Inking on quilts takes several forms. Historically, quilters used ink to draw on Baltimore album quilts, to embellish applique designs and to sign quilt blocks and signature quilts. They also used inks to add tiny details on appliqued or embroidered works. Contemporary quilt makers use inks to add color and depth to their work. Inks can be painted on to fabric or used in pens for use on fabric.  The ink originally used was referred to as India Ink and was permanent.  When adding ink to a quilt now, be sure to check that the ink is permanent and archival quality

Benefits of Inking

  • Painting with inks on fabric, or Inking, can add painterly techniques to quilts.
  • Painting with ink can enhance printed fabric.
  • Drawing with permanent ink pens can provlde a level of detail that could only be done with embroidery and using the pens is much quicker.
  • Drawing with permanent ink pens can add shading and depth to applique.

Tools and Supplies for Inking

  • Pens with permanent ink is needed for Inking.
  • For detailed drawing, the fabric should be stabilized with tape or stabilizer on the back of the fabric.
  • When collecting signatures on a quilt, completed blocks can be placed on a sandpaper board to hold the fabric for signing.
What I Wish I Knew When I Started Inking

Start with the finest pen (Pentel Pigma .005) to outline the basic design. Then go back with heavier pens and continue to darken and expand the design.

Inking Resources