American Museum

Kaffe Fassett materialsEnjoyed a day at the American Museum just outside of Bath.  It was lovely to see the period rooms, find out a bit more about the beginnings of America and see the folk art collections.  The highlight for me was seeing some of the large collections of rugs and quilts.  Apparently the museum holds more than 200 quilts and at least 50 are on display at any one time.  A bonus of the visit was to enjoy the exhibition: The Colourful World of Kaffe Fassett. It gave me another opportunity to see some of the creations which I saw earlier in the year at the London Fashion and Textile Museum.  I took some notes and a few sketches this time.  I’ll have to see where the inspiration takes me.  Here’s some of KF’s materials and a ribbon I bought from the shop.  I wonder if I’ll ever do more than just look at them!


Stitching onto the dyed fabric

I just needed to stitch and the rose-dyed, iron modified piece of tie-dye was my starting point. I like to start with descriptive words; what does this fabric conjure up to me? Points, jagged, crystals, crinkles, zig-zag, shards, veins ….  Then translate those into stitch: running, back, closed blanket, long-armed cross, fly, fern, Holbein, straight…. How do the words translate into colours?  Ice-blues, greys, winter purples, hot pink for highlights. Finally sketching with my favourite water-soluble oil pastels – just to get the idea.  I wanted the thread to take the journey along the dye lines and crinkles.  An unusual piece for me, but satisfying to hand stitch.

Stitching on the dyed fabric


Colours from the Garden

Just been photographing the samples made on Saturday with Melanie Swan at Quay Arts.  This was the second in series on dyeing.  Today we dyed with marigolds, apple leaves, red roses and camellias.  Marigolds were great, a real custardy yellow.  When added to modifiers, acid produced a lemony yellow, alkali much the same as the original and then iron turned the cotton to a nice dark green.

colours from the garden samples

Whilst waiting for the dyes to boil we hammered some leaves and flowers to produce some really nice imprints . This website shows how to perfect the idea with printing onto paper, but we hammered onto cotton which will be great for embellishing with stitch.

Hammering flowers & leaves


Artists Textiles

Artists textilesJust a few more days to visit the Artists Textiles exhibition at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum.  It was really worth the trip, a unique opportunity to see many textiles from artists not usually renowned for working in this medium.  I hadn’t appreciated that they did so as a desire to make their work more relevant to the lives of ordinary people.  My favourites included Salvador Dali’s Ballerina where there was so much energy in the design and a piece by Gerald Wilde for the V&A’s 1946 exhibition,  Britain Can Make It.  I was disproportionately excited by the print, Bark Cloth by Paolozzi and Henderson, it was the fabric of the curtains in the hall of Penwith Sixth Form College in Penzance.  I couldn’t forget those heavy black drapes imprinted with white clocks and bicycles.  They transfixed me through exams and orchestra practice!

You may notice on my shelfie that I purchased the book, Textile Design: Artists Textiles, 1940 – 1976,  to accompany the exhibition.  It’s worth every penny, beautifully illustrated and informative.  If you can’t make the exhibition, do at least borrow the book from your local library.  Don’t forget you can request an interlibrary loan if they don’t have it on their shelves.  Oops that’s the day job!

Contemporary eyelets

Well, I’ve just received feedback on my very last City & Guilds brief and I feel a little ’empty’ now.  I’ve enjoyed the course and its challenges so much, I’m going to have to find some new pressure now!  Here is the final stitch.  Why not have a go yourself?  It works well on cotton fabric.  1. Set your machine to free embroidery, draw a circle and draw over it again.  2. Zigzag stitch over the raw edge.  3. Create some spokes by sewing a running stitch from one edge of the circle to the other and back over the same line again. I’m always amazed that you can stitch in thin air!  4. Change to zigzag stitch and go over the spoke.  You can stitch a pattern around to the position of the next spoke, or you can lift up the needle and move it along.  Try some other shapes and different spokes – they don’t have to be wheels.  I found that smaller circles worked better to begin with.

Contemporary eyelets


Inspired by an old door boss


Well you have to start somewhere.  Today I’ve been photographing some work for a proposed article in Stitch Magazine.  Just like me to get the pretty stuff done first and leave the article writing to another day!