What is Thread Painting?
Thread painting is a textile art that utilizes free-form machine embroidery to create pictures, in my case I use the machine. Some do this by hand . Layers and layers of thread are added to create depth and texture to details. These are typically used a wall hangings for display.
How many hours go into a finished piece?
A large piece takes me approximately 100 hours. Your skill and perseverance will dictate how long a piece will take. Beginner's should really just enjoy the process and not worry about how long it takes.
Can you wash thread paintings?
I do not recommend washing your thread paintings. I have had a situation where I needed to clean a quilt after it had been in a flood, I used gentle soap and a large bathtub to gently get the stains out. I then blocked it to dry it and used an iron after it was dry. There was little to no shrinkage or distortion. This is not a guarantee for all pieces. If you experience dust accumulation on your art piece, I recommend using a vacuum with the brush end to gently clean it.
Do you teach your methods?
Yes! Check out my Learning Centre for courses that may interest you.
What materials do you recommend?
I use organic naturally-dyed fabrics and recycled content polyester or organic cotton threads, eco-stabilizers whenever possible. This is a personal core value, not a requirement. Light weight cottons, canvas, any stabilizers or thread may be used.
What type of thread should I use?
Threads that are designed for embroidery machines are sometimes difficult to use with free form work depending on your machine. A typical 40wt - 50wt thread is generally used in my work, but sometimes depending on the effect I am looking for, I may use specialty threads. I use a standard cone thread for my bobbin and often change the colour based on the top thread I am using. Light with light, dark with dark. I frequently use a medium grey in the bobbin for the whole project.
What kind of machine do I need?
I use a basic Janome domestic machine for most of my projects. I do use a long-arm machine for my large artworks. A free form quilting/embroidery/darning foot is used and the feed dogs are either disengaged or covered. Sign-up for my newsletter to get your copy of Essentials for Thread Painting for more details.
Do I have to use a hoop?
You do not have to use a hoop, depending on the size of the piece and embroidery you are working on, you may be able to just use a stabilizer or several layers, however I have found that with dense thread painting often a hoop is required. You can pick up a low-profile hoop in my shop
I'm getting a lot of puckering, what should I do?
If you are using a hoop and stabilizer and still getting puckering on your background fabric you will need to adjust your tension. Check your manual on how to do this for your machine and play on a sample piece until you are happy. You may be able to help the thread relax with steam pressing.