QOtD - marking pencils

K8OrlandoAugust 5, 2012

Marking pencils for quilts... I would like to find one that I feel confident using to mark quilting patterns. One that I KNOW will come out when I'm done. I've looked at so many and have no idea which I want. I can't afford to try them all!

Here's just some of the terms I found: erasable, disappearing, water soluble, chalk, chaco-, soapstone. There were more too.

I'm leaning towards the chalk. Any advice? What do you use? Does it work with stencils or do I need the poofy chalk bags for that?


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I'm really frightened to use anything but chalk on my quilts. I have a Sewline fine tip chalk pencil with white and charcoal colored chalk. I really like it. I've never worked with stencils, so I can't tell you if it would work with them or not.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 6:44PM
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I have a white pencil I used for awhile called Nonce Marking Pencil. It is only good if I'm sewing on dark fabrics and you have to scrub a bit with a toothbrush and water to get the marks out.

When I have lighter fabrics, my favorite is the blue water erasable if quilting over several days time. You can use a spray bottle to take it out if you don't want to wash the quilt. But, my all time favorite is the purple air erasable. It just goes away by itself in a day or two. You can't use that unless you are quilting all at once. I sometimes mark a couple of areas I plan to finish the same day and then move and mark a bit more the next time I get back to it. It is much less hassle than trying to remove marks.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:31PM
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These are not chalk, but they are my favorite type of fabric pencils I have been using them for years. The pencil lead does not break in them and they come in colors of white, blue, and pink. They are fat pencils and will need the wider pencil sharpener for them. I like these better than the skinny pencils.

Best to you,

Here is a link that might be useful: EZ Quilting Washout Pencils

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:49PM
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I switched over from chalk to Crayola water soluable markers. Have found them to last about a month as a marker before fading out and so far, on cotton, to be completely removed upon washing. Package of twelve....less than four dollars. They also come in handy when g'son comes over and wants to draw. They wash off him as well. It insults me to see prices inflate just because it's associated with a hobby. It also used to insult me to see flowers for weddings held to a different price point, just because of its association, says the lady who used to grow and sell them.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 10:49AM
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I bought the EZ Quilting Pencil pack #882668 from one of the 'famous instructors' at a workshop -- I can't recall which one.

This pack is similar to the pencils Sandra uses, except they fit into a regular pencil sharpener which is always in my little box of goodies I keep with my machine. I like a sharp point for precision. These pencils are oil free, can be washed out with cool water or erased. Also includes a template marker.

I also use the air purple disappearing marker & I have the blue water soluble marker.

My favorite is my tailor's chalk from my years of garment construction.

I also use soap - thank you Gwen.

As you can see, I have and use different marking for different tasks.

I also have some chalk markers - they disappear too easily from handling or smudge the line.

I hate-hate -hate the white marking pencil from Joanns - the lead breaks - finally tossed it this weekend.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marking Pencils

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 11:03AM
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hhmm.....thanks all, for the good information. guess it's not just me with the puzzle!!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 2:54PM
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I happened to read about Pilot Frixion erasable gel pens for quilting/sewing recently. They are a regular pen - you can find them on Amazon and I'm sure they're in the stores as well.

Apparently, you iron the marks and they disappear!

From what I've read, you need to test on your fabric first before using.

Here's a short youtube demo.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pilot Frixion

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 12:14AM
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I have been using the frixion pen to mark fabric for sometime and thought it was wonderful as it disappeared with a touch of the iron. I just recently discovered though that what disappears with heat returns when exposed to cold. I wrote on a small piece of fabric and then put it into the freezer for a few minutes. When I retrieved it, the writing was back. I will be very careful what I use the pen on in future.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 12:41AM
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Although I like the air erasable markers, they tend to disappear before I want them to. I think I used the water erasable one once and didn't like something about it, can't remember what it was. I've used several different types of markers, the chalk ones come off easily, but sometimes too early. But there isn't a perfect marker out there yet as far as I'm concerned. I've been trying to talk DH into watching me while I work and come up with something that would wow the quilting world and make us bazillions, but he won't.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 9:51AM
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I have used the Frixion pens and I like them.
That said, I did test them before I used them and they do return with cold but the effect deminishes with the use of heat and eventually disapears.(This is after repeated use of heat and cold washes). My feeling is that unless the quilt is washed in cold they are fine, and even if they do return they can be made to disapear if heat is applied.
They are easy to use and have a very fine line.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 10:48AM
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Kate, I just saw online where people are using clear plastic shelf liner to make templates. It has sticky stuff on the back, and can be re-used over and over again. If your quilting designs are just simple shapes this would be great, in fact I am going to try it. If it is a complicated design such as feathers, etc., it would be time-consuming to make the templates, though.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 6:05PM
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Hi Marsha thanks for the link to the fabric pencils that you use as I am always on the lookout for good ones and I am in the same situation as Kate and can't afford to try them all out. The one thing I do love about the fat fabric pencils though is that I write / mark with a heavy hand and I tend to break pencil lead in the smaller tipped pencils. I also tried out the new blue ink water-soluble fabric pens at Hobby Lobby by Sewology and I like them better than the blue Mark-B-Gone fabric pens as I write with a heavy hand and the tip on the Sewology pen has held up better and it seems to last longer than the Mark-B-Gone brand; and my local Hobby Lobby sells out of them very fast, I was lucky to just find one on my last visit to HL last week.

Best to you,

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 7:22PM
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I like the frixon pens, they are just so easy to use, and disappear with heat. Over time, they seem to go away altogether, but I have to admit my experience with them is small and limited.

I've tried the chalk, but it does not hold up when quilting....just lots of dust on the quilt surface, and the pencils from Joanne's are just a waste of money.

The tailors chalk makes perfect sense, I used when I sewed as a kid...good idea Marsha.

There are several good suggestions here ... Thank you all...bookmarking this for future reference.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2015 at 8:10AM
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