The Free Motion Quilting Project: Quilter's Pounce

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quilter's Pounce

Today is our first Feature Friday, so today I'm going to share a short video on Quilter's Pounce Quilt Marking Chalk.

Quilter's Pounce is a very simple invention: a cloth pad within a plastic case that you fill with chalk.

The chalk adheres lightly to the quilt top when you wipe it over a quilting stencil, allowing you to easily mark large, complex stencils in very little time.

Unfortunately most quilters instinctively use the Pounce pad incorrectly. Check out this video to learn how to use the pounce without making a giant mess of your quilt:

Just in case you can't watch the video, here are some basic instructions on using the Quilter's Pounce Pad:

1. Remove the stopper and fill the pounce pad with chalk.

2. Put the pounce pad into the plastic case bottom and bang it once on your table. This charges the pad with chalk and gets it ready for marking.

3. Here's where most quilters mess up with this tool! For some reason we want to bang the pad over the stencil, but this will only result in a cloud of chalk dust and a very messy quilt!

Instead gently wipe the Pounce Pad over the surface of the quilting stencil. You're wiping the chalk into all the groves of the stencil so the chalk only adheres to the areas that need to be marked.

4. After you've wiped the pounce pad over the whole stencil, pick up the stencil and move it to the next area of your quilt.

You'll need to recharge your pounce pad occasionally by putting it back into the case and banging it on your table.

Personally I use pounce when I'm needing to mark a stencil design quickly and perfectly.

Smaller stencils usually don't take very much time to mark using a water soluble pen, but larger stencils can take a very long time to mark and it's very easy to miss an area and have to go back later and remark.

Quilter's Pounce allows you to mark the whole stencil in a few seconds with no guesswork about which area you've marked and which is left to do.

So that's it for Feature Friday! I hope the video and info has helped you find a new way to mark quilts with chalk.

Let's Go Quilt!

Leah Day


  1. Hi, Leah. I'm another true believer in the pounce. It works great to mark a large area and the chalk doesn't bounce off the quilt while I'm quilting. Thanks for today's feature. Lane

  2. Quilters Pounce has been a great help to me. No one explained how to use it properly, including banging it on my quilt table and smearing it instead of pouncing it on the stencil. Found this out for myself, however I have found the threads on my pad are getting caught on some of the sharp points of some stencils, and bending the stencil. Any suggestion on how to straighten the stencil without ruining it. Ive tried using a cool iron, but this almost ruined the stencil.

  3. in defense of newbies to quilting, the product could use a better name. It sure sounds like you should pounce on the template with the pounce. Maybe it should be called a 'drag' or a 'pouf' instead!

  4. Hi Jeannie - I've found that flattening out a stencil with a big book on a flat table works pretty good. You want to always store stencils flat or hanging on a wall so they don't form permanent bends.

    Adnohr - Great point, but somehow I don't think "Quilt Drag" is a very catchy name. Ha! "Quilt Wipe" and "Quilt Smear" are the only other names I could come up with and they're borderline offensive!

    Let's go Quilt,

    Leah Dya

  5. When I shoot pool, I have a little bag of powered talc to keep my hands dry. The product is Slyde-Rite. What about Quilter's Chalk Rite? That doesn't imply a method (like pounce.)

    I decided not to purchase the pounce because I thought I'd end up breathing in chalk based on the name, so if I were the seller, I'd change it.

    Based on your info, I am planning to buy this from you, Leah, as soon as my DSL line gets repaired at home.

  6. Thanks for the precise explanation for "Pounce" I have had one for several years but never put it to use. I am certain I would have pounced and not swiped...

  7. I love, i love, i love!!!
    sorry, no speak inglish, from Brazil

  8. I too thought pounce was something that you pounce ,now that I know you drag it maybe I will buy it . I thought it would be messy also .I Think it is expensive , but may be worth it ?

  9. They also make a pounce chalk that you iron off would this be it? I hear you can't iron the blue chalk.

    Thanks again for the great tips.

  10. Hi Qubie - The blue chalk is all brush off, but the white chalk is iron off or brush off.

    Just take a soft bristle tooth brush that you haven't used before, and brush the quilt top lightly until the chalk disappears.

    Take your time and avoid getting the quilt hot and it should be just fine.

    Let's go quilt!

    Leah Day

  11. Could you tell me how long pounce stays on your quilt? If you didn't want to quilt right away, how long could it sit before the markings would disappear? Also, does pounce smutch while you are quilting?

    Thanks, Karen

  12. Leah - Brilliant as always! I own the Pounce and use it endlessly and I love the Iron away chalk that comes int he newer version.
    Love your new Blog format - how lucky we all are to know you - my day is not complete without my LEAH DAY Fix!!

    LW - I think Chalk-Rite would be a brilliant new name and you should write the company!!

    Jeannie - As someone who make many of my own stencils by needle punching plastic sheets
    - I am having the opposite problem to you... My stencils then to be a little sharp on the back side and I am catching all the little terri-cloth bits on my Pounce and the poor dude is starting to look pretty bald - but it is still working wonderfully and I think replacing when I have to will be a small price to pay for being able to design a stencil that fits each quilt block perfectly!! I love designing stencils from bits a pieces of ones I already own or found in magazines but are never quite the right shape or size.. with a photocopies and and sharp Jeans needle I can make up for the fact that I can not doodle or draw - but Ic an follow a stencil!!

  13. Hi Karen - Generally you don't want to mark something years before you're planning to quilt it.

    The general rule is to mark right before quilting. I have broken this rule once with Pounce on some red fabric for a quilted kimono - it's been marked since Sept.

    I checked on the project, which I hung up in a closet, and found that the marks had faded a bit, but were still strong enough to follow.

    As to whether they will come off fully now, it's hard to say.

    The chalk doesn't smudge, but it does fade a good bit as you quilt.

    After quilting, you'll want to spend a good bit of time brushing with a soft bristle toothbrush or using the steam iron to remove the marks completely.

    Let's go quilt!

    Leah Day

  14. Leah,
    I am having a problem keeping the chalk ON the quilt long enough to quilt it. For something small it works fine, but when I did a twin size quilt (1 only marked 1 strip of the design, about 12 inches wide) as I worked on the design, it was super hard to follow on some fabrics and totally gone on others. Any ideas?

  15. Hi Kathleen,

    I've found that this can sometimes happen with really big quilts because they brush against the chalk so many times.

    The best thing to do is mark in sections. Mark the center first, then after it is quilted mark another section and so on.

    I usually quilt my quilts in quadrants working from the center to the outside, so you could easily mark one quadrant at a time and the chalk will stay in place long enough to finish each section.

    Let's go quilt!

    Leah Day


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