December 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Posted in English | 3 Comments
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New project, new thread (egyptian cotton 70/2), new pins (‘La Couronne d’Or’), new printer (a canon inkjet). Only the laminating material is familiar: a matte version to decorate windows. What is causing the black stains when I undo something, or more important: what would be the remedy? The stains are only on one side of the threads. It seems to happen at pins.



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  1. Have you used that make of pins before? I looked up the brand of pins you are using and it says they are nickel plated, I am not sure if this rusts but nickel in some jewellery can make some peoples fingers go black. I am in the uk and I only ever use brass pins for lacemaking. I had a piece of lace on my pillow for 6 months and had no problems. Brass can tarnish, so I use a pin cushion that is filled with a mixture of unwashed sheeps fleece, mixed with iron filings (this was made a very long time ago, so I can’t tell you exactly what I used!) The fleece contains lanolin to prevent rusting, and the filings keep the pins sharp. Other than that I can’t think what could be the problem. Is your pillow made from polystyrene?

    • Thanks for your interest and comment. On the Dutch version of this item the pins were also accused, so I won’t use them again after this pattern. Someone else suggested the ink: let it dry before laminating. The pillow has a straw layer with a few layers of artificial felt on top.

  2. It isn’t the ink. If you use an inkjet printer and are not experiencing problems with smearing, the resulting printed page should be safe to use without lamination. Same with laser print. Since you have laminated the page, though, the ink is completely sealed and cannot bleed through the laminate.

    I’m not sure of the age or the source of your pins, but they appear to be solid unplated brass, not nickel plated. If the color of the picture is correct, then they are gold/yellow in color, not silver/gray as nickel would be. Working from that fact, the black stains are tarnish from the brass. Fingerprints oxidize the brass and produce a black residue that will come off on thread or fabric. You can see the tarnish in the picture as dark areas on the pin shafts. The act of inserting the pin into the pricking will plow some of the heaviest tarnish up the shaft where it forms a loosely adhered ring. If your next use of the pin puts that ring at the level of your thread, you will get a stain. It doesn’t happen all the time as the pins oxidize unevenly and the fingerprint oils accumulate unevenly.

    You can eliminate the tarnish a number of ways. Brass polish will do the job chemically, but I prefer the mechanical method of sticking the pin into an abrasive several times every few months. The most convenient abrasives that I have found to work well are steel wool and that classic from sewing, the emery bag. In the US, this is typically found in the shape of a strawberry attached to the top of a tomato shaped pincushion.

    I have no idea why everyone now believes that sticking the pin into the emery bag will sharpen the pin. It will not. I have verified this by microscopic examination. It does, however, remove the surface oxidation from unplated pins, including brass, steel, and iron.

    As a final thought, if you use brass pins or any unplated pin, you should absolutely use a pincushion for storage, rather than a box. The pincushion will wipe off the fingerprint oils and greatly reduce the amount of tarnish you have to deal with in a more aggressive fashion.

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