Auditioning – Going For ‘Shimmer’

In a comment on one of my social media posts this week, I mentioned to someone that I am going for a shimmer factor with my next major work. I want to work on some lovely pearly grey sateen I have, using metallic thread and including that little square stitch motif, of course. I have no recollection why or where I bought that fabric, but right now with all the current drama on the World Stage, I’m feeling the need to create something calming. In conversation with my son about this fabric and colours that might go with it, we talked about how well gold and cream go with grey, and that brief conversation has remained in my mind.

What I’m currently working on has very strong colours, and I really feel the need to follow this with some more orderly calm tones in my next art quilt, something probably quieter and less sensational than anything I’ve ever done before. I’m envisaging some kind of grid layout in soft light colours with lots of metallic thread – going for the shimmer factor. I’m in no special hurry, as the intense hand stitched surface design of what I’m currently working on will take me at least another couple of weeks to finish, probably. (It’s another mosaic one ~1.m+sq.)

My regular readers might also remember that one of my favourite design motifs is a square-within-a-square – which appears every now and then, generally referring back to this suede sample I fused to cream fabric at least 8 or 9 years ago. It’s usually kicking around on my design wall, inspiring but never quite actually becoming the ‘star’ of anything. A square-within-a-square is a very popular patchwork block design in traditional quilt making, and I’ve used that idea in some samples, with and without punched holes:

My much loved square-within-a-square motif, very popular in traditional patchwork.
Fabric and threads encased:

But as the auditioning of fabrics and threads wanders along for treatment on this lovely grey sateen, the square within a square motif has surfaced again as a way to get a major part of a pattern onto the grid I have in mind. Earlier this week I made this quick little sample, two squares within squares, see below:

One comment was that the stitching looked like Roman letters and numbers – I had the im0pression it was ‘print’ too – which led me to ‘SHIMMER’ ….

On the right is cream nylon organza fused to the grey, but it doesn’t show up well… HOWEVER some random stitching over the edges with a little square motif at each corner does speak volumes to me about potential over with the same light grey sheer in the middle. And the brown square is way too dark for inclusion in this exercise – so there’s been some auditioning of sheer fabrics to find something lighter, and I think I’m ready to go with these squares to be the fused basis for the stitchery in light and darker gold metallic, or even gold and silver. We’ll see….

Carolyn Nelson, Soliloquy II, detail.

I know ‘YES’ is a much simpler word than “SHIMMER’, but I’m about to experiment with it, to stitch around each side of the proposed squares … Carolyn Nelson must have stitched ‘YES’ on that work hundreds if not a thousand times, so ‘SHIMMER’ 4 times per block for 165 blocks max., ie stitching SHIMMER 660 times, and I think that’s do-able.

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2 Responses to “Auditioning – Going For ‘Shimmer’”

  1. KATHY LOOMIS says:

    Sorry I’m late with this comment — somehow got way behind in my reading…

    I love your idea to stitch SHIMMER. The S will be hard — you will need to experiment with ways to stitch it — but the Ms will be wonderful.

    I’m at about 14,000 french knots in my project to stitch one for every Kentucky covid death. When I will have to pause to put the stitchings into my show in July, I will probably have to be at 16,000 or so. Fortunately there’s a definite zen to such a task… hope you will enjoy yours too

  2. Alison says:

    Well, stitching SHIMMER just once proved that was pretty unrealistic, although used the way Carolyn Nelson did, over and over horizontally for row after row MIGHT be something, some time… (key word = might)

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