I recently received a lovely email from a Japanese quilter living in Ireland who had finally managed to find supplies to try out my Colourque technique on the Victorian Virtuoso quilt which was published a few years ago in a Country Bumpkin publication – Stitch it – quilts…

She wrote of her experience and had some questions. I often get emails with questions so thought as I show you Tomomi’s wonderful efforts I would answer some of them for you all.DSCN8356 (2) DSCN8350 (2)


so today's FAQ’s will be on the Colourque ® Technique.

What type of pencil do you have to use?

You can use any type of coloured pencil – they will all work BUT

the more expensive the pencil is generally means the softer it is and the easier it is to use.


- steer away from Watercolour pencils – as you have to seal with a liquid and they are designed to bleed with liquid – they will work but you have to control that bleed

By the way, I use any type of Derwent pencil made by the Cumberland Pencil Company in the UK – just standard Artist or studio ranges on normal projects, Colorsoft and Inktense on others.

My project feels sticky and plasticky, did I use too much medium?

Probably or possibly. Different brands feel different – some of them stay tacky and thick and plasticky. The brand I use and recommend is Folk art by Plaid as it is a good consistency, doesn't mute the colour nor stay tacky if used correctly. If you used several layers it could still feel plasticky though so just go easy with it – you just need enough to seal the colour into the fabric – it doesn't have to soak through.

My colour bled outside the lines –what did I do wrong?

This is a very wide question – it could be the brand of medium you used, the size of your brush the type of pencil (how much it is prone to bleeding) or how you applied the medium. This last one I can answer -

always load your brush and set it down in the middle of a shape – not on the edge as you don't know how much your brush will hold or how far your medium will spread – then push/paint the medium to the edges of the shape with a light cover. You will soon get to know your brush, how much to load onto it and how far it will spread – always do tests first with the same fabric, pencil and brush you will be using on the final piece.

and yes, if it bleeds – it is permanent – you cannot remove medium in the wrong place and it may take the pencil colour with it..

What is the difference between Colorsoft and Inktense pencils?

Both of these pencils are made by Derwent – Colorsoft are very soft leads but are standard pigment – they are softer than the studio or Artist ranges but are similar colours. They behave a little like a watercolour – when you apply the medium you can brush the colour around to make smooth edges or blend two colours. They are my favourite for general use and colour very easily onto prequilted designs.


Inktense pencils behave very differently. You can read about them here.

I use them in a slightly different way on fabric. I paint the area first with medium then apply the pencil onto the wet fabric. It glides on like a texta and is very vibrant and bright in colour – no  good for pastel likers! you can colour first and then wet and blend after – just take care of that bleeding.




what thread do you use to stitch the outlines?

in my traditional version of Colourque I backstitch all of the outlines by hand using Presencia Finca Perle #16 thread and a stitchery or Crewel #7 needle.


For machine variations I use a matching colour cotton or rayon embroidery thread to outline stitch or quilt pre-coloured designs.


For inktense projects I quilt in black thread

P1030034For prequilted panels I usually use a white thread.,


Can I wash my colourqued quilt or article?

My answer to this is – if you have correctly sealed your project then yes you can wash it using your normal laundering methods. I don't recommend weekly washing – it will not wash out but will fade over time just as clothing and fabric will. But yes it is washable once sealed.




I trust this answers some of your questions to better your skills and thankyou Tomomi for sharing your work with us all!

hugs for today