Marking tools

So, I believe that every quilter has their own favorite marking tools. The tools that work for them. qltmom9 asked to see mine. Please note that this is not a slam against anybody else's favorite, okay? I know a lady that marks with soap slivers and does fabulous work. But, I tried that and I didn't like it. And, that doesn't make it any less useful for her.

But, before I can talk about my favorite tools, I need to show you these. This is the bin of mis-spent marking tools. There is black lead, colored pencils, soapstone, a half a dozen different kinds of chalk and chalk rollers and chalk sliders and chalk pencils and replacement chalks. The only thing I can think to use all this for is to take to quilt class and let everybody try different markers to see what they like best.

The fine black sharpies shouldn't be in this picture because they are actually a favorite marking tool for setting the final edge of a quilt and marking where to attach the binding. They're great for marking on batting.

But, what are my favorites?

Okay, so I like the washout markers. They make a great mark...IF I'm sure the fabric won't get hot. If it gets hot, the ink is permanent. And, I get impatient and tend to make too heavy a mark. But, that doesn't stop them from being useful to mark light colored fabrics. I like them when I'm going to premark a quilt because the lines stay until I want them to go. There's no rubbing off like the ceramic pencils. And, I like that when I'm done, I can spritz and it's gone.

Next are my ceramic pencils. Sewline makes pencils and leads in many colors. Fons and Porter do, too. I bought a very expensive sewline pencil and I've bought a whole bunch of their green leads. The Fons and Porter is available at JoAnn's in white, so I can use a coupon. And, now, I'm going to make both those companies mad because those expensive pencils are just .90 diameter mechanical pencils and you can get them 2 for $3 at Office Depot. The lead is expensive, but if you're really careful not to advance too much of it out at a time, it lasts a long time. It's pretty fragile, a bit more fragile than regular graphite lead I think, so the biggest waster of the ceramic leads is advancing them too far and breaking them off. My LQS sometimes stocks the Sewline leads and if I can't get them there, I can get them at any quilt show.

This is a mark made by the green lead on a piece of dark brown fabric. These are limbs for a piece of applique. I was drawing over a light box and when doing that, it's all back light, so you can't see how heavy your marks are. I probably went over each line two or three times to make sure they'd show from the front.

Anyway, this ceramic lead sticks to the fabric really good and on a piece of applique, will still be there through finger pressing the edges and then stitching it down. But, like chalk, it does eventually rub off.

The tool I forgot to include in my pictures is my chalk Pounce. Likely I didn't think of it because it's new to me and I'm just learning all its uses. I've used it so far to mark with plastic cutout templates, but my next thing to try is needle punching paper and pouncing on top of that to see the little holes. If that works, it's going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

And, for marking, but not directly on the fabric, I like golden threads paper. I can needle punch it and baste it to the quilt with safety pins and quilt right through it and then pull it off. But, I hate pulling it off. And, once in a while, it will shift just a tiny bit and throw off a line.

Okay, so what's my new tip today? My scissor leash. Okay, so it's really a name badge leash, but I look silly wandering around with my badge hanging from my neck. My badge hangs from my pocket, like Timothy Olyphant in Justified...yeah, like I'm that butch. Anyway, that freed up this leash and I attached a pair of thread snips. This is the GREATEST tool for machine quilting. I can be stitching along and come across a thread I need to snip and we all know what happens then, right? You move your eyes and go looking for a pair of scissors and when you come back, you can't see that thread anymore...until you're showing the quilt to your mentor.

Anyway, with a leash, I don't have to move my eyes. I just put my hand over my heart and there's the leash and I can pull it through my fingers until the snips are in my hand and that pesky little thread is gone!

They're also handy for ending a line of quilting and needing to snip the threads or snipping off the tails where I start a line of quilting. They are sharp and I have sat in the floor and forgotten I have them on and leaned forward and stabbed myself in the upper leg, so follow this tip with caution. Open scissors are dangerous things.

But, handy scissors are wonderful things, so you have to balance that out.

If you have snips like this, keep them oiled or they will rust. Mine are several years old and as I'm writing this, I'm ransacking my desk, looking for another leash because that old one is falling apart.

Have a great Friday. I'm trying to come up with a list of projects for the weekend. It's supposed to be 75* and sunny. I'm feeling some digging in the dirt coming on.



Elizabeth said...

Oh, digging in the dirt . . . something lovely to look forward to because that just doesn't happen in January in Utah.

I have scissors on a leash too. Mine is a little pin with a silk flower on it and I use a tiny pair of embroidery scissors. I wear it whenever I'm working.

I love the blue water soluble markers and I LOVE the white marking pen that Clover makes. It stays put and will disappear either when ironed or spritzed with water.

And thank you for the info on the Sewline pencil. I've been pondering that lately and wondered if it really was all that.

xo -E

Bratling said...

I'm at the hiding-tools-from-the-baby stage ATM, because she's learning to walk and getting into everything. But my favorite is a common, every day mechanical pencil. Pencil lead washes out, it's cheap as dirt, and I get accurate lines with it...

Kim West said...

I love punching holes in mt golden threads paper and using a pounce on it. The only problem I find with that is I have yo mark one block/area at a time, which is no big deal. I have found that making two or three papers of the design at the same time is best for a couple of reasons... 1. If you mislay one, tou have another. 2. The perforating hole has a little ridge that if you pounce from that side, it catches the chalk better.

Kim West said...

Please excuse the typos in the above comment, typing on my iPad is annoying sometimes

lw said...

I'm with you on the ceramic pencil. I also used to wear my badge in my pocket (because having it hang on your chest, for a woman, is a way of saying "Please stare at my chest.")

With the advent of the stupid ICs in badges, I can't wear it in my pocket because it might bend and destroy the chip. So I have about 15 beaded badge straps. And one of them is sure to be the right one for tiny scissors.

Richard Healey said...

Scissors on a leash is a great idea. I have like 10 pair now because I keep losing them in or around furniture and or kids walk off with them.


One Minnesota Quilter said...

You are right about marking pens being a personal thing. I have my favorites too. I took two classes this week at a show and each teacher cancelled the other out with what they suggested for marking a quilt.
Each person has to try the product for themselves.

qltmom9 said...

THANK YOU. I'll look for an office depot. And, a way to wear my scissors. You are so sweet.