Cross Stitch: Pattern Marking

Lately I’ve been stitching Heart of Christmas by Stoney Creek, which has some sections with lots of “confetti stitches” (different colors scattered about throughout a section, rather than in larger blocks of color).  To keep my place and have a counting reference as I stitch, I find it’s helpful to mark up the pattern as I go, but I’m curious how other folks do this.  First, of course, I make a copy of the pattern so I’m not marking up the original… just in case.  In the past I’ve used pencil, but that can be difficult to see.  Using pens or markers I would not being able to erase mistakes. One thing I haven’t tried is a colored pencil.  That would be inexpensive, but more difficult to erase and also less visible than a marker or highlighter.  This time I tried an erasable highlighter made by Pilot.  I bought it at, though I’ve seen them on Amazon as well (for a bit more $).  Here’s what I think so far:


  • Very bright, easy to see – I have pink, but they come in other colors as well
  • The tip makes it easy to mark in small areas – even individual stitches on a pattern or to draw a fine line to mark a backstitch or outline a section
  • It is erasable, so if you make a mistake in your marking, you can correct it
  • Reasonably priced at a few dollars each (at least in the U.S. – not sure how available it may be in other places)


  • While it does well for erasing a small area, erasing a large area would be difficult.  It takes friction to erase, so it’s a bit more work than erasing a pencil mark
  • It doesn’t erase completely and does leave a faint mark.  I think this is fine for this purpose, but I wouldn’t want to mark up an original pattern and then expect to completely wipe it clean

I have only used it a few weeks so far, so no telling how long the ink will last before it runs out.

I’m curious though – does anyone have other tips for keeping your place in a pattern like this?

Marking a pattern with highlighter.

Marking a pattern with highlighter.

Erasing a section.

Erasing a section.


8 thoughts on “Cross Stitch: Pattern Marking

  1. katekemp2804 says:

    This is a great idea. I’ve learnt from my rookie/recent-return-to-cross-stitch-after-a-long-absence mistake to photocopy the pattern in future. Pencil didn’t show up enough on the darker shades on the pattern, so I opted for coloured pen, but, like you say, when I coloured in the wrong squares, I couldn’t erase it. So, this sounds the perfect solution to me. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ginny says:

    I use a regular highlighter to mark my patterns. I usually use yellow. And then orange or green when I mark off beading. If I need to rip out or mark the wrong square, I use a fine burgundy marker to outline the area and then try to stitch it back it as soon as possible. I have heard of the erasable highlighters, but haven’t seen or tried them yet. After your review, I would like to try them if I come across them some day. Thanks for the tips 🙂


  3. Life's Apprentice says:

    Hi there. I use an orange marker to highlight where I am going to stitch, then go over it with a green one to indicate it is done. No chance then of getting dazzled with all the symbols on the page 😉


    • Amanda G says:

      Thanks for your comment! That’s a smart way to do it. There’s nothing worse than thinking you got all of a particular color in one section complete only to find out you missed one or two stitches somewhere along the way!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. pen2needle says:

    Hi Amanda… Just discovered your blog and enjoyed reading through it 🙂

    As for pattern marking I do pretty much what you do. Mark stitched areas with a highlighter. At one point I’d use different color highlighters for each day of stitching. That way I could distinctly see how much progress I was making in a day. This only worked for me on full coverage patterns though. When I tried it on patterns where I had a lot of skipped stitches, the riot of colors later made it difficult to go back and find those little missed ones. When I make a mistake I frog and redo the area right away so I don’t really face the issue of erasing and having to mark again.

    Your work is beautiful. I haven’t the faintest idea how you manage to do all that counting. I’d have been sure to make a mistake if I had that vast expanse of unstitched area 🙂 Great job and looking forward to more posts 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s