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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Auditioning with a Portland Street Musician

The extraordinarily cold and wet Portland winter has made me reluctant to go out exploring for interesting street scenes to thread sketch.  Without pictures of my own, I turn to Wikimedia Commons for photographs that people have taken and posted for others to enjoy and use.  There are many beautiful photographs on Wikimedia Commons.  It is a great place to find inspiration.

I recently came across a picture posted in 2014 by photographer Henricus Hirschdorfer, entitled Musician in the Pearl District Portland Oregon.  I loved the picture and decided to try stitching it.   I started the sketch a few months ago and worked on it intermittently.  I followed my usual steps of cropping, printing, and transferring the image to stabilizer.  

My 8x10 version needs more detail.
By HenricusHirschdörfer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Once the objects in the original photo were stitched, it reminded me of a page from a coloring book.  I set it aside to work on other projects.  Picking it up again last week, I decided it needed more background detail.


Working with a photocopy of the thread sketch makes it easy to audition elements before stitching.  This is especially helpful when adding objects that require proper scale and perspective.   

Objects can be drawn, erased and redrawn as many times as you like without marking the fabric or picking out stitches.  The objects can also be drawn on separate paper and cut out for audition.  

The table and chairs are drawn onto the photocopy.  The seated person was drawn on separate paper and added.  A dab of glue stick keeps her in the chair while tracing to stabilizer.

Once satisfied, the objects are transferred to the water soluble stabilizer.  Using several small pieces of stabilizer allows for adjustments in position without impacting other objects.  It is also a great way to use scraps of stabilizer left over from other projects.  

The permanent ink on the stabilizer can make it difficult to see your stitches, especially on small objects.  Follow the lines on the stabilizer with a single line of free-motion stitches and rinse the stabilizer away before adding color thread.

A little acrylic paint added for background shadows completes the picture.

  If you are familiar with Portland, you may recognize the Biketown bike and one of Portland's "eye"conic bike racks in the upper left.  

Thank you for visiting!