knitting Paradise

I belong to a wonderful knitting and crochet group called

Knitting Paradise.

I hope you will drop by and check us out. Shirley

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tutorial - Christmas projects (thread painting)

I am going to teach 2 or 3 tutorials on how to thread paint Christmas Subjects,during
the next few days.

They are easy to do and I thought the blog might be a good place for people to
by and follow these instructions.

PINE CONES. (I will walk you through each project and I hope you will
use this tutorial when you are doing your Christmas projects.

The basic idea of thread painting (free hand) on your machine is to accentuate
fill in all the portions of the subject.

We are going to start with the Pointsettia. You can use these beautiful
thread painted flowers for many different Christmas projects. I usually thread
paint 5 - l0 different sized pointsettias and keep them in a baggy until I
am ready to use them.


Free motion embroidery is done much the same
way as free motion quilting. Your feed dogs are dropped and you use a special foot.
Some machines have a special sliding foot which slides over the top of your
fabric and you free motion embroider with it. I use a 'spring' embroidery foot or
a darning foot which I find the best way for me personally - Possibly because I
am used to doing it this way, and haven't taken the time to try to use the other foot from
my new Husqvarna Saphire 870. I used a medium value Husqvarna freesia for 8
years of constant thread painting. The main thing is you want your feed dogs dropped
that your foot can easily slide in every direction over the fabric.

HOWEVER - recently I have read 3 or 4 thread painting articles where the feed dogs
weren't dropped. If you have an older machine which doesn't allow the dropping of
the feed dogs, you might wish to try it.


FLOWER PETALS are many different shapes, but all of them are attached to the stem.

You stitch from the stem out toward the end of the petal - some petals are wide, and you
have to stitch from the stem outward and go
up and down always meeting in the center at, or above the stem. See the examples
in this post.


I use two different types of stitches -- very narrow zig zag for corners etc. Larger zig zag
stitches for fill in -- I don't use a satin stitch except for around the edges when I
attach the motif to the project.. For veins (flowers and leaves) I use a very fine
close together zig zag.

I use a wider, fairly close zig zag for filling in the project.


never thread paint across a shape - in otherwords follow the shape of the subject.
If you stitch across a leaf it will not look realistic. If you shape from the stem to the
outer petal it will look better.

I also use a straight stitch at times so it is entirely up to the person doing the
thread painting-

\There is also the thread painting that doesn't fill in the whole area - instead
you can use your stitching to accentuate, rather than completely cover
the project.

I hope you will enjoy the following tutorial -- I will do one motif every two days
and I hope you will incorporate the information in your Christmas projects.

It would be very helpful for me, if you put a comment about the different
sections -- I will read any questions and answer on the blog.

Below is an example a thread painted flower I did on a piece of printed fabric for a
friend - take note of the direction of the stitching, it is what makes the
subject realistic.


Marihette said...

thanks a million for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!
hugs Marihette Fourie

expatquilter said...

I've always wanted to try thread painting so thank you for these very timely lessons!

Beverly said...

Shirley, Thanks so much for the great info! I have wanted to learn this for so long--I'm looking forward to completing some projects. (I'm a member of the Yahoo group.) Hugs to you.

Laura said...

Hi Shirley,

Thanks for the beginning of the tutorial. I'm looking forward to the installments. One question - are you going to post a pdf with the designs for the pine cone or poinsettia or candle?
Thanks so much,
Laura T

Shirley said...

Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope you enjoy doing these little Christmas projects.

Laura -- I have never used PDF
in my blogs - although I have sent them out in my online classes.

I am not sure how to do it. Would you drop me a line at

giving me some idea how to do it?

Delia said...

Thank you so much for these projects.
I am going to try and do some tomorrow. Hoping my husband goes fishing so I have pleanty of time.
Delia In Australia

Debbie said...

I have a first attempt looks awful...when you do the dark for the vein, do you make 3 or 4 rows so it is kind of wide? And then you "avoid" that vein when you are filling in with the lighter color? I need a better selection of thread colors, so will try again tomorrow.

Shirley said...

Debbie - you can do it one of two ways. I usually fill it all in - by putting a straight stitch up the center of the petal. The stitch as shown in my example up one side, with a narrow zig zag and then up the other size with a narrow zig zag you can cover the vein - with one side or the other but use it as a guide where the two sides meet. Then put the vein in with a narrow zig zag or a straight stitch. YOu can also put in the veins that spread out from the center vein.

The other way is to fill in the whole petal with bright red for the top petals, and a slightly darker red for the bottom petals, making sure you follow the shape of the leaf - then put in your veins after.

It is important that you do show the veins one way or the other. Thanks for the question.

Thanks to you all for the comments. I will be posting the second tutorial on the Christmas candle tomorrow or Sunday at the latest. Shirley