If you haven’t figured it out by now, I really enjoy thread-painting. It makes better sense to call the technique free-motion embroidery, but thread-painting is a more commonly used term. “Painting” with thread is very similar to traditional hand embroidery, something most people are familiar with. When I do free-motion embroidery, instead of hand-sewing, I use a sewing machine to apply the stitches. In hand-embroidery, you move the needle across the fabric and in thread-painting you move the fabric under the machine’s needle.
Last week I used a thread-painting technique to create fern shapes that I stitched to the tree quilt I’ve been working on. I created the ferns by stitching them onto water-soluble stabilizer that was secured in an traditional embroidery hoop. I drew an outline of the fern shape on the stabilizer, then went to town applying stitches with my sewing machine. When I finished stitching the shapes, I un-hooped the stabilizer and soaked the stitched motifs under running water. The stabilizer becomes gooey as it dissolves under the water and eventually all that’s left behind are the embroidered threads.
Once they were dry, I stitched the ferns to the base of the trees. The shapes add a nice 3-dimensional effect to the overall design. With this addition, I pretty-much finished the large tree quilt that I’ve been working on these past few month. I trimmed it to size and now just need to hand-stitch the facing (aka: finished edge) it into place. I also think I’m going to use some hand embroidery to add some additional pops of interest to the ground cover. I find handwork relaxing, so I’m going to take my time adding these final details.