Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Marking Time

I enjoy applique.  After preparing the block it can be quite portable.  And it's nice to sit down under a good light in the evenings and sew.

Above is a block I started in 1996.  You can see  in the top right corner a pencil line of a bird that has yet to come alive.  That is the good thing about pencil lines.  They don't come out easily.

But that is also the bad thing about pencil.  It doesn't come out easily and it is always distressing to see a nicely stitched quilt with the pencil lines still visible.  Getting the pencil lines out is a topic for another post.

This post is about marking things onto quilts.  It is comparable to the holy grail, trying to find the perfect marker.  I have been searching for quite a while and have something of a collection to share with you. 

Quarter inch masking tape is a good way to mark 1/4" inside or outside the seam allowance.  It gives a straight line without the bother of having to rule a line.  Unless you leave the tape on for too long there is no residue and no difficulty in removing after use.  The tape can be reused a few times.  Wider than 1/4" is easily sourced.

Except I don't like using it.  I stitch close to the tape and the needle gets sticky.  Besides it is limited in its applications and only useful for straight line stitching.

The silver pencil can be difficult to remove and there are better options.

I was persuaded to buy the "Karisma" propelling pencil.  I can't find it any more.  Only the packet and some refills.  'Nuff said.

The Chacopy tracing paper behind the  empty packet seemed like a good idea at the time.  I don't remember why I no longer use it.  I might try it again today!

From the left, the pink Sewline pencil was bought because of the enthusiasm for it from a fellow blogger.  Not a successful option for me.

You probably know the blue washout pens next to it.  The cheap pen on the left is OK in an emergency but generally runs out quickly.  I am more likely to use blue pens on a block than to mark a top for quilting.  The finer points work well for me but I am always wary to use them.  There are too many sad stories of marks that refuse to disappear,  damaged cloth fibres etc.

On the right is an "hera" marking tool.  A friend swears by hers.  No permanent marks left behind and it's easy to use.  I haven't tested it adequately to comment.

The two tools on the left are chalk markers.  They are good for marking a quilt top.  They also make a cute sound as they go.  I like them.  You can get other colours than white.  The chalk rubs off  easily so only small parts can be marked at a time.  That suits my rhythm.

A recent discovery is the chalk pencil.  No cute whirry noise but it does come with lots of colours and that is useful for multi coloured quilts. The only disadvantage is the point needs sharpening quite frequently.  Not recommended to mark applique, but good for quilting.

Getting bored yet?  It's not my fault.  There are so many things on the market.  This post could be twice as long if  I reviewed everything.

My favourite all round marking tool is this

 Actually, it is the white pen.  Not the cotton reel it is sitting in.  I find that if I have it turned like this the ink lasts longer.  The white pen can be used on all but very light fabric.  It doesn't need to be washed out and if I accidentally iron it, it disappears.  The liquid is wax based.  Works for me.

I would love to find the perfect marking tool that doesn't damage fabric, no fuss to apply, comes out easily and works for  both applique and quilting.  Any suggestions?


Louise said...

I just recently purchased a Clover white marking pen. Removes the marks when you iron. I have been testing it on scraps to make sure. One of my oldest marking tools is a simple soap sliver. You know those small flat pieces of soap that are leftover..I let them dry out and then use paper cutting scissor blades to sharpen the long edge of the soap. Just make sure the soap is oil free. It has usually worn off by the time I have completed my quilting. I also like General's chalk pencils, they too wipe off easily. That's it..

Julie Fukuda said...

When I mark dark fabrics I use a process similar to a hera. Put the fabric on a piece of sandpaper, lay the printed design on top and go over the lines with a ballpoint pen.

If you would like a Karisma pencil, I can send you one. That is my favorite. The line is quite fine and the chalk rubs out as you stitch over it.

I use the blue marker for quilting often. Chako Ace makes one with two points of different sizes. I can remove the ink with a spray bottle of water or a paintbrush with water. They also make one that has ink that disappears with time but in the summer when it is humid you have to work fast.

Carol G said...

My favorite for non-dark fabrics is a washable graphite marker I bought at a quilt show last year. The package warns that darker marks require soap for removal but I always wash my quilts so it is no problem for me. Here's the link http://www.nosliphoops.com/markers.html. I also got the soapstone for marking dark fabrics but am not sold on that one yet.

Rochelle said...

Thanks for the tips. I have been struggling to find something appropriate. I have (naughtily) been using lead or graphite pencil, a soft one that tends to brush out easily but I'm sure it would make the fabric grubby looking.
For embroidery I have been using Solvy, that I draw straight onto with a fine tipped marker then tack onto the surface to be worked. It has been really good, I am currently using it on a crewel project but I have not dissolved it, just torn away at stitches.
Very easy to see and you just stitch right through it. I have not as yet tried it for any forms of quilting, Balitmore, applique or embroidery.

Crispy said...

I loved this post!! For marking applique I don't really care what I use as it's folded under anyway. For marking quilts I'm still in love with my Crayola Washable Markers, just don't iron the marks...but then I don't iron my finished quilts :0)


Carol G said...

I forgot to say--What a beautiful applique. I look forward to seeing your end plan for this wonderful piece.

baukje said...

What an interesting post . I just bought the sewline pencil in green. Read somewhere that green is best sawn on dark fabric, did not test it yet.

Martha said...

For quilting on light fabrics I have always used a regular #2 pencil. I mark lightly, so I sometimes have to touch it up. By the time the quilting is done, it has pretty much disappeared but if any remains, it disappears in the first washing. I'm always amazed when I hear people complain about pencil marks not coming out.

For dark fabric I use light colored Prismacolor colored pencils -- they are soft, so must be sharpened often, but they show up well and remove easily.

Your applique is so beautiful -- will this be the center of a medallion quilt?

Esther said...

Thanks for this post.I only use hera and Clover white marking tool but i've heard that there is a new marking pen for light fabric from Clover and will be available for show...so I am eagerly awaiting.

Joan said...

A bic pencil is fine providing you dont press too hard..I also use the blue washout pens. Lately I have been using a blue washable Berol pen... that I got from the UK it looks dreadful when on, but washed out well. i will be using it for my next whole cloth quilt - after using the Bic propelling pencil too hard...it left marks in my previous little whole cloth. Good article - I enjoyed it

Anonymous said...

have you heard about frixion pens? Disappear when you iron them.