Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Monday, 17 October 2011

Painting With The Sewing Machine

It is an understatement to say the 2011 Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival was an amazing week. Think of all the superlatives you can and then supersize them; it was that kind of an event. The whole town was hopping busy from the moment it began until the time it finished. I packed a peanut butter sandwich for my lunch on Tuesday and finally had a chance on Friday to eat it! In response to the many impatient emails looking for updates on this blog, here we go...

My week began in Kathy Tidswell's thread painting class. Kathy is an experienced teacher and an incredible artist. She made it look really easy when she sat down to her machine (a Bernina of course!); it was anything but easy for me.
I am used to doing free motion work, but I missed the feel and weight of the quilt batt on the machine bed. My fabric felt naked under the needle, and it was an adjustment - mentally and physically - to get my head around working on a piece this scale, and this THIN. Despite the awkwardness I felt, I am really pleased with what I learned. (Never mind that Kathy complimented me on my lovely palm tree...which was actually intended to be a daisy...) Kathy had some fine wooden hoops which she picked up in England on her last trip over, so I have the tools, I just need the time. I can see doing this sort of stitching and then combining it in a quilted piece (once a quilter, always a quilter, I guess.) In fact last night in reading a call for entry for a show in Ireland, immediately I could see how I will use my new skills. Thank you Kathy for an excellent, excellent class.
Monika - a skilled thread painting artist from Saskatoon- is itching to see what I made, so here it is Monika. I don't think you need be worried about competition from me anytime soon. :)
As we discovered in class, as with any fine work of art you need to stand back from the piece to properly admire the effect. With that in mind, I encourage you to stand out in the hallway and perhaps around the corner when viewing this artwork!


  1. Karen, I use the ten foot rule......if it looks good when you stand ten feet away, then that's all you need to worry about! The Fibre Arts Festival sounds fabulous and I am quite envious that I couldn't be there.

  2. I think it looks quite good for a first try.
    I would hate to see what my first try would be. I am sure I would not post it.
    Thanks for all the updates Karen.
    Maybe some day I will feel brave

  3. Hi Karen - I think you first attempt is superb. Is there *any* kind of stabilizer used? I would think it needs something besides just fabric...

  4. Beautiful work! I'm sure Monika will be impressed, too. We were just in Halifax at the end of September. I so wish we could have been there for the fibre arts festival. We loved what we saw of Halifax and the surrounding area. We also loved the "feel" of the place and the people.

  5. Hi, Jennifer, Sarah and Heather: I don't think Australia is too far to come for this Festival, Jennifer. Perhaps if you start hinting now, we'll see you next October! Yes Sarah, there is a layer of stabilizer underneath the fabric; we used Pellon Stitch-N-Tear. Thanks Heather for your nice words about N.S. I bet you would love Amherst; it's a very friendly town.