Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New Learning Opportunity

I love the work of Lea McComas.  Her quilts look like photos in thread, unbelievably precise and realistic.  I bought her book (available on Amazon), "Thread Painted Portraits," one year ago and used it as the basis for learning how to thread paint my Phoenix bird.   The poor creature reclines on a bed in suspended animation waiting to be sewn onto his background quilt.

Last week I discovered that Lea McComas was giving a workshop for the Rocky Mountain Creative Quilters reasonably close to my home.  I had never heard of this group, but wrote to the program contact to ask if there was room in the class.  There was one spot left and I had four days to get a check to her to hold the place.  Kindly she signed me up when I advised her that the check was in the mail.  I dragged my sewing machine and the paraphernalia needed for a full day workshop.  The class was well organized with plenty of time to try out Lea's techniques with her supervision.  She visited each pupil several times during the class to comment, critique, and approve.

I know I must finish my Phoenix, but I will have time during the holidays when I can't work on the bird, but want to have a small project to entertain me.  Using the suggested techniques I have prepared a photo of my grandson and will give it a try.  I anticipate the finished project to be about 12" x 15" so not too big.  Here is one of my photos that I prepared in Photoshop to show the areas which will be sewn with different values.  The color in his face will be more vibrant when painted with thread.  It is easier to see the values on this muted version, and they are critical for portraits.

Black Belt
Where appropriate, the hard lines will be blended together.  I am already planning my threads and have the materials on a list for the next time I descend the mountain to shop.

TIP:  Be open to new learning opportunities.  Not only did I learn a lot, I had fun and met some very nice people.  I plan to go to some of their meetings in the future and may join the group.

Sew a happy seam this week.


  1. This will be so fun to watch the progress on. I have been following Renee @ Quilts of a Feather - she is doing the same thread painting on a portrait of a close friend of hers. It is amazing to watch. Thanks for sharing this - I look forward to seeing how your piece comes to life. Thanks for linking to MCM!

  2. I've been wanting to learn to do this. I'll be on the look out for a class. Have fun with this one.

  3. Thread painting is not one of my passions but I can appreciate the artistry of others. Enjoy your project!

  4. that is cool! She came to our guild too! It will be neat to watch your progress

  5. Beautiful story, so wonderful to meet new quilts friends!

  6. Handsome grandson!!! Lovely story. I am so curious to see this result amd the finished bird!!