Posts Tagged ‘strips’

Stripey Things

Thursday, August 3rd, 2023

At their best, social media can provide wonderful communications with people you’d never normally come across in your daily life or your travels.

Take this example – on Instagram I’ve been following @stripeypebbles for some time. This UK woman, Julia Sugden, picks up/collects striped pebbles on nearby beaches as she walks, takes them home where they accumulate. She photographs them wonderfully, and after that I’m not sure what she does with them, but if she just rolls them around in her hands, places them on the table or window sill where the light catches their shapes and lines, or plays knucklebones with them – whatever – that’s pretty well what many fabriholics aka’ ‘quilters’, do with their fabric stashes! She also takes wonderful shoreline photos but I did have a feeling she draws or paints them, too, but I looking around her sites I couldn’t see reference to that. Today Julia commented she was taking some back to the beach, as they’re threatening to overwhelm her studio. I know plenty of traditional and art quilt makers whose studios could be said to be ‘overwhelmed’ by their stash of fabrics, too, and no, honestly, I’m not one… but I’ll write about that some other time.

Like me, she likes stripey things, and a photo she posted a day or two ago really reminded me of a favourite brooch I bought at an art/craft fair years ago. It’s so ‘me’, and has been aired quite a bit lately as, since the passing of Queen Elizabeth II I’ve made an effort to wear pieces from my minor collection of brooches more often.

Black ceramic brooch with gold strips design, ~3cm diameter.

Another thing about this photographer/collector is that she often posts her daily haul in what I think of as a 9-patch format quilt block – 3 rows of 3 squares of fabric, with play between two colours or light v dark values:

A very non-traditional use of the 9-patch – in this case hand appliqued squares.
A sample using the 9-patch layout..

The Nine Patch is really my favourite traditional quilt block from the brief time I spent making a traditional quilt (Flying Geese) when I joined a quilting bee for the cultural experience, and stayed on with that group, even as my own quilt making moved into the wonderful world of ‘art quilts’. Many others in that group were also veering off into the non-traditional fibre art, plus writing, hand dyeing and marketing fabric, book publishing, lecturing on legal issues and teaching. A very creative group of people, this was so far were the hardest group I’ve ever had to leave, anywhere – but I digress.

My regular readers know that much of my fibreart is based on pieced or appliqued strips and stripes as in these examples, but there are heaps more some of which you’ll find if you scroll back through older posts here.

Detail of Ebb&Flow 12
Ebb&Flow 8, detail

Scraps of Inspiration

Friday, December 9th, 2022

“They’re too small to call scraps, really…” said my son when he saw the bags crammed with these delicious offcuts of fabric gifted me by fellow textile artist, art quilt maker Lorraine Edmond of WA, USA; and we settled on ‘offcuts’ for the purpose of that conversation.

Despite lots of piecing, the pile seems undiminished – do scraps breed in storage?

As Lorraine said when offering them to anyone who could use them, they really were too small for her and most other art quilt makers to use but she was offering them free of charge to save them just going into the landfill… I quickly put my hand up because they are the perfect size for the piecing I so often do to make inset strips; and 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…. I feel a bit of a wrench when discarding even tiny little bits of fabric when I’m seriously rationalising my scrap bags.

I put a few sets of scraps together earlier this week, cut them into strips and used a little fusing web and raw edge applique to attach them to a background by oversewing with neon thread:

I don’t remember all the steps that brought me to this point, but I was thinking of a scrap bedspread I made for our bed some years ago, using the equilateral triangle with fabric pieced in (actually edge to edge freehand cutting and piecing two layers, cream+print, at a time, then cut into triangles – it’s easy, pm me for basic directions)

2009 – detail of a row of Ebb & Flow scrap quilt, triangles are ~15cm on perpendicular

Then suddenly, bingo! this idea popped into my head:

Different ways of stitching down the shapes, and I’m favouring the style on the right of this pic.

So, what else could I do but set to work on piecing a large number of sets of strips? I just picked up and sewed pieces together randomly, finding that often something great was right at my finger tips, just waiting in line to be next, but other times I had to search a bit to find a dark one, something yellowy, grey/neutral, or occasionally black.

The great thing about this piecing is that when I eventually get to use a piece, if I think a colour is just wrong (rare) then it’s but the work of a moment to open the seam and insert another piece, or to combine two groups. For many years now, for machine piecing, I’ve used only Gutermann Skala (a multifilament type often called ‘bobbin thread’) When it’s necessary to pull a seam apart, you unpick by simply pulling the top thread out, and even with the very small stitches I favour, it’s quick and easy; but the seam itself is as strong as any other machine piecing thread I’ve ever used. And, as this strong thread is very fine, it doesn’t add any noticeable bulk along the seam line, which I also like.

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