Another experiment with new paints. I had been curious about Dye-Na-Flow liquid acrylic paints so I decided to see how they performed. My first experiment was going to be a simple flower which, I figured if it turned out ok, I’d make it into a pillow.

First off, these are VERY LIQUID paints! Translation: they will BLEED, SPREAD. To avoid this you are supposed to suspend your fabric over canvas stretcher frames so the painted area has nothing but air underneath it. OK. I have done that. I wisely follow directions, because, after all, who wants to look like a fool because they screwed up? Not me, never. I can look like a fool with or without directions, thank you very much (but it never stops me from trying)!!!

Even with the fabric suspended perfectly these paints bled like crazy. I suspect starting out with a thinner brush would be best, but regardless, the edges bleed unevenly leaving a raggy edge. And this fabric was “ready to dye”.


The petals on the right side had spaces between them, too. And, look at the edges where the paint stops, very ragged, especially on the leaves. This may be because I tried to paint yellow veins in there before the first color of green was dry? So far, I don’t look like a fool, but my flower probably does.


I remembered reading if you let one color dry and then paint over it it does not bleed. (Some people will, therefore, paint their fabric with the white paint first for this reason!) After letting the first colors dry, I added veins to the leaves and some darker centers to the petals. At this point, this fabric with paint on it was just INFORMATION. I was not happy at all! I wondered if, as is the case with lots of my experiments, if I could SALVAGE this thing! I could certainly cut it out and applique it, or fuse it. Since I’m too lazy to applique in most cases (ha) and unless this appliqued itself that just wasn’t going to happen. Fusing isn’t my favorite thing for anything that will be handled, like a pillow. So, this got put in the closet, narrowly escaping the trash can. There it stayed for a couple of months or more.


While working on another project I realized if I used thicker thread I could outline this thing, covering up the raggy edges. And I wanted to try a trapunto effect, too. So, I put one layer of wool just under the flower area and used some thin fabric as backing. I knew I’d cut that away once I had the flower quilted anyway. Shown here is Glide 40 wt thread. I tried a 12 wt and it kept shredding despite changing needles, and other heroics. I did not have a pink 30 wt for the petals, but I did for the leaves. Going over and over the edges not only covered up the edges, but it also added a sort of embroidered look. Off to a hopeful start!



Sew Fine 30 wt green thread to outline the leaves, and King Tut variegated thread on the veins because, why not?


From there I just kept using Glide 40 wt because I had it in most colors, I like the shine, weight, and my Bernina Q20 likes it. I kept quilting to give this more personality.


Once I had quilted this to death, but just enough to leave some loft (puff), I flipped it over and carefully trimmed away the backing and the batting around the flower. Why purple fabric? Because it was there and I knew it would not show through since it was being trimmed away. I found if I had a bright light shining from behind I could see very clearly where my top fabric was or was not and where it was safe to cut; feeling with my fingers was also a brilliant idea. I suspect if you cut your top fabric you will shed tears and use bad words. Luckily I did not have to worry about that because I was careful. These Karen Buckley scissors are great, they have micro-serrated edges which grip the fabric and are used a lot for applique.  I am accepting donations so I can afford to buy the other two sizes. Kidding. Maybe.


After the backing and batting were trimmed away I flipped it over and added one layer of cotton/wool blend batting I had on hand, and added backing fabric; these covered the entire piece. Since the flower was puffy on the front AND back, it raised up the batting and backing over that area. I smashed it down and smoothed it with my hand and pinned all around the flower, pulling on the edges of the backing to stretch it tighter. The top was very wavy from being drawn up by all the tight stitching. This meant I would have to carefully smooth that out as I went along to avoid creases. I debated spray basting, but I sometimes get creases with that, so having it loose meant I could manipulate it. Ready to quilt now. I’m going to start inside the opening at the leaves and work my way outward. I will stop and start on the left side and do the same. Sometimes you don’t want continuous, nonstop quilting, especially when you have wavy fabric! See? I’m no fool, not today, not yet.


And here it is showing a traupunto effect. As most quilters know, if you have puffy batting and you quilt densely around an object it will give a mock-trapunto effect anyway (as my dots look here in the background). And when you add an already trapunto effect it makes it even puffier! For my background fill, I wanted something dense but with added interest. I used Glide Warm Gray 4 for the background.  Light coming from a window at an angle (but not directly shining on the piece) helps show off the quilting and depth of the trapunto.


Almost done with the background! You’ll also notice I quilted with the warm gray down into the petals on the right to add some separation I intended originally..

Some closeups. Different colors of threads added interest and personality. Going over some areas to thicken them added variety, too. This has an embroidered, folk art look to it, yes?


I chose a striped border fabric even though doing mitered corners takes me out of my laziness comfort zone. The photo does not do the pillow justice; the flower actually looks better in person. My hubby loves this and asked me what I was going to do with it. My usual answer, I don’t know yet. Probably sell it eventually, along with a lot of my work. My big dilemma is I am creating more things than I have room for, but I knew this would happen!! Creators gotta create.


And for the back, my first buttonhole on my Aria sewing machine was a breeze. Figuring the overlap for this envelope style opening was a guessing game. I used white fabric because I figured the back would never show anyway, but a print would have been cute. I did quilt my last name to the right of the buttonhole in a pale blue thread.

I’m not a frequent blogger, can you tell? I am just so darn busy creating!!!

© Beverly Guhl   All images, techniques, and info are the property of Beverly Guhl. You may pin and use the images if including my copyright and providing a link to my website. Inquiries welcome. Thanks!