Monday, May 11, 2015

What I'm Working On

... and it's about time!

I am giving a talk tomorrow on antique stenciled quilts.  Since there are very few extant examples, and none in my collection, I decided to make an example to show ...  cause you know how quilters like to look at quilts!

My inspiration was a quilt on the cover of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, July/August 2005.  This quilt (not mine) hanging at Mountain QuiltFest in Pigeon Forge, TN was made from the magazine pattern.

Rather than applique the flower vines, however, my plan was to stencil them.  I made the yellow braids about 10 years ago, but it has taken me this long to screw up the courage to attempt the stenciling.  And since I am now facing a critical deadline, the quilt project has turned into a small wall hanging.

Once I had replaced the pigment inks that had dried up over time, I was able to get started.  The sunflower stencil I chose is about 5" wide so I cut my strips 6-1/2".  I used a Kona cotton, washed without fabric softener.  I stabilized the strips with freezer paper on the back. 

Freezer paper backed Kona strip
I taped the stencil to the fabric.

The pigment inks I use are manufactured by Tsukineko.

Tsukineko Pigment Inks
The product names have changed over time; the most recent ones I purchased are MementoLuxe.  There are a lot of stamp pad products out there that look similar.  It must be a pigment ink,  made for fabric as well as other surfaces.  The inks can be applied with a variety of tools, depending on the size of the stencil openings.

Stencilling Tools
Yes, those are cosmetic applicators and sponges, along with daubers and sticks made to use with the inks.  I found the small stencil brushes to be the best for my chosen stencil.

Ink is applied by brushing or rubbing from the stencil surface into the open area.  The initial effect is relatively light.  Shading is accomplished by increasing pressure if rubbing or adding additional ink around the edges if brushing.

The finished product is heat set with an iron.

I decided the sunflowers showed up better so I made two more of those.  Check back tomorrow to see the finished wall hanging.

In the meantime, hop by Patchwork Times to see what others are working on.


  1. I like the sunflowers better also. I think it is because the flowers are larger. What a fun quilt and how great to finish up a 10 year old UFO.

  2. Thanks for the tutorial! I dabbled -- as in, just a toe in the pond -- with stamps and inks, and decided not to go down that road (or into that pond). I've admired stencilling for years and years but have not tried it. I do like your sunflowers and think they'll make a great strippy quilt.

  3. Wow--I like it! Stencils look prettier than applique.

  4. Your stenciling is beautiful, Libby! I've stenciled on walls, but never on fabric. The sunflowers are my favorite, too.

  5. Wow! The stenciling looks great. It's going to be a beautiful wall hanging.

  6. Wow Libby - I would not have thought of this. Your sunflower stencils look so perfect with the bright and cheery braids! Also I did not know about using pigment inks and really appreciate your tips!


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