Most thread art I've seen involves hammering nails into wood, and threading the thread around the nails. With this in mind, I visited the local art store and found some nails and a piece of wood. I realized that wood should be carefully chosen - the harder the wood, the harder it would be to hammer in the nails, especially since the nails were quite long and I didn't want them protruding too far out from the surface. Balsa seemed like a good soft wood.
Thinking about the softness of different types of wood also made me consider using other materials, like Styrofoam, or foam core. I also found some simple tutorials which used foam core and to make things even simpler, used embroidery pins instead of nails (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=9&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi7z_7LrP7XAhUPY98KHW19D1IQFghqMAg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fstringartdiy.com%2Ftag%2Ffoam-core-board%2F&usg=AOvVaw1s2gVIcklSmRZWmuLa11WF)
However, I realized that I still wanted a nice finish to the project, and Styrofoam and foam core alone would not give me a finished look. I considered buying some nice handmade paper to place over the top of either of these materials. I then remembered that I had a canvas at home, and could use this and go with an embroidery method rather than a nail method.
Though I didn't end up using it, I think the hand made paper idea is very interesting as it lets me cheaply and quickly switch out backgrounds. I will try this for future projects.
So with my choice of background material decided, I needed to decide what pattern I was doing. I initially considered making a portrait of my mother but felt that this would get too complex for a first project. I will definitely try this soon. I picked an image of a cat because it has character, and I could explore both open spaces (body of the cat) as well as slightly more challenging ones (legs of the cat).
Since my canvas is a stretched one and I wouldn't be able to thread anything in the parts that the wood blocks, I sized my image accordingly.
I didn't have any carbon paper in the house so I improvised by rubbing a pencil on the back of the paper and using this to trace the image onto the canvas.
Now that I had the image on the canvas, I threaded some black thread and started the embroidery. I initially was using all 6 threads as I though this would help me fill up the space more quickly. However, I found that this made it difficult to pull the needle and thread through the canvas. This was exaggerated by how canvas is treated to be non-porous (this treatment closes up the holes in the fabric). I tried using just 2 threads, and there was a drastic improvement. It also didn't really affect how long it was taking me, so this was a very good trade off. I also learned that having even a bit of sweat on my hands my the needle slip, so I cracked open a window!
Another learning was not to make very long stitches on the back since the wouldn't be visible and would be a waste of thread. I did slip up a few times but managed to avoid it on the whole.
I proceeded to systematically go over the whole image of the cat, and I am quite satisfies by the result
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