I have a knack for somehow starting with a simple project and making it difficult. This time I came up with a doozie. Start with a black whole cloth quilt. That doesn’t sound that difficult does it? Well let’s choose a design with a lot of marking. And add trapunto. And probably some metallic thread. And probably not just plain ole metallic thread-I can do that one. Let’s make it a silk core with a metallic wrap. Oops, just crossed that difficult line!
I’m just going to cover The Great Search for The Perfect Marking System today. Spoiler alert: There is no Perfect Marker. And, it’s a no-brainer which one is best IMHO. Note that the links for each product are not necessarily the least expensive place to purchase but it gives you information about the product.
Setting the stage, I’m working a whole cloth quilt with trapunto. And my design requires a good bit of marking. I’m using Michael Miller black which is by far the blackest black I’ve found-it’s gorgeous. I buy it in quantity and hoard it.
I tried 9 different methods/markers as noted above. The attributes I was looking for: a crisp, precise and very visible line, a smooth delivery-no skipping, and staying power yet easily removed when done. Hah, like all of that exists in one marker!
Starting from the left, the Clover rolling marker gives great visibility and applies without skipping. But it does not stay put and would be gone after stuffing my quilt through the harp a few times. It would also be hard laying accurate lines against a ruler because the holder is a little fat and it’s hard to snug the marker up to a ruler.
I did try hair spray over top-that is supposed to give it staying power. It did not.
Next, the Kearing White Water Soluble. This could have been the holy grail because in theory, it would stay put until hit with water. It was not. The line was wimpy, it skipped and just didn’t have enough umph for the task.
Clover’s White Marking pen failed for me. The way it’s supposed to work, when you first make the line it is not visible but begins to appear after a few seconds. Well there’s a problem right there-you make a “mark” and no mark shows up for awhile. How can you tell if you finished a section? When the mark finally appeared it was wimpy. Onward.
The Nonce and Quilter’s pencil both failed. They skipped, it was hard to get the mark on the fabric, the mark was wimpy and fat. And I know from experience that the Quilter’s pencil does NOT come off easily. And the whole sharpening issue: I have a professional sharpener. If I sharpen it enough to make a crisp line, the lead breaks too easily. If I don’t, the line is too fat.
The Bohin 91493 is chalk. It went on fat and came off too easily.
I’ve used Miracle Chalk before and it is useful in some situations. In either the crayon or little slab form, it does not produce a crisp line. There is a chalk form but you need a stencil for that.
Let’s move over to the far right, the Hera. The Hera also can be useful in the right situation. By creating a scratched line, you have a mark to follow and it obviously will easily come out. But, this is not going to work on black fabric!
The only real choice is the Sewline, a ceramic lead pencil available here. It does give a crisp line, goes on smoothly and is very visible. I have a test piece that I’ve handled a good bit and of course it’s faded, but the line is still crisp and clear. I have previously dissed this product, thinking it would wear off quickly, but it has more staying power than I thought. I can change my mind, right? Still learning…
Bottom line, for marking on black fabric, the Sewline is the only reasonable choice. And it’s not perfect, just the best choice.
NOTE: I did not test the Frixxion pens as they are not appropriate for this project and have significant drawbacks. Read about them here.
I’ll be linking up to Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday-see you over there with all the good links!