So, now that I have the general outline of my bird in fabric I’m ready to start painting him with thread. The first time I tried this I used a hoop and some lightweight tear-away stabilizer. THAT was a mistake because the fabric really got sucked in and I had A LOT of wrinkles. This time I’m using a hoop and this stabilizer.
For my bobbin thread I’m using Bottom Line.
For my top base layer (more on that later) I’m using this thread by Superior
And Isacord. Both these thread are polyester and provide a nice sheen, kinda like feathers.
To finish and add detail I’m using YLI Variations. I think these threads are beautiful and mimic the color variations of feathers very nicely.
To do the thread painting I used my Bernina #9 foot and lowered my feed dogs. I had to play around with the tension to prevent the bottom threads from poking up to the top. I ended up having to tighten the bobbin tension on my bobbin case. I have an extra bobbin case just for these situations. I don’t like to mess with my bobbin tension when I’m just piecing so I keep a spare around for playing with. That way I can just stick my standard bobbin case in when I’m done thread painting and go back to regular sewing.
My first step was to fill in the eyes. Here I just “scribble” with the thread until I get the pupil and iris all filled in.
The next thing I did was to use a feather like motion (about 2 cm back and forth) to apply a base layer of thread in all the areas. My hope was that if I had a base layer down the fabric wouldn’t draw up as much. So far so good. CAUTION: This takes PRACTICE.
Next I used the YLI Variations thread to go over all the major areas to give them some depth.
After that was all done I used the same thread to “paint” in the details of the feathers on the face and body. All in all I’m pleased with the result. I had a little wrinkling but nothing I can’t handle with the machine quilting. At first I really tried to make him look like the original watercolor but I figured that was impossible and I was happy if he just looked like an owl.