Saturday, January 14, 2012


At long last, here are images of some of the quilts I made with the fabrics I stenciled back when the weather was warm.
The quilts were made as trade show samples for my friend, Jaime, who is the design mastermind behind the great stencils from The Crafter's Workshop ( She comes up with new designs several times a year and I have a lot of fun figuring out new ways of working with them. I've employed a long list of techniques and materials with the stencils through the past few years. These samples use three of them, Setacolor fabric paints/sunshine, acrylic paint, and discharging. I love to layer the techniques - for example, the background of the center square in the first quilt was dyed with Setacolor, then I placed the stencil on the wet fabric and left it in the sun to dry. I later added the weed & butterfly design using that stencil with black acrylic paint.
I started the tree silhouette quilt with Setacolor & leaving it out in the sun with the stencil, as above. I wanted to have the look of a sunset in the background so I added some orange and yellow Setacolor before the fabric was totally dry. Later, I used a dot stencil with orange acrylic paint to add the dots. The harlequin edge is also a fabric I altered with stencil techniques. I got just the effect I was looking for.
"Stencil" is a word that brings up images of the bunny rabbit & flower stencils used in home dec projects in the 1980's or of the stencil designs of colonial times. It is clear to see that has changed, a lot! Updated designs combined with imagination and easy to learn techniques have revitalized interest in stenciling, both for textiles and paper art projects, like scrapbooking & journaling.
This quilt in shades of purples & blues measures about 24" square. The idea was to showcase a variety of stencils and combine them with commercial fabric, Kaffe Fassett in this case. These fabrics were done with a combination of discharging, Setacolor/sunshine and acrylic paint.
Most of the fabrics in this red-orange quilt were discharged using Clorox Bleach Pen or Soft Scrub with Bleach, then overpainted with acrylic paint. Be careful when discharging, work in a well ventilated place & be sure to use a neutralizing agent on your fabrics or the bleach residue with eventually eat away at your fabric.
This last quilt, "Trust Your Heart", is about 12" square. Setacolor/sunshine and acrylic paint were all I used with the stencils. I really love the flower stencil & plan to make a small pile of fabric using that one.
The fabric I begin with is important to the success of each method. When using the Setacolor/sunshine method, I start with prepared for dying cotton, in white. I tear it into manageable squares, about 16" or so. The stencils are 12" and 6" squares. I like to use slightly larger fabric so I have matching dyed fabric, in case I need some solids. Sometimes I sprinkle kosher salt on the edges to get a starburst effect in the borders. For discharging, I like the hand dyed fabrics from Cherrywood the best. Optimal results are achieved by working with fabrics in rich colors.
If you haven't played with stencils for a while, I encourage you to do so. The Crafter's Workshop stencils are available in Michael's stores and from . I'm spending my Sunday working on a stenciled quilt for an exhibition for a quilt group I'm a member of - I'll post a photo when it's ready for show and tell.
Finally, I took this picture of my sweet husband, Steve, over the summer & am posting it as my little thank you to him for his never ending support of my creative journey. He's a wonderful husband and I am one lucky girl.


  1. Gail, these are really beautiful. So many layers of colors and texture! I love them all, but the tree really "speaks' to me.

    I have a keeper of a husband, too. We are lucky women. :-)

  2. These are great stencil samplers! You've inspired me to reacquaint myself with stencils.

    Yes, good men are a good find. I'm lucky enough to have one of those, too.