"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."

Thomas Moore

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Colour - ing....

Colour catches my attention everywhere I look!
Whether I'm gazing out the window at our lush green palms silhouetted against a brilliant blue morning sky, or packing away the dinner dishes and have my eyes captured by how beautifully the orange spotted coffee mug sits alongside the lime green sandwich plate - colour grabs my attention without even trying.

Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to share some blog posts that focus on the attraction of colour and how we can use it to enhance our craft.

To kick off those posts I stepped back a few years - okay, a lot of years - to the gentle art of colouring in.


When we were homeschooling our two youngest children we always chose to purchase the best craft supplies. After years of trial and error our favourite coloured pencils were Prismacolor. They are very rich in depth of colour and have a soft 'lead' that glides across paper with barely any effort at all. 

Well, it's been a few years since Blossom and Sam graduated from home education, and I'd forgotten all about those wonderful pencils - until a few weeks back when I unearthed our tin from a packing box. The last few Sunday Scriptures have been drawn using them, and what a difference is their depth of colour to the small pack of generic pencils I'd bought back in January!

As I pondered sharing some colour posts with you, I remembered reading long ago that you can successfully apply Prismacolor pencils to fabric. I admired the pencil coloured blocks my sewing friend Michelle has been working on for almost a year, so having a try with this technique was going to be fun!
I played with this process yesterday, and decided to take you along with me as though we were in my sewing room with you sitting on the red and white chair beside my cutting table, chatting all the way through the process and sharing my newly purchased bag of spearmint leaves...isn't that a happy mind picture?!

My new set of Rosedaisy Alphabet blocks were perfect for this experiment as up until now I've only stitched them using applique and back stitch. Adding colour and omitting the applique creates a completely different look! I chose to use the 'V' block.
Let's begin...

Trace the design with a fine brown Pigma pen (I like Zig Millenium 0.3) onto a smooth fabric surface. I chose to use quilter's muslin because my usual favourite stitchery background - a cotton/linen blend known as hanky linen - is rather bumpy across the surface. Fuse a piece of fabric stabiliser, such as Weaveline or Staflix, behind the block. Choose your pencil colours...


Secure your block onto a firm flat surface, and begin gently colouring within your traced lines- rounded ends on your pencils are the best for this. I colour in a circular motion as it covers the weft and warp of the muslin and doesn't leave obvious lines...


As the block came to life with the Prismacolor pencils I got really excited! It was looking better than I'd hoped...


The next step was to sharpen the pencils to a point and add darker shaded areas to give the illusion of movement...


It looks better now, doesn't it?


When the colouring was complete I needed to 'set' the pencils onto the fabric.
I found THIS link which explained the simple steps to take.
Ssandwiching the the block face down between a piece of greaseproof paper and a piece of fabric, I pressed it with a hot iron for a few seconds. The colours were now set.


The colours changed slightly, a little richer actually, and even nicer.
I pegged the block on my craft door and auditioned fabrics to compliment the colours I'd used.
This denim blue and cream was perfect...


Then to choose threads for outlining the design...


...and finally, to stitch.
I'm outlining the pattern with a single strand of thread...


I'll photograph the framed block for you when I'm finished, but I think even this little bit clearly shows just how different a block can look when you approach it with a different technique.

The Rosedaisy Alphabet, which includes 26 full sized blocks, is available HERE in my shop as an instant pdf download.

If you decide to play around with this technique would you email me with a photo, please? I'd love to see your own results!


UPDATE:

Here's the completed block!



hugs


46 comments:

  1. Thankyou for sharing this Jenny with us I love the look,what a unique way to do your blocks.xx

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  2. I love this! I have never thought of coloring fabric with colored pencils. I have a full set of them for my rubberstamping, so I'm going to try it. Thanks for sharing your pretty design

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  3. This is so funny as I just colored a piece of material the other day :). I too used the Prismacolor pencils as well as some Pitt Pastel chalk pencils. I outlined mine with a sharpie pen and gave it just a funky look. I love the idea of outlining it with the floss. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Hmm, I have a set too but no idea of the name. What a lovely afternoon we spent, thank you!

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  5. Oh how pretty! I do love to color. So much fun!

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  6. I love your work and this is great. I can't wait to try it. Thanks SEW much!

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  7. I love coloring my projects in but over here in the USA I see everyone using CRAYOLA brand crayons & to heat set using a brown paper bag to melt the wax off of everything. I've done CO's such as CRABAPPLE HILL & BUNNYHILL. I will give yours a try something new for me. Thanks for this info very different on what I'm accustomed to.
    Chris from Medford, WI USA

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    1. Chris, they do have a minimal wax base, but nothing melts off at all...there is no residue on the paper after I heat set the fabric. It's quite sublime!

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  8. Very pretty. I used to love to colour in as a child - maybe I should give this a go. Looks like fun

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  9. Just lovely, I often colour or paint my embroidery pieces.

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  10. Wonderful way to highlight a stitchery. I must try this. Thanks for the tutorial :)

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  11. I have a large set of Faber Castell pencils. I'm wondering if anyone has used these for fabric colouring. I would love to give it a try.

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  12. Love this idea, do you know if it works for other coloured pencils? Gail

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  13. The first things I ever colored in then embroidered were your wonky houses! I really must do more of it! :0)

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  14. How did you now spearmint leaves are my childhood favourite (the ones with the little bit of a bite and dusted in sugar). I love the way your coloured in embroidery turned out. I will have to test my daughters pencils and maybe let her draw on some fabric and iron set it (would love to keep some of her art that way).

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  15. Oh Jenny thanks so much for this clear tutorial - I thoroughly enjoyed it & I also enjoyed sitting on the red/white chair beside you sharing your bag of spearmint leaves :-)
    Like many of the comments today, I just loved to colour in when I was young so I will be most keen to give this technique a go. Thanks so much for sharing x0x

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  16. Thanks Jenny, I most certainly am going to try this, looks beautiful.

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  17. Such a good clear tutorial Jenny! Can't answer your question with any certainty BUT I have stamped an image and coloured it using Copic Markers with success. Thanks for reminding me I have to try my Prisma's !!

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  18. Just gorgeous, now I want to do some colouring.

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  19. it looks so pretty in the pencils. The blue fabric is the perfect match

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  20. Hmm need to buy some decent pencils now I think - that looks gorgeous but I only have the cheapo ones!

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    1. Jenny, the better the pencil the 'richer' the result. And you don't use a lot of pencil. :-) xx

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  21. Thank you for sharing your spearmint leaves,,,,,and this tute :) I have used several brands of colored pencils with good results. It seems the higher quality the pencils the richer the colors are, that is the only difference I have found. This is a great way to save some of the kiddo's artwork .

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    1. Definitely, Kim. How fun would it be to give the children a piece of fabric to draw and colour on...xx

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  22. Ohhh how exciteing and colorful this is...Fabulous idea.

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  23. Lovely Jenny - lots of depth in the colour and it is going to be so pretty when you have finished the stitching. I have the letter E fused and traced ready to take with me on my travels this weekend - I will try this method for the next letter. xx

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  24. Jenny, I LOVE your block done in the Prisma pencils. Have you tried InkTense Pencils/sticks? They work dry, wet with water or clear aloe vira gel and once dry and heat set are permanent and do not wash out! I use the InkTense for a lot of my fiber art and am very pleased with the results. You can do a dry color and then take a brush to wet that area with water, if you wish for it to spread like watercolor OR you can brush clear aloe vira gel and the color intensifies but the aloe keeps it from spreading. You will want to use a clear aloe as those with color changes the color of the InkTense.
    Wishing you all the best - Terri at the Drake's Nest in Palm Bay, FL

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    1. Hi Terri!
      I had a play with some of them about 6 years ago as there was a small workshop at the quilters group I was attending at the time. They do leave a vibrancy that pencils don't...but personally I love the naive look of the pencils. Just a personal preference, but great information you have shared for my readers - thank you! xx

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  25. Thanks for the circular motion tip, Jenny. I wouldn't have thought of that. Your V block looks wonderful! I may yet have to break down and get that set and try this. I have a favorite kind of pencil, too - Caran d'ache. I think it would do really well, but I need to check on how it does on fabric - if it can be heat set - because I use it for marking quilting lines and I know they come out. It not, trip to the art store coming up!

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  26. Great post! I can't wait to try this one.

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  27. I LOVE this idea! It is beautiful, Jenny.

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  28. Who knew you could color fabric with pencils! One question -- what is greaseproof paper? The link you posted says to use absorbent paper, so I'm confused.

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  29. I have used crayons but have never thought about colored pencils. LOVE THE LOOK and much more refrined than colors. :) Thanks for sharing.

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  30. I have fabric crayons and pencils ... I prefer the pencils and I think it really enhances the stitchery. Always loved coloring as a kid too.

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  31. Achei maravilhso, deu muita vida no bordado, vou tentar fazer

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  32. Thank you so much for posting this!! I have been coloring with crayons on material. Almost the same process, it helps to color in with white before adding your other colors. The "set" is the same, except I use a piece of muslin to cover the crayoning, the "wax" part is pulled onto the muslin as well as a little color. I have used those muslin pieces in different projects!
    I have also experimented with melting the crayon onto the fabric and spreading it with a small paintbrush. Talk about WORK!! I cannot wiat to use my Prisma colored pencils!! I have the Gardener's Alphabet, they are designed for crayon, but I am going to use the Prisma pencils.

    Your work is, as always, beautiful! You are certainly blessed with wonderful talent. I am so thankful that you share your talent with all of us!

    shannon+

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  33. Hi jenny. Thanks for all your patterns. They are so sweet. I am interested in the fabric pencils. Is there website that I can order them? I do a lot of fabric painting and I think your method would be a nice change for me.

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    1. Any art supply store should stock them. :-)

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  34. What a great idea!! I would have never thought of coloring in with the pencils! Thanks for the great tutorial!! Hugs, H in Healdsburg

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  35. Hi Jenny, I had such a great visit with you today. Thanks for your tutorials and inspiration. Love your site. jean jeandmaynard@gmail.com

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  36. So thorough, Jenny. Thank you so much!

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  37. I love the result, is spectacular
    Pencils are special to draw on fabric?
    In Spain it is hard to find this brand of pencils, you know some other equivalent? are "normal pencils"?
    Thank you!

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  38. Great tutorial - as always! Question about setting the color. What goes down on the ironing board first, the paper? Then the drawing face up? Then the scrap of fabric? And then iron? your assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Kim

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  39. Can you use any color pencils on hand? I can't buy any new things. I have in the passed bought this pencil/paint in one kits. You dip them in water and basically paint with pencils. I just want to know outside of ones you named can I use what I have on hand?

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It's always nice to receive feedback on a blog post, so *thank you* for taking time to comment!
I will try to reply via email unless you are a 'no reply blogger' which means you'll have to check for my reply in the comments. Of course, life is a rather hazardous activity, isn't it? So if I don't respond to your comment that's the reason why - life simply stepped in...
hugs
Jenny
x