Monday, December 10, 2012

Sketching with Thread

Ever since I read Twyla Tharp's book on building the creative habit, early every morning I sit at the sewing machine and practice freemotion quilting, even if only for a few minutes.  More often than not I do not have a predetermined idea of what I will make, but today it was different.  The fabric that Deborah Stanley gave to me last Saturday was calling for something more than random freemotion stitching.

I began with a  7" x 8" fabric sandwich of commercially printed fabric .  It was very light and had tiny little blue and green dots on it.  Because it was so light, it was almost invisible here so I didn't  post a picture but you will see it as you see the process develops.
 I also had some left over water thinned Setacolor fabric paints that I had used in another project and wanted to see if drawing with it might produce a painterly effect..

Thinned Setacolor Fabric Paints

Stiff Fabric Painting Brush

First Application of Thinned Fabric Paints
 After the fabric paint dried, I used an Ultra Thin Retractable Sharpie pen to do a loose floral sketch.
Loose Sketch with Sharpie Pen

 I then dropped the feedogs on my sewing machine and set about freemotion sketching a more detailed floral image.
Thread Sketching
 Sharpie now has a product called "Stained" markers for use on fabrics and I deepened each of the floral units near their centers with the pink marker.  The red was much too dark and would have made for a contrast that was too stark.  Here is the unbound finished practice piece. 

Close-up of Stitching and Highlighting.
Until I have used all the fabric swatches that Deborah gave me, I just may continue to create freemotion sketched practice pieces that have a semblance to something that is recognizable, even if nature may never produce anything akin to my loose application of color and line.


  1. How cool! OK I'm going to give you more fabric! :)

    1. This morning I am going through the swatches you gave me and think I will try to sketch another type of flower--maybe one that really exists in nature. Can't just use your fabrics to practice freemotion without a preconceived purpose. Your gift was special and needs to be treated as such.