Quilt Marking: What to use what to steer clear of… Frixion Pens

I’m on the search for the best fabric marking tool for me and my art quilts…
There is a wide variety on the market, but which suits me best?

The hoopla at the moment is about the Pilot Frixion Pen.
Cheap to buy, plenty of colours to choose from. It has a nice firm line, is not too thick and a bonus for me, you can hit it with the iron and it won’t be permanent! Just the opposite in fact! Ironing the pen marks, make them disappear in an instant!

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You can even bring the marks back if you need them by putting them in the freezer! ….hang on… Didn’t I iron them to get rid of them? So how can they come back if the iron removed them?

But the iron doesn’t remove the marks. It only fades the pigment in the ink. A gel line still remains on the fabric.

I was a little worried! What will these pen marks do over time? Will they eat the fabric away? Will the marks come back if someone takes a quilt to the snow? Or if we have a cold snap? Will I have to wash the item to really remove it? So I went hunting for information.

I came across a really good article by Angela, on her My Three Sons Blog.

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Angela’s photo showing a shadow of the ink remains in the fabric
Angela is an engineer and had the same worries about the ink and longevity as I did, she did some tests and uses very clear photos. The pen does leave marks on the fabric, and washing does NOT remove them!

Further searching revealed a professional quilter had marked a quilt with the red Frixion pen, the customer placed the quilt on a rack near a heater and the marks came back. Some of the discussion suggests that the pen fades, but leaves a feint grey line. So if it leaves a feint line, it’s still there right?!
http://forum.apqs.com/index.php?/topic/31589-frixion-pen-problems/

Lee, over on the Freshly Pieced blog, writes about her experiences with the pen too. After ironing it and then washing it, she was still left with this..

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Read more of her story here…Freshly Pieced
Lee’s photo showing the return of the pen marks after ironing and washing

Comments in both of these blogs revealed some people love them and some people will never use them again, after incidents of the pens marks coming back and remaining permanently.
One commentor stated that she had contacted Pilot and had been told the pens were not archival quality!

So if you still want to use the Frixion pen… Do a test yourself… Write on it, wash it, then take a flash photo. See if the pen is still there!

For me personally, they are not going near my fabric creations unless they are going to be in a cutting line.

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