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Quilt Marking: Problem removing the blue chalk

by Bonnie
(Hurbertus, WI)

I cannot get the blue chalk off my quilt by spraying with cold water. I even tried to rub it off.

What's the problem?


I'm assuming that you're using the blue powdered chalk that is used in a Pounce Pad.

There are two forms of the chalk that you can use with the Pounce:

  • Ultimate Pounce Powder: This is a powdered version of tailors chalk that you can iron off with either a steam or a dry iron. It comes in white only.

  • Chalk Powder: This comes in either white (plain chalk) or blue (a blue pigment was added to the white chalk). The company strongly recommends pretesting your chalk on the fabrics you'll use. This chalk does not iron off. It either brushes or washes off. The blue will usually need to be washed off.

Since your question is specifically about blue chalk, we know that this type can be removed either by brushing or washing. Neither of which has worked for you.

While I couldn't find specific washing instructions on the manufacturer's web site, I was able to track down a response from Hancy Mfg., the creator of the Pounce Pad, to a quilter who had the same problem as yourself.

The manufacturer suggested blotting the marks with a clean white cloth and a solution of half white vinegar and half water. The person using this suggestion reported back that as she was wetting the quilt, it didn't look like it was working. However, once the quilt had dried, the marks were gone.

found several quilters who have had the same good result with this.

The prudent thing would be to test this on just a small portion of your quilt so as not to make the problem any worse if it doesn't work for you.

One of the best tips I can offer if you will be marking a machine quilting pattern directly on your quilt top is this...

Create a small quilt sandwich from the scraps leftover from cutting out your quilt's pieces. Use the marking tool or tools you plan to use and draw some lines on this sandwich, do a little stitching on these lines and then put it aside.

When you are finished piecing/appliqueing your quilt top, go back to that quilt sandwich and remove the markings according to the manufacturer's directions. Assess how well it worked. Make changes to your quilt marking tool(s) if there's a problem removing the marks.

Why bother with this extra work?

Quilt markings remain in a quilt top for as long as it takes to quilt the quilt. Sometimes it takes awhile, I know it does for me. Starting this sample sandwich at the beginning gives those marks some time to age, to mimic the situation you'll have when you quilt this quilt. You'll need this sandwich, anyway, to test your threads and tension settings before you quilt. Why not make it do double duty and save yourself from a headache later on.

I wish you luck in the removal of those pesky, irritating marks. Please let us know of your results.


Julie Baird

Comments for Quilt Marking: Problem removing the blue chalk

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blue chalk issue
by: Karen

I was panicked about removing the blue 'pounce chalk' from a holiday gift I'm just finishing!! Just read your article and the white vinegar/water worked using a (new) toothbrush. THANK YOU for your assistance in saving the gift!

How I removed blue chalk from my quilt.
by: Nancy

I used a blue chalk pen to mark a quilt. I could not get it out. One person told me to use a stiff toothbrush and brush out the chalk. This did not work the quilt had sat for a few years. I even tried using Clorox wet wipes. This did help lighten the color. I had to keep rubbing and it took a long time. I was afraid I was not going to get all the blue colors out.

I did a search on the internet and found one solution that was one part water and one part white vinegar. It said the person who had used this method had wet down the quilt and it looked like the blue chalk was not going to leave the quilt. When she came back after the quilt had dried the color was going. I tried this and it helped to lighten the color, but did not remove it.

My final attempt was to use Resolve Triple Oxi Advanced Carpet Stain Remover. I put the nozzle close to the fabric and got the cleaner to foam up. I then used a toothbrush rubbing vigorously. I then used a clean white cloth and dabbed at the blue chalk. I was able to remove all the blue chalk.

I found the blue chalk that had been treated with all the above methods came out easier when I used the Resolve than the spots I only used only the Resolve on.

From the Editor: First, congratulations on persevering and getting the chalk out.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share. I hear from a lot of quilters who have had this same problem. I'm glad to be able to point them to your efforts.



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