Posts Tagged ‘hand stitch’

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 – probably some combination of paint and stitch – ideas 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 – I 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.



The Sketchbook Page Today…

Saturday, February 21st, 2015



sketchbook today feb 22 blog_edited-1

With arrows, stars, words and comments, this is a typical sketchbook page.  They’re always in pencil, but I re-did this one for you in pen to get a clearer scan.  I understand my own handwriting and abbreviations in this aide memoire,  and even if it doesn’t mean much to you I’m happy to share these marks as part of my process.  You’re welcome to anything else you glean of the ideas they encapsulate 🙂  There is much reference to several previous works or things I’ve been working with in sample form.

I regret that my hand writing has deteriorated, partly age-related 🙂  but even more a sign of the times.   It is the nearest I ever come to journal keeping, but of course it is definitely not that.  I really don’t know how the beautiful artist journal keepers keep it up  🙂  This morning I was casually googling around holes, sheers, grids and marks, when a couple of ideas struck.  Not wanting to lose a second, and with the sketchbook upstairs as usual, I took a sheet of waste paper from the printer and jotted them down.  I’m a diagram person, and when epiphany strikes like that a simple diagram+words, stars and arrows captures it. One just might solve a nagging problem to do with using sheers that has long bothered me, and I must let Rosemary Claus-Gray know ….




Adding Found Objects

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Sunburnt textures whole cloth blog

As per my previous post, the upper image is a detail of the quilt I’m currently working on, and more information about its origins are there – November 17th.



Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

In the first ‘Sunburnt Textures’ I added pieces of twigs and some wonderful little round pebbles with holes already in the middle, found in laterite gravel on our driveway.  I won’t go into how they were formed, but they occurred naturally, and were all sized around 1/2 cm diameter, amazingly enough.  The finished work was only about 25cm x 40cm.


I wanted this new work to have something of these elements.  There are no such pebbles lying around anywhere here;  but as the whole work is larger (1m w  x 1.25m h)  the 3D elements themselves need to be larger to look right.   So, I have made some elements in black to conform with the other stitch markings on the quilt.

Sunburnt Textures 5  3d elelments

Instead of wooden twigs, I  have already done some button hole bars in some places, but they’re hard work with my sewing fingers still annoyingly tingly, and have blah impact,  so although I’m not taking them out (Constance Howard) – I am adding to them.   I’ve constructed some bias tubing with black cord inside, and will attach segments of this to the quilt to give an impression of twiggy debris lying around in the foreground.  The larger black things in this picture ( 2 – 3 cm range) are little stuffed pillow forms embellished with black running stitch and stemmed french knots.  I realise now they are very like tektites  and if you google tektite images you’ll see they come in many small shapes and sizes. In effect they are tiny meteorites, the only objects known to have survived entry into the Earth’s atmosphere from outer space.  They tend to land in several particular regions of the Earth’s surface, including Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields region around the mining centre of Kalgoorlie.  While living there we found quite a few out in the bush on salt pans and lake margins, and they’re  often and easily confused with sheep droppings.  When NASA was designing the re-entry landing capsule for the first manned space flights, they measured the surface angles of thousands of these objects to arrive at that conical shape we remember of that craft.  This I know because one of our  Kalgoorlie friends had one of the largest known collections in the world, and the NASA people came and measured many of his.  Unlike real tektites, these soft sculptures will be easy to attach with a few stitches.   And finally the little 1/2 cm round thingies I cannot claim to have made.  They are wonderful little silk thread covered buttons I bought in Cairo years ago, and they’re used in much Egyptian clothing.

silk buttons Egypt 2007

Lustrous, fascinating, light-as-a-feather and priced so reasonably that I couldn’t resist buying several whole loops of single colours.  I’ve worn some of them as textile ‘necklaces’ occasionally.  Of course I didn’t buy any black … that would have been just too easy, wouldn’t it ?    But when a brainwave hit, I rubbed some of them over with thick tipped  permanent black marker pen which worked just fine, so I have as many of those to add as I need – perfect.



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