By popular demand, how I created my “Inktense Flowers”. I was new to Inktense last year so this was an experiment.  A normal person would have thrown this experiment away pretty early on, but we’re not talking about a normal person here. We’re talking about a stubborn artist here. So, let me show you how I went from a disaster to a piece I really love! Ah, a story with a happy ending!  (Started this post but then got the flu, thus the delay!)

I forgot to take a starting pic, so the first pic is at step 3.

1. I began by drawing flowers on white, cotton fabric using Inktense Blocks.

2. I then taped the fabric to some aluminum foil–which was my first mistake. Why? Glad you asked…. because the foil is going to cause water to spread, which means the color will spread, too.

3. I brushed some water over my sketch and let it dry.  And…I got this yucky bleeding effect. Did that stop me? Noooooo!

4. I drew on the fabric with more Inktense Blocks.

5. I then added more water to this. I realized to get even more intense color I had to add more color.

I had hoped for a lovely watercolor effect and what I got was a water-colored mess! Did this stop me? Nooooooo! Are you kidding? Me?!


Instead of going to the trash can with this I added batting and backing and went to my Q20! A voice in my head said, “maybe after I quilt this it will look ok.” ha ha ha ha.  What? As if this would quilt out? I did say this was an experiment, remember.  Well, I could see very clearly that the bleeding around the leaves and stems did not quilt out, so of course, I decided to work on the flower next! Of course!


Hmmmm. It appears the quilting of the flowers is not salvaging this bleeding mess either. Maybe I should give up and trash this? Nooooooo! I’m no quitter! Besides, maybe quilting the background will salvage it? Being delusional is somehow very comforting.

Am I committed or what? I should be committed somewhere maybe, a nice sunny room, nice nurses…only if I can take my Q20!!


So, as we see here, quilting the background is not salvaging this bleeding mess!!! I should stop here, right?!!! This is hopeless!!  Nooooooo!!! The voice is my head boldly assures me, “You’ll figure something out, and either way it’s good practice!” So… I continue… of course! 


Now, the voice in my head is apologizing to me. It’s saying maybe I should have thrown this away already before I quilted the background. Great, now you tell me. But, it’s great practice, you said, I argue back. We have great conversations, as you can imagine.


So, what do I do? I decide to work with the bleeding mess and create even more bleeding mess. I wet the whole thing down and added more Inktense to the background. I have nothing to lose by doing this. The batting absorbs a lot of the water preventing a buildup of bleeding areas as it did on the foil. The experiment continues, as does the madness. Sometimes it’s fun being me, sometimes not so much. I did this at night so it was time to go to bed, not knowing what I’d find in the morning. This is WET!


Oh, happy day. Wow, pastel! This was a pleasant surprise. Not what I expected but I’ll take it! Some areas around the flowers were still darker bleeds than I wanted so I used the white Inktense block and went over those, softening the color down a bit. Since this will be mounted on canvas and not laundered I can do that!


And here it is trimmed. Sometimes you get lucky. Madness pays! Stubbornness pays! That’s the moral of this story.

Note: You have to understand, I hate screwing up just as much as the next person. I take risks because that’s how you learn and sometimes stumble your way onto something good, too, as happened here. Lots of great inventions were discovered by accident! I hope this inspires you to go out and make your own big mess and figure out how to salvage it! 😉 Or, maybe learn from my big mess and create something great!


If you’re a new to free motion quilting be sure to check out my first blog post “How I Got Started” (Oct. 2018 post); it covers my first 3 months and how I learned to do this so quickly!