This is part 2 of the La Passacaglia quilt project.
For the La Passacaglia quilt, I am using the Inklingo system to cut out the hundreds and hundreds of tiny pieces.
From the Inklingo website:
Inklingo Shape Collections are big PDF files which open with Adobe Reader, so you can print pages of shapes on fabric. Fabric goes through the printer just like paper when it is ironed to freezer paper.
La Passacaglia uses 5 shapes for the entire quilt: a large diamond, a narrow diamond, a large hexagon, a small hexagon, and a very small triangle. None of these shapes are particularly easy to cut out like squares and rectangles found in other quilt patterns are. Inkingo prints the shape outlines and the seam lines on the wrong side of the fabric. This makes it easy to cut around the shapes with a rotary cutter and then stitch a running stitch along the seam lines.
The first step is to cut freezer paper to the appropriate size. Each shape is tiled on a large PDF page that is larger in both directions than my printer will handle. You then use custom page sizes in the print settings to print just a portion of the page based on the number of shapes you need. This is pretty easy after watching the tutorials and reading the documentation that comes with Inklingo. The PDFs of shapes come in a number of different colors so you can pick just the right color to show up on the wrong side of the fabric without showing through.
First attempt: Reynolds Freezer Paper
For the first attempt at printing shapes on my fabric, I bought a large roll of Reynold Freezer Paper at Wal-Mart. I set up with my cutting mat, an ironing board, my printer, and laptop.
Inklingo suggests printing their test sheet first on a small piece of muslin. The test sheet has a small sample of each possible color so you can determine which ink colors from your printer don’t wash out well. I had some basic natural colored cotton so I cut a 5 inch by 6 inch piece of cotton and a matching piece of freezer paper, ironed the two together, and then printed the test sheet. Even before I ran it through the printer, I noticed the edges wanted to curl. I gave it a final pass with the iron before printing. While it did print successfully, the edges curled very quickly sitting on the table. However, I didn’t think much of it because it printed fine.
After a successful test print with the color samples, I began cutting freezer paper and fabric to the appropriate sizes for the shapes I wanted to print. These ‘real’ prints were not so successful. Especially on the larger sheets, the corners and edges curled too much too quickly and caused the fabric to fold over inside the printer. While it didn’t tend to cause jams, it did screw up at least a few shapes on the edge of the sheets.
I tried everything. I tried ironing longer. I tried setting up the computer and printer for the print, giving a last pass with the ironing and as quickly as possible shoving the fabric in the printer and hitting go. But no matter what, I got folds in the trailing end of the fabric as it curled while first half or so of the page was printed.
This just wasn’t working.
Second attempt: C Jenkins Freezer Paper Sheets
After some googling, I found suggestions of using heavier freezer paper. While I couldn’t find heavy duty freezer paper at any local stores, I found a few options on Amazon. As the most economical (at least in initial investment), I decided to try C Jenkins Freezer Paper Sheets.
It comes in 8.5″ x 11″ and 12″ x 15″ sheets. I ordered the 12 x 15 sheets because frequently the custom page sizes recommended by Inklingo extend beyond the 11″ of letter size paper. I also thought the sheets would be better than a roll because the sheets are already flat and curl free. When the paper arrived, the first thing I noticed is that it is much thicker than the Reynold’s freezer paper.
My first test was completely successful, even with a sheet 14 inches long. After that, I printed about a dozen more sheets with only a single error. I had one page jam in the printer, but I was able to extract it from the printer, re-iron, and print again.
Now the most challenging part of printing my shapes is determining which ink color to use. I seem to have a tendency to pick a color that is a bit too light and difficult to see.
Inklingo has definitely made the process of cutting out the hundreds of pieces for the La Passacaglia quilt pretty easy.