Many quilters are looking for the best way to mark quilts. Clearly the key is the marks stay when you want them to (for example signatures and quilt labels) and it disappears when it's supposed to, generally when marking quilting lines. There has been buzz in quilt blogs and chat groups about Pilot FriXion(R) pens, and whether they 'really' disappear. It seems they disappear when pressed (heat over 140 degrees) and sometimes re-appear when temperatures drop (put your work in the freezer and the marks come back). Though I read in one case where the quilt had been washed before being in the freezer and the marks did not reappear. Have you tried this pen yet? What is your opinon? Would you use a FriXion pen on an heirloom quilt? A utility quilt?
Recently I marked a piece of muslin with Crayola(R) washable pens and another with Crayola washable crayon. These are my 'disappearing' markers of choice.
I have used Crayola washable crayons with great success for several years, so I fully expected both the markers and the crayons would come out after one wash.
On two pieces of muslin, I wrote the names of the colors with a regular black Sharpie(R) fine point permanent pen (the one that says 'Not for letter writing or cloth'). This would test whether the Sharpie bled and how well it held up in the wash. Secondly, I labeled the top with IDenti(R)-pen ('Crayons' and 'Pens') to compare it with the Sharpie. Next to the name of the pen or crayon I crosshatched marks and then drew a line out to the right. They were washed in a frontloading washer in cold water, gentle cycle with mild detergent. I did not put them in the dryer and no prewash/spot treatment was used.
NOTE: On the box of Crayola washable pens it states: For Best Results: Crayola Washable Markers wash from skin and most washable children's clothing. Wash promptly in hot wash cycle. Do not use prewash or chlorine bleach. Repeat laundering may be required.
As noted above, I used cold water and the company suggests hot for best results. Additionally, in the hopes of recreating a true quilting scenario where marks may remain for several weeks before washing, I waited three days before laundering thereby not following the suggested guideline 'wash promptly' for best results. Finally, I washed only once and it states repeat laundering may be required.
As you can see in the photo below, the pens washed out quite well. Even held up against the light there is no trace of color in any of the eight areas where washable marker was crosshatched the line area. Alternately, in the washable crayon areas all held traces of crayon. This was quite surprising as I have used the washable crayons reliably (without testing first though of course that is recommended) and they have come out without fail from four quilts washed as in the experiment (front loading washer, cold, mild detergent, gentle cycle).
Recently I finished the Three Bean Salad quilt and used purple Crayola washable crayon* to mark the quilting lines. It washed out! *Please test first and use at your own risk!
Conclusion: I will continue to use Crayola washable crayons and markers for marking. They are readily available, price is good -- around here they cost less than $2 per box during back to school and ohh the variety of colors with 8 marking pens and 24 crayons! On lighter fabrics I will use the washable pen or painters tape for straight line quilting.
What is your tool of choice for permanent or temporary marking?