New Year, New Work

While this is probably something I say every year, this year the approach is a little different.

Moving away from the “mosaic style” of my cut-away pieces, where I stitch 100s of 1-1 1/2 inch squares to a canvas, I’m trialing whole cloth pieces. I started this in “Days Like This”. These 20 x 20cm works were delightful to make and gave me the opportunity to include some simple hand stitch; colonial knots and running stitch. The challenge of course is the design/layout has to be determined before you start any machine stitching. With the “mosaic style” I could play around with the layout on the canvas until the very last stage of making the work. However there was a huge amount of time spend edging each small square with satin stitch.In this new work I have pushed the size to over 50 x 100cm. A challenge to manoeuvre for free motion stitching on the sewing machine, and awkward for access to the centre for hand stitching. Below – back of the work. Most seasoned quilters will say I am a being a wuss “that’s not very big!” BUT, I don’t have a long-arm quilting machine nor a quilting frame and in hindsight the backing of denim may have been a mistake. It’s quite tough to hand stitch through.

I’ve also worked mostly white on white, a shift from the usually bright colourful works I make in the cut-away technique. I’ve technically learnt a lot making this piece and during the time spent stitching, I now have lots way too many of ideas for “whole cloth” works!


Colour Project – White Part 7

I have been playing around with paper origami shapes suitable to convert into fabric. Once again looking at sheer/layers to white. This had varying success. It needs to be a REALLY simple fold, fabric needs to not be springy or too slippery.


Paper samples in tissue.

Love the stars, although too complex for fabric.





Fabric samples – Silk organza, too bouncy, cotton lawn ok.

The lotus, bottom left has potential.



This idea is from my Nanna’s gingham cushions.


A bit of research (Google) on smocking and the next sample…





4 layers of silk organza machine stitched, cut away and hand stitched following a patchwork block.


Habutai Silk 1 layer cut away, folded back and stitched with running stitch.


Colour Project – White Part 6

Over the next week we are staying in Kalbarri, a small coastal town just under 600km north of Perth. It is hot (high 30s) and dusty! I pack a small selection of white fabrics, threads and and bits to try…

More sheers – It’s hot and bright in January in Australia…I keep going back to this theme all month.

It looks interesting both sides – ties on one side and seed beads and knots on the other.


This took ALL day, traveling in the car.

The thread is the nylon “ribbon” often used to crochet coat hangers. It is a simple running stitch.

Black background.





White background

It also looks great with light coming through it.



The stunning Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs glowing in the late afternoon sun.





Same nylon ribbon on georgette with French knots.





5mm Cotton tape gather stitched onto cotton lawn.






The Murchison River Kalbarri National Park








Bits of all the things I took on holiday.

French knots, running stitch, recycled buttons,cotton, satin polyester.







This design was inspired by a wooden lattice screen I saw in a magazine. The embroidery thread is quite old and stained…I like the effect.






Another sheer using nylon ribbon. It is difficult to see what side of the fabric the running stitch is on.





The Pink Lake, Hutt Lagoon near Port Gregory, 80km south of Kalbarri.

This beautiful lake appears pink naturally when the algae “blooms” and produces beta carotene.




Georgette strips sewn onto georgette fabric using a running stitch.

All of these samples would benefit from a larger more taut frame. It would make it easier, quicker and straighter.

Snip, Fold, Stitch

Colour Project – White Part 5


Diamond shapes cut along 2 sides, folded back and stitched. Simple and effective in calico with the slightly uneven shapes.





Same patchwork block, cut 2 ways. These need to be cut much more precisely than the diamonds to show the pattern well. The left piece is lawn, the right in calico which frayed a bit as the folds are quite small.

The last of the sheer samples

 Colour Project – White Part 4


The last of the sheer samples. This leads me to look at patchwork patterns.

Are there some simple blocks I can cut and fold?

For a bit of a change…some white flowers from my garden.

Also been playing around with light and shadows on some scraps of lace.


This last one is actually blurry, but the effect in this small format gives me ideas…


More Sheers


Colour Project – White Part 3

In these pieces I have stitched 8 layers of very sheer polyester organza. The first sample shows the gradations of white through to clear. I like how you can maintain the strength and structure using these “Clear” layers in a piece.

8 layers again and cut through the middle of the rows. Quite difficult to fold…would like to do this on a larger scale – less layers and further apart.


I am trying to keep all the pieces in an A5 format, mostly so they don’t take all day and become the only textile work I have time to do. It is challenging sometimes to work in the scale required to show the design, technique, pattern or idea.



Cut closer to one side of the row of stitching. Then folded back over itself.

Again, larger scale OR would it look like a venetian blind!





This was a disaster. I cut strips and rolled them back to alternate ends and stitched to secure. Became a big nothing in the middle…I’ve since put the ends together and framed it for the photo and it has some potential…



White – A blank canvas; it’s very hard to make the first mark

 Colour Project – White Part 2

Some artists say it is easier to start a piece by making random marks on a pristine new canvas/fabric, than trying to make the perfect first mark…I’ve jumped in, started, should have used a frame for this first sample…

White is formed by it’s surroundings, from it’s connection to other colour, otherwise it doesn’t exist. The first samples of this project are using sheers, adding stitch and texture.

They needed to be photographed on a dark background to be seen as white. Other wise they disappear or become dark to a light background.



Chenille technique, various stitching and cut away.

Crystal Organza above, this and next two.






This is worth trying on more stable fabrics.

Frays VERY easily.






Has potential – vary widths, amount of fray, vary threads…needs a closer stitch length for stability.





Sample from my Naturally piece “Ripples of Light”. 5 layers of silk organza.  Central layer, slashed both sides. Much closer weave fabric.




January – White

Colour Project – White Part 1

White…is not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirming thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black…God paints in many colours; but he never paints so gorgeously, I had most said so gaudily, as when He paints in white” – GK Chesterton

For those colours which you wish to be beautiful always first prepare a pure white background”   Leonardo Da Vinci

Simple, Crystal Clear, Snow, Virtue, Calmness, Soft, Extreme, White Hot, New, Fresh, No Colour, Luminescence, Bright, Blank, Pure, Death, Light, Pearls, Neutral, Innocence, Clinical, Peace, Official, Blank Canvas, Bleached, White Light, Intense, Clean, Cold, Frost, Light, Lead White, Starting Point, White as a Ghost, Morality, Nothingness, Hygiene, Sterility, Clarity, Sophistication.

White represents purity and innocence in Western Culture, worn by brides, angels and “good guys” It represents morning and death in Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Indian culture.  White is associated with peace – white doves, white ribbons, white rose and authority  – white paper, white uniforms (white collar worker, the Pope, scientists, Physicians)

White paint has been made from Chalk, Zinc, Barium, Lime, Rice, Fossilized sea creatures, Pearls, eggshells, Alabaster, Quartz, Titanium and Lead…Lead White although considered the most important colour in an artists palate for hundreds of years in Europe, was also the most harmful. It has poisoned artists, factory workers, women looking for beauty fixes and children chewing on cots… (source Colour:Travels through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay)

The first of all single colours is white…We shall set down white for the representative of light, without which no colour can be seen yellow for the earth; green for water; blue for air; red for fire; and black for total darkness.” — Leonardo Da Vinci