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.
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!