Quilt Stenciling

Stenciling is not  new; in fact, it is one of the oldest and most authentic quilting techniques.

The European migrants arriving in New England brought the craze of stenciling with them to their new land. At that time, stenciling was popular on walls and furniture, eventually making its way onto textiles and whole cloth quilts. At it’s peak, the demand for stenciling saw ‘travelling stencil craftsmen’ make a living moving home to home with their stencil designs, working during the day in exchange for board and food.

If only we could go back in time, I would love to unpack the settler’s luggage with them so I could see their beautiful stencil quilts and stencil patterns. We just don’t know what a rich legacy we’ve lost as the paints they used were either corrosive or food based and did not survive. From what little evidence exists from their walls and furniture, they were highly skilled and creative people and we’ve lost a lot. Today, stenciling is undervalued. This is a great shame as it demands workmanship and creativity and deserves respect as an authentic technique with a rich heritage.

Thanks to advances in fabric medium and paint, stencils made today will last as long as commercially printed fabric.
And stenciling is so versatile, you can also achieve these results using paint sticks.

Do you have a journal full of design ideas?
Maybe you just want to try something new?

Stencilling allows you to really 'own' your quilt, from designing to technique and through to quilting. It forces you to really know your work whilst allowing you to run free of conventions. When I stumbled across stencilling, I was delighted with the results. Whilst not wanting to replace beautiful appliqué, the effect is beautiful and unique and allows a quilter to really make their mark in design and quilting. What a wonderful technique.