I love to dye fabric, make thread pictures and quilt. I live in the Yukon on an acreage with my husband, 2 dogs and 34 fish. It's the 'good' life.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Embroidered Trees

I love to read Monika's blog and see what beautiful thread painting she is working on.  As a nod to her awesome ability (and current piece), I am sharing how I do trees. Well, at least how I test how I will do trees.

Here in the Yukon,our growing season is short and the winter is long, so our trees take years to mature. They often do not get very thick—for instance a 8” diameter tree could be 50 years old. Since these little trees are 'my' reality, many of my practice tree pieces are thin, straight ones.

Whenever I try a new design in thread, whether it is a tree or a flower or a bunch of grasses, I always do some test pieces and label them for future reference. I have made quite a few of these practice sheets and they are invaluable for reference at a later date. Its surprising what you say you will remember, then when you want to do that technique, you can’t remember how.

In the picture below, you can see that I adjusted the top tension quite a bit and played with the bobbin. I do have a dedicated bobbin that I do not adjust the tension on, but this is a recent purchase. I have found that I could always readjust the bobbin tension back to normal quite easily. I know this makes some people nervous, but not me!

Why do I adjust the tension? If you look at the 7th and 9th trees from the left, you can see that the bobbin thread pulled up to the top and this is what adds a two tone colour to the trees. And I didn't have to do any fancy stitchin'! I had black thread in the bobbin and light grey on the top. Major contracts can make neat affects while subtle ones add tones and highlights.

I am so glad I started doing this because now I have a binder full of tips and examples..
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll show you more from this book if anyone is interested..


  1. Me me me! (raising my hand) lol I'm interested! I practice all the time first but - bad bad bad - I never save my samples. I don't know why. I think, 'eureeka! I'll remember this!' But you are right. I do not. Every piece is new. I know better. Maybe I'll smarten up and start a binder.

    : )

  2. The sample sheets are a GREAT idea. I need to do more tension play on top and bottom and make myself some sample sheets.

  3. Yes please, very interested to see more about how you work. Thank you.

  4. Hi there,
    I am a long arm quilter but have recently discovered MOnika and you. I love both of your work and am trying to do some along the same lines as well. Nice to work on something smaller for a change and learn a new skill.
    I love your idea of sharing your tips and tricks, I certainly learn alot when you do-thank you.
    Looking forward to learning more from you.