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Thursday, November 24, 2011

My stash of marking tools

by Caron Mosey
I’m probably like most other quilters in the world.  I’ll buy and try just about every marking tool there is, always searching for just the right miracle tool.
I have only tried the colored washable markers once and achieved a small degree of success with them.  They are now reserved for my grandchildren’s coloring. I’m leery of using them on something important only to discover a problem years later when the chemicals in the ink return to haunt me.  Yes, I do test everything I use, but if it washes out today and shows up in ten years…. that’s my fear.
I like to have some straight line rulers on hand when I am quilting.  My favorite is the acrylic quarter inch rod on the left.  It marks a perfect quarter inch line from any straight seam, and I can see through it.  I use this mainly for drawing lines on solid color fabrics.  I can usually eyeball a good straight quarter inch line, and do so when quilting on anything that’s not a solid.  However, I find that the eye will go to a straight line on solids and notice the least little wobble, which is why I draw lines on solids. 

Above are my favorite marking tools out of the box.  I love the blue water erasable pen, and have not had any problems with it since I began quilting in the late 1970s.  I leave the marking in place until I am finished quilting and binding the quilt.  Then, the quilt goes into my CLEAN washing machine with cold water for at least an hour where it sits but does not agitate. Then I drain the water, add warm water and a little soap and softener and wash it for a regular cycle.  I like the puckerd, old quilt look, so my quilts always go in the dryer.  (Well, maybe not my art quilts…)

I found this little chalk holder and array of chalk sticks in various colors.  I find it helpful to sketch out an area, mark major lines, or roughly draw feathers.  I don’t mark my entire quilt with these, however, as they are quick to disappear with movement of the quilt while quilting.
You notice that I don’t have the purple marking pen in my stash.  There is a reason.  When I first bought one, I marked an entire quilt for hand quilting.  It was BEAUTIFUL!   Then, within hours of starting to quilt, all the lines disappeared.  Silly me didn’t realize that it was AIR ERASABLE.  I thought it was just like thesmile blue markers, only in purple.  So I hate the purple pen. It really wasn’t my fault, it was the pen’s fault.  I have a Master’s degree in reading instruction, after all!  I CAN read. The pen was deceptive, and I’m going to stick with that.
I think the fact that I have a whole little drawer full of marking tools speaks to my compulsion to try anything.

You too?

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