Archive for the ‘General’ Category

A Fun Online Workshop

Saturday, January 22nd, 2022

I’ve just enjoyed a free 5-day collage workshop, exploring and blurring boundaries with paint+stitch with Gwen Hedley, an abbreviated version of the first week of her 2-week Stitch Club workshop I took last year. I wasn’t entirely pleased with some of my choices back then, and didn’t get around to repeating it as I meant to, so took this one. This freebie was called Stitch Camp, and had many but not all the good features of a Stitch Club workshop, some of which weren’t possible in such the format.

Paint+stich crossing boundaries between 4 segments of fabric, a collaging techniques workshop with Gwen Hedley

I can see a nice series, perhaps, and love the colours I chose together, so, yes, I’ve kept the paint and offcuts and though I won’t take this any further just at the moment, I’ll eventually decide how to mount this as one or several pieces – the photo shows the stitching on 4 adjacent pieces, totalling about 20cm x 5cm, but the strip continues to about 60cm length at the moment.

Several thousand stitchers registered for Stitch Camp, I believe, many more than anticipated. It’s purpose was to whet the appetites of stitchers old and new, beginner and advanced, reconnect them to hand stitching, and then offer them the chance to sign up for Stitch Club in the following few days, and it will be interesting to see how many do. Stitch Club registration period is now open, with just 6+ days in which to join. They only open registrations twice a year, so the best chance for someone wanting to be advised of the next registration period is always to sign up for the monthly newsletter for fibre and textile artists at

It was immediately obvious to all the original members like myself that the S.C. monthly subscription costs a mere fraction of the hundreds of dollars of workshop fees top textile artist teachers command for an in-person workshop. Add to that the travel and accommodation, and attending a summer school or symposium in UK, Australia or USA from here in Uruguay would require a layout of thousands of dollars. This monthly subscription is obviously really good value when compared to the cost of good quality cotton fabric I use for piecing; in this case ~2-3m fabric/month. Stitch Club is my Pandemic Treat and I’ve just signed up for the third year of workshops.

Scraps And Samples

Friday, January 7th, 2022

Today, having finished off the piece pictured in the previous post, and not yet settled on my next creation, while I thought about it I decided to rationalise my two bulging scrap bags, of the heavy duty clear plastic kind that new pillows come in. One has a tear and is starting to look as if it will break wide open and suddenly spill a heap of bits out onto the floor some time soon when I move it around. It took me an hour to rationalise one of them – chucking out the rubbishy little bits of fabric I know I really won’t use, and the frayed and tangled threads that build up in those bags as I rummage and stuff goes in and out.

Mind you, I think at night when it’s all dark those scraps breed up a bit too – in all the years I’ve been extensively using scraps of fabric, they’re been gradually increasing in volume. I carefully keep offcuts, knowing that just little bits of a large number of pieces of different fabric in a work adds a richness to the contemporary freehand piecing I do. And I always feel a bit of a wrench when discarding even tiny little bits of fabric when I’m being quite practical and realistic!

Sitting on the ironing board in the foreground is the almost-empty first bag – out of sight on the floor below is a wastepaper basket with a full shopping bag size amount of scraps. The remains of that sorting is the bag on the seat of my chair about half full. The third bag, and the back end of the iron board is bulging and as yet untouched. On the table at the back of the picture is a heap of yellow/green/blue – budgie colours – they’re resting against several dark fabrics I’m considering as the background for my next work.

So the outcome will be about 2/3 of the huge amount of scraps, maybe a little less, of the volume that were stuffed into those bags. The little amounts I’ll probably fuse onto whatever background I select (which could also be black) really won’t make much of a dent in that volume now in the scrap bags ­čÖé


A few months ago, I played with these stencilled gold blobs+gold stitch, and have it in mind that fused fabric blob shapes in blues, greens and yellows with some neon thread stitchery could be interesting and fun to do.

It’s too late to start this today, but tomorrow I’ll get those scraps all sorted before breakfast before I start the new 40cm work, with a new audio book at the same time ­čÖé

Nine Nines Are 81

Thursday, January 6th, 2022

Following the completion of the untitled new work hung in our own home last week , working further on this theme that has so pleased me, I decided I’d do a small 40cm piece using the same technique as one of two works I could enter for the Australia Wide exhibition, closing date some time in April. This neon thread is hard to photograph – but when I’ve done another piece or two, I’ll contact my photographer here and arrange a photo shoot along with several others I finished off late last year. All of Uruguay is on holiday at the moment, indeed half Montevideo has decamped to the coastal fringes and the interior, so assuming Eduardo is on holidays, I’ll wait awhile.

I haven’t set my mind on a title yet but it is revolving around 81 – nine squared.
Detail of untitled 81 – the neon thread is hard to photograph, but I love the way it sits up slightly proud of the surface

On my mind for the next creations are a few things – this brooch:

But first, this ceramic brooch I bought at an art fair ~30 years ago. I love the randomly placed strips, and of course I love black+gold. If I ever break it I’ll mend it and keep using it – kintsugi style.

and a couple of samples I did in the SAQA 100 Day Reboot challenge that I’d like to expand on in some way:

This intriguing one, using a stencil I still have. The paint was a bit runny, so hence the halo effect. Gold would be nice …..
A Log Cabin variation, hand stitched; to some this may not seem very exciting, but I see a lot of interesting potential here.
Samples are like shorthand notes and these are some favourites from the 100 days project. Looking at their best stretched over a hard surface, a few may not look as good on the more relaxed surface of a wall quilt.

New Work Installed

Friday, December 31st, 2021

Though I rarely hang my own works in our home, this one I really do want to have where I can see it every day. A couple of days ago I installed it in the downstairs loo, which is so small it is hard to photograph in that location.

As all the ‘straight’ lines were eyeballed only, things required a bit of fudging now and then – in this example, the lower left corner needed a couple of infill quilting lines, and on the lower edge another line needed to be started just below that bottom group of squares, just right of centre.

If you’ve been following the occasional posts of this one, you’ll remember the silk organza squares were fused into place and then hand stitched with heavy duty nylon thread, which would not lie flat against the fabric, even with ironing. The result was a slightly raised texture even before the quilting began. I used a very thin polyester batting that was about 1/8inch thick, no idea what brand it was.

Adding Pattern Layers With Quilting

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021
Hand quilting pattern derived from carved patterns in rocks, petroglyphs, made by ancient people in the 4 Corners area of the SW USA, in “Ancient Expressions 1” , 1989

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.

Between each square is machine quilting in the ditch; hand quilting is both visible (green) and tone-on-tone invisible.
All machine quilted, but in the background with black machine thread it adds texture only. Along the edge of the inserts in a thread strongly contrasting with the black background, it adds to the relative importance of those lines.

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…

Intense hand quilting all over with fine thread – the stitches themselves hardly show; it is the linear pattern of texture that is important.

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.

Pandemic Pattern #2, 2020; upper level – the scattered black stars I machine quilted, lower section – some of the fmq shape auditions along one edge.
“Gift Of The Nile”, 2008. Layered sheers ~1.2m x ~1m.
Using a free machine quilting pattern I devised from all the five pointed stars painted on the ceilings of the pyramids we visited in Egypt 2007.
Translate ┬╗