Friday, July 4, 2014

Week in Review 2014 - 07/04

Thread painted fall leaves
before being added to
Little Lake Butte des
Morts in Fall
Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Happy Independence Day to my American readers and happy Friday to the rest of you. What a powerful word independence is. As a grandmother of five under the age of 7 I have watched all but the youngest become independent, at least in their ability to choose what they will or will not wear or say good-bye to diapers. In other words independence can be relative, because all my grandchildren are still dependent on their parents to provide them with food, shelter, transportation and affection. I have no doubt that for now my grandchildren feel more independent than they are in actuality. I feel pretty independent myself as I create my artwork. I can't recall when was the last time I used a pattern that I didn't tweak to make a quilt. Even when I practice FMQ motifs designed by others I can't resist seeing what happens if I do this or that to the original design. This week I am over the top excited about how I chose to create thread painted branches and leaves for my commission quilt. Was it an independent idea? Not really. Did I follow someone else's method? I wouldn't say so. I simply borrowed an idea here another there and then took the plunge. 

1) Little Lake Butte des Morts in Fall (Due August 3) 

a) Finish attaching the two tree appliqu├ęs - Done!
b) Start adding the details such as the cattails, branches and leaves. - Done!

I expect I will get some questions on how I made the fall leaves and branches. I'll do my best to guess what you might ask and answer it here:

See created by Susan Owenby for basic materials and instruction.

I used a pale green tulle with the Solvy that was recommended. I did NOT use Sulky thread. I prefer to use thread from Superior's King Tut series. These are ALL variegated 40 wt. cotton. When I didn't have the right color Superior thread I use Marathon's polyester and/or rayon thread. The advantage with the Marathon thread is that you can build up the thread more without breaking and it has a wonderful sheen.

I marked just the basic lines on the Solvy for where I wanted the branches and approximately where I would change colors for the leaves. From there I just winged it.

There isn't much difference from FMQ to thread painting. I use only a straight stitch that isn't engaged, since I drop my feed dogs. Most teachers recommend using a zig zag, but I find the straight stitch more intuitive for me. A good YouTube tutorial for watching how to thread paint was created by Nancy Prince. It is:

My final step will be to attach the thread painting motifs to my quilt. I will do that stitching them to quilt  with a bit more thread. At least that is plan.
Open Leaf with Spiral
This week's FMQ motif found at
the Inbox Jaunt, but modified by
yours truly.

2) Wild Apple 12" x 12" Opportunity - (Due August 15)

a) Mat and frame the work. - Not yet.

3) Free motion quilting practice: - Done!

Lori Kennedy, author of the Inbox Jaunt tends to design quilting motifs that work well in sashings, because they are linear or in an open block, because they are pictorial. I prefer FMQ that doesn't require pre-marking and can fill any shape. This week I played with Lori's Open Leaf Spiral to see if I could break away from the stacked leaves look. If you look at the left side of my work you can see I started to stack the leaves to get the "feel" of the basic leaf and going from left to right and back again. After that I went free form. :)

4) LifeBook 2014 - Do the assignments. - Done!

I have nothing to share here since the assignment was to watch a video interview. 

I am off to celebrate Independence Day with good friends, good food and good weather! Then I will buckle down again next week and tackle some of the following projects.

1) Little Lake Butte des Morts in Fall (Due August 3) 

a) Start adding the details such as the cattails, branches and leaves. 
b) Block and square up the quilt.
c) Start facing the quilt.

2) Wild Apple 12" x 12" Opportunity - (Due August 15)

a) Mat and frame the work.

3) Free motion quilting practice.

4) LifeBook 2014 - Do the assignments.

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.


  1. The thread painted branch with leaves is absolutely gorgeous. I already love how it looks on its own.

  2. Yes, the thread painting came out great! I have been thinking about matting and framing some of my work. Can you suggest a good place for information on the subject? Do you leave the fabric without glass? Thank you

    1. The instructions I follow for mounting and framing my work are not for publication. However, I am happy to share the generalities of them. I use a Shadow Box style frame that is four inches wider and taller than the work itself. I mount my work on a matt board (typically white) the same size as the frame. The work is centered on the matt and glued to foam core cut that has also been centered on the matt and is approximately half inch smaller on all sides than the work. In other words the foam core allows the work to "float" and is hidden behind the work. This method is best for small works. Frames can be cost prohibitive. Larger works can be stretched around painter's canvas.

  3. Glad you added an explanation of the leaves, Gwyned! I was looking at them closely. Was going to guess that you hand stitched many chain stitches. I think your approach went faster! :)

  4. Boy, did this get my attention. Your thread painting is spectacular!! Am heading over to the links you shared. Thank you so much.

    1. My pleasure. It is so rewarding to hear that I have inspired you to explore further.

  5. Hello Gwyned,

    I hope you had a great time celebrating Independence Day.

    The leaves are beautiful. It will interesting watching the lake scene come together, with all the details being added.

    I love the way you abandoned the row formation for the FMQ and did your own thing. That's what being a Free Motion Maverick is all about!

    Love, Muv

  6. Love your thread painting! glad to see you again Gwyned - we were in the Visioning group with SAQA. take care:)