For my first week of the 5 x 7 Artist Challenge, I completed a little freehand machine-embroidered piece that I’ve been thinking about for some time.

Freehand machine embroidered and quilted by
Christina Fairley Erickson

This zebra was adapted from a photo, drawn onto the fabric with pencil, then stitched on top.  It’s difficult to see in this photo (see enlargement below), but his mane has white stitching between the black parts, although I didn’t stitch the white over the rest of him.

My choice of fabric is all cotton, with an interesting weave (again tough to see in the photo)- nubby- sort of like raw silk.  This proved to be a factor in choosing the background quilting, as when I made some practice samples using different freemotion quilting designs, it seemed to look best with a more geometric style, rather than one that has lots of swirls or undulating pattern.  I think the grid works well to not compete with the main focus of the zebra.

Close-up of stitching.

I think the piece works for me… it was good practice both with the machine embroidery and the small-scale quilting.  The zebra is a natural extension of my equine quilts and passion.

Tomorrow I’ll finish up my story of the quilt show theme: “Fiber Artists Look at Innovation and Civic Action.”

Hopefully we’ll have a few other photos to post on our 5 x 7 Artist Challenge as well.  Remember, you can join at any time.  Post your photos to:

You might also be interested in:
2013 Open 5 x 7″ Challenge
Getting Started May be the Hardest Part
52 Week 5″ x 7″ Challenge to Readers

Other Blogs You might want to check out:
Freemotion by the River – Lovely Traditional Quilts and Projects
QuiltStory – Quilts and Patterns
From My Front Porch to Yours – Beautiful Home Decor Projects

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