Week in Review 2022 – 03/11


Is experience a blessing or a curse? Can it be both? That is a question I’ve been asking myself this week.

Image of a tiger cat with more buff and orange undertones than silver.
I began thread painting Lola. I start with the lightest colors and work my way through darker and darker values.

Sometimes A Curse

If I had written this post on Wednesday I would have answered experience is a curse. Why? Simple. I began work the previous day certain I knew exactly how I would “create” the cat I planned to appliqué in position on the stairs. Step 1 was to thread paint the eyes. Done! Then I positioned the eyes on the calico cat shape from last week’s post. OMG – talk about a disaster. Sometimes I am wishy washy about whether something will work or not. Not this time. Experience was not in my favor, or was it?

A cat is outlined, then various elements are sketched in with thread. The result a sense of legs, eyes and whiskers are evident.
I chose a tan, Bottom Line thread for the bobbin. This way should any of the bobbin thread be visible on the front side it will blend into the fur.

Sometimes a Blessing

This is when experience can be turned from a curse to a blessing. Because I have experience, I have more tricks in my tool box. If I can successfully thread paint the eyes, then I can thread paint the whole cat.

Bust of a tiger cat in profile.
Lola measures approximately 10″ H x 5″ W. Since I will be layering threads and stitching intensely, it is important to select threads that are not problematic for this type of work. I am using polyester 40 wt. threads. Not only are they easy to work with, but they provide a wonderful sheen.

One of the difficulties associated with such a large (10″ x 5″) section of thread painting is that the intense stitching distorts the fabric being stitched. This is why embroidery machines come with hoops that hold the fabric taught. I do have a hoop but it only gives me a maximum of 5″ in diameter to work in. Frankly, this is a pain in the butt for a piece of this size. Experience wins again. I layered my work from top to bottom with the printed cat, then a fusible and finally batting. I find fusible really helps eliminate some distortion. Second, I outlined the cat before I started stitching. This acts, much like a hoop.

The same image of a tiger cat sitting on stairs, but now there is much more thread painting.
The earlier photo of Lola was taken mid morning. This is what I achieved by the end of the day. The one specialty thread I used is glow in dark thread for the eyes. It really works. 🙂

It’s month three of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. This month is yellow. Another plus for experience. I can whip up my blocks easily due to 36 years of precision piecing. Now that’s experience and a finish!

A scrappy 5 x 5 square units of predominantly yellow with black triangles in the corner and some white, as well.
The first of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks for March.

I am linking up with:

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


  1. Gwyned, your thread painted cat is MAGNIFICENT!!! The finished result is stunning but I’m also smitten by the possibilities suggested by your in-progress shot. When the cat is only partially thread painted, it’s as though he’s emerging from the photo somehow. The glow in the dark thread must look so cool in person for the eyes, too! You never cease to inspire me!

    1. Coming from someone who has mastered longarm quilting, I’m honored. Part of the fun of quilting/threading painting is watching the piece evolve. I may be thread painting on top of an image, but I’m not duplicating it, so I really don’t know how it will turn out.

    1. Thread painting, like all aspects of quilting takes practice and learning what works for you. Thank you for hosting TGIFF. I rarely have a completed quilt to share, but I always finish something each week. 🙂

    1. Very kind of you to say, Norma. Can’t say I’ve done much thread painting. This is the first time I’ve done it using a photo as a base. That helps. So does years of free motion quilting. It really is quilting on steroids.

  2. Hey… I didn’t realize you joined the RSC!!! how fun to watch what you make. I’m knee deep in making components to put together in an improv piece but need to spark up my yellow scraps. Too much in the same tone
    your cat is great, experience is great, thread can be a brat

    1. It’s true. After several years of enviously watching others participate in the RSC, I decided to join in. I felt a need for some “enforced” play/down time. What I am discovering is I have very scraps. If I do this again, I will have to work with smaller units than 2″ square. Does have my creative juices flowing. Thanks for the positive feedback.

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