I can get overly excited at times when talking about sewing notions. I may even be guilty of using superlatives in most of my posts because I'm just that passionate about the best of the best for you and your quilts! Today is no exception. But, before you roll your eyes, give me 5 minutes to convince you that the hera marker really is the absolute best tool for marking quilts. I'm confident about this one.
What is a Hera Marker?
A hera marker is a piece of hard plastic with a rounded edge. By running the rounded edge along most woven fabrics (this includes quilt-weight cotton) you can create a delicate crease. If you have ever dabbled in bookbinding, you're probably familiar with a similar tool called a bone folder.
A bone folder is basically the same thing, but with a much more sinister name, so if you own neither, opt for the hera marker. It's made in Japan, has a nice grip, and does not include the folding of bones.
Click below for a 5 minute video on what makes a hera marker the best and how I use it!
Above is the Perennial quilt pattern, which will be available on October 10 in the shop!
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5 Reasons Why a Hera Marker is the Best Quilt Marking Tool
Even though the hera marker is simply a humble piece of plastic, and even though the dull side of a butter knife would probably work just as well, I have 5 reasons why every quilter should still own one.
#1: The Hera Marker Doesn't Discriminate
Are you a lefty who's sick and tired of living in a righty world? The hera marker knows just how you feel and has made the bold, and dare I say, controversial choice to be fully ambidextrous. You can use this marker with either hand without sacrificing comfort. Heck, use this tool with your toes! Just be sure to film a video of those mad skills.
#2: The Hera Marker Doesn't Use Inks, Dyes, or Chalk
The name hera "marker" can be confusing, so let me be really clear – this tool only makes creases, not actual marks. That means there is a zero percent chance of you panicking because your guide marks aren't washing out.
That's HUGE! I can't even tell you how many times I've experienced cardiac arrest because I used a dang lead pencil or water soluble marker that wasn't actually water soluble! You can see a picture of my last tragic experience in this post on Quilt Marking Tools.
#3: The Hera Marker Doesn't Run Out
Because the hera marker is just a glorified butter knife, it will never run out of ink or dry up or lose its marking ability. It won't get dull over time (well, I haven't tried this over the course of an entire lifetime, but come back in 30 years and I'll let you know for sure.)
Honestly, the only reason you would ever need to replace your hera marker is if you threw it against a rock or smashed it with a hammer. And not even a regular hammer. It would have to be a heavy mallet type hammer. It's pretty hard plastic, so even then it might be OK.
#4: Straight Lines, Curved Lines, Any Lines
You can use a quilting ruler or draw lines free-hand. Even though this tool isn't making actual marks, you can still use it like a pencil. Below I used my ruler to measure 1-inch lines going different directions from the seams. However...
With my Fly Away quilt, I threw my ruler out my second story window and got creative with some rolling hills!
#5: These Creases Last
You may be wondering, "Suzy, once I use the hera marker all over my quilt, can I move the quilt around without the creases coming out?"
This tool creases the fabric; it does not wrinkle the fabric. If you are using adequate pressure when running the hera marker over your quilt, those creases will stay visible until you wash the quilt.
Even if you took your finger nail and scratched at the creases in an attempt to erase them, you wouldn't have much luck. The threads of your fabric have a steel-trap memory and they won't forget a crease easily.
To answer your next question, yes, that makes a hera marker perfect for marking quilts meant for both hand quilting AND machine quilting!
When to Use a Hera Marker and When NOT to Use One
Even though I firmly believe that a hera marker is the best tool for marking the visible fabric in your quilt, it's not the best tool for marking everything during the quilting process.
Think about a quilt for a moment. Ahhh...my happy place...so a quilt has three layers – the top, the batting, and the backing. A hera marker will make a crisp, visible crease when run over that cushy sandwich. Because this notion is only as good as the crease it can make, it's not a very helpful tool when you need to mark a single piece of fabric. There's not enough smoosh for the crease to get deep enough to be easily visible.
Use a hera marker: on a quilt top so there's NO risk of guide lines not washing out.
Use a different marking tool: when tracing shapes for appliqué, drawing marks for cutting, or marking on a single piece of fabric. This water soluble marker is my tool of choice in those situations.
A Hera Marker Tip!
If you're a pin baster, such as myself, use your hera marker before sticking 100 pins into your quilt. You'll thank me when you're not dodging pins and making incomplete creases.
And that's all there is! An easy peasy tool and a great weapon to have in your sewing arsenal!
13 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why a Hera Marker is the Best Quilt Marking Tool”
My hera marker has been collecting dust since I started using the Dritz smooth tracing wheel for quilt marking. I get a sharper line with far less pressure which means less hand strain. Have you tried this tool? It’s also less than $5 on Amazon.
Oooh! This is new to me! I’m off to buy one and do a little comparison. Thanks for the tip!
So how did the comparison go?
To tell you the truth I recently got a very pretty wooden hera marker from Modern American Vintage (https://modernamericanvintage.com/) and now I look for any excuse to use it. It’s so fun to play with pretty tools! 😉
I’m so pleased to have found both your site (lovelove) and this tutorial. Ive not used a hear marker before but your endorsement has made me curious. Im confused by the video though. When youre showing us how to use it, with 1″ following a seam to get started, you are just filling in the triangle, not marking in long lengths. Does this make sense? Do you know what I mean? So Im wondering if this was just for the purpose of demonstration, or if you would only in fact mark (and quilt??) that small of an area?
I suspect I haven’t been at all clear with my question ha ha. Any chance you are a mind reader and understand what Im asking you? 🙂
I don’t think I understand. Haha! But I will try to explain more clearly what I do in the video. I use my ruler as a guide by laying the 1″ mark on my ruler along a seam on my quilt. I then run my hera marker along the edge of the ruler to form a crease. Once I formed one crease, I move my ruler so that I can make another crease an inch away from that inch crease. I did that throughout my entire quilt so there are directional lines running along my entire quilt. If you reference the pictures you should be able to see what I mean.
I have two Hera markers (one I bought myself and the other I got in a subscription box) and panicked a little because one of them got lost. Turns out I had left it at my sisters house (I don’t normally sew there, but I was working on some hand quilting) and they didn’t know what the heck it was so they didn’t think to return it to me. Moral of the story: it might be a good idea to have a backup in case you leave it some random place.
I’m making a quilted petticoat and I was wondering do you think method would work on wool?
I’ve gone over to the hera side with you, Suzy. It really is great for quilt lines–a f t e r you’ve gotten used to it. The lines are a little faint (compared to chalk on dark or ink on light) but as you get more confident quilting & looking for lines, you’ll be fine & start anticipating them anyway. Cool tool–subtle!
Suzy, have you found a way to erase a Hera crease? For the times I’ve changed my mind about where I want the crease to be? Any advice welcome! 🙂
One thing that helps is rubbing a damp toothbrush on the creases. They might not fully come out until you wash the quilt, though.
Can you use a Hera Marker on a quilt that’s attached to a longarm frame? Or does it need to be on a flat table surface?
You just need to be able to make creases on the quilt top. Sometimes that’s hard if it’s not on a flat surface.