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–– Staying with the holiday theme this December 2018, and wanting to try one more couching experiment I decided to make a small snowman wall hanging. This would be good practice for some artsy ideas I have later!


Since I wanted a soft, transition for the background I used Inktense blocks to help achieve the right look. Here, I wet the fabric on some foil and then used a wet brush, brushing it against the Inktense block to get some color, then brushed it on. If I got too much in one area I just added some water or blotted it with a paper towel. If you don’t want your ink to spread too much then do not use foil under your fabric as this will cause the water and ink to spread. The white spots you see here are air bubbles.


How it looked when dry. the next morning. Inktense always dries a lot lighter, so don’t freak out if you think you got something too dark. You can always add more color but you cannot take it away. Use a hair dryer to see how light it will be if you’re worried. Me, I’m fearless, or crazy, remember? I just go big. Besides, I have a trash can beside my table and more white fabric if I need it!


Next, I sketched my snowman on tracing paper with a colored pencil. Being a greeting card designer & writer I’ve drawn enough snowmen to be able to make it right the first go. Please don’t hate me.


I then cut him out and traced around his shape with a mechanical pencil (the lines will be covered up with yarn). I could have drawn over my tracing with a dark marker then held it and the fabric up to a window or used a lightbox to trace him onto the fabric, but for some weird reason, I decided to do it this way. I guess because this is how I do it when I have a piece that is already assembled and ready to quilt or has some areas already quilted. In those instances, you cannot see through your fabric to trace anything. So, it’s good I showed you this method, too, right? Right. When tracing around your drawing, using something to hold it down so it won’t shift.


Here, I have begun to quilt the background around him, not worrying about overlapping onto my design since the couched yarn will overlap the background anyway. I left big areas in the middle of many swirls to allow for quilting snowflakes later. I used a blue & white variegated Glide thread for the swirls.


Here he is with the couching done. Sorry, no in-progress pics there. I used the Bernina inserts for my #72 ruler foot on my Q20. I used Pipsqueak yarn for his body and regular acrylic for his scarf, nose, and hat. I used 12 wt thread for his arms and eyes (and mouth, not shown so I guess this is in progress!).


I knew I wanted to add cardinal birds but I did not add them before doing the background. I had a real dilemma now. How to add them? They were way too small to applique, Well, maybe not for you but they were for me! I decided to do them on white fabric using Inktense and permanent fabric marker. I did the Inktense pencil and marker first.


I then applied water, and yes, I wanted the inks to bleed off the edges in this case! I was either going to turn the edges under or cut around them. I would figure it out after these guys were dry.


Turning the edges under was for someone braver and more patient than me! I cut the birds out with tiny scissors and placed them where I wanted them to go. I did not glue them down. Here was the moment where I was either going to mess this up or it was going to look great. No guts no glory.


I used 12 wt red thread to stitch them down, outline them, and add detail (their color is lighter than it appears here). I used regular 40 wt Glide thread for the black and yellow on them. Raw edge cutouts will fray but with 12 wt thread you can cover that up. You can also see here I used 12 wt thread to quilt snowflakes, then added a dab of fabric glue and a tiny crystal for some holiday bling. Since this is a wall hanging and will not be washed I could add this type of embellishment. You’ll notice his hat has a band on it now? I used gray Glide thread to stitch the band; it helped define the hat better because it looked like a black cutout shape before! Hard to see but I stitched the black yarn vertically on the hat and horizontally on the brim.


And here’s the finished piece. I will probably use white fabric on the binding. Happy couching and Happy holidays!!!!

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© Beverly Guhl 2018