Posts Tagged ‘wandering strip piecing’

New Life From Scraps

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Somewhere the other day – and I’m sure it was Margaret Ramsay’s blog but of course can’t find it now ūüôā ¬†I found a comment about how liberating the artist found it to just use scraps and offcuts in her surface designs instead of cutting into pristine new yardage. ¬†I totally agree. ¬†I keep all reasonable sized off cuts from earlier projects, and blogged about this¬†some time back. ¬† We all know the thrifty ethic thing that is supposedly part of the back story of quilt making, so there’s a bit of the feel good thing there, though that’s not why I do it. ¬†Scrap bags accumulate scraps of fabrics that you’ve already liked ¬†– you’ve bought them and used them in something. ¬†According to my theory stuff you like goes together as a rule. ¬† So scraps are ‘auditioned’ for their next project appearance, and piecing begins.













For every work of mine that has segments of colour forming a shape, as in all the Ebb & Flow series (see gallery elsewhere on this website) the process of putting bits of fabric together into strings before cutting them to the next edge shape, is fairly fiddly but very calming. ¬†Once you have your heap of scraps extracted from the scrap bag – which is about the only colour designing you do ¬†– then it’s time to put the bits together and just sew, iron, cut and sew. ¬†Repeat. ¬†You sort of know how they’re going to look, but don’t always, and some are better than expected. ¬† This little sample on grey has silver metallic edging on the curved strips which are about 3″ long – gorgeous but a bit daunting to make into a larger work. ¬†Having said that – heck, why not? It’s on my mind.











I’m currently working with scraps of summery colours on a cream background, and really, to do the lines of patches and then cut and sew them into the rough square takes a total of about an hour for each one from start to stop, with plenty of ironing. ¬†This wall quilt will comprise sixteen ¬†8″ squares, which means the piecing alone will take me another 10-12 hours before moving on to the sandwiching, quilting and edge finishing.

Fishing around for another pic to go in this post, I found one of a miniature I’d quite forgotten –










It’s exciting because it reminded me that in a drawer somewhere I have several colours of this fairly thick very bright neon thread I can consider using to quilt the current project, and I might not have remembered it without seeing this. ¬†All this just goes to show how a bit of looking back can sometimes be inspiring.

Deconstructed Circles

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Someone commenting on my latest work said last week wrote “deconstructed circles are popular now”, and she’s right, they are appearing in more art quilts, though I’ve been using them on and off for some time. ¬†For someone who loves grids and works freehand the way I do, the deconstructed circle has great appeal as a design unit, as these two works in progress show: early stages in the construction of¬†Maelstrom (2006) ¬†left,¬†and¬†Anna’s Quilt (2008)¬†right respectively.









What new work? you might be wondering. ¬†True, it’s been a long time since I blogged, chiefly because I wasn’t creating (not even sewing hexagons) during a long illness late last year and the subsequent recovery period. ¬†But recently I’ve found mental+physical energy coinciding, and have begun exploring ideas that have been on my mind a while. ¬†I’ve keenly followed the the rise of ¬†the Modern Quilt Movement with light clear colours plus greys and white that are so appealing to many that they are even beginning to populate traditional designs. ¬†MQM’s website calls this overlap ‘modern traditionalism’, I just noticed. ¬†A favourite Uruguayan artist, Mario Giacoya¬†uses wonderful greens and yellows with small amounts of other light bright colours in his many rural landscapes. ¬†A primary influence in my work is still landscape shapes, and earthy Australian colours, but I’m finding I’m wanting more ‘light’ and ‘bright’ in my work.











Although I’ve used the unit before, and am always happy with lines that don’t connect, I drew a diagram this time to emphasise that I’m thinking of some units having many lines of fabric in them, others few, one or possibly none, and I’m still mulling over that and will continue as the work proceeds. ¬†This sample has more in common with¬†Maelstrom above as the arcs are segments of colour. ¬†My sample shows a complex set of them. ¬†These were a bit tedious to make, but I’ve been thinking about this too and will rationalise and synthesise what I learned in this sample making stage:















When sample making I normally just go as far as I need to learn something.  But this one I finished and bound because I plan to hand it on as a gift, hence this documentation.  I still have to think about

  • hand v machine quilting ?
  • any role for glitter here ?
  • what about dots?
  • And what a shame I only bought about 20cm of this wonderful striped fabric …

Alluring Lines

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

I¬†posted previously on a great design workshop I attended nearly a year ago in the Wool Museum at Geelong, Australia, with fibre artist Jan Mullen. Photos I took of various activities that day included this and several others of pages of a huge wool fabrics sample book lying open on a table. ¬†This morning, while mulling over a request for information and images of most most significant innovative works had me looking back through photos and information sheets to select a few key works of mine to include in a submission to SAQA for possible inclusion in a book. ¬†Of course, looking back takes time, as it is soooo easy to be distracted ūüôā and I could have my stuff half assembled by now; but revisiting these photos in the files compelled me to resize and post some, shown below.


wool sample sheets 1 blog

This morning I revisited those photos of lovely lines and printed this particular one to pin on my wall to look at whenever I walk past.

Wool samples file NWM geelong1

These others are inspirational, too, though for the moment they’re not getting a page of their own on the pin board.

Followers know that I adore ¬†fine freehand cutting and piecing, and I can feel some of that coming on in a way I haven’t quite dealt with it before. To me, the line is the single most important design element, and that includes the expressive potential of the glorious straight stitch.

Segmented Designs 3

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Today I found these photos of paths, taken about ten years ago in New Zealand, reminding me I’ve had a thing for mosaic/segmented designs for quite a while.mosaics 2 blog

Brick mosaic pathways, New Zealand 2006.

And really, when you think about it a lot of patchwork designs are a bit like mosaics, aren’t they? ¬†With that thought, I looked further in the old files and came up with a few –

mosaic like blog


I also noticed this blast from the past, “Hidden Messages”, ¬†which hung only once at a solo exhibition I had in Perth, Western Australia, 1997. ¬†I have no recollection of what the hidden messages were ;-0 ¬†but might remember if it was in front of me, perhaps. ¬†It was not one of my greats, and yet finding it today gave me pause to think about it again …

hidden messages blog

Hidden Messages, 1997.     86cm  x 120 cm


Lines- Seams Waiting To Happen

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

I’ve previously blogged about my approach to planning ¬†¬† and in that particular post used a collage of diagrams on pages from it:

Collaged sketch book pages

One was a snippet from a diagrammatic sketch of a man wearing heavy outdoor clothing featuring a¬†fisherman’s rib neck on his sweater. ¬†I saw it in some ad in an Aussie newspaper back in about 1995, and clearly remember it but can’t find the actual pic. ¬†It inspired me to sketch the pattern of knitting and the use those lines and shapes in a commissioned quilt for a book “Quiltskills” 1997, published by the Quilters Guild of NSW. ¬†Each chapter featured particular skills useful to contemporary quiltmakers, illustrated by a quilt made especially to go with the article. ¬†Mine was chapter 2, Irregular Shapes.

Anyway this morning I found a very old and poor image of that quilt, Waterweave”,¬†¬†the colour of which somehow seems stuck at ‘too green’ but anyway I’ve put it alongside that line diagram to show how for me a basic diagram can lead to an actual quilt. ¬†Its typical of my planning that I work things out as I go,¬†and usually know when its time to stop.

Waterweave quilt and sketch blog


As a student and then teacher of geography, illustrating whatever I’m talking about with a simple diagram is what I naturally turn to, so my designs in fabric and thread tend to develop from that kind of mark making, too, and I’ve mentioned before that I see almost any line as a seam waiting to happen.
Translate »
%d bloggers like this: