One thing I keep an eye open for on when browsing on Pinterest is sets of marks and patterns, made by any means, that I think could look interesting interpreted in stitch. Of course, a stroke with a pencil makes the same kind of mark as that most basic of all stitches, the straight stitch.
In much of my textile art, I stitch through two or three layers of fabric to keep them all properly positioned in relation to each other, so that nothing sags with hanging or shifts with use as bed covering. I call this construction quilting, which is often quilting in the ditch (sewn along a seam line between two pieces of fabric) The stitches themselves either don’t show or they’re not really noticeable – they do this construction job in such a way as to add only a low relief element to the visual impact of my design.
Other quilting is meant to be seen, and I think of this quilting as like a fishing net, cast over the whole surface, adding another layer of decoration and meaning to the work as it settles into place…
A recent post by a fellow textile artist on an art quilt FB page offered a workshop on combining hand and machine quilting in the same work. That’s not a new idea, I’ve been doing that for years, but there are always people taking their first steps from traditional quilt making towards designing their own original art quilts, so there’ll probably be students around who’ll get a lot from that class. Traditional makers tend to have rigid rules about about what a quiltmaker should/should not do with her needle and thread, and it can take a sustained effort over time to break out of that mould.