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.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Thank-you for the nice comments yesterday! Given that there is some interest, I am going to post more about thread painting trees—my way. Believe me, I am no expert, nor would my final pieces win any prizes, but I like to think about myself as an enthusiastic amateur.  : )

It is always a good starting point to find something familiar and close to you and use that as your inspiration. For me, I have no further to look then from the window of my craft room.
Yes, I know I am lucky. And yes, I do know there is snow on the ground. I am trying to ignore it.

Way back when, I initially thought the colours of pine trees were brown, ash and black. And I kept trying to make realistic looking trees in these colours and was never happy. One day at 40 below I had had enough. I grabbed my threads and ran outside in open toed crocks to find out what the true colours were. I  held thread up to the tree as my husband stood inside shaking his head. Yah, he does this a lot..  I remember I was shocked at how off the colours were that I was using. Pine tree don’t have ash or black colours, and the brown I was using was not even close to the brown of the bark. My pine trees actually look like this (see below), and the threads that matched it are light grey, dark grey, chocolate brown and butterscotch brown.
   tree thread2
Another tree in my yard is the birch tree. I was using light grey with a green/yellow and black for the knots and bands across it. Again, I got the colours completely wrong. The true colours of the bark are light moss green overall with mid moss green striations in certain areas and smoky grey knots and bands across it.  Sorry I do not know the real colours of these these greens, but I hope the pictures help.
Tree1    Tree thread1
Lets talk more about birch tree. Below is the way I started creating a match for birch trees (click on it to see a larger image if you want). So that you know, I do this every time I try something new. Yes, I really do. The birch tree are the green ones, not the 2 trees on the far left.

This chart was made when I had just started thread painting and I wanted to capture everything I was doing. What colour thread to use, what the tension should be on the top and the bobbin and what width I was using for the zigzag. It was really helpful. Even though my newer ones have less writing, the way I test thread and tension has not changed.
birch trees
And yes, it IS hard to slow down and do a sample sheet like this. I am a free spirit and like to jump into things with both feet without a plan or roadmap. That may be the way you want to do thread play and I encourage you to just go for it! And if you ever want to be more ‘scientific’ about the process, I hope you remember this post. Maybe it will give you a direction to go in when you want to chart your own process. And maybe you will always wing it and do terrific work.

Later this week I’ll show you what I do once I have the samples—how I practice actually drawing trees. That is definitely the fun stuff!

1 comment:

  1. Well I tend to wing it most of the time and not always with good results. My planned pieces don't always work either so I think something can be said for both.
    I'm wondering about the birch tree. Maybe the Yukon ones are different from here. The one pictured seems to look more like a poplar which is very similar to a birch. Our birches are definitely greys and white.
    I often stand at my window with thread in hand but I must think more about taking my thread outside. I'll probably wear shoes though!