• Category Archives Embroidery
  • Stitch Away the Gray Days

    OK, Christmas is past and in a few hours 2020 will be upon us and winter is just getting started up here in the Northwest. You may not want to be thinking of Christmas 2020 yet but what better time to begin some projects for next year’s yuletide? If you start now you will have a whole year to finish your projects. To that end, I am offering my Hand Embroidered Folk Art Ornament class at Sharon’s Attic in Aloha on Saturday January 11 from 10 am – 4 pm. This has been a popular class over the years and I keep adding critters to the menagerie. The best part of these hand embroidered whimsies is their portability; everything you need to make one will fit nicely in a Zip Lock bag and with a few stitches here and a few stitches there, you can finish one between other day to day tasks – on your lunch break, waiting for an appointment, watching a football game, bingeing Netflix…
    I have made quite a collection of these I could show you and you would say “Ah – but you are an experienced embroiderer…” so rather than show you my work, I would like to show you what has been done by my students. Keep in mind that many of these were made by stitchers who had little or no hand embroidery experience.
    Feeling inspired? Come join me at Sharon’s Attic in a couple of weeks and see what you can do.


  • Art & Soul Retreats Coming to Portland in March 2019

    Time for some shameless self-promotion! I want to talk about my classes at the Art & Soul Retreat in Portland next spring. I plan to do this in segments devoting a separate blog post to each the better to promote each class individually. My first will be:

    Thread Painting: March 10, 2019; 9am – 4:30pm

    This is free-motion quilting on steroids. Though it does take a degree of confidence to plunge into it, the method does not require quite the level of precision that traditional free-motion quilting does for delightful results. In regular free-motion quilting, the beauty lies in individual lines, these lines should be rendered with accuracy to be attractive but Thread Painting is more like coloring or (as the name says) painting.  A skillful hand will yield spectacular results but even a novice with less expertise can create something beautiful.

    In this class, I will offer two options to try – a pair of butterflies that enlists a coloring book approach that is suitable for a raw beginner and a songbird that employs a more ‘painterly’ technique involving layering and blending of colors and textures. Though I recommend a beginner to try the butterflies a confident beginner can try the bird and get good results. I have even had past students create their own bird from a photo to explore.

    The project sizes are small to make it possible to complete the thread painting in a reasonable amount of time, rather than have it turn into weeks or months of work or risk it languishing in your studio as a UFO. The cost of thread for a smaller project is also reasonable; thread is not cheap especially if you want a wide palette of colors. A smaller project will allow you to learn and perfect your technique before tackling a larger, more expensive project.
    If you are still uncertain that you could actually do this, look at what previous students have done in this class. Most of these were all stitched by students who had only a little or no experience with thread painting.
    If you are interested in this workshop, you can find more information at Art & Soul Retreats


  • A Horse of a Different Color

    Where did that term come from? The first time I ever heard it was in the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ but the context left no doubt that it was already a phrase in common use.

    But I digress, this may not be a horse but rather a non-traditional rainbow. Just look at what I picked up at Quilt Market last weekend in Portland.

    Valdani six-strand cotton floss

    I visited the Valdani booth where I had a lovely chat with the owner, Dana, and showed her some of my embroidery; one of her helpers in the booth took this picture of me and the rest of the Valdani staff there.

    Valdani Booth at Portland Spring Quilt Market 2018

    I love Valdani threads and have been using them since I first discovered the 35 wt quilting thread in a little shop in St. Helen’s Oregon about a decade ago. they make luscious variegated threads in color combination you just don’t see elsewhere like one blend they called Cold Lava – a blend of black, sapphire blue and a rich rust color that quilts up beautifully (see the close up of a border below).

    Border stitched with Valdani 35 wt cotton thread, color: Cold Lava

    At the show, I bought a few new colors of the quilting thread (what – they actually have colors I don’t already own???) but mainly I added to my collection of embroidery floss. This six-strand cotton floss is soft and silky in texture and the variegation subtle which I prefer as opposed to drastic color shifts that can make the work look splotchy. Valdani also makes this floss available in three-strand balls for punch needle and other work where a finer floss would be preferable.  I can’t wait to work these into a project.