal taste and practice.

Then I place the fabric square right side up on the stamp, making sure I can feel the ridged edges of the dotted lines on the edges of the fabric:



Place the coaster over the top and give it a quick, firm squash with the flat of my hand.


Then, I remove the coaster and peel off the fabric and check that the dotted cutting lines can be seen either on the edge or close to the edge on all four sides of the square.  As I am hand piecing, I will be matching up the sewing lines, not the raw edges or the dotted lines, so that smidge of fabric round the edge will remain there.  (Unless, as in the case of the medium and dark solid aqua fabrics, they will shadow through - those get trimmed to the cutting line before being pieced.)


As you can see, it is a very fine line, but is visible enough to see in artificial light.  I found the white ink to be fine in daylight, but as soon as that faded or it failed to arrive (it is, after all Britain in the winter) and I had to rely on artificial light, I had problems seeing it on the very light fabrics.


It does slightly show through to the front, but no more than a pencil line does, which is what I've been using for years.  And once they're pieced together, that line falls in the ditch and can no longer be seen:

Sewn ink lines are in the ditch and can't be seen, in contrast to the unsewn lines which can still be seen at the top and bottom of the pieces.

Sometimes, I don't always get the fabric lined up quite right on the stamp (usually once or twice for each block - a fail rate of one or two out of forty-nine isn't too bad, I don't think!) and this is where the other colours come in handy.  I wish I could say that I did this deliberately to create a teaching point but...


The sewing line is too light on the left-hand side (which could be worked around as I could just sew with the adjoining piece uppermost) and is too close to the edge because the cutting line can't be seen at all.  (You may be wondering why, on a 2.5" square, there is any leeway at all in the placement of the stamp.  It's because the measurement between the sewing line and the cutting line is a scant quarter inch, so the whole stamp (from cutting line to cutting line) actually measures around 2 7/16ths. This is because, as I've said before, hand piecing lines up the sewing lines, not the cutting lines/raw edges and so the unfinished size of the piece doesn't matter as long as there's a decent seam allowance along all the edges.)

Getting back to my point, if I re-stamped this with the same colour, I wouldn't know which line was which without measuring, but, if I re-stamp with a different colour, I'll immediately be able to tell which one to follow and which to ignore.  I ink the stamp with a different colour and then follow the same procedure as before, but with a bit of extra care when feeling the ridges round the edges and this is the result:

The grey ink (or more white ink on the stamp) would probably have been a better choice, in hindsight, but this is fine for me.
As the lines are so close together, I don't need to worry about the first line showing through on the front, which is another reason to be slightly mean with the ink rather than slightly too generous.

I hope this has helped answer your questions, but please let me know if you have any more queries and I'll do my best to help - I'll also answer them in the comments as well as by email, so that they're visible to everyone reading this post and the comments.


Mini Archie and his chums are very, very busy (I've barely seen them!) on a top-secret mission to escort a VIP to his new home, but found time to pop home for a group photo and to berate me for not finishing loads of things while the internet was down:

I finked you'd have doned thiiiiiis much work while you wasn't distracted by the internet but you hasn't.  I is verrry disappointed in you, BC. 

Thanks for popping in!  

P.S.  (Don't forget that there'll be another Furtling link up at the end of the month - if you want to start writing your post, the code for the Furtling button is always available on the Furtling page - shout if you need a hand getting it into your blog post!)

9 comments:

  1. Very useful information as it's something I've thought about trying, thanks very much x

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  2. What a great Turorial Helen! I hope this gadget helps you get your quilt made.

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  3. Thank you, I used to stamp when making cards so still have bases to stick the stamp on and inks. I never knew this kind of stamps existed, my hands are not too good at times so I think this could be useful. I am in uk too so will check this out. Just this once as no reply. gwen116@gmail.com

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  4. Interesting. I might try this.:) Looking forward to quilt updates!
    Give Mini-Archie a teacake ... it will keep him happy for a while.

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  7. These are such a great idea - marking up fabric can take such a long time. I might even be able to delegate this to the kids?! Thanks for the tutorial x

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  8. That’s a great gadget - and a super lesson in how to use it!

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  9. Such an interesting post, Helen. Can I ask why you chose to buy the ink elsewhere - is there a difference between the two types of ink that makes this a good thing to do if I were to buy some? Or was it just a truly random act of awkwardness? x

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