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Thread: marking quilts

  1. #1
    saf
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    Has anyone ever used a hera marker to mark their quilting patterns. A non-quilting friend has just told me that I shouldn't use a pencil as I was going to do. She has been told that the best thing to use is a hera marker but I'm afraid that I've never heard of one. What do the rest of you use?

  2. #2
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I would not use a regular lead pencil either. There are however pencils made for fabric use. Jean Brown (of Aunt Becky fame) uses the silver or the yellow and she says they wash out just fine.

    It depends on what kind of quilting you do - you could use chalk. Is the hera marker the kind that just leaves an imprint for a time? It would make you work fast.

  3. #3
    Senior Member kem77's Avatar
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    I use a pen that has eraseable ink. You put a little water mist and it dissapears.I am guessing you are not going to applique.

  4. #4
    saf
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    I was going to use a pencil because this is what the teacher at the quilting class I went to yesterday recommended. Apparently the hera has no lead or colour and creases the fabric.

  5. #5
    Super Member Monika's Avatar
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    I have heard of it, but not used it. Will be interested in reviews from those that have.

  6. #6
    Super Member Vanuatu Jill's Avatar
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    I have tried everything ever invented for marking (and then some!) I find I use different methods for different types of designs-chalk pencils and tamper (powdered chalk) I tend to use with stencils, but you have to mark as you go as the chalk wears off as you handle the quilt. I use dissappearing pens as well. If I want to mark a large area in advance, I use a pen that dissappears with a little water or steam. But you have to be careful and test that one first and don't leave it on for a really long time before removing (don't mark, put your quilt away for 6 months and then work on it). Lots of people here will have different ideas on what works for them. I just don't have any one type I use for every quilt. The Hera I use for straight lines, but you can't mark a large section and depending on the fabric print, it can be hard to see. Solids and subtle prints work better than busy prints.

  7. #7
    saf
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    teacher yesterday was very critical of the disappearing pencils - maybe for the reason that you give but she also said that some do disappear and then come back later to haunt you. I do have a silver pencil so I think I'll try that for now as I'm keen to get on with this quilt (my first) now that I've got everything together and investigate the hera later

  8. #8
    Super Member tslowery's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips.

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    I've tried the Hera, but when you roll the fabric to quilt it, it kind of messes with the creases from Hera. It is really not something I recommend.

  10. #10
    Junior Member Lobster's Avatar
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    I think it's the disappearing pens which can come back to haunt you. The pencils which supposedly wash out either wash out or fail to do so; I don't think they wash out and then come back. (But then the ones which don't turn out to wash out after all are quite enough trouble already, thank you.)

    There are a number of marking tools out there, and none are perfect for everyone. Most of us are still struggling to find the perfect marker. Be aware that many markers will be set permanently by ironing, and some will rub off through friction by the time you've finished the quilt (especially with hand-quilting), and some might do odd things such as leave smudges (some types of chalk, soft graphite pencils). If you're not sure, just ask here, there will be people with years of experience with that particular marker who can tell you what it gets up to.

  11. #11
    Super Member Vanuatu Jill's Avatar
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    What ever method you use with any type of pencil or ink, make the mark as light as you can and still see the mark. I try to do that, and sometimes I have to turn the light to just the right spot to see what I've marked. I will also, depending on the exactness of the design, just make intermittent marks to keep me on track, not making a solid line of the design. I learned 20 years ago to use a #2 HB pencil, but I think that was before all these new markers were out on the market. I just made very light marks.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by saf
    I was going to use a pencil because this is what the teacher at the quilting class I went to yesterday recommended. Apparently the hera has no lead or colour and creases the fabric.
    Hi Saf,

    Did the teacher include a pencil as a supply item for the class? Is this a beginner class teaching you how to piece blocks together or is this about the quilting of the quilt top?

    If you are just starting and working on a small project then you could use a pencil marking very lightly. This would be for marking of the quilt top for quilting.

    I'm somewhat surprised that a quilting teacher would suggest using a pencil. This might be ok to learn the process for a small project, but not ok for truly teaching of the student. I would question if this is the practice that she herself uses. I would question whether or not she did any lecture on any of the other forms of marking of your quilt top for quilting.

    For a large heirloom type project I would not ever think of using a pencil. There are some antique quilts that you can still see the pencil markings that never came out.

    As another stated, marking materials depend on the size and application of the project. I would start with what you think you might suit your present needs. Your needs, likes and dislikes may change over time. Also there are new products coming out all the time to meet the different needs of quilters.

    I would make a placemat size sandwich of a good quality muslin, with batting and backing. Use this as a tester. Write at the top with permanent pen the brand and marker used, then draw a line down the mat. Collect different samples of marking pens to test. If you're in a guild group, this could be done as a group. Each member could make her own tester placemat. Then collectively add the name and marking of each pen. Each member can then go back home having their own sample.

    It can be tested with different forms of soaps, washings, dryings, ironings, etc. to see if the markings are truly removable or just what each pen's markings remain.

    Good luck with your quilting.

    Pam M

  13. #13
    Senior Member vivientan's Avatar
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    I use a yellow quilting pencil. That's the only thing I've ever used and not too pleased with it. Firstly, I find it extremely difficult to mark with a stencil as it can't be clearly seen and the colour comes off pretty easily. Secondly, I can't find a perfect sharpener to sharpen it. And lastly, it doesn't come off completely after I wash it after quilting.

    Does anyone have advice on how I shd use this pencil to mark my quilt? Any suggestions for a good sharpener?

  14. #14
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Ahh the eternal quest of finding a suitable marking tool will never end. I have had great luck with the following:

    For dark colors:
    I use a Fons and Porter Mechanical pencil with the white lead. However it rubs out very easily so I would not recommend marking the whole top with this. You have to mark as you go. Great for handquilting with a lap hoop and plays nicely with stencils.
    I have also had great luck with Transdoodle brand transfer paper. Again rubs out very easily so you can only mark as you go unless the quilt is going in a rack of some sort. In fact the mark is almost like chalk and I usually go over it with the F&P pencil when handquilting. But in a rack it seems to hold up then. It comes in blue, yellow red and white and I have used all colors and had all wash out. Transdoodle is for having a preprinted or predrawn design and you want to transfer on to the quilt top. It is the same basic idea as old fasioned carbon paper or transfer paper used in tole painting.
    Pounce pad and stencils works well for me when longarming. I have only used the regular chalk kind not the ultra that you remove the marks with an iron. Both blue and white have come out fine so far.
    Light colors:
    I have had great luck with another Fons and Porter product, the water soluble graphite pencil. Packaging said to do first wash in plain cold water NO SOAP. Some detergents can permanently set the mark. I have only used this tool to completely mark out a quilt that went in my LA rack so do not know how easy it would rub out when handquilting.
    Many moons ago I read somewhere that you can starch your quilt top and then mark with regular pencil. The lead marks "float" on top of the dried starch and when laundered the marks wash out with the starch. I did this once with handquilted quilt. This quilt sat for years before I completed it and I had premarked the whole top. All the marks washed out. I don't know if I was just lucky or this really worked. It certainly seemed logical about the lead sitting on the starch and the starch washing out. Starching also made it a lot easier to lightly mark with a pencil. I used a regular pencil and marked very lightly.
    Things that have not washed out for me:
    Yellow quilt marking pencils
    Blue chaco liner chalk
    I have not tried the blue water soluble markers or the disappearing ink markers. Still a little afraid of them but many MQ pros swear by the blue wash outs.

  15. #15
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    FF, yesterday I ordered the Fons and Porter white pencil. Glad to hear it works well.

  16. #16
    saf
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    the teacher said that she used aBic mechanical pencil herself and lightly drew in any lines and designs. She stressed that we shouldn't use any of the cheaper pencils and to use it lightly. This is a beginners class for patchwork and quilting, and none of us have any experience of different products. I did use the pencil to draw my design on my needleturned applique piece and because all the lines were covered it was fine. Now I am just starting a sampler QAYG quilt and have just completed a dresden plate on a cream background. I definately don't want to spoilmy effort by using something that will stain the fabric. I will be handquilting it......

  17. #17
    Super Member sawsan's Avatar
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    U asked about what I feel the hardest part, so i use a chalk or dry soup and easy pattern

  18. #18
    saf
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    sorry sawsan----dry soup???

  19. #19
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    joann's has the Hera marker. its sort of like holding a butter knife and scoring with it. the flat edge of the Hera makes indentations in your fabric which would be your stitching lines.
    http://www.amazon.com/Clover-490-NV-.../dp/B0011451F8

  20. #20
    Senior Member Zebra2's Avatar
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    Bruynzeel pastel pencils, available at art supply stores.

  21. #21
    Super Member sawsan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saf
    sorry sawsan----dry soup???
    Yes dry but soap this time

    :wink:

  22. #22
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i have been using good ole' pencils for years. i always test a small spot and make sure it is going to wash out but i've never had one not wash out and i have had really unpleasant results from some of the items made (and priced) specifically for quilters. i will use a pencil over expensive markers that may work once or twice then don't work any more. my pencil shows up on most fabrics, light and dark. if it is not showing enough on a dark i use a silver or white pencil.
    and i test a spot on every quilt...every one is different and even though it washed out last time no problem does not mean it will next time...just like (just because it worked for you does not mean it's going to work for me)always test no matter what you choose to use. herra markers are ok for small areas you will quilt right away but the marks disappear so you can not mark a whole large quilt and have the marks still visible -- it only makes a (crease) line, not a marked line

  23. #23
    Super Member TerryQuilter's Avatar
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    I have used a hera, but mostly for straight line marking. It makes a nice crease in the fabric that is easy to follow. Don't know how it would do going around corners and such.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by safe
    teacher yesterday was very critical of the disappearing pencils - maybe for the reason that you give but she also said that some do disappear and then come back later to haunt you. I do have a silver pencil so I think I'll try that for now as I'm keen to get on with this quilt (my first) now that I've got everything together and investigate the hera later
    Well - this would be true IF you didn't wash it or if you iron the markings before they're washed out. If you're not going to wash you're quilt once it's completed, then don't use the washable ink pens. I've used them for years, and haven't ever had one come back or not wash out. Just use cold water, no soap, for the first rinse to get the marker out - and you're good to go. That's all there is.

    There's a lot of people in the world who have FIRM ideas on marking tools. Remember, this is their thoughts, and not necessarily the whole picture or truth. Just test whatever tool you use, and you'll know how it works with that fabric, then you'll feel confident you won't run into problems.

    I use many methods, depending upon the project. And if I have any doubts, I test them first.

  25. #25
    Super Member quilterella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saf
    Has anyone ever used a hera marker to mark their quilting patterns. A non-quilting friend has just told me that I shouldn't use a pencil as I was going to do. She has been told that the best thing to use is a hera marker but I'm afraid that I've never heard of one. What do the rest of you use?
    I usually use a HB #2 lead for marking and haven't had any issues YET. I have a Hera Marker, it is a hard plastic piece that creates a line on your fabric(almost like a crease), and they are great. I use it when marking darker fabrics because I haven't found anything else that works. However you can only do straight lines with it, but. there is no residue issues.

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