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Thread Painting - Tigard

Please direct all questions to Instructor: Helene Knott, (503) 631-8806,


Sewing Machine: with free-motion foot (this is absolutely necessary) an open-toed free motion foot is a better option than a closed-toe one. Please remember to bring the foot pedal and power cord for your machine! 

Extra Bobbins: You will need separate bobbins for each color of thread you plan to use OR you may use just a few bobbins of thread in colors that will work with more than one of your top threads. 

Extra machine needles: Sewing through stabilizer over multiple layers of thread will dull needles fairly fast, have back-up needles –Denim/Jeans needles in size 12/14 are recommended. The larger needles are better for thicker or more fragile threads. Topstitching 80/90 (12/14) are also good choices if you will be applying a dense layer of thread.

12” square of fabric: ideally, this should either be a solid or ‘read’ as a solid. Choose any color you wish keeping in mind that it should contrast well with the thread colors you choose. HINT: a darker value fabric will show off the threadwork better than a light one.

10” square of embroidery stabilizer: medium to heavy weight; you will be stitching fairly densely and will need to stabilize the fabric to prevent it from scrunching and distorting. This can be an iron-on product if you wish. 

A Machine Embroidery Hoop: this will keep your embroidery from distorting while you stitch. I prefer a 7” machine embroidery hoop of the spring-loaded or screw tightening type but a regular wooden embroidery hoop will work if it will fit under the free motion foot of your sewing machine; test it before coming to class to make sure it works with your machine..

Drawing pencil: Bring the kind you sharpen, not a mechanical pencil.

Saral Paper: This is a chalk coated artist’s transfer paper available at art supply stores, choose a color that will show up on your fabric; dressmaker’s transfer paper is an appropriate substitute.

White Quilter’s pencil: Saral paper marks will rub off as you stitch so you may need to reinforce some of the design lines occasionally.

Thread: in colors that will be appropriate for your subject (see guide below). The pattern provided for the project is of a butterfly or a bird. I recommend having a range of colors, perhaps even more than you need so you can make some last minute choices. Variegated thread can also offer some interesting effects as long as the color change isn’t too drastic. Use metallic thread only if you have experience and feel at ease using it, you will be stitching very heavily and metallic threads are very temperamental though they may add a bit of sparkle if used sparingly. A regular sized spool of each color should be enough.

  • Butterfly: you will need a variety of thread in colors of your choice, one for the body and several for the wings. If you wish to explore blending and shading, choose several colors that will blend smoothly from one to another well. There are design features on the wings that should contrast with the basic wing colors and a decorative metallic or rayon thread for the antennae adds a nice touch. Make sure that the color choices contrast well with the base fabric

  • Bird: the bird will require more colors than the butterfly for the painterly shading. Rather than try and give you exact color numbers which vary greatly by brand (and I typically cross brands to get the colors I want) I have given you a basic ‘palette’ of colors to find. The exact tone or shade is less important than the colors you pick working well together. In general you will need: white, black, three shades of gray (light/medium/dark), three shades of warm brown (from medium golden brown to dark chocolate brown), warm yellow, golden yellow and yellow orange, dull greenish yellow (optional), pale ‘sky’ blue, medium ‘French’ blue, medium-dark ‘French; blue, dark ‘smoke’ blue. You can also search bird identification guides for small perching songbirds and choose colors from a bird of your choice for the project, the pattern provided is for a small perching songbird, choose appropriate colors for any bird that resembles the one in the picture below in shape and species. Keep in mind, the more color/shade thread variations you have, the more realistic you can make your bird. 

Thread snips

Doodle cloth: a 10” square of stabilized fabric the same as your project fabric to test stitching tension and/or practice texture and blending techniques on. 

Batting and backing: Optional but you may decide to do your machine embroidery on a layered piece making the embroidery part of the finishing work on your project. I recommend dense cotton batting such as Warm & Natural.

Pattern for the bird or butterflies (your choice): supplied in the class

Design Sources (optional): Bring a bird or butterfly identification guide book if you are interested in creating colors for a specific breed or species.

Other Incidental Supplies: You may or may not need these things; they are mainly for comfort. 

Lighting: additional lighting may be helpful; a portable Ott light would be appropriate.

A Stitchery Magnifier: these come in wearable forms as well as those that can be clamped to a table.

Thread snips

Instructor: Helene Knott

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Included Materials



This class cannot be purchased online. Please contact the store for more information.


  2414 Portland Rd,
Newberg, OR 97132

12185 SW Main St,
Tigard, OR 97223


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