Tool Review – FriXion Highlighter

How do you handle your chart when you stitch? Do you work off a digital chart on your tablet? Do you work from the original, or do you make a working copy? Do you mark your chart or just keep track of where you are mentally?

How do you mark your charts?

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Generally speaking, I work from the original chart and don’t mark it. When the chart is complicated (or I’m having trouble concentrating), I will occasionally mark the chart with a pencil. I can’t stand the idea of leaving a permanent mark on a chart. Yikes! 😛

When it comes to my knitting patterns, pencil is really hard to follow, and I like to use a highlighter, but I’m worried about marking the wrong instructions and making the wrong size. (It has happened…)

FriXion Highlighter

FriXion Highlighter

This is my new favourite tool. It is a Pilot FriXion Light Erasable Highlighter. It works just like a regular highlighter. (The chart is Dragon Love, a freebie from Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams.)

Highlight your chart just like normal...

Highlight your chart just like normal…

Except you can erase it.

...and erase your mistakes.

…and erase your mistakes.

The end of the highlighter has a little soft plastic nib that works as the eraser. That’s because the secret to these highlighters is that the ink is ‘removed’ by friction. What is actually happening is that the colour disappears when you rub it with the nib. (There is still a clear residue on the paper, but you can’t see it.)

More highlighting, including over pen ink.

More highlighting, including over pen ink.

And you can write over that area again with no problems.

There are also FriXion pens, in a few different sizes and colours. They have quickly become my favourite writing tool, and helped to sooth a few of my perfectionist tendencies. I’ve been using them for around two years now, without any issues developing because of their erase-ablility. (I do, however, use a “regular” pen for writing cheques, filling in important forms, etc.)

So, what do you think? Will FriXion highlights find a place in your workbasket? Do you think they are a useful stitching tool? Or, do you use something even better to mark your charts? Let me know in the comments.

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19 Responses to Tool Review – FriXion Highlighter

  1. Kerry P says:

    Those are great. I use anything I can get my hands on but I usually take a photocopy to use as my working copy so it doesn’t matter about making it. There have been times when I’ve high lighted a section only to discover I need to frog it and then it’s hard to follow where you are on the chart without adding another colour on top.

  2. Rachel says:

    I’m more likely to pre-colour charts to help me find my way around them. Even one shade of a colour can help…

  3. Rachel says:

    I saw these pens reviewed by another stitcher a while ago and she raved about them too. They are definitely worth looking into.
    I always make a working copy of a chart, no matter how small, and use highlighters to mark off where I’ve been. For more complicated charts I will highlight where I want to go first (often using a variety of colours) and then use a black sharpie to cross off as I go. I admit that the second method especially can be perilous if I have to frog but luckily it doesn’t happen very often. 🙂

  4. Katie says:

    I stopped using highlighters cause I heard so many horror stories about people dropping them and marking their fabric. I also didn’t like that it bleed through onto my magnet board. I now use colored pencils and can’t imagine changing back. I love the different colors and what nots.

  5. Christine says:

    I’ll give them a try. I haven’t worried about erasability since I normally throw out my working copies when done. But if I have to frog a bit, being able to erase the highlighting of the frogged section would be useful.

  6. Pat Schwartz says:

    I general work with very large patterns and do large reproduction samplers. I will enlarge and copy the pattern most of the time. I use a pencil or highlighter sometimes. Most of the time that’s not needed as samplers general have smaller motifs that make up the overall piece.

    If there is a larger area with lots of color changes I sometimes fill in the different symbols with colored pencil. Makes it MUCH easier to follow.

    I enjoy your blog. Am thinking of starting one of my own

  7. Kim McCool says:

    Interesting post – Looks like I’m the the majority.

  8. Justine says:

    Interesting! I never used to mark the chart at all, even when stitching something very complicated, but now I find I like to see how much I’ve stitched and how much is left to do. I keep my highlighter well away from my stitching though!

  9. Joanne P says:

    I use different coloured felt tipped pens for each colour on a chart. So at the moment I’ve been stitching the green sea swirls on a Nora Corbett design so I’ve used three shades of green to colour in each symbol before I stitch. I colour in one area of the chart at a time as I stitch it.
    You get a lovely piece of art at the end LOL. NB always a working copy. I never mark my originals.
    With smaller designs I don’t mark the chart, it’s easy enough for follow without.
    Your pen looks very interesting, especially as it doesn’t seem to affect the print on the chart which would be my concern.

  10. Heather says:

    You are right, it doesn’t effect the ink on the page. (There is very minor smudging in the pictures because the chart was hot off the printer and the toner hadn’t set. Oops!)

  11. Blu says:

    If it’s a small project then I usually work from the original since I won’t be handling it a lot. But for larger projects like Mirabilias, Wentzlers, HAEDs etc I always work from a copy. I tend to mangle and fold them every which way and that would destroy the originals.

    I only highlight for HAEDs since I can never keep track of the symbols otherwise.

    I think these highlighters are pretty cool but I’m pretty careful about highlighting so I’m probably not going to run out and grab a set.

  12. Sonya says:

    I have one of the pens, and have found I can’t erase it off something printed from my inkjet printer (obviously not so important for straight black and white because the white paper is still fine, but I often have shades of grey that I write all over too). Good to know that it works fine on laser printing!

  13. Jo ButterZ says:

    I make a working copy for my charts and especially my knitting patterns. I mark them with highlighters and more recently with the frixion ones. I sometimes find they don’t rub out well so I just give them a quick burst of heat with the iron. Then my chart is ready for next time…

  14. Darlene says:

    I use another erasable highlighter and love it. It does make it easy when you have to restitch an area and you want to make sure you know what you just frogged. The only thing that is a little frustrating is that it is sometimes harder to re-highlight an area after you erased it. I normally stitch on a working copy of a pattern so that I can mark it up and also if it gets damaged it isn’t the original.

  15. Heather says:

    I think they would be a great idea for my students. I stitch from digital and don’t mark off what I’ve done but I love the idea of these!

  16. Heather says:

    That’s a great idea! You are absolutely right, any heat will make the marks disappear. You are just generating a bit of concentrated heat when using the nub at the end of the highlighter or pen.

    I tested the opposite, but putting some writing into the freezer for most of the day. And, while a little bit of writing reappeared, it was hardly noticeable.

  17. Heather says:

    That is a good to know. I’ve only tried the highlighters on print-outs from a laser printer. When the toner has time to set (no more than 10 or 15 minutes, usually), it doesn’t smudge.

  18. Astrid says:

    Darn, wish I had seen this earlier! I just bought a variety of highlighter colours that DON’T erase!