Fabric Art Using Yarn & Thread Sketching


This little project is something that’s been in my brain for quite some time now!  It’s part of the reason I keep all the thread & fabric bits.  I used yarn ends & thread sketching to create a “winter” tree.  This turned out way better than I’d hoped & was so much fun to do!  Now I need to do one for the other three seasons!

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Yarn & Fabric Scraps

One of my goals this year is to use up most, if not all, of the fabric & fiber scraps I have accumulated.  I knew I wanted to make a tree for this project, so I grabbed my yarn scrap bin to start.

I wanted a somewhat neutral background for this & chose this very pale green piece.

To get started, I sketched a tree shape onto the fabric with a pencil.

Then I started pulling out thread pieces & arranging them over the base of the tree until I liked the look.

The wiggle ones on the bottom look like roots!  I didn’t use anything to hold this down besides the normal static cling.  : D

Stitching it Down

I knew just a straight stitch would not hold everything down.  I chose to use the stretch stitch {03}, which looks like a slanted zigzag stitch.

This would give me more attachment points without completely covering the yarn, like a regular zigzag stitch would.  I also changed to my darning foot which I’ve modified for free motion quilting.  This just made it easier to see where I was going.  I did not lower the feed dogs while sewing down the yarn.

I left the top part of the thread un-sewn to make it easier to blend in the branches.  The stretch stitch almost disappears into the yarn.

Once the roots were stitched down, I laid out the branches.  Some of the branches are two or three different yarns twisted together.

After I sewed down about half of the branches, I realized I would have to re-layout the other half.  They didn’t stay in place as well as the base while I was sewing.

I got a little careless maneuvering the yarn under the presser foot & caught the side of my finger with the needle!  It also broke my needle.  : |

I had been using my Purple Thang to help tame things, so I don’t know why I tried to use my finger!  Anyway, don’t do that & here’s the finished branches…

I used the sparkly silver to represent frost that occurs on the trees in the winter.  That’s South Georgia’s version of snow!  The yellow is for the winter jasmine that blooms this time of year & grows up in the trees.

I decided to add a little green moss between the roots as well.

Now, it’s time to draw some tiny branches with thread!

Happy Cloud Quilt Batting by Fat Quarter Shop

Thread Sketching

Thread sketching is so fun to me!  I keep my machine at full speed, drop the feed dogs, & use the standard settings for my center straight stitch.

I really just went in & out with the needle & up the branches to “draw” all the smaller branches and twigs.  The great thing about this, is that you can cover up a “mistake” with more thread!

As I was sewing, I noticed the thread spool was almost empty & I didn’t have anymore thread that color!  First the bobbin ran out & I changed it.  It was like sewing thriller as I got closer to the last branch.  Sew a little, furtive glance at the spool, sew a little more – can I make it????

Then a sewing miracle happened!  I finished with a little thread still hanging in the machine!  : D

All finished & time trim it up.

Fat Quarter Shop Basic of the Month Sale

Fabric Art

To finish off my tree, I added a little free motion pebbling in between the roots.  I realized slowing down a little for this made my stitches look better.  You can sorta see the difference in the ones I slowed down on.  I need more practice!

When I trimmed this up I realize my tree grew bigger than I thought it would.  This meant the little notch in the fabric was still exposed.

I decided to cut the corners off one side & sew on something to fill them in later.

This will become part of the overall design.  I’m planning on making a tree for each season & sewing them into a wall hanging.  Even the back of this looks neat!

There is only batting on the back at the moment.  I intend on sewing the panels together & then adding a backing.  Then I will do some quilting around the trees.

This was such a fun project for me & I can’t wait to do more!

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  1. Monique says:

    That is such a cool project! And it looks so awesome from the back as well❤️. I can’t wait to see your next tree.😊

  2. Edi says:

    Tracy, what a great project. I’m forever keeping scraps and bits just knowing I’m going to need them. “Abstract” art is a perfect outlet, not only for scraps but for your creativity. Thanks for the inspiration. Well done!!

    • Kristie Cook says:

      Thank you Edi, I really enjoyed working in an abstract form. It was a little freeing! {My name is Kristie by the way, not sure who Tracy is.} 😉

  3. Skye says:

    I absolutely love it!!! Yes I have a thing for trees hehe, a big oak tree with it’s roots is part of our family crest, and I designed my shoulder tattoo on it. I can’t wait to see your next trees too 😃 I’d like to see more of your thread sketching, is it free motion? Janet Clare does some amazing thread sketching and is where I wanted to learn free motion. Also, I received another email about the scarf made with sewing yarn to water soluble fabric stabiliser, it’s a sulky Webinar

    • Kristie Cook says:

      How neat to have a family crest! We have big oak trees all around this area. The thread sketching was partially free motion. I used the free motion foot but kept the feed dogs up. I find this works better for more linear things. The pebbles are completely free motion. Sulky was what the lady at QuiltCon used for her scarf!

      • Skye says:

        How awesome to be surrounded by such big strong trees 😃 thank you for answering my thread sketching question 😊 I wonder if it’s the same lady 😃

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