Thursday, May 26, 2011

Out of My Comfort Zone

I always enjoy my Monday night quilting group. It is a mixed group, and people are there for all sorts of different reasons.

Some are there for purely social reasons, some are there to get ideas, some are there to learn new techniques, and so on. And some, like me, are there for all of those reasons.

The group includes blue-ribbon winners, as well as people who are not competitive, who are just there to absorb and have fun.

We often have a challenge, with suggestions for creating a piece to share at the next meeting. This past Monday night, one of our members gave a short demo about how to use colored pencils on fabric, including the application of a textile medium to give the work a finish that will not blur or smear.

I have never used pencils or paint on my quilts, but I wanted to get some experience with a new technique.

I took some scraps of fabric, and outlined some cartoon-like drawings of barnyard animals with my sewing machine. I am one of those people who cannot draw well, but my sewing machine was a good medium for me to create some simple drawings to color.

I had a few colored pencils around the house, but not enough. So I went to Preston Art Center, and spent a small fortune on two boxes of pencils and a bottle of textile medium. One box of pencils was "watercolor" pencils, and that sounded like fun to me.

I then started coloring. The stitching made it easy to stay "in the lines"

After I finished the coloring, I applied the textile medium.

I was glad this was just a practice piece, because on some of the pieces, I had too much medium, and some of my colors blurred...

But I had fun, and liked the way they turned out.

I laid it out in a 3x3 array,

added some novelty fabric for sashing and binding, and ended up with a cute little nine-patch.

Then I was ready to try a serious piece, since I had a little experience with the pencils.

Years ago, on a trip to the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, I took this photo of three little pigs in their pen in a beautifully restored round barn.

It is what I always refer to as "a quilt waiting to happen." (It has waited several years.)

I traced an outline of the piggies on cream-colored fabric, and started coloring. The pencils I used most were two different flesh-colored pencils and a bright pink pencil...

And here is the finished product.

I will put a simple binding on it, and maybe do a little more thread painting on their faces.

This was a wonderful exercise for me, and in the future, I just might use colored pencils to enhance a detail or feature on one of my quilts.

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