Monthly Archives: October 2015

A Fabric Twist on the Coloring Book Craze

I love our new obsession with adult coloring books, and have a few on my must-buy list – particularly Jamie Fingal’s new one!  It struck me that this concept could be applied to fabric for some fun pet portraits, since I adore Tsukineko’s fabric ink pens.

Start with a photo you love…


Use a simple app (I use  Camera 4 Line Art) to turn the photo into a line drawing:


…and print it on a sheet of ready-to-print fabric (I used Quilted Treasures).  Don’t forget to use an ink-jet, not laser, printer for this step.

Time to gather the fabric markers and color the puppy!  You can use your imagination or use the original photo for inspiration.  When finished, instead of having lots of pieces of fabric to fuse, simply apply MistyFuse to the back of the entire pup, cut him out and fuse him to an appropriate background.  

Layer with a small piece of batting and backing…gather a litter of threads (I used Magnifico and Twist by Superior) and sit down for some stitching at your sewing machine.  No long-arm required here!  If doing an animal portrait, simply stitch in the direction of the fur.  I use an open-toe foot and keep the feed dogs up since my Bernina does not have a stitch regulator (dreams of the 570QE dance in my head ;).

It always helps to have a creative consultant in your studio for expert advice…

I’ve printed out a bunch of other line drawings on fabric and have my markers packed for my flight to Houston.  A fun fast technique that might come in handy for holiday gifts!


Almost Time for Houston!

Tips for maximizing your fun at Festival πŸŽ‰:

You’ll make new friends and help out great causes…the Quilt Alliance and SAQA booths are my favorites πŸ™‚

Pack essentials! Make sure to bring energy bars or other portable snacks.


Room with a friend to double the fun! (Best roomie ever, Meg Cox :))


Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to celebrities and tell them how much you enjoy their work – they will appreciate it (and you’ll have some awesome selfies ;). My first visit to Festival, I walked right into a special exhibit by one of my heroes, Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry…amazing.

Pace yourself…it really is as huge as everyone says.

Bring a quilt you’ve made to the Quilt Alliance booth and do a “Go Tell It at the Quilt Show” 3 minute interview– we need to preserve our stories!

Bring your dancing shoes for the Saturday night party.

Don’t over-schedule yourself (speaking from experience 😳)…but DO take a few classes, teachers come to Festival from all over the world and it’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about new techniques and materials.

Come to Open Studios! OK, this is completely self-serving since I’ll be there ;)…but it is a fantastic way to see 4 artists at work every 2 hours (thanks to Pokey Bolton for introducing the concept)
And…if you just cannot make it this year…plan for next year!! Hope to see you soon….


Recipe for a perfect pet portrait:
Adorable puppy photo:


Carol Eaton’s hand-dyed fabrics- solids to match the subject, spectacular confetti-dyed background :


Muslin base traced with pup outline:

Lots of MistyFuse! Then, after fusing, a litter of Superior Threads’ Magnifico and Twist threads:

Load onto long-arm and add lots of stitching:

Yup, LOTS of stitching…

Don’t forget some white ink to add highlights to eyes:

Finished! And photo-bombed by a friend ;)….


The Eyes Have It

One of my favorite parts of thread-painting pet faces is inking and stitching the eyes. Trying to capture the soulful/mischievous/calm expressions is a very fun challenge!

I usually begin with white batik or PFD fabric, and lightly trace the outlines of the eyes, using a light box or my “light box” iPad app. In this case, the base layer of the face was white, which made it very simple. (In other pet portraits I simply cut and MistyFuse in place.)

Next, it’s time for Fabrico ink pens (by Tsukineko)…I discovered them in Houston and fell in love ;). Using multiple shades creates a more realistic look; here I used two shades of green:


Then, it’s time for stitching. For eyes and fur, one of my favorite threads is “Twist” by Superior Thread. The two-dimensional color adds a lovely realistic touch. First, I stitch the entire iris in the lighter shade, moving from pupil to edge of eye and back- as indicated by the red arrows:  
This kitty’s eyes are a darker green close to the pupil, so I followed with a second layer of stitching with a darker shade of green, in the areas indicated:

I stitch the iris first…filling the pupil in with black thread afterward can cover any errant colored stitches!

The final step is the most important–highlights. This photo was taken at midday and the highlights were in unusual places…I simply referred to the photo and touched up the appropriate areas with white ink.  
Here’s looking at you, kid!