Thread is for so much more than just sewing. Strands of thread can become beautiful embroidered scenes, delicate doilies, and abstract wall art. Learn how.
Hear the term “thread arts,” and you might immediately think of sewing—and that’s one option for using thread in a creative way. However, there’s so much more to the broad category of thread arts. If you’re curious about this versatile medium with ancient roots and plenty of modern-day applications, read on to learn more.
While all of these crafts use thread in some way, the techniques specific to each create completely different outcomes.
Embroidery can be divided into a couple of broad categories: More traditional embroidery, showcased in the designs below, features a large repertoire of stitches and knots that have been used for centuries, even if the modern-day subjects are completely fresh.
In contrast to more traditional embroidery techniques, thread painting uses a looser, less formal approach to creating patterns and pictures on canvas through thread. Like painting with a brush, you’ll use strokes of different lengths and colors to depict a subject or scene.
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String art uses pins or nails, thread (or string), and a board to create patterns, which are often geometric. The idea is to outline a pattern with the pins, then wind string around them to complete the shape or design.
Crochet is sometimes confused with knitting, but it’s quite different, both in terms of the look of the finished product and the tools used. Crochet uses a single hook (versus knitting’s two) that manipulates yarn to create blankets, items of clothing, homewares, or other items.
Thread crochet uses thin threads rather than chunky yarns and a smaller hook, and the end result looks like lace. To learn this daintier form of crocheting, learn to crochet with chunkier yarns first, which are easier to handle, then work your way up to using finer thread.
Sewing machines are typically used for the more mechanical aspects of sewing, such as making straight seams or attaching large pieces of fabric. But these utilitarian machines can also be employed in a much more creative manner.
Just like it sounds, sewing machine drawing is the process of using your machine to create drawings in thread. The speed of working on a sewing machine means that this art form is faster than hand embroidery. You can also use your machine’s unique functions to create zig zags, stitches of varying lengths, and much more.
After seeing all of these different kinds of thread art, you’ll never look at the humble needle and thread the same way again! Think up a subject, a color, a pattern, or a theme, and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to bring it to life just using thread, a needle, and a cloth or canvas surface. Whether you want to try more traditional embroidery techniques or something more 21st-century, there are endless possibilities. Have fun!
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