Craftsy Class in Review: Thread Art

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The Craftsy class Thread Art by Lola Jenkins, is the first Craftsy class I’ve taken and is the first to get a review. Don’t worry; it’s a good review!

As a textile artist, I use lots of different techniques in my sewing projects as well as in my art, including thread painting and thread sketching, however I always enjoy learning new techniques and I really liked Lola’s art quilts so I was interested to know how she achieved the look. If you are not familiar with Lola Jenkins’ work, you can see some of it here in the introductory video to her Craftsy class.

I really enjoyed Lola’s teaching style. She’s a little laid back and relaxed and not too attached to the outcome which gives you lots of room to be experimental and to make mistakes, er … unexpected discoveries. Very much a teaching style I appreciate.

So Let’s Get Started

Although the class project uses an image of a person’s face which was what I was supposed to use, I decided to use this flower image instead mainly because I don’t particularly like faces but I do like flowers. If this were a real live class, yes, I would be *that* student; the one who has to do things her way.

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This is the computer generated sketch of the flower image and Lola shows you how to make this using Photoshop. This is what I used as a template for my design.

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And this is the fabric background I’ll be using. I’m doing my project slightly different than what’s explained in the class project (sorry I can’t help myself) and instead of using one piece of fabric for the background, I’ve prepared a background with a contrasting wavy square in the middle. This of course contradicts everything learned in class so far, but I do have a plan! And hopefully it will work out!

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The Project is Progressing

I took Lola’s class because I wanted to learn a technique that I don’t usually work with. I think it’s always a good thing to stretch yourself from time to time and step outside your comfort zone because it often gives you a new perspective and a new way of looking at things.

Lola’s technique involves creating a design using thread and then coloring it using color pencils. I don’t usually work with color pencils because the don’t result in a very strong color and I like my colors to be bright and vivid, but I wanted to stick to the lesson instructions, at least a little. This, for me, is working outside my comfort zone (ha ha).

After watching the video instruction I began my project. I first transferred my design to the background fabric, and colored in the petals on the center patch using a slightly deeper shade of pink so it contrasted with the background and colored in the stem with a shade of green. I outlined the petals and stem using black thread.

The plan was then to quilt around the design with a light colored thread so that the design popped out. But as you can see, ooops – things didn’t work out quite so well and the design blends into the background too much.

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So what to do?

Start again and follow the instructions? That would be too easy.

Plus it goes against my rebel nature.

So then, how can I create a lighter colored background so the design pops out more?

One way to achieve this is to paint the quilted background with paint. This can be a little nerve wracking if you’ve never done it before especially if you’ve put hours and hours of time into piecing a quilt and then quilting it. Like I just did.

However I’ve done this before with good results, which doesn’t necessarily mean that I can do it again. But regardless I took a deep breath and I painted over the quilted area around the design with white acrylic paint. Why acrylic paint? Because I was too lazy to go find the fabric paint.

As you can see, the design is now more defined. However I still wanted it to stand out even more.

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I could have added more paint, but experience has taught that painting heavily onto a quilted area doesn’t look very good at all, and in fact turns into a mushy mess (ask me how I know). I may be a bit of a rebel, but I’m also not stupid (the second time round). So instead I placed a layer of white tulle netting over the top, pinned it in place, and then stitched around the outline of the design.

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After stitching, I cut away the netting from the design area, and this lightened up the background considerably. The contrast between the design and the background is now very noticeable.

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It took several weeks from start to finish but I enjoyed learning Lola’s techniques for thread art, even though I didn’t follow the rules very well. I even quite like using colored pencils. They work perfectly for a subtle shading effect.

Final thoughts from this rebel student

This was my first Craftsy class and I really enjoyed it. Apart from learning some new fun techniques from Lola, I also learned I’m a terrible student and I definitely don’t like to follow instructions.

In the spirit of full disclosure, as a Craftsy affiliate I was asked if I would like to try one of their classes as a way to experience their product. I wasn’t required to give a review but I really enjoyed the class so it was a pleasure to write one.

As a teacher, I’ve been teaching online classes myself for years – well before they became as popular as they are today, and I really enjoyed the format that Craftsy uses to present their classes. It’s simple and uncomplicated, and the video presentation and instruction is high quality. If you haven’t tried a Craftsy class yet, you can read how they work here, or simply head over to their website and check out what they have on offer.


Thread Art: Online Class

2 thoughts on “Craftsy Class in Review: Thread Art”

  1. I love Craftsy classes and took the thread art class. I have learned so much but it takes a huge block of time. Your classes combine both written instructions and short videos. I like this way of learning better as I can always refer to your instructions.

    1. Hi Karen 🙂 Thanks for your comments. I think a lot of video classes waste time with fluff and repetitive stuff or what I call “watching the grass grow”. And you’re right – it’s very time consuming particularly when sometimes you only need to know specific information which is buried “somewhere” inside the video and you have to sit through the whole video just to find it. For that reason I like to make my videos short and to the point.

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