Barking up the Right Tree: Making Tree Bark


747 all time is spiral in a garden

There’s a reason to hug trees. The texture of tree bark is an incredible experience. Here’s a great way to recreate that texture using an applique technique and some simple machine couching.

applique scissorsI started with a special pair of scissors. Applique scissors have a special bend that makes it possible to cut straight to the edge of your stitching.  I free motion stitched two layers of brown hand dyed cotton. .I stitched my tree shapand stitched inside the  bark in chevrons. Then I cut into those chevrons  through the top layer through the channel. Then I clipped through the edges  up and down the stitching



tree bark stitched and cut











restitched slashing Once the top surface has been slashed, I go back with my darning foot and irregularly  fold back and stitch the edges to make them textural.restitched slashing 2










Once the bark is formed there are all kinds of chanels through the surface.

couching yarnscouching footI took all kind  of yummy heavy yarnd  and couched them in place using my couching foot.The couching foot has a special thread escape for larger yarns and cords.







With the feed dogs up, couch the yarn through the chanels of raw bark. 

I love to use this trick when I’m working with wood or trees and I want something more than just brown hand dye.

Nifty Notions and Ginger both make applique scissors. Sadly I don’t know of someone who makes them for left handed people. 



747 all time is spiral in a garden detail672 Willow detail3

885 turtle in the lady slippers

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5 Responses to “Barking up the Right Tree: Making Tree Bark”

  1. Susan Isaacson says:

    I LOVE THIS!!!! Thank you so much for sharing! Another fabulous idea by Ellen Anne Eddy!

  2. Sally says:


  3. annie! says:

    So much WoW here, Ellen. Great technique! Fabulous results. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Barb williams says:

    Why didn’t,t I think of that …lol….thank you for the great idea. I have done some stitch and slash. Wonderful!

  5. Susan S says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Havels used to make left handed applique scissors but I do not know if they still do so. Susan

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