A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Friday, March 4, 2011

For Laura--water color pencils and crayons

This is my post from November on the "Interpret This!" challenge blog.  I still have the picture.  Maybe I should redo my steps using ink to see which I like better.


12" by 14"
Commercially dyed cotton fabric, water color pencils and crayons, 
hand dyed embroidery thread, hand quilted

I tried a new technique (my goal for the IT! challenge) with this picture that really turned out to be very easy.  In fact, one of my biggest problems when working on the quilt was feeling like I was making a kit.  You know, those crewel kits where you can buy the pre-printed fabric, add a few stitches for highlight, and call it done. Anyway, while I like the result, I expect to fuss with it a bit to find those finishing touches that will turn it from okay to outstanding.  

Here are the steps in the technique that I used.

1.  I played with the photograph a bit in Photoshop to crop it just a bit, flip it so it would print correctly, increase the contrast, and then to turn it into a black and white picture.

2.  I printed the picture on my home ink jet printer and then later copied it using a carbon-based copier.

3. I transferred the black carbon copy onto white cotton fabric using CitraSolv.  The process is simple!  Just place the picture face down on the fabric (which is why I had to reverse the print), rub the back of the picture with a cotton ball soaked in CitraSolv, and "presto!" the carbon is transferred onto the fabric.

4.  The next step was to color in the back and white picture using water soluble pencils and crayons.  If you can color in a coloring book then you can do this step. There are three techniques to use with the watercolor pencils and crayons: you can work with them dry and then later wet them, work with them wet, or work with them dry and dry bond them to the fabric.  I used all three techniques depending on how much blending I wanted.

5.  I added texture to the work by using my hand dyed embroidery thread to hand stitch the vegetation.  I used a variety of stitches but the primary one was simply the seed stitch--simple straight lines.

6.  The next step was to layer it into a quilt sandwich and do some quilting.  I used minimal quilting and used it primarily to add more texture the chair and building.

7.  Last step was to finish it off and I used a simple double fold binding.

Here are some detail shots of the vegetation.


  1. I didn't realize that you transferred a B&W photo w/citrasolv, then colored it in. It looks amazing, and your finished stitching makes the piece. I must have skipped through all that info when you first posted it on the Challenge blog.

    What kind of watercolor pencils did you use, and are they specifically for fabric, or for general use? Would they wash out of fabric if you had to wash it?

    Would this be considered as an "Ink" technique for March?

  2. I used two different kinds of water color pencils--one of which was the inktense pencils. I don't think that they are intended specially for fabric but can be used on it. I used it with fabric magic so that the color would bond to the fabric. It is not supposed to wash out.

    I would not consider it to be in the same category as ink for this month's challenge but then no one died and made me boss so ...what do you think?

  3. What is fabric magic? Something else I've never heard of!

    I ordered a small set of the inktense pencils and am going to try them when they finally arrive, hopefully next Wednesday from Dick Blick. I wanted to get the Tsukineiko inks but just couldn't afford them right now (the price of gas is killing me!) and there was really nothing else available locally at any craft stores that would work with fabrics. I feel bad because I'm not really participating this month--maybe by next weekend I'll have something to show everyone!

  4. Fabric Magic is just one brand of textile medium.

  5. Love, love, love this piece. I haven't tried CitraSolve transfer. I bought a small bottle at a show last spring, but I didn't know how to use it. This is so inspiring.

    I LOVE my Inktense pencils. Quilt Rat has had good luck using aloe gel to wet them. I tried it on paper and liked it much better than the water I was using. They are pretty permanent after they dry even using water to wet them -- I think it is worth some more testing.

    So who has to die for me to get to be boss...? ;-)


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