I’m a big-time fan of graphic art and block printing, especially as applied to textiles. Simple, clean, yet often kitschy shapes work amazingly well to create images–that can range from subtle to subversive–on fashion and home decor pieces. There aren’t many who do it better than textile artist Lotta Jansdotter, so I was thrilled when I got my hands on her new kit, Lotta’s Printing Studio.
The kit includes design sponges, 2 knives (for lino cutting), and 5 of Lotta’s signature drawings in stencil form.
As a knitter and crocheter, I’m always interested in how I can incorporate other media types into my yarnwear. I’ve done a bit of experimenting with some super basic painting and lino printing on knitted pieces but thought it’d also be fantastic to give stencil printing a shot. In a recent I Love to Create article, I showed how to hand-dye organic yarn and knit it up into a CowlKerchief which as it turns out, makes the perfect canvas for said stenciling. Here’s what I did and how you too, can print on yarn-y garments!
Hand-Dyed CowlKerchief, Enhanced with Lotta’s Printing Studio
Lay CowlKerchief (or desired knitted garment) with stencil on top, on a flat surface. Dip printing sponge in fabric paint (I used Tulip’s Soft Fabric Paint), then blot over stencil. For darker image apply more paint and pressure; for lighter image apply less. You’ll find that the design sponge works really well with the yarn because of how absorbent it is. Keep in mind though, when working with the hills and valleys of the knitted stitch, you’re not going to get the perfectly solid, stencil line that occurs when printing on fabric. I actually love this aspect of it though; the unevenness adds an additional textural layer!
I chose to use the Wall Motif on my knitwear (I’m an anarchist, like that ;-)) which requires two stencils. If you do the same, then repeat the step above; using a 2nd color of fabric paint. The design sponges are puffy enough that you should be able to just use the opposite end for the 2nd color, without having to dirty an additional one. One less thing to clean = more time to craft!
What you end up with is a mixed-media accessory that because of color, placement and textile choices, is uniquely you. Now that’s something to be proud of!
Jaunty neckwear not your thing? Try printing on knitted blankets, pillows, sweaters, scarves (still neckwear, but less jaunty), hats and more–have a great time printing!