Tag Archives: marking quilts

Frixion pens – removing white marks

Many quilters are now using Frixion™ pens, made by Pilot, for marking quilts.  These pens make a nice thin dark line that is very visible.  The pens are fairly long-lasting. The ink is heat sensitive and disappears on light fabrics after heated with an iron.  As the manufacturer warns you, the marks will come back in very cold temperatures and then must be removed again through ironing or rubbing.  Most likely you can find these pens at your local quilt shop, or at office supply stores.

Unfortunately there are a couple of disadvantages.  The first is that the pens only come in dark colors, so they are not suitable for marking very dark fabrics.  The second is that, when used on a medium to dark fabric, heat will remove the dark line but leaves a white line instead.  As long as you will be stitching on top of the mark, the white line is not very visible.  Of course I started using the pens for marking a quilt top and made a mistake, putting a mark someplace I did not want to quilt.

So, how to remove the mark?  I visited the Pilot pen website and found some information about the Frixion™ ink and how it works.  The website advised using hair spray to remove ink marks.  I tried that but it was not successful.  So I called the customer service number and was told to use an ink remover called Amodex™, which I purchased through Amazon since it was not available in my local stores.  If you want to purchase it, here is a link to Amazon where I purchased a 4 ounce bottle: Ink and Stain Remover, 4 oz., White   .  It comes in other sizes too.  The actual seller is not Amazon, but one of their third party vendors.

This ink remover works well.  Some gentle rubbing with a brush is necessary to get the marks out, so don’t expect instant results.  Amodex is claimed to remove even permanent black ink such as a Sharpie™ pen, but I haven’t experimented with that.  Below are my photos showing my test.  I found that the marks were removed both before and after ironing, but it was easier to get them out after ironing so that is what I will do in the future.

I drew several lines on two squares of medium green fabric, as shown below.

Lines marked with Frixion pen

Lines marked with Frixion pen

Then I ironed half of the lines on one of the squares.  White marks show on the left and the unironed marks are on the right.

marks on left side ironed away leaving white lines

marks on left side ironed away leaving white lines

I put the Amodex™ (which is fairly thick, like hand lotion) along the lines and rubbed briskly with a stiff stencil brush.  The photos below show the result while the fabric was wet on the unironed square.

Amodex rubbed in over the left (unironed) marked line

Amodex rubbed in over the left (unironed) marked line

I then washed the squares with a little dishwashing detergent in water, rinsed and dried them.  As you can see, the marks are gone.

unironed mark on left removed by Amodex, washed and dried

unironed mark on left removed by Amodex, washed and dried

And the removal of the ironed marks was even easier.  Two of the lines have been removed with Amodex, two have been left as white lines, and the others are the original unironed lines.

two lines of left removed with Amodex; two lines in center ironed but not removed; original line on right

two lines of left removed with Amodex; two lines in center ironed but not removed; original line on right

This is more work then I would normally want to do to remove marks, but it is nice to have a way to get rid of them if necessary.   If you are going to use this product, be sure to test it on a scrap of your own fabric first before depending upon it to remove the marks in a completed quilt.  Just because it worked in this test for me doesn’t mean it will work every time!

I am also experimenting with another marking tool for application to dark fabrics that is a form of chalk.  More about those results in another post!

Making Quilting Templates

I am making some quilting templates out of template plastic so thought I would explain the process.  First, there are several different kinds of template plastic.  For applique templates where you will want to press the fabric around the template, be sure to get the heat resistant template plastic.  For marking your quilting patterns, the heat resistant plastic is not necessary although it certainly can be used.  The regular plastic comes  as a clear sheet. a gridded sheet, or occasionally in color (quilt shops usually stock the 12 by 18 inch size, although other sizes are available).  I purchased some recently at Pacific Fabrics in Bremerton; here are the two types I purchased.

Gridded and colored template plastic

Gridded and colored template plastic

Both the colored and the gridded plastic have the advantage that you can find them when they get buried in your studio.  Clear templates can be hard to locate, especially once they are cut up into small pieces.  The gridded ones are also convenient for drawing shapes.  Below I am going to show how to make a couple of patterns that I like and use in my walking foot quilting class.

First, a “wavy line” template. I like this wavy line quilting as a background for contemporary quilts.  It can be easily sewn using a walking foot.  Here is the 8 inch square pattern we use in the class sampler:

Wavy line quilting pattern

Wavy line quilting pattern

The tools needed are a Sharpie or other non-smearing pen, template plastic, and some sort of circle.  In the photo I show a drafting circle template that I often use, but cans, plates, CDs – anything round can be used.  For this wavy line, you could even draw it free hand, just using the grid lines on the plastic as a reference.

Wave template

Wave template

Once the pattern is drawn, cut it out with scissors as shown below.  Feel the edge and if necessary smooth it out with sandpaper or an emery board.

Wave template

Wave template

Use the template to draw a wavy line.  Space the lines as you wish.  I like to make two lines about a half inch apart, then move down about 1 1/2 inches and make two more lines.  Repeat until the space is filled.  The waves also look great when placed on the diagonal.

The second template is for clamshell quilting.  Basically clamshells are just staggered half circles.  I used a different circle template for this, but otherwise the tools are the same.  The pattern is shown here:

Clamshell quilting pattern

Clamshell quilting pattern

And the tools and marked template are shown below:

template marked for clamshells

template marked for clamshells

Select the right size circle to divide your space evenly – for example a 9 inch block would work well with 3 inch circles.  Cut out the half circles, making your template one half circle longer than the space you need to fill so you can stagger the patterns as shown on the drawing.  Trim enough of a gap between half circles so you can fit your marking pen into the notch.

Clamshell template

Clamshell template

If possible, mark your quilt top before you sandwich it with the batting and backing. Use a marking pen and trace along the top of the template.  A water soluble or iron-away marker can be used; check with your local quilt shop for recommended brands.

Many other shapes can also be made from template plastic – circles, flowers, butterflies, etc.  Marking your quilt will be quick and easy once you have a template!