Using Inks and Glues and Fusibles

Waiting in the doctor’s office gives a Mom plenty of time to stitch. I set out to make a block a day in 2017, but most days – even non-waiting room days – have been Lay’s Potato Chip Days when I couldn’t make just one block.

I have 28 blocks to show for the first 12 days of January . . . and none of them will up our block count. Why? Because these blocks for The 70273 Project (and more still to come) will be used to replace blocks that have already been counted and now need to be replaced because the ink used to draw the X’s has changed from red to purple and orange.

So I thought we’d talk a bit today about which markers to use when you’re drawing the X’s. The only markers I’ve used are Sharpies, and they have been good. I only used them at a World War II event last spring when there simply wasn’t time or space for people to sew. I had red Sharpies available in all tip widths, and there was no halo effect, and the color hasn’t faded. (Of course it hasn’t been a year yet.) I read on an art group forum that Posco pens perform well, too. Sharpies are easy to find in office supply stores, craft stores, and discount stores. Or, feel free to click on the item(s) of your choice below to shop from The 70273 Project Smile.Amazon Shop. It doesn’t cost you a penny more,  and a tiny portion of your purchase price go in our coffers.
Big Chunky Chisel Top Markers, Red, Package of 12
Fine Point, Red, Package of 12

On the Don’t Use List are IdentiPens which are reported to have faded drastically, despite the quilt being displayed in a dark room.

At Thomaston last Monday, we glued the X’s down because that was more time efficient and because arthritic hands can often glue when they can’t stitch. I’ve auditioned several brands, looking for glues that are easily spread and remain flexible when dry. The glues that make my A List are:
Dritz Liquid Stitch (bottle)
Dritz Liquid Stitch (tube)
Aleene’s Permanent Fabric Glue
Aleene’s OK To Wash It Glue
Aleene’s Fabric Fusion.
You can easily find these in craft and fabric stores, or you can click on the links presented here or in the sidebar, order from Smile.Amazon, and support The 70273 Project.

You might also want to fuse your red X’s to the base. If so, I recommend Steam-A-Seam 2. It can be purchased as follows, according to what size you want your X’s to be:
1/4″ x 40 yard roll
1/2″ x 20 yard roll
9″ x 12″ sheets / 5 sheets to a package

When making blocks, keep in mind that these quilts will be traveling the world for decades to come – repeatedly being folded and unfolded – and attach the red X’s in ways that have staying power. And hey, thanks for continuing to make blocks and commemorate The 70273.


  1. Kevan Lunney

    I have used Pellon Wonder Under for years. By the bolt full. It adheres well with an iron, but I still stitch it down. Over time the corners and edges lift. I would never trust it to last, especially after washing without a stitch. The heat of a dryer will loosen it. As my the heat of storage or transport. A friend and well known art quilter uses Steam a Seam 2 for her silk quilts and uses it under sheer fabrics because it is a light weight and adheres to the silk before it is ironed on. She stitches it down. Always. I would never use a marker unless it was a dedicated fabric marker and heat set, and tested for fading. Use products made for fabrics like silk screen paint or fabric paints. My experience with shipping quilt collections to shows in a cost effective and compact manner is to lay them out overlapping on a long strip of muslin and roll it up around a pool noodle for support. It then gets tied to keep it rolled and put in a plastic cover then a duffle bag with wheels. This may sit in a hot truck and inks and markers may shift and bleed. For all the effort, you want to use good materials. No one will be repairing and ironing before a show.

    • whollyjeanne

      Thank you, Kevan, for this good and useful information! A follow-up question: could you say more about the plastic cover you use (kitchen wrap? dry cleaner bags?painter’s drop cloth plastic?) and the duffel bag with wheels – will you tell me more about that? Thank you SO much for this.

  2. Lori East

    Another fusible that I use almost exclusively, especially when working with vintage pieces is MistyFuse UV. Why UV? It is somehow treated to prevent the yellowing that can sometimes occur with other fusibles. It tends to be a bit more spendy than Steam-a-Seam2, though, and has no paper backing, so is definitely harder to use. Does not change the hand of the fabric at all, though. Just another option.

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Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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