Thread Painting 101: Autumn Leaf

Autumn Leaf

Thread-painting gives you the freedom to make a very realistic image entirely with thread!  We’ll start with warm-up exercises to learn how to balance your sewing machine’s tension, do straight-stitch and zig-zag free-motion thread-painting, and mix colors and shade them.  With these skills in hand, we’ll thread-paint an autumn leaf (provided by the instructor).  You’ll be amazed what you can do!   Required kit ($20 fee, paid directly to instructor).

Thread Paint your own Photograph

Miss Blue Eyes

For students who want to work on a photo of their own! Send me your photo ahead of time for review, and possible editing. With enough lead time, I can also print your fabric on fabric and send it to you!

Starting with a review of thread painting basics, including balancing sewing machine tension, straight-stitch and zig-zag thread painting, and tips for avoiding distortion, we will discuss each student’s project. By sharing the varied techniques to be used in different projects, all workshop participants will gain broader knowledge of thread-painting methods for different effects. (Best done as a two-day class. If this does not fit your group’s schedule, let’s talk! Contact me: betsy (at) (Kit fee for review and printing your photo: $25)

Piecing a Picture Quilt

Using freezer paper templates and marking seams lets us select exactly the right bit of fabric, disregard grain, and piece with great precision using one of my patterns, or one designed in my Designing a Pieced Picture Quilt workshop (below). Learn how to see fabric differently as we look through our fabric for texture and lines that help communicate the curve of a petal, the cat’s body, or trees in the forest, or ripples in the water.

Students will spend most of this one-day workshop selecting, cutting, and marking pieces and mocking up their work on a design board, with the goal of sewing a few seams before the end of the day. Several ways of simplifying details like the cat’s eyes and the landscape’s rocks will be discussed. (One- or two-day class) (Pattern and handout: $20)

Designing a Pieced Picture Quilt

Learn how to design your own unique pattern from a personal photo or one for which you have permission from the copyright holder.

Starting with an overview of the process, and examples of patterns and quilts made from them, we will discuss design factors such as straight-line vs. curved piecing, how much detail is enough, communicating perspective, and the roles of fabric selection and quilting.

Students will then design their own patterns, starting by making a careful tracing of the photograph, editing as necessary for focus and composition, then translating this into a piece-able design, finding the image’s main dividing lines (or ‘blocks’), reviewing the preliminary design for ease of piecing, and revising lines as needed. With their pattern complete, students will be prepared to proceed to making their own pieced picture quilts. (6-7 hour workshop)

Note: This workshop covers designing the pattern, but not making the quilt. It is nice to offer this workshop followed by Piecing A Picture Quilt.