Week in Review 2023 – 12/01


I am focused on multiple tasks. I wish I could multitask, but that just isn’t doable. Why? Multitasking means doing two or more tasks simultaneously. Technically, there is no such thing as multitasking. What we do when we say we are multitasking is alternate tasks. This can be done rapidly, giving the impression of multitasking.

Sue is “cut” from the background and the background is deleted.

Here’s a fun task to understand what I mean. First, write out your name. In my case that would be Gwyned Trefethen. Next count the number of letters in your name. There are 15 letters in my name. Now write out the numbers in order… 1, 2, 3… 15. That’s easy, right? First you do one task, the name, then you do the next task, the numbers. Now try multitasking. Start with the first letter of your name, followed by the number 1, then the second letter of your name, followed by 2, etc. G1w2y3…n15. Note how much harder you have to concentrate. If you had a stopwatch you could verify that it actually takes longer to simultaneously keep track of letters and numbers, than to focus first on letters, then numbers.

Task #1

Sue’s feet last wee

Currently, I have two studio tasks going. The harder, more technical one is interpreting the image of Sue in fabric and thread. I have become obsessed, of late, with creating portraits this way. This is the largest (Sue measures 33″ H x 24″ W) I have ever worked combining appliqué and thread painting. It’s scary. So, I prefer to tackle this task gradually, taking “breaks” with work I find less stressful.

I finished thread painting Sue’s left foot.

Task #2

When I am not working on Sue, I am working on my 2024 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. This year I am going simple. Well, simple for me. My blocks will be string pieced on the diagonal. The central stripe (string) is pieced from black and white fabrics. Rather than cut a bunch of small pieces and seam them together, I like to stitch strata. I love how doing this naturally randomizes the fabric. My strata measures 120″ x 10.5″

Yards and yards of black and white strata

Now that I am finished stitching the first strata I can cut 10.5″ x 1.75″ strips for the center string in each block. I’ve learned to test and retest my stitching and piecing plans before I cut everything I will need. Yes this will work. Hurrah!

Double checking the sliced strata will work

Rainbow Scrap Challenge

This is a detail from a quilt I found on Pinterest. It is the inspiration for my 2024 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Isn’t that quilt great? My layout will be different, but the theory is the same. I love how it lends itself to using scraps versus creating new ones. Dealing with scrap overload is one task I prefer to avoid.

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 saw the “inspiration” quilt on Pinterest and knew it would be perfect for the RSC. Not only will it blow through the majority if not all my rainbow colored scraps, but I have a significant collection of black and white fabrics. Really looking forward to making this one.

      You knit far, far out of my comfort zone, Margaret. So, I am a tad out of your comfort zone when it comes to thread painting. Isn’t great that we can choose what to focus on?

  1. ahhhh love the plans for RSC and your portrait is coming along. It’s challenging to pick the fabrics that take you on a gradual change of depth or shadow, highlight. So much close up work.

    1. No subtle changes for me, LeeAnna. 🙂 Only Sue’s clothes will be made with fabric. Her body is being thread painted. Despite having a substantial number of threads from one white through the darkest brown, some leaning more towards golden others toward peach color transitions are tricky. I find thread painting works like an impressionist painting. From a distance it makes sense. Close-up Sue’s feet look like they have been patched. It is part of what intrigues me about thread painting.

  2. Your portrait of Sue is amazing. I have not done any thread painting. That looks like a fun RSC project. I still have to decide what I will make next year. The scraps never seem to get used up, despite my best efforts.

    1. I found thread painting very intimidating when I first tried it. I would play with it, give up and then try it again, months or years later. It took all those attempts for me to figure out how to thread paint in a way that was enjoyable and resulted in the look I was after. I’m so pleased you enjoy my WIP.

      Fingers crossed I have found a RSC that will use more scraps than it creates. Might even reduce my black and white stash a tad. 🙂

    1. Sara, one thing that intrigued me about the inspiration quilt is how the white central strip is scrappy, too. I also like how the black and white creates a secondary pattern. The high contrast, as you say, makes the colors pop.

    1. Sue, was hesitant to allow me to interpret her photo in fabric and thread. Like you, I am fascinated by how her feet came out. Yes, I know I did the stitching, but I don’t know how each new thread will look until after it has been stitched down. I can make a good guess. Experience is a good teacher, but not a guarantee. How about you? When you select fabric and pattern how much is gut, knowing it will work vs knowing precisely how it will work?

  3. That center stripe of your string blocks is fabulous, and I like your way of piecing it! That’s one of those design elements that looks different up close than faraway. Quilts like that are so interesting to look at!

    1. Thanks, Diann. One of the advantages of making quilts for, gasp 38 years, is having tried so many different ways of doing things over the years. The strata concept isn’t my own idea, but it is something that has stuck with me for years. Well, the randomization of the strips is something I thought up on my own.

      Best advice I got when trying my hand at making art quilts is that a quilt should grab your attention from when you enter the room, look good a gallery viewing distance and have you lean in to see the details. Which is what you shared.

  4. Wow, Sue’s feet are amazing, I love how you stitched shadows and light on them. Pretty scrappy strips too, your RSC is going to be lovely!
    Thank you for sharing your week, and linking up!

    1. Frédérique, so good to hear from you. I am delighted you enjoy Sue’s feet. I’m looking forward to seeing my 2024 RSC quilt come together. Probably why I am giving myself a head start.

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