Create with Me: Mixed-Media Holiday Projects Part 2

Thread sketched crayons
Susan’s crayons sketched in thread.

You’ve heard of sketching with pencil, pen, and even crayon. But, have you heard of the fabric art technique called thread sketching? I hadn’t heard of it until Susan Brubaker Knapp’s Master Machine Stitching DVD came across my desk. Apparently, it’s all the rage with art quilters, but I’m ready to abscond with it for you—my mixed-media peeps.

To kick off our soon-to-be new-found love of fabric art and thread sketching, I’ve put together part 2 of our Create with Me: Mixed-Media Holiday Projects. We’ll be doing some very simplified thread sketching to make a sweet winter keepsake. Sure, you could turn an apple into piece of art like Susan did here:


But, I know you want more. You want to add bits of ribbon, paper, and even metal. So that’s what I’ve put together for you—a thread sketching/mixed-media mash up! Start your engines…


  • Heavy-weight non-fusible interfacing
  • Fabric
  • Double-sided fusible web
  • Scissors (fabric)
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Chalk pencil (white)
  • Sewing machine with free motion capabilities
  • Thread (multiple colors)
  • Found book text (I used music.)
  • Jeans (scrap)
  • Batting (scrap)
  • Sewing pins
  • Pinking shears
  • Grommet kit
  • Ribbon
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1. Cut your interfacing, fusible web, and fabric to the same size. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to fuse the stabilizer to the fabric with the fusible web. 2. Need a little help with your thread sketching? Give yourself a subtle guide to follow by drawing your image in chalk.
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3. Time to stitch! Drop those feed dogs and start sketching. I used a circular motion and a longer stitch length to sketch the snowmen and the groundcover. 4. Notice that I’m stitching more than one snowman. This way I can do all my thread sketching at one time and then cut them apart. It’s much easier to manipulate a bigger piece of fabric.
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5. Change out your thread and add details. For the arms, buttons, and hat, I sketched slowly with a short stitch. Having control when you’re working on the little details is key. 6. One snowman down, three to go, Now is a good time to audition some found text. This music magazine from 1921 is perfect.
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7. Sew a snippet of paper onto your mash up. I used variegated thread and some decorative stitches. If you’ve got ‘em, use ‘em. (Did you notice that I added a nose?) 8. Time to put it all together. Determine the size you want your thread-stitched piece to be and cut it.
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9. Cut the batting slightly smaller than your thread-stitched piece. this will allow you to still cut around the edges with pinking shears after the piece is sewn together. 10. Make a sandwich with the batting in the middle. The right sides of the jeans (bottom) and the thread-stitched piece (top), facing out. Pin them together and sew around the edge. I used the carrot-orange variegated thread from the nose and got a little swirly.
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11. Trim around the edge with pinking shears and then add a grommet . 12. Add a ribbon. Is it a tag…
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…or is it an ornament? You decide! If you don’t have a sewing machine with free-motion capacity, you can certainly try simplifying this technique with a good old fashion forward stitch, or you could do some hand embroidery. Or, you could talk your best friend into getting a free-motion capable sewing machine—and borrow hers.

I hoped you enjoyed playing along this week! If you missed Part 1 of our Create with Me, here is the link. Remember to take the time during the busy holiday season to make art. You’ll be glad you did.

Off to find a recipe for Figgy Pudding…




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