My Newest Coloring Quilt: Color Me Quilted

I’m excited to share my most recent finish:

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Many people express surprise when I reveal that it’s a painted quilt.
You see, this quilt started out as a wholecloth of white ready-to-dye cotton fabric which I freemotion quilted with black thread on my Innova Longarm Quilting Machine:

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I was inspired to create this by all of the beautiful adult coloring books that have been hitting the market of late. After all, I’ve loved to color my whole life, and find it very meditative.  Why not make a coloring quilt?

It’s kind of magical to see how adding color one by one transforms the quilt.  Deciding what color to start with and where the coloring will begin usually takes me a while. Once I start it, I want to keep painting and painting until it’s all done!

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This quilt measures 40″ x 40″.  I decided on a smaller size because prior to starting this, I had only quilted up smaller samples to test different mediums for coloring.  I knew from previous smaller samples, that it was going to take some time to paint even this smaller sized quilt.  This is not a quick process.  I figure I have at least 100 hours of painting in this quilt – so I’m glad I decided not to start out with a bed-sized quilt.  (Although I’m excited to start planning one of those now that this one is finished and turned out so well!)

I started with the yellow, and then moved on to the greens.

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This time I remembered to take some “in progress” photos of the whole quilt to document how it looked along the way.

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I was so excited to see a more completed picture, that I then moved on to the blues and was quite happy with how it was looking.

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Many hours and days later, it now looked like this:

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I knew it was time to start adding the other colors, but I was having a hard time choosing the colors for the inset border of circles and lines.  When I find myself in this situation, I usually start testing out my ideas on paper.

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I had originally thought I’d go with the yellow and orange version, but after folding up this sample and looking at it on the quilt, I finally decided to go with purple for the string of pearls.

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Once that was done, I still hadn’t decided on the color for the inset lines, so it was time for another snapshot.

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It was after seeing this photo, that I felt sure that greens were the way to go – I love green!

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After that, I decided it was time to start adding other colors throughout the quilt.

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Friends and family who were seeing the quilt develop, pointed out that quilting details that got lost in black and white, suddenly started to become more interesting.

I spent many hours over the course of several weeks watching the quilt come to life.  I was really pleased with how it finished!

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If you are interested in how I went about painting this quilt, I made this video:

I used black fabric for the back, which was just in case I encountered any bleeding with the paints (which I am happy to report I did not have – but it’s always good to be prepared!)

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I’m very excited about the process of painting my coloring quilt, and am thinking about developing a technique class for others who would like to spend some time coloring their own quilted art works.

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“Color Me Quilted” by Coleen Barnhardt (2015) 40″x40″ Painted with Jacquard Textile Paint Double Layer Batting (Hobbs Wool on top of Hobbs 80/20 Black)

I’d love to hear what you think of it!

32 thoughts on “My Newest Coloring Quilt: Color Me Quilted”

  1. Thank you, Diana – It is washable after the paint is heat set. Before I started this project, I made a small sample, heat set it, and then washed it 4 times in the machine, and the color was still great!

    1. I would love to take your class but I live in Montana. Please offer your class outside of Portland? Your quilt is gorgeous! Thank you.

  2. Thanks for sharing your beautiful quilt! I had a few ideas for making a painted quilt, but never though of doing it this way. Now I know I need to get the fabric paints off the shelve and get started.

  3. I love what you created. What kind of thread did you use in your longarm? I love free motion quilting too but somehow my results don't look near as beautiful as yours.

  4. There are several ways you can heat set it, but I've found that with the quilting already finished that ironing doesn't give me the results I like. My favorite way to heat set is to throw the finished quilt in the dryer on the highest setting for thirty minutes to an hour. I use the Sanitize setting on my dryer.

  5. This is beautiful! Did you have the whole quilt done (front & back together) before you started painting. I guess you probably had to have it done, right? Great color scheme!

  6. This quilt is inspirational as well as beautiful. I painted and taught ceramics for over 30 yrs. Now I have a new idea thanks to you. Will
    you be in Northern Ky or in Ohio anytime soon? I would LOVE to learn this technique.

    1. Thank you! I’ve studied/done ceramics for many years and it gave me a lot of experience with surface design/texture that directly translated to my quilting. I’m not currently scheduled in your part of the country.

  7. I too make quilts that are colored,also. I found Fabrico Pens are wonderful. Hardly any bleading, colors are amazing and it’s Ink. Can be heat set and washable. Fabric is soft. Love to talk sometime and share ideas.

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