tools of the trade

Make your mark

Like many quilters I have used – a lot – of different approaches to mark my work to help with the task of the moment.

There is always new technology, the latest quilting gadget or tool to be used to mark appliqué, hand quilting lines or hand sewing guides on your fabric. For years people have been using the Frixion Erasable pens for their quilt marking needs (debates/reviews here, here and here). I have to admit that I haven’t gone down that pathway, the chance that the lines will appear at some inopportune time has always put me off using or trying them. But I know many use them and who swear by them.

Enter Crayola.

I was browsing the quilting subreddit and the discussion about markers had come up again, with an addition, the Crayola Ultra Clean Washable Markers.

A couple of points before I give my view.

  • I always wash my quilts when I finish making them if I am doing a type of quilting which needs marking. Appliqué and hand quilting take time, and they are (generally) dragged around the countryside (literally), and there is a very high chance that there is coffee/wine/blood on them somewhere, in addition to dirt, cat fur and mystery marks from random things – so they need a good wash at the end. And so they go in the machine, with a couple of colour catchers, detergent and crossed fingers. I haven’t had a problem with this approach yet.
  • I live in a weird climate. I have used water disappearing markers on my quilts and find that if we have a humid day they vanish, or the disappear to the point where I can’t see them. This is unacceptable to me, and I prefer that the marks stay put until I decide otherwise.

I know at this point there are going to be people that are a hard no because of some view that quilts shouldn’t be washed before they go into shows etc. Spoiler alert – I have won prizes with quilts that have come freshly off the clothesline and into the exhibition. Dirty quilts don’t win prizes.*

So the Crayola. I love them. They wash out of cotton fabric really easily and stay put until I decide otherwise.

Quilt going into the machine – not pictured, colour catchers and crossed fingers (for the record the crossed fingers weren’t for the marks, but for the fabric, I hated working with it but that is another story).
And after washing. Note no marks, just the hand quilted lovelyness of Aurifil Thread 28wt.

More on this quilt later.

Using the markers was dead easy, I just drew with them and the marks stayed put. If I made a mistake, I used a different colour and remarked what needed doing. Hence the different colours on the quilt heading into the machine (above). I am going to stop using the permanent fine markers and replace them with these… because for $4 at the supermarket (2024 pricing at Coles in Australia), you can’t really go wrong.

*I have thoughts about the quilt police and some of these types of statements. Many thoughts.

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