Wednesday, February 29, 2012

“Passion Flower” – Day 3

Hooray! I’ve finished fusing down all of the pieces in “Passion Flower,” and I’m ready to start thread sketching. There are a lot of details and shading to be added with thread. The photo above shows how the piece looks right now; the shot below shows it under the positioning overlay.

This is one of two projects I’m designing to teach at my retreat October 4-7 in Black Mountain, NC

One of the trickiest parts of this piece was the many small “radial filaments” (the purple squiggly things that radiate out from the area in the center (which contains three stigmas and 5 anthers). When researching this plant, I discovered that the passion flower may have been named after the passion of Christ in Christian theology. The numbers of things in this species were said to represent specific things in Christianity (10 petals representing the 10 apostles, excluding Peter – the denier – and Judas Iscariot – the betrayer; three stigmas representing the three nails with which Jesus was nailed to the cross, etc.) Interesting.  

The radial filaments will get a good deal of thread work on them to add the white striations you can see in the photo on which this piece is based:

As you can see if you compare my piece to this photo, I took some artistic license, and changed some of the details. First, I made the color of the flower and buds more pink than purple. I wanted the color to be brighter. I left out the green foliage in the upper left corner, simplified some of the leaves below, and made the sky bluer. 

There are two buds in the photo; I made the one in the lower right pinker, because I thought that the bright pink color helped move the eye around the piece better. And odd numbers are usually more dynamic in a composition than even ones. 

I also chose to do the buds and vines in a very bright chartreuse, so that they stood out better against the background.

In the next few days, I hope to have some of the thread sketching done; I’ll share my progress here as it moves along.


  1. What a great refresher for the class I took from you in Houston: "Start with a Photo"! Thank you. And...Beautiful work as always that will still be enhanced by the thread sketching yet to come. Looking forward to the results.

  2. Another oooh, aaah piece. You can never go wrong with chartreuse as far as I'm concerned. It really adds zip. Can't wait to see the finished project.

  3. So this is what we are going to work on at Black Mountain? Yikes! Hope I can work some of the magic you do. Looking forward to the weekend.

  4. It is amazing how the stitching makes the piece and being creative is part of the fun.


  5. Not to worry, Quilter433! We will spend an entire day fusing, and an entire day thread sketching. I'll teach you the magic! ;-)

  6. I can't wait for that retreat weekend either! Looks like there is a lot of work that goes into this piece. :) (Will we be getting a supplies list soon? I think the brochure said January, but if you are still figuring it out, it might be awhile. ;) )

  7. Hi, Mary,
    Oh, dear, the registration form did say I'd have supply lists in January! Guess I was overly ambitious. But they will be coming soon! Glad you are joining us. :-)

    The second project is the pumpkins; I'll start it as soon as I finish the passion flower.

  8. I am so looking forward to seeing how you use your thread sketching on this! Thank you for sharing! How I wish I lived near NC!

  9. I love how you do this...which one of your book/s would show me how to learn this technique..

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your steps along the way! It is extremely helpful to many of us.

  11. Hi, Kathleen,
    My new book, “Point, click, Quilt" gives an overview of this process. It shows how I start with a photo, create a pattern, trace the pieces onto fusible adhesive, then use a positioning overlay to place all the pieces on the background. If you are interested in my thread sketching techniques, I recommend my second DVD with Interweave/Quilting Arts. It is called "Master Machine Stitching: Thread Sketching Beyond the Basics." Both are available on my website:


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