Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thread Sketching for the First Time

I have been exposed to lots of thread sketching over the past couple of weeks. Susan Brubaker Knapp was at the shop a week ago and then Sarah Hubbard was showing some of her work on her blog. I just couldn't wait any longer to try it. It didn't matter to me that I didn't have all the best supplies. I had thread and I had fabric and the rest would just work itself out. It is rare for me to sew just for me, so I seized the moment.

I started with some fabric that I had been holding on to for awhile. It is one of those "too pretty to cut" pieces. It was hand dyed by Anita Heady. I laid it out on my table and selected every spool of thread that might work with it.

I was just sure this was going to be some sort of nature scene. The fabric just screams sunshine, sky, and water. So I did a bit of doodling to get some ideas for what I might thread sketch. The photograph isn't very good, but I hope you can see rays of sunshine near the top, some circles in the middle, and icicles near the bottom.

However, every time I looked at the fabric, all I could see were people and faces. I was especially drawn to this part of the fabric which looks like a woman with her arms held out.

So I got my paper back out and sketched some more.

Again, not such a great picture. It's a woman with her arms held out and the word "dream" over her head. There are some arched lines in the background and some zigzag lines around her feet to give some sort of ground around her. Enough drawing...time to sew!

I have never sewn with a hoop so I thought I'd give it a try. I had some Sulky Tear Away stabilizer on hand so I put two layers behind my fabric. I have free motion quilted before and I thought this would be similar. I found it to be easier than quilting since there was less bulk than with the three layers of a quilt. It was also easier because of the small size of my project. I started by sewing the woman and worked my way around her.

This was FUN! I had some tension issues, and some areas with crazy stitching since the project had minimal planning and sometimes I changed my mind in the middle of stitching and used my thread to scribble rather than sketch. I like how the woman turned out. She looks sort of like a ghost or spirit. Here's the finished project:

The finished project is about seven inches by nine inches. That means I still have a lot of hand dyed fabric left to play with. I hope I can fit time in my schedule for more experimentation. This one will be hung on the wall behind my sewing machine to inspire me to try again.

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