Week in Review 2022 – 08/26

Working in a Series

It seems I’m working in a series again. This might be a generous interpretation of what working in a series is. However, when I feel compelled to return to the same subject matter and/or technique I call that working in a series. This series could be titled thread painted fauna.

With Something Borrowed

I was introduced to thread painting through the work of Ellen Anne Eddy. I was so blown away by her work, that when I had the opportunity to hire guest lecturers and teachers as Program Director for my guild, I knew I had to invite her. That must have been 20 years ago. Since then I’ve dabbled with thread painting, but really never took advantage of the technique until 2022. Now I’m on fire. I can’t get enough of it. Could this be the start of a new series?

Each of my thread painted images begin with a photograph. The highland steer comes for our vacation photo archives. This handsome gent was in the pasture across from a B & B we overnighted in while hiking across Scotland.

Original photo of a highland steer we saw while on a Scottish hiking holiday.

And Something New

The first step is to extract the image to be thread painted from its background. I used to use Photoshop Elements to do so. However, when my old version of Photoshop Elements and my new iMac proved to be incompatible I sought an alternative. A web designer recommended I try Photopea.com. If all you want to do is edit and not store photos on your editing program it is a perfect solution, especially since it is free! The learning curve, if you know Photoshop, is slight.

After I loosely extracted the highland steer, I printed it on a printable fabric sheet. The borders surrounding the fabric sheet are there to give me something to hold onto while I work. Eventually, the thread painted highland steer will be carefully cut out and attached to a background.

The highland steer is almost done. It measures 7″ h x 8″ w

What do you think? Am I working in a series?

The two blocks are side by side. The one on the left features and 8 pointed star and the one on the right has a ladder or braid effect. Both are made from fabrics ranging from a pale orange sherbert to a deep sunset orange.
My two orange blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge are finished.

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge is another form of working in a series. In this case I am using the same two blocks, but interpreting them in a variety of colors using scraps.

I’m linking up to the following posts:

By Gwyned Trefethen

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


  1. I love your Highland Steer and your process, as always, is fascinating! I was in a Gucci boutique several years ago (snooping for inspiration, not shopping!) and they had a lot of pieces that season that were created in a similar way. Jackets, handbags and even shoes with dense, three-dimensional embroideries that had been done on a sheer mesh, like a silk organza maybe, then carefully trimmed and appliqued to the bag/jacket/shoes. I remember that the designs were a combination of machine embroidery, hand embroidery and couched heavier threads/yarns, all of those techniques combined in the same motif, plus maybe some beaded accents here and there. One of these days I’ll play with that idea — but for now, I’m enjoying thread painting vicariously through you!

    1. You just never know where you will be when you discover something you can use in your fiber art. Wearables, designer or not can be a great resource. Then there are fashion designers who get their inspiration from quilts. What delightful symbiotic relationship. One of the challenges of thread painting is to avoid distortion. This is one of the reasons I haven’t attempted shears. I prefer to layer. I have seven layers in all including the stitches. The result zero distortion and no need for an embroider hoop.

      Thank you Rebecca, Grace, for sharing your experience and kind words.

    1. Ah, yes, Carla. Nothing like a shaggy animal for thread painting. It will also help me hide the edge of the embroidery, since I can extend the “hair” a tad onto the background when I attach it.

      The highland steer has me smiling. Glad you find it fun, too.

  2. Welcome to the RSC. I’ve been doing it for years and it’s a real learning experience in color as well as fun. Great embroidery

    1. LeeAnna, the fact that you participate in the RSC is one of the ways I discovered it. I love a challenge. I also enjoy the relaxation of simple piecing, which is well suited to the RSC. Thanks for dropping by my post.

    1. Thank you, Lin. Thread painting is a scary enterprise, since it is difficult to tell whether the range of thread I choose will blend well and look like the underlying image. I do enjoy it, though. Guess I like to live dangerously.

  3. Nice job and I do believe you are working in a couple of series. That steer is very handsome.

  4. I love this! The steer is perfect. I tried this technique once with a tulip picture I had taken; this reminds me to revisit the technique! Thanks for linking up to TGIFF!

    1. One of the advantages of revisiting a technique, I find, is the opportunity to refine it. I keep experimenting with the best substrate to stitch on. I used to have a flimsy substrate that was hooped to keep it taught as it was being stitched. The sheer fabric was marked. So much was problematic for me about this. Now my substrate doesn’t require either a hoop or marking. The threads practically sew themselves. I’ll be curious to see how you incorporate thread painting into your work, Kathleen.

      I enjoy seeing everyone else’s finishes. I always finish something each week, just not the full project. So, I am grateful to have TGIFF to link to.

      1. It is always a treat to read read your blog posts, Frédérique, since it is a topic I love and I can practice my school girl French. I have bookmarked your site to add to my linkups. Thanks for suggesting it. By next Saturday, that Highland Steer just might be standing on his appliquéd and embroidered pasture.

  5. I love your highland steer, so neat. Working on a serie is fun, I’m in the RSC too, and really enjoy it!
    You are welcome to link up with my link party on Saturday too 😉

Comments are closed.