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.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday AMA's #1

Today is our first AMAs - Ask Me Any question.

Here's your chance to ask me any (AMA) questions you have.  It could be about the techniques we learned during the past week or about anything related to living a creative life.

Everyone is welcomed to jump in with their answers opinions and follow-up questions, This is intended to be a community discussion time.  So it's open to all.

 Since this is our first, I’m going to open up Q&A time by answering 3 of the more frequently asked questions I get. Then I’ll wait for specific questions from you.

Question:  What kind of machine do you use?
Answer: I have a JUKI 2010Q and I love it.  It helps me do such wonderful work.  Although I must say it’s an oil- guzzler. Often, when it gives me trouble it’s because I haven’t given it enough oil. When it gets a good drink of oil it puts on it’s best behavior.

Question: How did you become so proficient at drawing with your sewing machine?
Answer: Consistent, deliberate and intentional practice.  I don’t know any other way to say it but to say it’s practice.  I practiced consistently for a long time till I started seeing results.

Question: I’ve got so many creative ideas.  I’ve learned so many techniques but I can’t find time for my creative work.  How do you find time?
Answer: Schedules. I schedule time for my creative work just like I schedule time for doctors appointments and other appointments.  There’s a saying that goes something like, “if it doesn’t get scheduled it doesn’t get done”

Now it’s your turn to give me your questions.  It'll be nice for you to also share your work in progress if you've been following along.  Let's hear about both your frustrations and your wins.

I’ll be waiting.

Warmest Regards,


  1. I thought I had practiced more than enough to do this...then I started watching your videos! At some point in your process, do you make a detailed, shaded sketch so that you know where to place the thread shading?

    1. That's a good question Kathy.

      If you're doing a realistic scene, Yes, it helps to have an idea where you want shadows, lights and darks to go before you start thread shading.

      A "detailed" shaded sketch will be ideal but you can have a simple "value map" which tells you where to put your dark and light values.

      If you're drawing a photo, you can put it through Photoshop to get a sense of where the different values should go.

      I hope that helps.


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