Sep 21 08

You’ve Got to Try this!

Have you seen this book?

It’s called “Quilts of a Different Color,” by Irena Bluhm. This book is a lot of fun; her technique involves free motion quilting a design, and then going back in and coloring inside the lines! The quilts in her book are quite beautiful and most of the quilting is quite formal and symmetric. I’ve seen a number of other quilters use her technique, and they have always followed that same formal and symmetric tone. So…I wondered how this would all pan out if you began with a more freefrom and whimsical design, and here is a sandwich of one that I played with:

Isn’t that fun? I have to tell you it went pretty quickly as well. I didn’t follow her directions to the letter…I am always trying to cut corners and save myself time. I began with a light violet cotton sateen fabric and spray basted a quilt sandwich using warm & white batting. I first stitched my baseline pansy loop-d-loop design in purple thread:

No reason why you couldn’t stop quilting right there and just color this in as is; I just like to hyperquilt and use more than 1 thread. Next, I went back in with gold thread for the hyperquilting, and I like the “ribbon-like” effect this introduces to the loop-d-loop connecting line:

Now doesn’t that just jazz things up a bit? Next, you add color. I used FabriMarkers by DriMark:

Now, here’s a closeup of the colored design BEFORE it went through the wash:

Irena recommends coating your colored areas with textile medium; I did not do that on this sample. Instead, I waited 24 hours to make sure it was totally dry, then I heat set it with my iron. I threw it in the wash and washed it with Tide Laundry soap, and this is what came out:

No bleeding of color but the purple has definitely lightened into a violet. Here’s another sandwich I played with, and it was hyperquilted (in a different way), AFTER the coloring was added. Notice that for this one, I started with a light blue cotton sateen:

(Notice that the entire sandwich never got hyperquilted; I got distracted!) And here’s that sandwich after it went through the same wash:

And here’s one more sample for you…this one was done on 100% cotton fabric and I used Prismacolor colored pencils to add color, then hyperquilted it. I then covered all my colored areas with textile medium to protect them. Notice the coloring is much more subtle here:

That one still hasn’t made it into the wash because I forgot to throw it in, but in theory, that textile medium should give better protection to the coloring…we’ll see!

One more thing…if you like reading blogs, I’ve got one for you to check out. It’s a melding of posts from tons of blogs, so you can read a lot in one sitting. It’s called, and take some time to scroll backwards; there are some wonderful, very detailed tutorials in there! (check out the one on pincushions-they’re cute!)


  1. Sally Bramald Says:

    Fun isn’t it?
    I’ve found the ‘normal’ textiles mediums work best when they are left for a couple of weeks before washing. I heat set by hovering the steam iron above the work so as not to flatten it.

  2. Elaine Adair Says:

    Wow – this is exactly what I’ve been wanting at this very moment! What great timing. Another gal and I have iniatiated an “Ardis Wannabes” (artis want-to-be) group in our Guild, wanting to encourage those faint ideas running about in our brains, to actually end up a real ‘project’. Thanks for the inspiration, again. Where did YOU find these markers, or do you think any will do? I hate to spend the big $ for the proper markers or paint sticks from the art store when I might not know how to use them to best advantage.

    Elaine Moore
    Alliance, Nebraska

  3. Patsy Thompson Says:

    Hi Elaine,
    I would only use fabric markers for this. Even if you don’t think
    you’ll ever wash the quilt, you don’t want to use a marker that might
    degrade your fabric over time, and I think all fabric markers are
    I think I bought these “Fabrimarkers” at either Micheal’s or A.C.
    Moore or Joanne Fabrics-I’ve never seen this brand in a quilt shop.
    They were el cheapo price-wise. I’ve seen so many different brands of
    fabric markers lately but I would test them all out in the wash-I
    suspect there is great variability in colorfastness. I just bought
    some Setacolor Fabric markers (by the same company that makes
    Setacolor fabric paints). They cost a lot-$3.99 each but my hope is
    that they’ll be more colorfast.

  4. Jan Allston Says:

    Hi Patsy,

    Thanks so much for this tutorial. So simple yet so effective. I shall have to have a go now!



  5. Pascale P Says:

    That is very interesting…so many things to try. I shall keep that in a part of my brain for later, lots of possibilities.

  6. Diane Says:

    Wow, Patsy — I hadn’t seen that book! Looks like fun. I’m not drawn to the formal/symmetrical/traditional either, but I sure like what you did and love the idea for playing with wild designs. I will definitely have to give this a try. I would think that Tsukineko inks (which come with those felt-pen-like brush-pens) would work great for this.

  7. Patsy Thompson Says:

    Yes, she talks about using the Tsukineko inks with this technique.
    Actually, there were all kinds of things you could use and they each
    yield a bit different of a result…I think it’s worth messing around
    with this at some length!

  8. Alice (aka BCQuilter) Says:

    Patsy, great job and wow, the inspiration.

    I have used Crayola crayons to colour with, for a label, but using the thread and other “colouring” devices are very intriguing.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  9. Candy Mackey Says:

    Looks like a fun project. I have used the neon fabric markers on a t-shirt and no textile medium. It is a bit lighter, but has survived many, washes with no loss of details. I’ve also used a fabric crayon and only heat set it. It too works really well. Both were purchased at JoAnn’s for a very cheap price.
    Have fun,

  10. patsy Says:

    Hi Candy,
    Thanks for writing in with this info. Since I posted that project,
    I’ve been playing around with different markers and I’ve been
    surprised to find that the cheapest markers I found (the ones from
    the original post) seem to hold up the best. (I think the
    FabriMarkers cost $6.49 for a box of 8). I’ve now tried out several
    other ones that are much more expensive ($3.99 each) and they seem to
    have a lot of problems (i.e. bleeding outside the original drawn
    area, even without washing and even more fading with washing). I
    guess this is one time where the bargain REALLY IS the bargain!