Thread Painting

I started thread painting the bark cloth cutout flowers and leaves the other day. It goes surprisingly quickly and yet it seems to take a lot of time. The first thing I did was stitch the edges of the fused cutout using a modified blanket stitch (w: 1.5mm) with a smoke coloured monofilament thread in the needle (a white rayon embroidery thread in the bobbin). As I’m thread painting, I’m stitching over the cutout edges with embroidery thread to obscure the loose warp/weft threads that are peeking out.

One leaf is done, parts of the larger leaf begun and the dark thread on the anthurium has been stitched – lots more to go. Next will be the brighter green elements on the larger leaf and the “grey” elements will be some shades of bright green, not sure what precisely, yet.

Thread Painting The Bark Cloth Flowers & Leaves

I’m using the embroidery thread doubled – two close shades – both threads through the single needle eye. It’s working well, I’m not having any tension difficulty. I’m not trying to cover the fabric with stitching – just enough to provide some texture and sheen.

Here’s where my collection of fine permanent markers is proving handy – I filled in the grey on the dark leaf with a bright green which livens up the whole. I will do the same on the larger leaf.

Thread Painting – Detail

This piece is a test run for the larger one with the natural raw silk background. The graceful movement of the printed design is making the thread painting straightforward – the flowing lines are easy to replicate, even though I have both the feed dogs and the Pfaff IDT engaged! (I’m doing that to maintain a consistent stitch length – I don’t come close to an even stitch length with free motion sewing). Using the needle down position, the presser foot lifts a wee bit when I stop which allows me to freely manoeuvre the fabric as I sew. So the long flowing lines are happening without difficulty.

Time to get back to work on the larger leaf.

Second Leaf – Finished

This is the second leaf stitched and tinted using the permanent markers – much more lively colour than original “grey”.

Next – the anthurium.


Pink Flowers – Finished

I just put the finishing touches on this wall art piece – Pink Flowers. In the photo it looks a bit out of kilter, but I that’s an artifact of where I was standing when I took the photo – the piece is 15.5″ wide x 18″ in height.

Pink Flowers

I did quite a lot of stitching using rayon embroidery thread – two colours at a time through the one eye of the machine needle which gives a tiny bit of depth to the colour of the stitches. I elected not to stitch in the background – mainly because I had no idea what sort of design would have augmented the piece rather than detract from the flowers. The piping is there to heighten the colours in the flowers, and the printed border/frame extends the “texture” of the background.

Stitching Detail

Now on the next one using the fussy-cut flowers from the bark cloth. The fabric colours are somewhat subdued – I’m planning on using strong bright shades of rayon embroidery thread for the thread painting.

New Wall Art Underway…

This morning I finally stopped procrastinating on the wall art – I found myself starting on two unexpected projects. Yesterday I was going through fabric in my stash looking for fabric for the Federer piece and came across some Hawaiian bark cloth with large floral patterns which I thought could be turned into an interesting raw-edge appliqué piece on a raw natural silk background fabric:

Raw Edge Appliqué using Hawaiian Bark Cloth Floral Cut-outs

I cut the fabric in thirds, isolating one repeat of the pattern, fused Heat ‘N Bond Featherlite fusible web to the back of the fabric, fussy cut the flower/leaves elements, then fused them to a panel of natural raw silk (backed with Warm ‘n Natural quilt batting).

Now I need to go through my embroidery threads and pick out colours to use for securing and thread painting the raw-edge fabric elements.

I also got a second piece underway – I had a small leftover scrap of a modern floral which I’d used years ago to make a wide-brimmed summer hat. I thought the cut out flowers, placed randomly on a pieced background, would be an interesting vehicle for thread painting – I started that this afternoon. This piece will finish around 10″ x 12″ – it’s a test run to see where this idea can take me.

Raw Edge Appliqué – Modern Flowers on Pieced Background

So I’ve got two pieces to work on and maybe I’ll make some progress by the end of the weekend!

Wide-brim Summer Hat

[Here are instructions for making this wide-brim hat, if you’re interested.]

Second Pair of Restored Socks

Finished restoring a second pair of socks yesterday. Same process as the first pair – because the heel flap was still unworn I just needed to replace the heel turning and to reinforce an area of the instep just in front of the heel.

2nd Pair of Restored Socks

I had some closely matching yarn in my stash so you can hardly tell where the reconstruction happened. I did use a slightly different colour for the reinforcing stitching – otherwise I can’t see where I’m stitching!

Close-up showing reinforcing of instep

Once this pair was done, I started work on a new pair of socks in shades of turquoise/grey/white.

One Pair Restored Socks

I completed the restoration of this pair of socks yesterday. The back of the heel – the heel flap – was intact (often there’s a lot of wear along that part of the heel but in this pair that wasn’t the case). The problem was with the bottom of the heel and the wear into the instep. Replacing just the heel wasn’t an option because I had nothing to graft onto in the instep. So I decided to redo just the bottom of the heel and to reinforce the weakened area of the instep so I could attach the heel to something solid.

Restored Socks

The restoration has turned out rather well. I had matching yarn so the reknitting of the heel bottom blends into the heel flap. I probably should have looked for scraps of yarn that blended with the instep a bit better but it’s under the foot and won’t show when the socks are being worn.

Worn heel bottom and instep

Here you can see the problem – the heel flap is solid (the sock in behind and below the needle) but the heel turning and the instep are both weakened and worn through. I could cut out the entire heel and reknit the instep but that’s more work than the restoration warrants so I’ll do what I did with the previous pair: I’ll reinforce the weakened spots in the instep by oversewing the existing instep stitches, then salvage the heel flap and reknit the heel turning. Otherwise these socks are in good shape; worth refurbishing and keeping in a sock drawer.

Cayce Zavaglia – Artist

My sister Donna has returned from a two week visit to NYC and she just sent me photos of some astounding embroidered portraits done by the artist Cayce Zavaglia.

Embroidered Portrait

Step back and you see the portrait. In the gallery, step close and you see the craft – a gazillion stitches using silk, cotton, yarn threads to create tone, depth, texture. I can’t imagine how long it takes to complete one of these portraits – perhaps months?

In any case, if you’re interested in learning more take a few moments to watch her at work:


Blue/Green Socks

Finished these socks last evening. They were soothing to work on – enough gradual changed in the unfolding pattern to keep them interesting.

Blue/Green Socks

I should really now return to a couple of sock repairs – there are still five pairs of socks in the repair basket wanting attention. Maybe I’ll work on one before returning to new yarn.