Monday, 5 January 2015

January Arts Club – Take Those Crayons Out of the Box

Our first project for the Calgary Public Library Arts Club this year was a bit of a nostalgic one, for me at any rate. Its funny where inspirations can come from and for me this project was based on a tinted and stitched pillow that my mother-in-law had in her house. From the research that I did online, I believe that it was likely a tinted Vogartembroidery piece, certainly from the 50s, but perhaps before then. From searching on the internet I discovered that some of these pieces had the colour printed onto the fabric, while others may have been coloured with crayons.

I also collect vintage linens and the collage photo below are ones that are of a similar nature to that pillow and the inspiration for the stitching project for the Arts Club.

Vintage tinted embroidery pieces.
As with all of the projects that Jan and I teach, we do prototypes mainly to gauge the time and materials that it will take for the students to complete the project in the limited time that we have and to give them other ideas of where they can take the new stitches that they have learned. The photo collage below shows a couple of the samples that we did as examples. We also provide a kit for each person and for this project the finished item was a card complete with an envelope to mail to a lucky recipient.


We chose the simple owl motif as it was quite small and had interesting areas to colour and to stitch. Prior to the session Jan copied the motif onto the cotton/linen blend fabric using an erasable Frixion pen by Pilot and stitched a decorative border around the piece. Frixionpens are erasable and can also be removed by the heat of an iron.

Frixion lines on left, heat removed on right.
It's a bit difficult to see in these photos as the black threads on the right ghost through the fabric.

We opted to use simple stitches based on a running/straight stitch, though we also showed them how to do a French knot as the owl needed an eye.

To complete one of these for yourself, first colour the using Crayolacrayons and a light hand. Once the colouring is complete, stitch around the motif using a running stitch and two strands of floss. (A back stitch or stem stitch could also be used for a more solid outline). Once all your stitching is completed, lightly press the piece with a hot iron to remove the Frixionpen lines and to heat set the crayon pigment.

The participants were all quite intrigued by the project and had a great time completing them. Their projects are below.

Works in progress.
PS The February Arts Club is on February 7 at the Central Library. Registration is required. We will be doing a mixed media project and all supplies are provided. Register here.


  1. That's so cool! I'm sorry I missed it.

    1. Thanks Lyndia, we did have a good time and I am working on another one. I will also finish the vintage Christmas one shown at the top of this blog post. It was a great 25 cent find at my fave thrift shop. See you in February. Meredith