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Thread: Gel marking pens for half-square triangles etc.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Helen6869's Avatar
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    Smile Gel marking pens for half-square triangles etc.

    I need a good pen for marking the lines for half-square and quarter-square triangles. I have a terrible time making it straight and also not moving the fabric. I saw some gel pens in Nancy's Notions catalog and I am wondering if any of you have used them, how do they work? Will they disappear easily in case they happen to show? I know for the triangles they should not be visible but just in case....you know. Thanks in advance to all who may take time to answer and give me some needed advice.
    Also, I have a problem sewing a 1/4 inch from the drawn line. I can't see how to make it exact. Am I making sense? I hope so. Anyhoo, any tips anyone can give me is greatly appreciated.
    I hope everyone is well now and had a good holiday and was blessed to be with their loved ones as I was. Welcome, 2015!

  2. #2
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i use frixion pens and they are gel pens. the work like a charm. they iron right off... in fact, you almost do not even have to touch the hot iron to the fabric. if the quilt is ever going to be in the freezing cold, the lines might come back, so it is best to wash the finished quilt to prevent that
    Nancy in western NY
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  3. #3
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    Frixion pen work great and as they will be in you seam I wouldn't worry about the line coming back. I also use just an ordinary lead pencil on light coloured fabrics. You could also try marking your sewing line rather than the centre line and see if that is easier for you. A little ruler like this is great for that http://www.joann.com/omnigrid-clear-....html#start=11 I sit in front of the tv and mark a heap of them and then sew them.
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

  4. #4
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Are you talking about the line drawn diagonally and then sewn 1/4 inch to each side??

    If so, you're going to cut right ON that line so it'll virtually disappear....doesn't really matter what you use to mark it. I've used ballpoint pens, pencils, Sharpies, water-washable pencils, even an awl to 'just leave a line'. Never a problem.

    I request sharp ballpoint pens for the classes I teach using HSTs; they can also use them for taking notes!

    Also, you may find that if you hold the block down with a firm press on a ruler, then start your marked line in the middle of the block out to one corner, then from the middle out to the other corner, you'll be less likely to distort or move the fabric.

    Jan in VA
    Last edited by Jan in VA; 01-03-2015 at 09:23 PM.
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  5. #5
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    What Jan said, and try drawing that line on a sheet of fine sandpaper...grabs the fab so it doesn't move. If you are having that much trouble sewing on or 1/4" from that drawn line, perhaps you should try either using triangles on a roll, thangles or even use the right angle HST template and cut the triangle first then with the bladed 1/4" foot sew that seam. Remember there are several ways to do one thing...find the one that works best for you...

  6. #6
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Sandpaper! Get a piece of 220 or finer (larger number). I cut a piece of 1/4" plywood and stuck it down with double stick tape, but I gave a sheet to my girlfriend who just used a clipboard. It really keeps the fabric from distorting at all and because you can use a bit more pressure with your marking tool, the lines are darker & more visible. For 90% of my marking I can use a #2 lead pencil.
    I also purchased the Omnigrid marking rulers with a coupon. Don't have to look for that 1/4" line. Don't really need these, but it sure makes it easier.
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    Last edited by PaperPrincess; 01-04-2015 at 05:54 AM.
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    I took a hand quilting class from a woman who has been hand quilting since she was a child. She showed us a couple of the new items to mark with, and then said as for myself, I use a No. 2 pencil. It always washes out, and when I am sewing, it already starts to go away. That's on light fabrics. On darker fabrics, she uses tailor's chalk. I have tried the No. 2 pencil, and she is absolutely right. It works beautifully. As far as the tailor's chalk is concerned, I have not bought any yet, because I have a sewline marker with white chalk. I want to use that all up before I buy anything else. I would recommend the No. 2 pencil, however.

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    I got myself a Clearly Perfect Angles and put it on my machine and now I never have to mark lines again. LOVE IT! Best investment I've ever made.

  9. #9
    Super Member Ariannaquilts's Avatar
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    Bonnie Hunter recommended just picking up a gel pen at Michaels or any other store. I saw that she uses it all the time so I got one in white because I already have the frixion pen in the dark color, besides the gel pen is a lot less expensive than the frixion ones.
    Maria
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  10. #10
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I use pencil to mark mine.

  11. #11
    Member Littlebear123's Avatar
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    Great info..thks

  12. #12
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    I use a regular lead pencil (either a #2 or a mechanical pencil) and a classroom variety 6- or 12-inch ruler. I find I can apply more pressure to the narrow ruler. That line is always on the wrong side and, more than likely, will disappear when the cut is made.
    One step at a time, always forward.

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    Great advice!

  14. #14
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Be careful with what kind of gel pen you use. My husband dropped a gel pen on an expensive dress shirt he'd left laying on the floor, and the shirt wicked up enough ink to make a 2" stain. I tried everything I could think of on that stain and even did an hour's worth of research on the internet. I found that law enforcement recommends signing checks with gel ink pens because it's the one kind of ink that thieves cannot bleach out of checks.

    Having said that, I agree with the others who say if you're going to cut on that line, whatever you use won't be a problem because the line will be inside the seam allowance.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Helen6869's Avatar
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    I need to perhaps clarify my question about the gel pens. My problem isn't with what to use except that when I use a pencil the fabric moves or the pencil won't leave a mark. I thought maybe the gel pens would be smoother and not push the fabric. I do have the quarter inch ruler with the points on either end and the holes to mark for the middle and then you mark down the sides. But for some reason, my lines never are straight and I end up not having a true quarter inch seam. I also use the sandpaper to hold the fabric. Don't really know what I'm doing wrong! So frustrating! I can mark the center line just fine but then cannot figure out how to sew a quarter inch away from it. If I mark the quarter inch seam lines, they move on me. Thank you all for your tips and I will continue to try the different ones I am not already using. I do appreciate your help. I am going to order the gel pens while I can get free shipping. lol! Everyone have a great week!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Helen6869's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jan in VA View Post
    Are you talking about the line drawn diagonally and then sewn 1/4 inch to each side??

    If so, you're going to cut right ON that line so it'll virtually disappear....doesn't really matter what you use to mark it. I've used ballpoint pens, pencils, Sharpies, water-washable pencils, even an awl to 'just leave a line'. Never a problem.

    I request sharp ballpoint pens for the classes I teach using HSTs; they can also use them for taking notes!

    Also, you may find that if you hold the block down with a firm press on a ruler, then start your marked line in the middle of the block out to one corner, then from the middle out to the other corner, you'll be less likely to distort or move the fabric.

    Jan in VA
    I am going to try starting in the middle as you suggested. Maybe that will do it! The point is not what kind of marker but the fact that I cannot get a straight line and the fabric moves on me. Thanks so much!

  17. #17
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    It might be easier for you to mark your center cutting line with a ruler with a 45 degree angle line. Place that marking on the edge of your fabric and then use the cutting edge of your ruler to mark your fabric. If you have a 1/4" foot that should be fine for sewing your seams on either side of the drawn line.

    Generally, I need to trim up my HST's so I cut the squares at 1" vs the 7/8" measurement. After they are sewn and pressed, I then place my 45 degree line on the seam line and trim to the measurement I need. I can't sew an accurate HST any other way to save my soul. What I do is more work and tedious to be sure but I get accurate HST's to continue my project.

  18. #18
    Super Member citruscountyquilter's Avatar
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    I use Frixon pens to mark my line. I make my initial squares at least 1" larger than my finished square so I trim the edges after I sew on either side of the line and cut on the diagonal line. Since I am using the sewing line as my guide when trimming it doesn't make a lot of difference if my sewing line is exactly 1/4" away from the drawn line since no one will notice a slight variation in the seam allowance which is hidden on the underside. A slight variance in that will not affect the size of the finished HST if you use the seam line as your guide for trimming. I have Quilt in a Day HST ruler which you use to trim before you press. I really like that ruler but any ruler with a 45 degree line on it will work for trimming if you press open first.

  19. #19
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    I love the mechanical pencils. The yellow ones--Bic? Nice skinny line and always sharp. Can be turned back into itself when not in use and not risk breaking the tip. Find them in the stationery/office supply aisle.

  20. #20
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    I use blue water-erase pens. The felt tip doesn't drag on the fabric much.

  21. #21
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    I totally agree with those recommending the use of sandpaper. Keeps the fabric from moving which seems to be your problem. I too always use a mechanical pencil. Works for me.

  22. #22
    Super Member SueSew's Avatar
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    Beware of ballpoints - mentioned by another poster earlier. I had been using them without an issue for HST and then grabbed one from my local bank and discovered to my horror that the bit of ink at the cut line of the HST bled right onto the front of the HST fabric when it was washed. Lavender and cream tone-on-tone. Awful, and couldn't get it out.

    I know what you mean about the fabric pulling, because that happened to me with the .008 permanent micro-marker I used - it scraped on the fabric because it was too fine a point on the pen.

    I use colored pencils in a near-match to the front of the fabric now, or Frixion. they ride smoother.

    FYI I put samples of Frixion-erased fabric in the freezer and in the fridge, and the lines never came back. It would have been red on solid yellow and there wasn't a trace of it.
    SueSew
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  23. #23
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    Helen, what you might want to try, make sure you are holding down the ruler, then from the middle mark up (away from you) then mark down, (toward you but with a light hand. Try and see if that helps. The sandpaper helps too.
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
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  24. #24
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    I also agree with Jan that starting in the middle. If you are worried about the 1/4 there is tape that is 1/4, but what I have done is mark the throat plate with BLUE painting tape so it keeps the fabric in the right position

  25. #25
    Senior Member LITTLEOLDME's Avatar
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    I use the #2 pencil to mark with no problems, dark fabric I have a white chalk pencil that I use.
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