Desiderata: A Do Over!
Or Always Have Plan B in Mind

Lynn Schoeffler 2012

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After one more look at my Desiderata canvas for my nephew's wedding, I realized what was bothering me: I had paraphrased the second verse to read "Remember, you are a child of the universe...," and it began to jump out at me that "remember" was repeated in both verses. I was also beginning to think about the durability of the piece since it was computer-printed on silk, and then stapled with the heavy duty staples that were the only ones available in the garage at the time....

Deciding I had time for a re-do, I cut a piece of Cotton Sateen fabric, ironed and then taped the extra fabric I needed to the back side of the carrier paper (CQMagOnline, July): The problems began here! Although I had done a couple of pieces like this and had them print satisfactorily, the simplicity of the design and the dark navy blue of my image completely foiled me by showing white lines on the printed image where the heavier fabric edge was taped to the back side of the carrier paper. I saw little or none of this on my previous tries.

Thanks to Smoko, Deviant Art for heart image

It was time for Plan B, and what a can of worms it turned out to be. My next best option seemed to be some kind of image transfer sheet. I had on hand a package of Lazertran Silk for laser printers; I thought it might work on the very smooth Sateen. Three cracked and unacceptable prints later, I thought that perhaps the Lazertran was too old; I had seen suggestions in my research that this sometimes happens. So I purchased Lazertran Waterslide Decal Paper for laser printers, only to have the package instructions state that this type of transfer can only be used with photocopiers and laser printers that use Fuser oil; not evident at the website I purchased from. Again, information on-line suggests that machines that use Fuser oil are pretty outmoded. However, I thought I would check with my local Kinko's Print Center: no, they couldn't remember ever seeing a laser printer that used Fuser oil, nor could any of the other print centers I checked with. Kinko's did sell Avery Image Transfer Sheets--the kind used for T-shirts. Getting a little desperate now, I purchased those, knowing that they only worked with ink-jet printers. Guess what? Kinko's sells supplies for ink-jet printers, but they don't print with them.

At this point, my husband leaped heroically into the fray, and managed to get my under-loved little ink-jet printer to finally admit that it would print something if the back-side cover was correctly (and intricately) positioned. Of course, it was thirsty and would need new ink cartridges first. One more trip into town.

After all that, an image was made and transferred to the fabric, and it looked pretty good. And, fortunately, I remembered to reverse the image in the nick of time, because the image transfer is ironed face down onto the fabric. Instructions for the Avery sheets state that the fabric will get softer with washing and drying. That's true, but the image changed color slightly, taking on a greenish tinge.

Reversed Text

My artist friend, Chris, suggested another ink-jet transfer she'd heard about: T.A.P or Transfer Artist Paper, developed by Lesley Riley. A special on-line deal at Daniel Smith got me five sheets of transfer paper and Lesley's book about how to transfer images to just about anything.

After three tries at an acceptable print, I must admit to being seriously under-whelmed by this product. The ink of the first print did not adhere to the fabric at all. I checked everything again, and noticed that somehow the iron setting had gotten lowered to the cotton setting; T.A.P. instructions call for the hottest linen setting your iron has--my bad! The second print had a weird hard line mid-way through the image. I geared up very carefully one more time; this time the ink did not adhere very well down the center of the image, and there was a streak along the bottom where the ink also didn't adhere, even though I was extremely careful with the edges of the transfer. While I could appreciate the vintage feel of the T.A.P. transfers, I wanted the verse to print clearly and consistently.

Although I had expected that the T.A.P. paper would have a less "rubbery" hand than the Avery product, this wasn't true; they both felt about the same. Transfers do have the advantage of being washable and fairly durable. However, you must also consider the size of image you need. Generally, for crazy quilting, you'd be working with images not much bigger than a small photo. For economy's sake, you would need to have enough images to fill at least a half sheet of transfer paper. I found that both my printers would feed half sheets; test your printer first.

 Image Before Transfer

Finally, after my temper had gone where the dead crabs go*, I achieved a sharp, crisp image the second time around with the Avery transfer--I just didn't wash it to maintain the midnight blue color. Much to my dismay, when I started to stitch on this transfer, it began to crack. Thinking that I might seal the cracked spot back together, I put a pressing cloth over it and touched it with the point of a warm iron. You see the results.

I figured I had patience for one more try, and again, the Avery transfer was crisp and clear. Holding my breath I began to pin my fabric patches to it. So far, so good. In the end I managed to sew all the elements on without any problems.

All learning experiences help you grow, they say. This one certainly did, because I consumed at least a pound of dark chocolate in the process. I have to admit, "I did not go placidly".

*Kotick, the White Seal, The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling.


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