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Great Patterns, Not Sure About Technique
on June 12, 2012
If the technique in this book was as easy as described in the introduction, I would've given five stars. I was undecided on whether to go with 3 or 4 stars, so to be nice I just went with 4.
I have used permanent ink on fabric with great results, I have always loved coloring, and I am a pretty darn good at all kinds of drawing and painting. So I was not in the least intimidated to try this melt & blend technique. I only mention that because in the introduction she makes a point of saying how well everyone does with the technique, even non-artistic types who were initially too intimidated to want to try it.
My first impression with the technique, was that it was a cumbersome procedure, without the benefit of producing great results.
The main two issues were:
1. The crayons do not stay melted for very long, and you can't melt much at a time. You have to keep melting a small amount, coloring, and re-melting more. You really need to have your iron right beside you, unless you want a lot of extra exercise getting up and down!
2. Although some colors blend fairly well, some do not. You kindof get used to how one color applies, then when you try another, Yikes!!
It's obvious that beautiful works can be accomplished, as proven by the great photos in the book. But believe me, it is not something that is easy to produce the first time you try it.
So after that first experience, I had four friends from my quilt guild over. We all made sure we had all the supplies necessary at our fingertips. We each had our own crayons, we had the proper napkins, etc. Everyone was really excited to try the technique,..... but no one was pleased with the results.
We finally just started playing around with other techniques. We found that it was better to lightly color a base coat over the fabric first (with regular unmelted crayolas), press it to warm it up, then color over it while warm, re-press to warm, then blend the colors while warm. Basically, just color on warm fabric, and blend on warm fabric, rather than continually melting a separate little puddles of crayon. Also, we all thought it would be easier to color our patterns this way without the fusible web, and then put the web on afterwards. Because with the original way, all of the stickiness on the underneath side of the applique piece was melted into the fabric by the time it was all done. Which is probably why the author recommends fabric glue to hold down applique pieces on the background!
So bottom line, the procedures outlined in this book were not impressive to me, or the four other experienced quilters/applique'ers that came to my house and tried it. Maybe with practice things might improve, but like I said it is to cumbersome to melt, blend, melt, blend, melt, blend, etc.
On a positive note, the patterns are simply beautiful, and a couple of the guild members want to buy the book just for that reason. As for the coloring, we will use inks, paints, or a different method of crayon work! I've tried this method twice now, and I won't be trying it a third time. I will however, try a different method of coloring these beautiful patterns!