Coloring with Thread: Stitching a Whimsical World with Hand Embroidery

Photo courtesy of the Quilting Company

With her exuberant designs and no-holds-barred approach to color, artist and textile designer Tula Pink has become one of the favorite talents in the modern quilt movement. Her fabrics for delight with their style and movement, and inspire creativity for a variety of projects.

But what if quilting just seems too daunting to face? What if you don’t have the time to invest in a large scale project?

What if you prefer to embellish rather than sew?

Tula has taken some of her favorite designs, reduced them to line drawings, and sent them out to hand embroiderers to interpret. The results are in this book.

Most of the designs feature animals, but not like any animals you’ve ever seen. They’re covered with flowers, or transformed into fabulous winged creatures, or decorated with flourishes. There are flowers, too, inspired by nature but not constrained by it.

And the lovely thing is that you can change the colors to suit yourself. If you want your butterfly to be blue and purple rather than rose and gold, you can. If you want to add sparkle and glitz, not a problem. Anything goes, just limited by your imagination.

Not only that—the book comes with a CD-rom that allows you to easily resize the designs. Maybe you just want to stitch a small patch to go on the cover of a special journal. Maybe you want to stitch a statement piece. Either way, you have the ability to change the size.

If you’ve never embroidered before (or even if you have), there is an extensive section in the beginning of the book covering everything from tools that are helpful to have to ways to transfer the design to clear diagrams of the possible stitches that can be used.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ve found a design that sings to you in both embroidery and quilting. Why couldn’t you make a quilt alternating squares of Tula Pink fabric with squares of hand embroidery?

Tula Pink designs fabric collections for FreeSpirit Fabrics. See her latest collections on

The book is available for sale at The Quilting Company.

Fly Frog King, photo courtesy of The Quilting Company



Today’s post was written by Ann Blalock, Manager, Consumer Education for Coats & Clark. Ann is a long time embroiderer and is planning to stitch the Fly Frog Queen for her sister, the frog collector, for Christmas. She’s not saying which year.

Here are links to the remaining blog stops:

Tuesday, December 12th — Sara Lawson, Sew Sweetness

Wednesday, December 13th — Nancy Jewell, Free Spirit Fabrics

Thursday, December 14th —Annette Allison Millard, The Sewful Life

Friday, December 15th — Brenna Riley Gates, The Quilting Company

3 thoughts on “Coloring with Thread: Stitching a Whimsical World with Hand Embroidery

  1. Ali Reply

    Those are absolutely amazing designs!! Love Tula Pink fabrics – her creations are so special!!!

  2. Suzanne Reply

    Fabulous! I took a look at a few of the designs, stunning! I love the use of animals. Has provided me with some great inspiration.

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