Coloring in the lines – crayons & embroidery

crayons and hoopfront pillowback pillowred flowertrioironing
Who didn’t spend countless hours lying on the floor with a box of Crayola crayons and coloring books as a kid? My sister and I would even have contests on who could stay in the lines better – we’re a very competitive family.

Oh, the joys of youth. Well, here’s a craft that brings back that fun all over again… then some. It’s pretty easy, so if I had to rate I’d give it a “B” – for beginner. Let’s get started.

If you’re like me & have no little ones tripping you up every time you walk, then you’ll need to get yourself some crayons. Definitely opt for Crayola crayons rather than the off brands. They may cost you a few dimes more, but the color intensity and quality is worth it.

As a side note, it was a blast shopping for them. How the times have changed since my son was little. The aisle was intoxicating. What should have taken me all of 10 minutes, ended up being almost an hour – and costing well more than I intended. I can only wonder with all those new & exciting Crayola products on the shelves – why kids are spending so much time playing video games? It certainly brought the kid out of me.

On to design… Sorry no coloring books. Grab your creative cap now. You’ll need a piece of cotton fabric for your “canvas”. The color is up to you: just keep a few things in mind. Your crayons need to show up, so go light. It has to be sturdy – 100% cotton & a tight weave are your best options. Finally, always wash your fabric – just leave out the fabric softener.

If you are artist, good for you. As you can see, I’m not… but I try my best. Some sites suggest using a pencil for drawing. I don’t. Mark-B-Gone has a great two sided pen – one with disappearing ink, the other with washable. This is a much wiser choice in my humble opinion. With pen in hand, push down that cap & draw away.

Once you have put on your finishing touches, its coloring time. Now, it isn’t exactly like the coloring you did as a kid. You’ll first want to put your work in an embroidery hoop and get the tension fairly taut. Working in ONE direction, make your strokes firm, but not too hard. You can deepen the color by going over the area repeatedly.

Because I made my flowers only one color doesn’t mean you can’t use multiple colors. Your design can be as intricate as you want. Work each color completely before moving to the next. Also, watch out for flakes. If you’re coloring in firm, short strokes – flakes won’t be much of a problem. If you do see them, turn your work upside down to remove them. This way you won’t smudge anything.

When you’re finished, you’ll need to set the design. Very simple. I used paper towels. One for the bottom, another for the top. Set your iron on “silk”, then PRESS your design. Again, I have read elsewhere & they said, iron. Here I think ironing might push a stray flake into another area. Not worth taking a chance. Working from top to right, then down, gently press your design completely. I let mine cool to touch before I lifted the paper towel.

Viola! You have completed the first part of your project. Here you can stop if you just love your handiwork; for the more adventurous or inclined, grab your DMC threads and proceed on.

With the embroidery, my suggestion is go with your simpler stitches. You don’t want to distract from the coloring. Of course, you could add buttons, beads, sequins or other embellishments. The key word is – simple. Again, we all know who holds the idea of what’s beautiful for each of us. Let that be your guide. I know it will serve you well.

For my pillow I used two easy stitches: my loved Colonial Knot and the whipped chain stitch. Here’s a good place to go for the knot, http://www.needlenthread.com/2007/03/embroidery-stitch-video-tutorial-2.html and for the other, go here to get a quick lesson http://www.embroidery.rocksea.org/stitch/chain-stitch/whipped-chain-stitch/

There you go. In all, this pillow took me two nights & that’s because I was watching the last episodes of “Vikings” we had recorded so I wasn’t really devoted exclusively. Making the back took me another. I like it & it was fun. Like it wrote earlier – definitely a “B” project.

Now, here’s to making it a “C” day – c for creating.
Carmen Aida

Related Articles
http://sewmod.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/crayon-tinted-embroidery-tutorial/
http://curiosities808.wordpress.com/tutorials/technique-tutorial-embroidery-tools-crayons-tinting-fabric-with-crayons/

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