Monday, September 10, 2007

Marking Woes

To continue my story about markers, you are probably wondering what to use. There are a lot of different products out there and you will have to decide what to try and use to see what works best for you.

Myself, I have used pencil (which I don’t anymore).

The thick blue Clover pens are good, but they sometimes leave a yellow line on some of my light fabrics. There is something in the white fabrics that reacts to the fluid in these markers.

The white Clover disappearing pen is great for darks. Humidity and heat will remove the lines far too quickly. With this pen, I usually mark as I go along.

The chalk pencils are good but the lines disappear far too quickly for hand quilting.

I have tried chalk pouncing markers (don’t even bother with spaying hair spray on top as it was a waste of time and spray and not to mention the air pollution) but they are not for hand quilting as the marks disappear far too quickly. Have bought a new-to-me product “Quilt Pounce” and will have to test that. Folks say it does stay on for a long time. We’ll see.

Tried masking tape and don’t like it for hand quilting. They are great to use for machine straight line quilting though.

For my style of quilts, I like to use elaborate stencils and I like straight lines and a need for a marker that will give me a good quilting line. There is free form quilting that does not use stencils or markers of any kind, but that is not for me and my style of quilts. But give the free form a try to see if you might like it better. Tonya at

8 comments:

Bren said...

Marking is a huge thing for hand quilters. It needs to last a long time, plus come all the way out when we want it to. I use the blue water soluable clover marker for very small things that only take a short time. I do a lot of outline quilting and do not mark that at all. I use to use 1/4 inch masking tape as I did not trust myself to keep it straight...I like a straight line! If I am marking a large quilt...anything bigger than a mini...I use a water soluable pencil. I think it is a water color, but with lead. It is found at most hobby shops in the drawing/painting section. I love them...they make a bold line and wash out completely when I am done. I have a quilt I marked 15 years ago and the lines lasted and then washed out completely. That is a great pencil!! My favorite brand is Berol Karismacolor Soft...made in England, but bought in the US.

LC said...

Thanks for the link (which, btw, has the word 'has' included so results in an error message, but I just backspaced the 'has' out and it worked).
I like the freedom of making it up as I go, but having tips like this about marking is helping me with my fear of doing something far more formal. I hope I can get the Berol marker Bren mentions in Canada.

teodo said...

I use a blue water pen....
thanks for this lesson.
ciao ciao

Guðrún said...

You do the tests and tell us what works well.

Helen said...

I've heard that Crayola washable markers do the job but I haven't tried them myself. They would certainly be a lot cheaper than the blue quilting type markers which I haven't had a problem washing out but which I find dry up very quickly. The problem I have is with the stencil shredding the felt of the the blue marker.

Belém said...

Thanks for sharing your experiments. I use tape for machine straight lines as you. For curves I use a dresser pencil. Light blue for white fabric and white for every other fabric colours. For had quilting I draw the lines as I quilt because the pencil marks disapear very quickly.
I read on The perfect stitch book that the blue and purple pens marks may disapear but they leave some chemicals on the fabric that in the future will damage it.

Bethany said...

Just happened by your blog today.

I have used the Crayola Washable Markers a lot. They work great for dark fabrics but I haven't found a color that works really well with white. I marked my quilt with yellow and I thought everything came out great until I took a picture of it. Where I had used the yellow marker the squares were now "cream". Ack.

But, I found the perfect marking pencil (for me) in the metal working isle of a hardware store. You use it to mark on metal before you make the cuts. After taking a closer look it is a soap stone marker. But..tons cheaper than the one my quilting store has. I bought the refils because I already have a pencil holder for the leads. For under 5 bucks I have 5 refil leads that will last a long time.

It doesn't mark very hard, but even as I marked over and over in the same spot, it rinsed out with water each time.

A hera marker is perfect for lots of marking as well. It's now my favorite tool and use it on everything. It's a hard piece of plastic that is curved. As you press on the fabric it leaves a crease. Perfect for straight lines.

I have enjoyed reading your posts.

Dawn said...

I"ve heard that about the water markers - but I"ve always been too afraid to try them. I guess I should give it a go!