But it really isn't! Meet the latest tool to help you easily mark quilting lines - the Frixion Pen by Pilot.
It comes in range of colors (black, blue, red, purple, orange, fuchsia, etc) and was originally designed for crossword and sudoku puzzle enthusiasts who wanted an erasable pen. Yes, it is erasable on paper, but even better for quilters, it disappears from fabric when touched with a hot iron! Here I have marked a swatch of my latest project with a black Frixion pen:
Touching it with a hot iron:
and "TA-DA", the black marking is gone!
As with any marking tool, it's best to test it on all your fabrics before making a full commitment to using it somewhere that may cause you great anguish if it, in fact, cannot be removed. In these next two shots, I've marked all my fabrics with the pen to test it:
And now after ironing, the black marking is gone.
You can see a slight bit of white residue on the darkest fabric, but since I'm going to mark quilting lines that will be stitched on, that bit of white is just fine with me.
I used the black pen to mark all the quilting lines on this project, and I'm happy to report that after quilting, all the marks did indeed disappear, and I cannot find any traces of residue :)
DISCLAIMER: Some of my LQS customers did report having problems with these pens not removing from batik fabrics. So even though I already said it, I'll say it again. Make sure you test it first! The pens are probably available at your LQS, but if you can't find them there, try an office supply store like Office Max or Office Depot. The pens I tested were sort of like a very fine felt-tip; I know there are others being sold that resemble a highlighting marker in color and appearance, and I can't speak to how well those work. But those "felt-tips"? Well, I've got one in every color now!
Oh, and another thing you should know - if the project you've erased the markings from is exposed to cold temperatures (say the freezer or your cold car sitting outside overnight) the markings will come back! You can still remove them again with a hot iron, but I'm just letting you know :) I'm sure you don't routinely put your quilts in your freezer, but I'd hate for you to load up your car with a precious wedding or baby shower quilt gift in some freezing cold weather, only to discover that those black markings have re-appeared as the bride/mom-to-be opens your one-of-a-kind gift. Be prepared!
And just in case you're wondering, this is the quilt top that I was working on while testing the pens. It's called "Breakfast Blues", and it's the February Breakfast Club II project I'm teaching at my LQS :)