Some help with shading on your thead painting & two quilts finished

A photo my client sent of the quilt hanging in her lovely home

These are the final pictures of the 2 quilts which led to the many posts over the last two months. These first 2 pictures were sent to me by my client, showing her quilt installed and hanging in it’s new home. She’s happy with it, her interior decorator is happy and I’m happy. The kind of happy ending. I love, when it all comes together.

Another photo that my client sent of her finished art
The second quilt/ it measures 53" X 34".
The sun is representational only, of the sun's warmth and light on a summer day.You can see the color reflected on the faces of the sunflowers
A quick note, as I promised  in the last post about thread painting, I will  give a  few tips for shading your thread painting.
Here’s some quick things to keep in mind. Decide which direction the sunlight is coming from. Then the shadows will be on the backside and undersides  of everything. They will need to be darker by at least several shades on the color wheel. This will probably be dictated by the thread you have. You’ll start to look for shades in gradient colors next time you thread shop. You’ll want a light, medium and dark shade for many colors you use a lot.
 Maderia Rayon 30 wt. is my favorite by far, the colors are bright,  intense and stand out or show up beautifully. I can’t explain why they look so much better, but they do, other 30 weights don’t show as distinctly. They melt into a fabric more, and if you are quilting an heirloom quilt this is a plus, silk for example is wonderful for that. But on an art quilt, bold color is usually  what you want,
The  Maderia 30 wt is good for  thread painting, is strong, holds up, and doesn’t break all the time, like many others. You’ll need to use a 90 embroidery needle and get the tension right first, but with those things in mind you are ready. Maderia has zillions of colors too.
Frieda Anderson caries some of it on her web site,  she uses it on her quilts. Frieda was the reason I first tried it. Her quilts radiate wonderful brilliant color [I love them so] so the thread needs to hold it’s own with that kind of “competition” so to speak.[ Her interview is in my archives and website as well.]
The shading is achieved by using 2 or 3 threads. On a plant with the sun shining from the left direction, there would first be a light edge  on the side the sun is shining from, don’t just stitch up and down the stalk.
Notice the direction that the sun is shining from, use these observations in your work.

Notice also, the way the direction of the stitches, side to side with a slight roundness to give the illusion of a round stem. Kind of like a very flattened U. Then there is a medium shade in the center of the stem, again rounded. Finally your darkest shade on the right side, rounded too. See how the illusion of depth is created?

A few tips, start your thread painting with the medium shade so it will be covered a bit with the overlap of the 2 other colors. Then apply the light and dark shades. You want to made it appear blended.

Tip-2 you can use 2 colors instead of  3, if need be, it will create the same illusion.

tip 3-be more observant of what you see around you, take note of what you see. Notice the play of light on objects, how it looks and changes with the time of day. Notice how the shape of the shading on different objects effect the way they look. Notice these things more and try to apply them.

tip 4-rounded flattened U shapes create roundness on object. Also if thread painting an apple, the edges will be darker shaded, especially on the very edge and gradient change color getting lighter
as you get closer to the the center. The center area should be the lightest colored, maybe a little sized area like a ball or so. Or a few slightly rounded vertical lines, dark color recedes, light colors seems closer. So a rounded shape results, voila!  Now if one side is in more in the shade, make your dark side extent closer the the center, rounding it, remember? This is where you observations of how light looks as it plays on different objects, is going help you.
You may notice how light and shadow may create shapes of white, like rounded rectangles with one side slightly shorter, to imitate light play on a ball, the  edges will be darkest, gradually changing color lighter and lighter, until you reach the center, where the lightest color should be. Shapes may emerge from the play of light and shadow, perhaps the shade will look like jagged
edges towards the center, that have that sort of rounded U shape.
4- the underside will be darker, as on leaves and so on. They will often cast a shadow of their own. So makes the area under them a little darker too.I hope that you can see this on the above sunflower, it adds realism and life. The images are no longer just flat lifeless objects, but have depth.
5- Try these exercises with water color paints first, to get the feel of blending and shading light on objests.This is going to shock you, what a difference it makes and you did it!
 It will be easier and blend better, to create the  way things actually look. Do that a lot, it will improve your abilities a gigantic amount, please believe me, You’re thread painting aren’t you? So try the painting part first.
So that is the end of my little series of tutorials on threadpainting.

6 thoughts on “Some help with shading on your thead painting & two quilts finished”

  1. I need to share a brief story with all the followers of this amazing artist! Our relationship started in the fall of 2010 when I found Barb on ETSY. She was willing to dream with me, plan with me, and together I KNEW a master art would be in the works. My life went into craziness and tragedy yet, this secret angel stood by me, offering prayer and words of love from her heart and God’s word. And she never stopped our planning and dreaming, even though her schedule was way way too filled with hands on creations…yet…she continued…One day, more than one year later…I said, let us change the plan, go brighter and bigger! Did she ever say no to me??? Absolutely never! And now…with much of this story shortened…her amazing art is in transit towards my hands. I am so excited. I hhope we never loose touch because this woman has been a ray of light and hope to me. And I love her artistic heart and hands.
    Thank you Barb, for your friendship!!! You are loved.


    1. Cyndy,
      How can I ever live up to all your wonderful praise? You have been a joy to work with and I know you have had so many obstacles and set backs this past year, yet you have kept your sweet and sunny disposition, through it all. We certainly will stay in touch. Friendships have been formed which will last, that I am sure of.


  2. I can scarcely breath to remain conscious to type this comment, dear quilter! You have completely taken my breath with these incredibly photos of these two original quilted works of art. The sun and the moon both shine on my head at once right now.


    1. My words exactly!!!! And you know what???? I am blessed with the ownership of one of these amazing quilts!!! OMG!
      I am speachless


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