Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thread Painting, "Blue Cat Red Apples"

When designing and stitching a thread painting, there are many things to consider, i.e. every design doesn't work with every thread, every fabric doesn't suit all purposes, different stitches and techniques are necessary for different effects. I have had students tell me that something didn't work for them only to find that the needle is the wrong size or the thread doesn't suit the fabric. So, here is a thread painting (I decided to finish it recently) "Blue Cat Red Apples" and my reason for each choice I made in materials and techniques.....Very Simple....
"BlueCatRedApples" thread painting

 The blue cat is one of my regular motifs...he also appears as "Jazz Cat" (in my book,Thread Painting Made Easy) and "Domestic Cat" (in my book,Enhance Your Quilt-Embellish). You can find a pattern for him on  Havel's Scissors website. This time, he lazes on a fancy balcony with apples floating all around him.
Black and White Drawing for Thread Painting
 In the design phase, I knew that I wanted to stitch the cat, apples and balcony very heavily. So, I had to consider the thread, needle, fabric, stabilizer, design and technique to make the work successful.
Heavily Stitched Thread Painting
 When I designed this piece, my full intention was to use STAR cotton threads. I worked with C&C to design some new colors and that was just really cool...anyway.... the threads are thick, so that my heavy stitching doesn't take so long to accomplish with solid and variegated colors. I used the same thread to thread paint and quilt. My needle for all the stitching has to be a 90/14 machine embroidery needle. A smaller needle will just not carry this natural and beautiful thread.
STAR Threads Close Up
 The fabric used is a very soft open weave drapery cotton.I liked the open weave because I was going to be stitching very heavily and the open weave can handle this much stitching without too much distortion.
I used Rit Dye to color the fabric a warm yellow. I love this color.
Thread Paint on Open Weave Cotton
  I needed several layers of interfacing to stabilize it. The fabric used was an open weave, so I chose a bonded interfacing to stabilize it. I used several layers to get the right thickness. Stabilizer should be left in the work, because it becomes part of the stitch structure, if you pull or wash it out, then you end up with loose stitches.  

I stitched a light allover design of flowery leaves in the background. This reduced the amount of distortion caused by the heavy stitching. So, the initial design included this background idea (technique)to help prevent distortion.

When I quilt a thread painting, I use the same technique of moving the fabric under the needle on a domestic Bernina sewing machine as I do for thread painting. My two friends invented the things I needed to accomplish this.
Original Invented and Sold by Pat
 Pat LaPierre invented the SuperSlider.   
Sharon Invented this Halo! Genius!

 Sharon Schamber invented the Halo. I can't quilt for nothing without these two items. The result is that my thread painting and my quilting is very similar work and this makes me very happy.

Thread Painting is What I Do

 Then, I quilted intertwining my lines of quilting and stitching. It is difficult to distinguish the thread painting from the quilting. This is my intention. This technique brings all the design elements into the same kind of textural plane. This produces an embroidered, quilted tapestry.

I like this quilt. I bound it in red fabric and it is hanging in my "Drawing Room".