Stitched Paintings by Shelly Stokes


As we begin the new year, I’m making time to celebrate a few wins from 2020. It was a challenging year, but were definitely “wins” to go with the losses. For me, one of the biggest wins was getting four of my Stitched Paintings out of the closet and into their final form.

I started this body of work at the end of 2017. We were spending our first full winter at our home in Chapala, and I was at the beginning of my three-year sabbatical from Cedar Canyon Textiles. 

StarFlower 1 was my first large-format stitched painting. As the work progressed, I knew I had found a combination of tools and techniques that made my heart sing. 

The second piece was completed the following spring, complete with two variations of lattice work stitching. I can chuckle looking back now, but I truly had no idea how intense that stitching would be. Ah well, there are some things we might never tackle if we knew what we were getting into, right?

You can read more about the first two pieces in these posts on the blog.

I worked on Starflower 4 in the fall of 2019 while we were back in the US for a long visit. It was a great diversion for the quiet days in the Twin Cities and at our friends’ South Dakota ranch. It was a bit challenging to fit the embroidery stand in my luggage, but… you know how it goes. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

For more, click over to The Last Stitch on the blog. 

The latest piece in the series was my 2020 project, and I tackled some new challenges. For the first time, I changed the color of the threads and beads to match the changing color in the background fabric. It was challenging to keep track of everything as I was working, but the effect was worth the extra effort.

I shared more of my work on this project in my newsletters and in the blog.

There are still a few pieces in the framing queue, but I’m celebrating getting the first stitched paintings into their final form. It is incredibly rewarding to see that finished work matches up will with the images I’ve held in my imagination the past few years. Happy, happy me.

To see more on how I accomplished the framing, click over to How I Frame a Stitched Painting.


Thanks for reading

Thanks for reading. I hope you have enjoyed this short tour of my Stitched Paintings. 

I appreciate the invitation to be a part of your creative life, and I always love to hear what’s happening in your studio.

Do you have a Creative Win for 2020? Leave a comment below to let me know!


  1. Etta Stewart on January 7, 2021 at 8:25 am

    Hi Shelly, if so we need a cutting machine to do the paint and stitch sessions?

    • ShellyStokes on January 20, 2021 at 1:22 pm

      Etta — there is no need for a cutting machine for the Paint•Stitch•Bead monthly lessons. All of the designs fit on a single sheet of paper and are easily cut by hand with a craft knife.

  2. Barb Thorkelson on January 7, 2021 at 11:44 am

    Shelly –

    Your Starflowers are beautiful with much work involved. I just went back to a blog when you were starting these to find out about your fabric. I really like the graded coloring on your backgrounds but found out that the lady who did them is now retired. I’ve only used solids and think something is missing. Using the solids for practice is great because you can see what happens as you stitch. You can then refine the stitches as you practice til you get what you want.

    Have you found another source for similar fabrics? Or do you know how to get this sort of effect?

    I’m ready to get back at things after a kinda strange December. We replaced windows in our dining room, living room, and sunroom – 18 windows in all. They were supposed to be installed the Monday after Christmas. There was a cancellation, so we got them 2-1/2 weeks earlier than expected . The house has been all torn up, and we’re still putting stuff back in place. We couldn’t replace the furniture, etc., until the windows were stained which happened this last Monday. The early install date was the last warm date we had, and Monday was above freezing with no wind. We lucked out both days, so I’m getting ready to get back to projects. So very glad to see yours!

    Happy New Year 2021! It’s gotta be better than 2020.


    • ShellyStokes on January 20, 2021 at 1:21 pm

      Ah, yes… the amazing fabric. The background of these pieces is Flying Colors, made by Carolyn Abbott in Minnesota. Unfortunately, she is long retired. I dyed a lot of fabric in my 7 years of the business, but never tackled these kinds of gradations. I was able to purchase a number of pieces when Carolyn retired, and I’ll be sad when they are gone!

  3. Georgia Keith on January 7, 2021 at 3:09 pm

    Your work is absolutely stunning!! Thank you for sharing.

    • ShellyStokes on January 20, 2021 at 1:18 pm

      Thanks for your note, Georgia. I’m so happy with the way these turned out!