Thursday, July 21, 2011

July's Tart Kit: Sketching with Thread

With this month's Tart kit, we want you to practice your machine stitching. You will be using the four spools of thread in the kit (plus any other colors from your stash) to "draw" a design on the white fabric also included. The stitching will take place on the stabilized cotton before you layer it and quilt it. Use the thread to create contour lines and shading by building it up or by changing values.

Lightly draw a design on the fabric with a pencil. If you are tracing your design, a light box or window will help.

You will stabilize the cotton by fusing it to the piece of "Stitch and Tear" with Steam-a-Seam Lite. There should be enough body to the fabric that you will not need a hoop. The Stitch and Tear will glide smoothly over your machines's throat plate.

Thread your machine with a colored thread and use the bobbin included in the kit for your bottom thread. You may need to rewind the thread from the cardboard bobbin to your machine's bobbin. By adjusting your tension slightly looser, the bobbin thread will stay on the wrong side of the fabric.

You will be free-motion stitching so drop your feed dogs if that is your method. Some folks leave their feed dogs up and reduce the pressure on the pressure foot when doing straight line stitching. You will start with straight lines to sketch. Use parallel lines close together to create color on the cloth. Where you want more intense color, you will stitch across your first lines.

To create contours and values, your stitching may be curved. Remember sketching isn't necessarily filling in completely with thread. It may be creating a suggestion of line and value.

You can try blending two threads together in the needle and see if that gives you interesting values. You can try stitching on colored fabric. Or change from straight line to curves. The goal is to create your design in thread only - no fabric patches. When you have finished, leave the stabilizer in place and layer it with backing and batting. Quilt and bind it. This is your opportunity to practice your free motion stitching. Have fun!

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