Saturday, March 31, 2012

Coloring Fabric with Melted Crayons. . .

Our art quilt workshop on Tuesday was about playing with melted crayons to color fabric.  I thought I would go over the process with you and share photos of students' completed colored applique shapes.
Let me begin by talking about the book from where our technique was taken:  "The Creative Quilts from your Crayon Box" by Terrie Linn Kygar.  The book describes the technique well and the specific supplies needed.  The author does a good job of demonstrating the possible pitfalls you may run into while trying to paint with the melted crayon and how to correct them.  Please visit this link to see a video of the process.
 Let's begin by making our "paintbrush" from a paper napkin.  The author recommends Bounty paper napkins.  Fold the napkin in half on the diagonal and in half again.
 Fold the corners in to create a point.
This is what your "paintbrush" should look like.
 Now to prepare the applique piece to color.  Freehand draw or trace a shape of choice onto fusible web.  I used Steam-a-Seam 2 and Steam-a-Seam Lite and they both worked well.   Fuse to white or light colored batik or other high thread count fabric, important because of the continuous rubbing while coloring.  The applique shape needs to be fused to an applique pressing sheet, one that will be used throughout the process.
 Once fused, cut shape out on drawn line.
The applique shape is now ready to color.
Crayola crayons are the recommended crayons.  A box of 96 would be optimum (that includes metallics) but I had a box of only 24 which worked fine.  To melt the crayons and make the fabric able to take the crayon, heat the applique shape and applique pressing sheet.
 The heated applique pressing sheet will melt the crayon once placed on it.  I melt a small dab as I'd rather have too little than too much.
Dip the "paintbrush" tip into the melted crayon and begin coloring the heated applique shape.  I began with yellow to use as the leaf base.
I begin by spreading the crayon a bit on the pressing sheet to spread it out and then apply to the fabric in a light circular motion.  It may take a few tries, but a light hand is needed to get the blending results wanted.
 The base color is on.
 My next color of choice is blue green.  Again, I heat the applique shape and pressing sheet to melt the crayon and color the fabric.
I begin blending the blue green color over the yellow base.
 I leave some areas of the yellow showing.
 Once again the applique pressing sheet and applique shape are heated and a green crayon melted.
 The green is then blended in with the other colors.
 For some darker shading, I melted a purple crayon and shaded the center and. . .
... the inner portions of the leaf points.  My leaf is now ready to have details added.
 Adding the details to the leaf are my favorite part of coloring.  The supplies I used for this is an extra-fine point Sharpie, colored pencils, and a stencil brush.  Beginning with the Sharpie, I draw the leaf veins.

The veins are drawn and ready for the colored pencil.
 Using a purple colored pencil, I drew over the veins.
 I then colored the leaf edges with the pencil.  This leaf is only colored on one-half of the leaf so you can see the difference the pencil makes.
 After the pencil coloring is complete, a stencil brush is used to smooth the edges.
Here is the completed leaf, colored and detailed.
 And here are a few photos of work done by students in the workshop.  These are bold and bright.  Although difficult to see, metallic crayons were used on these shapes.
This student's coloring is soft and subtle.

This student was able to get all the leaves completed for her intended project.
And here are my leaves.  I'm hoping I now have enough to make my project.  This is an easy technique requiring a minimum amount of supplies.  Get that crayon box sitting in a drawer out and see what art you can make.

Until next time,

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Finishes - A Week in Recap

Busy, busy week.  That's why you haven't heard from me.  Trying to push many things in few hours.
Here's the status of my Mom's quilt as of Monday.  As you can see it's not finished and her birthday's tomorrow.  This is my weekend project.  It'll just be a bit late.
Tuesday was our art quilt workshop.  We played with coloring fabric with melted crayons. Here is a leaf colored by a student.
This is the project the colored leaves are being made into.  This process is lots of fun. 
Wednesday I traveled to Hamilton, MT to attend a trunk show and class given by Sue Spargo.
Class day was Thursday.  The day was spent learning how to do needlework stitches and Sue's style for making that needlework look spectacular!
Sue's style is about layering different fabrics, with wool as the base (generally), and using a wide variety of needlework stitches with various sizes and types of threads.  I'm excited about adding what I've learned to my quilt designs.
Today began and ended with photos of inspiration from the budding of spring.  It was a nice spring rain day, giving me a reflective end to a very busy week.  

Happy Friday (what's left of it)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Making Monogram Block for Mom's Quilt. . .

With the quilt blocks done, the last block left to make to allow me to put it together is a monogramed block.
The block begins with an 8 1/2" square of the background fabric.
I selected a fabric from my Moda fabric pack for the blocks borders.  There were two strips cut at 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" and two strips at 2 1/2" x 12 1/2".  I will sew the borders on after I have appliqued the monogram.
I found the letter "K" in my font of choice in Photoshop Elements.  It is sized at 5 1/2" and mirrored from the original.  Remember that it needs to be reversed to trace onto fusible web.  Using SoftFuse fusible web, which I like for this project because of its soft hand, I traced the letter and pressed it to the reverse side of my applique fabric.
The letter was cut out and pressed to the background block.  I am quite picky about my applique threadwork lying flat.  To ensure that, I need a stabilizer to spray baste to the background square.  My stabilizer of choice is a piece of Pellon's Easy Pattern #830 lightweight nonwoven interfacing cut slightly larger than the square.  Once the background square is prepared, sewing can begin.
The letter was stitched with a light blue thread with the buttonhole stitch.
Now that the applique is complete, the borders are sewn on.  The 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" strips are sewn to both sides.  
The 2 1/2" x 12 1/2" strips are then sewn to the top and bottom of the square.  All of the quilt blocks are now complete.
The blocks are laid out in a pleasing manner and ready to sew together.

Until next time,

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Finishes - My Final Word on Bindings (as of today). . .

Over the course of the last few months I have discussed many aspects in considering what type of binding to use to complete your quilt.  My final discussion on this subject (at least for right now) is for machine sewing binding to the front and back.

The two types I will discuss are the one used here of sewing the binding to the back and wrapping it and sewing it to the front, and
the one shown here of sewing the binding to the quilt front, wrapping it to the back, and sewing in the ditch from the front.  Machine sewing bindings on is fast.   It can also add another design element to the finished quilt as evidenced in the quilt below.
This binding style was done with 2 1/2" strips that were joined together and sewn to the quilt right sides together with a 1/4" sew allowance to the back edge of the quilt.  I then pressed the binding forward.  Pressing is done for two reasons:  1) it helps the fabric create a memory to make it easier to be pulled to the front; and, 2) takes up the slack lost in the seam fold.  Once the binding is pulled to the front, I select a decorative stitch that compliments the quilt front and sew it down.  In the quilt above, I selected the same stitch and thread I used to quilt with.
This is the binding stitching from the backside.
The stitch used for this binding is a modified stitch of the quilting stitch with a variegated thread, not the thread used for the quilting.
Stitching the binding to the front in the ditch as shown here allows a quick binding finish without adding to the quilt's design.  The technique for this binding is to sew the 2 1/2" binding strips right sides together to the quilt front, press the binding seam, and pull the binding to the backside.  From the front, begin sewing the binding in the ditch, continually pulling the binding to the backside.  Make sure the backside binding goes beyond the 1/4" seam line as stitching.  This ensures that the ditch stitching is catching the backside binding fabric.  You can also elect to secure the binding before sewing by gluing the back binding or pinning it from the front.
This is what it looks like from the backside once sewn.  Tagging the corners with the stitching is the most difficult part of this style.  If I miss the corner (which happens sometimes) I will go back and put a hand stitch in.

While these styles are part of my binding repertoire, it is not the binding of choice if a quilt's border has any wave to it.  A wavy border needs a binding style to help relax the wave.  A hand sewn biased binding is recommended because machine sewn binding does not have any give to it.  Just something to keep in mind.

Happy Friday,