Posts Tagged ‘hand stitch’

Discovering A Long Forgotten Work

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

This morning by chance I found a photo of a long forgotten quilt from 2006-2008:









Also in the file I found a photo of half of it mounted in a frame – so clearly I had chopped it down and sold or given the pieces away, which I don’t remember just now; but whatever happened to those, I might have been a bit hasty in chopping it down ūüôā as I now really like it … ¬†It’s from an era in which I applied a lot of leather pieces to quilts, the best known of which,¬†Timetracks 1″,¬†middle lower row, was in Quilt National 07.









Many feature holes punched through leather units as part of the design, but these myriads of little holes are out of the question now given the arthritis in my hands. ¬†The detail uppper left is Timetracks 3, one of several I made using leather for this repeat unit I have so often used. In my mind it’s a bare-bones diagram of erosion at work, one that has become important to me as the umbrella metaphor for passage of time change in all of Life itself. Interestingly there were also work-in-progress pics with my untitled discovery, so I include these partly as a belated documentation effort, but also to remind you of how my embroidery informs much of what I do.















I love stitch constructions on detached warps Рaka needleweaving, and in 2007 blogged about these two pieces, Behind the Scenes 1 & 2,  from 1987.


A Shared Taste? Not Really …

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Pinterest this morning sent this email: ¬† “Alison – meet X! ¬†They say great minds Pin alike. And we just found someone who shares your taste in Pins. Follow their boards to discover more Pins you love!” ¬†I’m about to be disparaging about her pinning, and as I don’t know her, but have two friends with the same name, I’ll just stick to “X”

First up, this person has set up 111 boards to pin her 13,000+ saved images onto. ¬†My experience is that anything over about 30 boards is a red flag, as I typically find such a pinner’s selections are of a ‘pin everything’ approach, and it becomes time consuming and sometimes confusing to sift through. ¬†I’ll back out quickly from such a time waster. ¬†I have no idea how I’d keep track of thousands of pins in hundreds of boards, as I’ve only saved 450 images or so over several years. ¬†I’ve found more rapport with pinners who seem to carefully choose whether to pin or not, and whether something is important to their ideas collections. ¬†I believe it is definitely a case of ‘Less is more’. ¬† Having a huge number of boards somehow seems the equivalent to the groups of ¬†holiday travellers on organised guided tours. ¬†We’ve all seen them, no matter where we live. ¬†All the passengers on the bus are from the same foreign country, they hurriedly alight, take masses of pics of each other standing in front of whatever view/building/monument/large sign is behind them, and then quickly clamber back on board for the next whistle stop on their tour. ¬†Pinterest for some people is clearly the same kind of hurried ‘travel’ in the field of ideas.

Secondly, on X’s page this morning, I scrolled and a few lines down found a board labelled “Kantha Stitch Style Fibre Arts”. ¬†Several years ago I attended Dorothy Caldwell’s wonderful workshop on mark making with reference to¬†Kantha¬†, so thought I was in for a treat. ¬†Kantha is not a technique, it’s a style of embroidery from W. Bengal India that uses running straight stitches to form patterns and fill shapes of ¬†flowers, birds, animals and scenes of everyday life that are meaningful to the maker and her community.¬†

6" square, hand stitched, straight/running stitch filler, chain outline.

From my workshop with Dorothy Caldwell; I chose a kangaroo shape to stitch a 10cm sq. kantha-style stitchery

In the west, with the growing popularity of hand stitch, ‘Kantha’ is one of the trendy hand stitch buzzwords, and while technically it is ‘merely’ a running or straight stitch worked into all kinds of patterns, the scale and potential of Kantha work within its cultural context is rich, often complicated and overall glorious. (see the above link or google Kantha images) ¬†On X’s page however, faced with lots of hand stitchery of many different kinds, I saw nothing ‘kantha’ before pulling out at about image #50 or so. ¬†There were however some mixed media hand stitched textiles, most of which featured some pattern darned areas; and it became clear as I looked further into X’s boards, with “Kantha style 2”, and “kantha 3” listed lower down, that X equates Kantha with pattern darning. ¬†I know, dear reader, that might seem a bit nit picky, but there we are – that’s me. ¬†I am a bit pedantic on things I know a thing or two about. ¬†There were other gems in the boards in X’s boards titles – ¬† “tea bag fibre art” ūüôā ¬† “safety pin fibre art” for heavens’ sakes, and, well as I said, 13000+ pins under 111 titles. ¬†I guess I was overwhelmed at what this represents in terms of time spent looking at, collecting and saving images of other people’s work and inspirations.

We all know social media run on algorithms based on how we use those media sites. ¬†They’re often enough totally wrong, but we put up with that for the other benefits we enjoy by being part of them. ¬†Today Pinterest got it quite wrong when it told me that X and I are an exact match – but that’s ok – I’ve vented and will be back on Pinterest again in a few days’ time, prolly.



Tetrahedrons In Transit

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

All three pieces I entered in Wangaratta Art Gallery’s Petite Miniature Textiles Biennial Exhibition 2016 were accepted, and I’m happy to say are now on their way to Australia. ¬†The Exhibition opens on June 4th and runs through until 17th July. ¬† All entries had to be within 30cm x 30cm x 30cm. ¬†I love miniature textile works and would love to see this popular biennial show. ¬†If you’re in the northern Victoria area over that time, you can go to for gallery times and other information.

Wave blog

‘Wave’ ¬†2016. ¬† 18cm x 18cm x 18cm x 15cm. ¬†Soft sculpture.

FairyBread blog

‘Fairy Bread’ ¬†2016. ¬†18cm x 18cm x 18cm x 15cm. ¬†Soft sculpture.

Morse blog
‘Morse’ ¬†2016. ¬†18cm x 18cm x 18cm x 15cm. ¬†Soft Sculpture.

How did I come up with their names? ¬†That’s always fun and is sometimes a challenge. ¬†Any Aussie will get the Fairy Bread one – non-pareils, aka in Aus as “100’s and 1000’s” are sprinkled over thin slices of buttered fresh bread cut into triangles – a mandatory item on any kid’s birthday party menu. ¬†When I took these pieces to my wonderful photographer, Eduardo Baldizan, I hadn’t yet named the other two, and he used ‘Wave’ and ‘Morse’ to identify the pics of each one when sorting their files – and I loved those choices, so they stayed.

With the three pieces, each18cm x 18cn x 18cm x 15cm, plus the weight of the box and paper to stop them rattling around, the total weight of the parcel was only 0.4kg ¬† They’re light as a feather. ¬†My regular followers recall I blogged about their development¬†first here, then¬†and finally. ¬†Others made since these have been in colours other than cream – and the other day it occurred to me it might be a good idea to Scotchguard (r) ¬†these, so I hope that helps to keep them pristine.










Lines – Seams Just Waiting to Happen 2

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016


THE  most basic knitting stitch and probably the first one learned by everyone is garter stitch.

knitting garter stitch blog


lines garter st blog

In a¬†recent post, ¬†the first of several on this theme, I showed how the lines in a newspaper ad featuring ¬†part of head and shoulders of a man wearing a heavy knitted sweater inspired one of my wall quilts. ¬†Since I made¬†Waterweave¬†twenty years ago, I’ve had it lurking in the back of my mind that garter stitch is a wonderful pattern ¬†of line and shape to explore,. ¬†I can’t think why its taken so long, but perhaps I needed to make the Bungle Bungles quilts for this notion to move forward again. ¬†So I’m going to take time today to play with this basic linear pattern and see where it might lead.

While posting this garter stitch diagram, I remembered my first art quilt,¬†Ancient Expressions 1¬†¬† I cropped this segment from what back in 1988 was an excellent quality 35mm slide image, so its a bit grainy.¬† I’ve always had my work photographed using a good photographer using the best technology available at the time, but the quilt sold from the 1989 exhibition “Expressions in Quilting ” so I’ve never been able to have it re-photographed in digital format.


Ancient Expressions 1 pattern detail blog

On the horizontal bands of AE 1, I used linear quilting patterns from drawings I found in ¬†a book on the ancient Anasazi people of ¬†America’s Southwest. ¬†We lived in Denver for a yew years in the late ’80s, and came to know that region of the USA well, including the wonderful petroglyphic sites, ancient village ruins and some of the history of the now disappeared Anasazi people. ¬†Almost without thinking I used characteristic patterns and imagery from the Southwest in that series of quilts, ¬†just like everyone else did and still does. ¬†Patterns developed in different cultures and regions of¬†the world for are found on rock, ceramic, metal, wood, leather and fabric surfaces. ¬†They have much in common, and we recognise them as man-made marks even if no one around today is absolutely sure of their significance. ¬†But bearing in mind the issue of cultural misappropriation, today I might not make some of that series in quite the same way. Anyway, looking back over a couple of decades, I see that appealing arc shape repeatedly popping up in my work in various ways.

As I’ve said before – a line is a seam waiting to happen.

Tetrahedrons, Continued…

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

This one is almost ready to sew up and I ¬†thought I’d document a couple of steps with pics –

inside a tetrahedron blog

1) Showing the back/inside of the structure, where knots anchor the thread as it goes to the front.

black stitching blog

2)  Three of the triangles sewn together to provide the one working surface.

black and white ready to sew up blog

3)  When the stitching is finished, the final side seam is closed and the base sewn on.

I have done several now, and am enjoying making them.  In the next group I will do surface design before covering the template pieces, to see how that goes Рprobably some combination of paint and stitch Рideas for which are coming far faster than my ability to make them!  I may have some thinner batting somewhere and may replace batting with a couple of layers of cotton fabric РI learn something or tweak a detail on each one, but this is probably the last how-to on them, though  I have no idea where this 3D quilted textile art will go from here.



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