Slow Stitching Adds Life To Painted Fabric

If you have been with me for a while, you know that I’m working on a major project. Yes, this baby will be a Show Quilt. It is the first big art quilt that I have tackled in about 10 years. It’s a big undertaking, but I’m loving it!

The first big steps in this project included creating a design, cutting three very large stencils and stenciling the medallions on three panels of black fabric.


Here is a section of one of the largest medallions. As you can see, the painted images were quite lovely just as they were. I could have stopped there and gone directly to quilting, but my intent for the project is to add “life” to the painted shapes with hand embroidery. Slow stitching has elbowed its way into my life.

My good friends know that I have never been fond of hand work. As a matter of fact, I used to joke that I was allergic to needle and thread. I have my friend Jean to thank for “infecting” me with the slow stitching bug. Without her monthly class at the local quilt shop, I doubt that I would ever have started down this path.


I spread the three panels out on my work table a couple of days ago, and I promptly had to catch my breath. About half of the hand stitching is complete, and the difference between the stitched and unstitched sections is like night and day. The stitching truly brings the medallions to life!

The amazing thing to me is that none of this is “new.” Stenciling images on fabric is not new. The stitches I am using are not new. I’m just pairing the stitching up with images that reflect my 15 years of working with Artist’s Paintstiks. It’s “new” to me, and I’m having great fun as I explore different ways to add texture and “life” to my painted images.

I have a lot of work left to do, but I am excited about the progress. You can be sure I’ll be taking a long hard look at the judging categories while I am in Houston for Quilt Festival. Next year’s entry deadline will be here before we know it! And with that said, I’ll get back to work.


My favorite stitching books are:

Your Turn

Do you have a favorite embroidery stitching guide to share with the community? Who got you hooked on stitching? Leave a comment below or over on our Facebook page. I would love to hear your story.


  1. Judy Immel on October 30, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I love the addition of the stitching. It adds a third dimension. I have been doing embroidery since I was 5, thanks to my grandmother, and I have always loved the extra dimension it adds to any quilt.
    Your picture with the hand stitching, “embroidery” is truly spectacular.

    • Shelly on October 31, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks, Judy. I did a tiny bit of stitching when I was a girl, but pretty much ignored it for the past 40-some years. It’s good to find the “next” addition to my painted pieces.

  2. Debbie Wandler on October 30, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    This looks awesome! I have been wondering about this little project of yours. I remember way back when your had your stencils and how big they were. You were in a far a way place and having some fun! I love what you are doing and can’t wait to see more!

    • Shelly on October 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks, Debbie. This project is very special. I’ve spent the last 10 years working on the business, and I’ve had a lot of creative energy bottled up that didn’t fit into the Cedar Canyon box. It feels good to release some of that energy in a project that is just for me, not for the business. 🙂

  3. Shirley on October 30, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    This is absolutely scrumptious! I have done only a little hand stitching here and there, but nothing of this scope. The stitches certainly make a big difference on this one. I cannot wait to see the end result…and I’m sure you will agree with that!! 😉

    • Shelly on October 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      You’re so right — I can’t wait to see the end result!

  4. Marilyn Fromherz on October 30, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    I love what you are doing here. I love handwork and bring a lot of it to my quilt for a long time now, along with beading.

    • Shelly on October 31, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Thanks for your note, Marilyn. I thought about adding some beading, but felt like I would have to add LOTS of beading to get the proper effect. Since I am new to stitching, I decided to take it one step at a time. The beads will appear sometime, but probably on something smaller.

  5. Deb T on October 30, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    I’ve been using Paintstiks for 30 some years and absolutely love them!!! The slow stitching adds such beauty to your quilt!!!

    • Shelly on October 31, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      Thanks, Deb. You are one of the early paintstik users. I only found them 15 years ago. Or should I say that they found me. 🙂 Adding the stitching has turned out to be an incredible little adventure. It’s great fun to find that “next step” in a creative journey.