Friday, September 9, 2011

Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel Pen

My friend Joyce Mullis told me about FriXion Erasable Gel Pens by Pilot some time ago, but I only recently got some and tried them out. WOW! These pens use a new type of ink technology that is really interesting.

They are called FriXion (pronounced “friction”) because the ink can be erased using friction. On paper, you simply use the end of the pen, which has a gray plastic nub, rather than an eraser, to rub out the ink. The eraser completely and easily removes the ink. Unlike regular erasers, they don’t sand away the surface of the paper when they are removing the ink, so the paper is not damaged at all. And the gel ink is very smooth and leaves a nice clean, dark line.

As if this isn’t wonderful enough, the pens also have the added advantage of having ink that disappears when it is exposed to heat in excess of 140 degrees F. Because they are gel pens, they write very smoothly on fabric, leaving a very dark line. Here’s how the royal blue one looks on white fabric when I signed my name, using normal pressure:

Iron the fabric, and the ink disappears, very quickly, and very completely, like magic!

Now here’s where it gets interesting. When I first heard about these pens, I thought, “Cool! There are all sorts of applications for quilting and fiber art here. I can trace applique shapes with these pens, and after I’ve stitched, I’ll just iron them and the ink will disappear. Or I could mark lines for embroidery!” Well… no. If you put the fabric in the freezer, below 14 degrees F, in a few seconds, the ink is back! So the heat doesn’t actually remove the ink, it just makes it transparent.

So now the wheels in my head are turning again on how I could use these nifty pens on fabric. My first idea is to do my quilt labels with them. You know how you have to cover up your labels when you turn in your quilts for a show, so the judge can’t see your name? Before the show, you could just iron the labels to make them invisible, and when they come home, you could chill them (maybe by sitting that part of the quilt on an ice pack) and the type would be back! 

The only problem would be if you lived in Minnesota and the quilt show was in the winter, and your quilts were transported from the drop-off location to the judging location in a car in frigid weather. Hmmmm.... wheels are still turning. Ideas, anyone?

Right now, FriXion Erasable Gel Pens only come in the colors shown above: purple, blue, orange, pink, red and black. There are also FriXion highlighters in orange, red and yellow.

My second piece for Meadowood Stitched

Okay, I know I'm cutting it close. There are just three weeks until the opening of Meadowood Stitched, the exhibition by the members of Fiber Art Options at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. I have finished one piece, and have just started the second. Well not really, part of it has been done for years. I think I made this butterfly about five years ago. It is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. 

Clarification: The photo above is of a three-dimensional butterfly made from fabric and thread, positioned on impatiens. (I remember sending this photo to my mom, and she thought it was a real butterfly, until I pointed out the scale, and told her, “If you saw a butterfly this big on your impatiens, you’d be running for your life!” But I was really pleased that it looked that realistic to her.)

My idea is to position this three-dimensional butterfly on a painted background, soaring up into a bright blue sky, with grass at the bottom. Something like this grass:

I took this photo at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden’s meadow area that they are calling Meadowood, which will officially open this fall. This afternoon, I started the piece I am planning by tracing this grass:

It is going to be about 24" x 36". I am going to have to “hustle my bustle” to complete this piece by the deadline. But hey, I love deadlines! Stay tuned.