Magic Pens & Whitework

Hello world

Hope you are well and happy and getting in some stitching time.  Firstly my apologies I inadvertently said we were experiencing Spring last week when in fact it is Autumn………….. dear oh dear one of those blonde moments!

Beating Around The Bush 2014.  This week as promised I wanted to share with you the designs I will be teaching at Beating Around The Bush convention in Australia this year.  I know most of you attending will be from Australia but I do remember last time we had students from New Zealand, Singapore and United States and I would love to see you there.  It is one of those events that you have to go to at least once in a lifetime – not only do you get to learn a new style of embroidery or brush up on an existing skill, but also meet teachers from all over the world, shop for embroidery products and spend a few idyllic days with like-minded people in a purely stitching, heavenly environment without any of the stresses of our normal routine!

I am offering three classes the one day beginner Blue Tit & Apple Blossoms and 2 x two-day classes, Blue Tit & Wild Rose and Sweet Peas From My Garden.  Details of the convention and booking for the classes can be found here BATB.  I believe that if the teacher’s name is not on the list then the class has been filled but you can still contact them to make sure.

Blue tit and apple blossom
Blue tit and apple blossom
Blue tit & WIld Rose
Blue tit & WIld Rose
Blue tit & WIld Rose landscape
Blue tit & WIld Rose landscape
Sweet Peas From My Garden
Sweet Peas From My Garden

Magic Pens.  This is something that I am very excited about and would like to share with you.  In the last issue of Inspirations magazine Susan O’Connor talked about Pilot Frixion pens and how you could use them for embroidery and I decided to try them out.  These are erasable pens that my daughter uses for school – they are wonderful because although they are ballpoint pens you can erase them so no messy work for the teacher to mark!   But I did not know that they can also be used on fabric and erased – YES THEY CAN!!  There are different types of pens in the range including ballpoint, gel ink and marker pens in a variety of colours and sizes.

Frixion pens
Frixion pens

I used the Frixion point in light blue which has a thin nib approx 0.5mm so you get nice, fine outlines and because it is gel ink it glides on beautifully.  Basically you draw your design onto fabric and then either use the rubber at the end to erase any unwanted lines or iron it /put into the deep freeze and the lines will vanish.  Just like that gone.  It works with friction, heat or cold.   To prove that this works I drew a design outline onto a piece of cotton fabric and then ironed half of it so you can see how it erases the design in the examples below.

Outline traced with light blue frixion point
Outline traced with light blue frixion point
Half the design outline ironed and erased.
Half the design outline ironed and erased.

You only have to hold the iron over the design for a few seconds and it is gone.  If you look very carefully you will see a slight white mark left but this is not visible when viewed with the naked eye and also you can use it on any type of fabric or paper. It is fantastic for needle painting or any other form of embroidery but works especially well for whitework as you can use the pale blue, it does not bleed while stitching and if the lines are not well covered erase them afterwards.

Whitework.  Thinking of whitework I have been dabbling……………….  As you know in the past I used to teach both needlepainting and whitework but decided to concentrate my efforts on needle painting.  However,  I  have always loved the French style of whitework, particularly monograms and the Portuguese Madeira work.  Occassionally I do a little sideline project as a gift for someone and it has remained a passion.  Seeing all the examples on Pinterest as shown below revived the urge, so I dug out my old whitework threads, (you know those secret drawers of stash that we all have) and have been in my element, fiddling with different types of whitework.

whitework monogram
whitework monogram
whitework with colour
whitework with colour

I wanted to use the whitework theme but include a bit of colour to enhance it and make it more practical for use in todays world.   This is ongoing work in progress, and I hope to share some of these designs with you soon but in the meantime I would love to hear your views on surface whitework embroidery – is this something you would like to see revived?  Would you be interested in learning this style of embroidery and have kits made available? Your opinion is helpful so let me know what you think.

Meantime wherever you are be it Spring, Autumn, winter or summer have a wonderful week and many happy stitching hours.  Trish

48 thoughts on “Magic Pens & Whitework”

  1. Hi Trish, Are your blue tit bird series available as kits here is SA. A friend of mine asked me to order them for her but can’t find them on the website.

    Please let me know. By the way your whitework owl in awesome can’t wait for your updated design. I am working on a whitework quilt now and really enjoying it.

    Kind Regards

    Judy Benjamin (Johannesburg)

  2. Hello Trish,
    I have played around, in the forgotten past, with whitework.
    I could never get it 100% correct and also could not find a teacher
    here in Gauteng, so gave it up as a bad job.
    I am thrilled that you are interested in teaching this beautiful
    embroidery form. I am a starter for this and look forward to more
    news about kits and classes.
    I do quite a lot of Hardanger in white as well as pulled thread work in white.
    I am also enjoying the kits I purchased from you in needle painting.
    Just a bit of a change from all the white.
    I hope there is enough interest in whitework from your other readers so that
    you will continue along this avenue.
    I also like the introduction of a little color here and there.
    Looking forward to hearing from you again.
    Kind regards,
    Pamela Redtenbacher

    1. Thank you Pamela its good to hear of your interest in whitework and I will definately be pursuing it further. Am busy working on designs and sourcing materials and hopefully you will see a the first kits available soon. Trish

  3. thank you all for your enthusiasm and helpful comments it has certainly encouraged me to revive surface white work with a Trish twist:) Have a lovely Easter weekend. Trish

    1. Will you be making the 3 tit bird and the sweet peas available as a download item? I would REALLY like to do them !! Bonnie F.

    2. sorry Bonnie unfortunately they are exclusive to the BATB convention but the good news is that the blue tit bird is one of the projects in my new book which hopefully will be released in June this year. Trish

  4. Hi Trish, Thanks so much for the information on Frixion Pens, will try! And if you decide to devote your energies to white work I can imagine the level of perfection and detail you will take it to! So I’m really looking forward to revival of this elegant embroidery by you!! All the best!

  5. Hello, Trish,
    I love whitework, and I have dabbled in it over the years. I remember embroidering monogrammed pillowcases for my parents, and creating a whitework heart-shaped pillow. The look is timeless!


  6. I’m a beginner but I enjoy the thread painting and would love to try the white work with the added colour. I bought the the pens today. Thanks again for the lovely patterns.

  7. Hello Trish: I love whitework especially monograms! I support you 100% in whitework embroidery designs, kits, whatever you do. Annette Haggerty _AHRDES@AOL.COM_ (mailto:AHRDES@AOL.COM)

  8. Whitework! Yes! I love the little bit of color you put into the second piece. Our EGA guild has a whitework group but they are on a Hardanger project, which I don’t care for at all. I would love to see a revival of whitework.

    1. thanks Cynthia – interesting to hear that your EGA guild are working on hardanger it is also popular here in Cape town as are all counted thread techniques. Like you am inclined to lean more towards the surface whitework especially when it is worked on a muslin/batiste ground fabric. There is something about the sheer background in contrast to the white that shows the work up beautifully.

  9. Yes Yes Yes to the whitework! I’ve done some needlepainting and I feel I’m improving, but I have wanted to do whitework and cutwork for so long. I have purchased the fabric along with the fibers. I am so afraid to try! I need instructions. So please bring it on!
    I have also found the “frixon”pens do a great job!

  10. Hi Trish, oh you have hit the nail on the head. I’m new to embroidery but needle painting and white work are my favourite. Love the added colour to the white work. Jean

  11. Hi Trish,
    Your white work is stunning, love the light colour hue as well.
    25 years ago someone gave me two pillow slip with white work on them for a wedding gift, with sadness i had to retire them.
    It will be lovely to buy kits / or inspiration patterns.
    Thank you for your time,

  12. Both white work and white work in color would be nice to see in designs and kits. The color adds a very nice subtle touch.

  13. Ha Ha Shelagh glad that you remembered my travels up the stairs:) always a pleasure to oblige and it will help shed some of the excess weight I have put on! I know what you mean about Pinterest I have to be very disciplined. Will get right onto the whitework.

    1. Je ne suis pas sûr que vous avez reçu dans votre e-mail? Regardez en haut de votre écran et il pourrait y avoir une barre bleue que vous devez appuyer sur. Si cela ne marche pas, essayez de le lire sur le blog. Trish

  14. Doreen from NZ
    The whitework designs you showed were beautiful and the stitching was amazing it was so even and fine. I would love to see more of this work along with your very clear instructions. Because of the high postage costs, downloads would be more economical for those of us in other parts of the world.

    1. THanks Doreen will certainly make them available for digital download although the threads are not impossible but a little tricky to obtain so would include them in a kit. Trish

  15. Yes, white work kits please. I’ve been admiring it for awhile but haven’t tried it. Would love to tho. However your needle painting is still my favourite. Love it! Thank you!

  16. Yes, please, I would love to see some whitework designs. They’ve always been a favourite.

  17. Hi Trish
    I discovered friction pens this year and introduced them to my students. They became very proficient using the light box to transfer their designs and loved the process as the knew that no mistakes would be permanent.

    1. WOnderful that you are using them in your class thats so interesting. As you say we can be a bit more confident with our tracing knowing that it is not irreversible. Trish

    1. Thank you so glad you like the whitework. Am not sure if the pens are acid free of not perhaps someone out there might be able to answer this? Trish

    2. Hi again have just found this statement on the Pilot website:
      All Pilot Gel Ink Pens, Ball Point Pens and Markers are Acid-free and Archival safe, meaning their inks do not contain any acidic chemicals that may speed the deterioration process of photos and documents. Acid-free / Archival safe inks contain pH levels of 7.0 or greater meaning they’re non-acidic.

  18. Hi Trish I have not embroidered white work but would love to try. I think it is beautiful with only white but also lovely with the soft colours.

  19. I too would love to see your whitework revived – especially how you have incorporated the bit of colour.

    1. Thanks Barbara am glad you like the bit of colour it makes it a bit more interesting to stitch with and can be a great way to cover up wonky lines with outlines – more on this later. Trish

  20. Hi Trish – The Frixion pen can also be removed with the hot air from a hairdryer. If you remove the line and then out it in the freezer it comes back – mine did when I did a trial.
    Jenny from Chester UK

  21. Hi Trish … yes please! I love whitework of all varieties so I would love to see some of your designs and working methods. The two photos in your post are beautiful … more details would be lovely, thank you. 🙂

    1. Ah Trish, Whitework. When I’m not drooling over needlepainting, I am on pinterest looking at whitework, particularly monograms. I really dont know how I get any stitching done to be honest. Yes, would love to see it revived. It’s so classy, and to me, timeless.

      I just love the little Blue tit with Apple Blossom by the way.

      The pens, I will try

      Right, come on Trish, up those stairs of yours and create some whitework for us all :). Only teasing, but you know me by now dont you.


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