Monday, November 5, 2012

Design Wall Monday 11-5-12

Well, I just can't believe it's already November. And between now and the end of the year there is something going on every single weekend so my crafting time will be limited. Please take a few moments to visit for Design Wall Monday.

I haven't had much time for sewing but have managed to work a bit on two crayon dying projects. I'm at the point on both of these pieces where they need to be quilted but I don't have any clear thread, which is what I want to use. The last time I posted on Design Wall Monday I featured the whimsical flower piece that I call The Ladybug Garden. Several folks asked me for crayon dying directions. I'll go into some detail on that now.

I learned of this technique from the blog Please take a few moments and go to her blog. It's delightful. Her work is so original, whimsical, and fun. Somewhere in her blog she describes her crayon technique in detail. I've played with it as she describes and have adapted it to the way I like to do it. It's very similar to her technique, with the main difference being that I make the quilt sandwich and do the quilting after the outline stitching is done.

Okay - here is the way I do the crayon dying. First, draw your design either on paper to tweak and then transfer to fabric later, or directly onto fabric if you're a confident artist. I have minimal drawing talent so I do simple drawings like The Ladybug Garden (above), or I get designs from stamps I own (the pumpkins) or photos (the fishing cottage) I've taken and have translated into line art using Picasa photo software (free download from Google). Anyway, once the drawing is the way you like it and the size you want, put it on your lightbox and trace it onto fabric. My lightbox is the dining room window. After the design is traced onto the fabric, outline it with a marker - I use a thin black Sharpie. I also mark the detail lines. Iron something like freezer paper or a good stabilizer onto the back of the fabric. Then color! Don't be afraid to blend colors. Don't be afraid to really bear down to get a lot of color on the fabric. On The Ladybug Garden I ironed a pretty heavy-duty stabilizer on the back and left it in place for the outline stitching that comes later. For The Fishing Cottage piece and the pumpkin piece I just used freezer paper. I did make a fun discovery when I did the pumpkin piece above ... textured tone-on-tone fabric adds a delightful design element to the piece. In the pumpkin piece there is a vine design in the fabric that beautifully compliments the pumpkins (I think). A happy accident.

Once you're satisfied with the coloring it's time to iron off the excess wax. There really won't be a ton of wax on the fabric but you will need to protect your iron and ironing surface. I went to our local newspaper and bought an "end roll" of unprinted newsprint- they sell end rolls for $2/inch and for $10 I bought an end roll that is more paper than I'll probably ever use in my lifetime! You can also use old muslin scraps, paper grocery bags, etc. Just iron the piece until no more wax comes off onto the paper.

So, after you've had fun coloring with crayons and the wax has been melted away you're ready for the next step which is outline stitching. Mamacjt does her outline stitching in black, and so have I for the most part, however you can most certainly play around with using other thread colors for the outlining - I used some other colors in The Fishing Cottage piece and am totally delighted with the result. Mamacjt also makes her quilt sandwich prior to adding the outline stitching, so it shows on the back. That doesn't really appeal to me so I do the outline stiching with either interfacing/stabilizer or batting on the back of the piece but not the quilt backing, not yet at least.

I'm very new to machine quilting and the step of adding the outline stitching is an excellent exercise for becoming more familiar and comfortable with free-motion stitching. Don't look too closely at my pieces because you will see that I didn't stay "on the lines" very well. But after the pieces I've done recently I can tell I'm getting better at it!

After the outline stitching I do whatever embellishing I want to add to the design like beading or embroidery - as long as it's not embellishments that would interfere with free-motion quilting. In that case, I will add those type of embellishments after the quilting step is completed. However, if you're hand-quilting this is a moot point. Both The Ladybug Garden and the pumpkin pieces have been embellished and that's where I've stopped at the moment.

After the outline stitching (and maybe some embellishing) is completed, it's ready for quilting. This is where I add the backing fabric and quilt the piece however appeals to me. I typically quilt the background around the design which makes the design pop a bit (I think). Then bind it, add a label, you're done!

I think it's a fun technique and I've totally fallen in love with it. At the ArtRageous Quilters meeting Saturday one of the members demonstrated the crayon technique from the book "Creative Quilts from your Crayon Box" by Terry Linn Kygar. It's a delightful book and her pieces are simply beautiful. Terrie describes her technique as "melt-n-blend meets fusible applique". I'll be attempting some of the exercises from her book soon.

I hope you'll give this technique a try.


  1. I love crayon tinting -- it's such fun! Your pieces are wonderful -- great job! :)

  2. I have been using this technique since the early 1970's. I have found all kinds of items to use under the fabric to cause texture. One I really like is plastic canvas. Also did you know that you can layer the colors by applying more crayon coloring just as soon as you iron the piece. It has to be done while the fabric is very warm. I find that this layering makes the colors denser and last longer for things that must be washed often (good for kid's quilts). I have so much pleasure doing this type of work. Have fun! Sarah

  3. Each of your pieces are lovely. I really must try this.

  4. That is a fun tenchnique, I had almost forgotten about it tho. OK so now I want to color something. LOL

  5. Thanks for sharing. I just used crayons on a square for the first time. I am now outlining by hand with embroidery floss. I learned some things by reading your blog entry and the comments. Love your pumpkins.

  6. I just used the crayon technique on a block I am making. I am in the outline phase right now. I am doing it by hand with embroidery floss. I learned some things by reading your post and the follow up comments. Thanks for sharing.