Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Inklingo Investigation

Today is a snow day in eastern North Carolina...and even yuckier than that, it's more an ice-and-sleet day. So, since I am home bound, I decided to experiment with Inklingo ( ), a new method that I learned about from Quiltville's Bonnie Hunter ( ).

Bonnie Hunter designed and released a mystery quilt "Celtic Solstice" on her blog in November-December 2013, but I was simply too busy to participate during the holiday season. So I lurked each week, watched the pattern unfold, and read about the Inklingo method of printing the pattern pieces directly onto fabric using an ordinary inkjet printer. One of the units in this quilt requires "Tri-Recs" rulers. I bought and used the "birangle" ruler years ago, but found it tedious. And I've cut and abandoned a Storm at Sea quilt due to the inaccuracies incurred when cutting those darn birangles! So I was more than intrigued at the idea of having HRTs (half-rectangle triangles) piece perfectly, without pulling my hair out!

I ordered Linda Franz's detailed Inklingo Handbook from her website, chose all sorts of free patterns she has offered to get you hooked on Inklingo's method, and bought the Celtic Solstice pattern shapes. I found a couple of pieces of fabric in my stash, and then shopped for a few others at Thistle Bee Quilt Shop in Goldsboro, NC. I have opted to do the "five fabric" version of the quilt (as did Linda), rather than Bonnie's more scrappy version.

I got started piecing four patches and pinwheels on Monday while the Sugar Creek Quilters were here. Several of us are going to do Celtic Solstice together, and since a few of them are brand-new quilters, I started them on clue 4 (4-patches) and clue 3 (pinwheels) before they had to try more complicated units, or use their Tri-Recs rulers. So far, I am the only one attempting Inklingo...unless I sell them on it.

My four-patches and pinwheels were going well when I decided today was the day to brave Inklingo!

The first thing I did was install a new color ink cartridge in my old faithful HP printer. I read the download instructions on the Inklingo site (decided to print a copy so I wouldn't miss a step), logged on to my account, and easily and quickly unlocked each PDF file. One huge advantage to Inklingo is that there is NO SPECIAL SOFTWARE to buy; everything opens and prints from Adobe Reader!

At this point, I tried to read through the "Quick Start" guide, then got overwhelmed flipping from the general instructions to the more "pattern specific" instructions, all while trying to understand how to set custom page sizes on my printer. I got a little short of breath! I pride myself on my computer skills (after all, I am a professional statistician by training!), so I thought if *I* were this overwhelmed, how on earth were all these folks not only using this method, but actually LOVING it?!? I went to Facebook, liked the Inklingo page, and posted a quick note. Within seconds, Linda had responded, and encouraged me to just print something.

I started with the test page of all the ink blends Linda recommends. The idea is to pick the color ink you can see, but not too well. Ideally, a faint, legible line is better than a strong line that might bleed ink through the fabric.

After I heat-set the ink, I rinsed it under warm water, and decided on the ink I could see but would disappear best. I thought I was ready to try printing a page of triangles, but then this happened...

The freezer paper separated from the fabric in the printer, and so I got a bit of a wrinkled mess. I realized quickly, however, that I could still cut my fabric perfectly using the row that didn't wrinkle as my cutting guide on top, and just cutting in a stack. It worked perfectly, with no waste!

Except...drat. I was in such a hurry to learn I forgot this beige print is my BASE TRIANGLE unit, not my star point! Oh, I know what to do with my teal fabric! Tested it, printed a sheet of Star Point A and a sheet of Star Point B...then loaded the beige and printed a sheet of the Base Triangle.

Now, the magic occurred!!! I could not believe how perfectly and easily the triangles lined up. Those angles are super weird, but the registration marks on the star point units just make everything so easy. No thinking, just chain-piecing, and wow! Perfect 3.5" units.

So, I couldn't resist piecing just one of my 54-40 or Fight blocks (after all, there are advantages to waiting to start a mystery long after it was revealed!), and it is beautiful:

I am going to continue playing with Inklingo and my printer setup until I can figure out how to print the units on the best sizes to yield the least fabric waste. Linda has figured most of that out for me, but it will take some fiddling on my end to get the printer squared away.

I encourage you to visit Linda's Inklingo website, watch her videos, read her documentation, and try her method for free with all the patterns she has as gifts...or jump right in and buy the handbook and the Celtic Solstice pattern before it is no longer available online. Bonnie is removing it from her site on June 1, so if you want it, act now!

1 comment:

  1. An amazing bonus with using Inklingo is Linda's responses to our questions. She is so patient and so ready to help you along. I usually end up finding that she covered my questions in the instructions included with the shapes but in my eagerness to get to the sewing, I might not have read the instructions as thoroughly as she wrote them. But she is so patient and once you start seeing the accuracy of your pieces going together so easily, then I find myself going back to the instructions and reading a little more carefully. With the pieces printing directly onto your fabric, you don't need the rulers and the additional cost. That savings can go into more fabric or more Inklingo shape collections.


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