Marking Pens/Pencils

It’s Tuesday! Last week I had a number of questions about what marking pen I was using so I thought I would do my tip today on marking pens/pencils….
I have an obsession with marking pens/pencils. I buy them all…..
That is just one of three containers…..
I believe that every marking job needs a different type of marking pen. That is why I buy them all. How a pen behaves depends on the colour of the fabric the finishes on it and the intricacy of the design. When marking a design, I test a number of pencils in seam allowances to find the one best for the job.
Having said that I do have favourites and a work of caution about some….
Let’s start with marking on dark fabrics. See photo below.

On the left is a pencil by Fons and Porter, called the Mechanical marking pencil. It is a ceramic lead, which makes it very strong, and it is made of water soluable dyes, so it will come out. I like it for its very fine line. It is great for detail work.

On the right is a chalk cartridge pencil made by Dritz. It comes with a whole lot of chalk refills in white and a variety of colours. I like this one for marking spacing and spines. It comes out really easy and is easier than the Fons and Porter pencil, but is a little fuzzier line. Word of caution: I do NOT like the colours. I have had trouble getting them out. I stick to the white.

For both of these pencils, to remove them I use a slightly damp sponge and a product called Sew Clean, shown in the picture. This stuff is magic!

Another pen I like on darks is shown below. It is the White Marking Pencil from Clover. When you draw a line with this one it takes a moment for the mark to appear. It is removed with a steam iron! Easy, but a little harder to see than the other two mentioned. I do like it when I have a lot of marking to do, as I steam the entire quilt when finished and it quickly removes the marks.

What about light colours?
The pencil on the left is again the Fons And Porter Mechanical pencil but with a grey ceramic lead, again made with water soluable dyes. I reall like this pencil. Nice fine line and it will come out.
The Center group of pens are all water soluable pens often referred to as the blue water soluable pens. I have many brands, one is the same as the next. These ones come out with water. They make a dark line that will not disappear. The quilt should be washed to fully remove the chemical in the ink.
The group of the pens on the right are air soluable pens. These react to the moisture in the air to dissolve. They can also be removed with water. I really like this pen and use it a lot. I like it because the mark disappears and I can see what the design looks like with out the pen. If the weather is humid it does disappear quickly, so do not use it to mark a whole quilt before starting, instead mark a section at a time!
At the top of the picture are two erasers for the water and air soluable pens. The white one is from Clover, and works well, but it not refillable. The pink one is from Sewline. It is refillable and as such is my favorite. With both of these you just draw over the mark and it releases a little moisture to remove the colour from the fabric. The quilt should still be washed when finished to properly remove the chemical in the pens.
Lastly I am showing a pen I DO NOT USE to mark a quilt.
The Frixion pen is made by Pilot and is made for stationary use. It has a special eraser on the end that causes Frixion and removes the colour. Someone figured out that the heat of a steam iron would also remove the colour and it caught on in the quilting world. Pilot does not recommend this pen for use on fabric. It can leave a whitish mark that is the gel in the pen, it comes back if the quilt freezes (an issue in Northern climates) and no testing has been done on long term effect in a quilt. It cannot be washed out, once there the chemical will always be there. I still use this pen to mark half square triangles, but not to mark quilting designs. Thankfully I never did trust it for quilting designs….
That’s it. My humble opinion about marking pens/pencils.
Till next week you will find me finishing a gorgeous Janpanese Fan quilt and teaching a private Longarm class.







5 responses to “Marking Pens/Pencils

  1. Thank you for your advice on marking pens. I have really like the friction pens, but after all the articles I have been reading, will toss when they go dry & go back to my other markers I used & liked before..



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