There are several marking pen and pencils available on the market today. Unfortunately there is not one marking tool that is ideal for all purposes. When choosing a marker, consider the ease of removing the marking lines. It is important that marking equipment is tested for ease of removal on all the fabrics in the quilt that is going to be marked.
Machine quilters tend to need a bold line as they may be working in a shadow with inadequate light. They are also working at a fairly fast speed and for this reason need a line that is easy to see and remove.
Choose marking pens and pencils according the fabric you are using and keep all pencils sharp.
Lead pencil, a 2H is recommended, do not use soft lead pencils because cotton fabric absorbs the lead and seldom fully releases it.
Mechanical pencil, use with a 2H-4H lead, a good pencil as it never needs sharpening.
Quilter’s coloured pencils, there are various brands of these pencils which come in variety of colours such as yellow, white, gold, and silver.
White chalk pencil are useful on dark fabrics, but have a very soft lead so need sharpening frequently.
Soapstone pen is an excellent pen to use on dark fabric and is very easy to remove.
Water Erasable Marking Pens, these pens are very good on light coloured fabrics and do not cause any problems provided they are removed thoroughly . It is also important not to iron the quilt once it is marked as the marking lines can become heat set.
To totally removed the chemicals left by water erasable pens the quilt must be fully submerged in cold water until the marks completely disappear and then launder in a detergent such as wool wash.
Quilter’s ¼” tape is useful for quilts with straight line quilting, but should not be left on the quilt over night as it can cause a sticky residue.