A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Warning:Thread Sketched Nude on the Horizon

I joined Art Quilts Across the World and we displayed my first challenge in January 2013.   The challenge was to be a self-portrait.  I thought about what I wanted to do for my self-portrait.  First, I had wanted to try thread sketching for some time and thought this was the perfect opportunity.  Second, one of my goals this year is to accept the fact I will never be a size 8...or 10....or 12 or....  I'll stop there.  After spending years losing and regaining the same 50 lbs. I have decided I need to accept me.   So, I decided to use my art to come to terms with my body.

Step One
First I took (had my husband take) a picture of me which I downloaded to my computer and played with on Photoshop Essentials.  I am not an expert of the program so primarily that means I experimented till I got the effect I wanted. Thank goodness for the undo button!

Step Two
After getting a picture I liked, I printed it out and traced it on clear water-soluble stabilizer.

Step Three
I decided to use linen for my substrate due to the texture. I layered the linen onto felt.  I chose the felt rather than another batting for the stiffness of it.  This was never going to be a bed quilt and did not need to be soft and drapable. I secured the layers by spray basting them.  I pinned the stabiler onto the linen/felt sandwich.  Please note, I did not have a backing on the quilt sandwich at this point.

Step Four
 Now it was ready for the thread sketching.  I chose a thick cotton thread because I wanted the stitched lines to have some presence.  I turned the speed down on my machine and slowly went around the lines.  I wanted to stay on the lines. This was me and not a flower that could look good with exaggerated parts if I went off the lines.  It actually took me two days and two stitching sessions to get it finished.  It was a first attempt at thread sketching and I was quite apprehensive.

Step Five, Six, Seven, and Eight.
After washing out the stabilizer and letting the sandwich air dry, I machine appliqueed my shadow that I had previously pieced.  With the thread sketching part finished,  I put a back on the quilt sandwich and I quilted everything.  I did quilt the shadow but not me.  I didn't want any more cellulite or stretch marks on my body. To create a background that did not blend in with the neutral fabric of the body, I used diluted acrylic inks to  paint the fabric to create a backwall and a floor.

The back of the quilt looked okay so I decided to simply face.

Overall I am quite pleased with the resuls although I would prefer that my mother not see it.  Here is the link to my self portrait post.   You will need to go there to see the art quilt with the thread sketching of me.  


  1. I love this piece and it is such a apt representation of you, unafraid, adventurous taking chances. I loved reading all the comments on the other website as well and hearing people's responses. Bravo my friend!!

  2. As another woman of "traditional build" (Thank you Alexander McCall Smith!)I applaude your bravery. It is inspiring and your quilt is fascinating. Wonderful!!!

  3. I love this piece. I, too, really enjoyed reading the coments on the other website. I envy your strength and ability to portray such feeling in your art.

  4. Bravo! It's an absolut courageous piece - you can be proud of it. And thanks for sharing it and its background with us.

  5. I like the colourful shadow and the simpel line of the body

  6. I found you today thanks to "Bloom, Bake and Create". You've made an exceptional piece. You should be proud. Thanks so much for sharing your work.

  7. This is such a great example of using thread-sketching as part of a work. Thank you!


Although this blog is no longer active, we will get your comments so please feel free to share them.