Intermittent Inspiration: Memory Projects

Mal | Art Therapy,Intermittent Inspiration,Media,Sewing | Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Memory quilts 

The nature of textile art lends itself well to the process of grief and bereavement.

You’ve probably heard of the AIDS quilt, where loved ones create quilt blocks in memory of people who have passed away from the disease. When I was in grad school, I was lucky enough to be able to see some of the traveling panels in person. It’s a lovely (and now humongous) project.

Loved ones leave behind many items, but fabrics and textiles are easily repurposed. Sherri Lynn Wood calls them Passage Quilts.

But, cloth homages to our loved ones are not limited only to quilting. Allison Ann Aller of Allie’s in Stitches talks about losing her brother in a tragic accident many years ago. She embroidered her brother’s name subtly onto the beach in a lovely landscape she was making. I love how she described her process (quoted below), and I encourage you to click the link to view the gorgeous images.

This quilt is about many things for me….the place I love best in the natural world, the cottage itself that houses so much of my family’s history, my desire to push the envelope of what my crazy quilting can be…..but it is also about my brother, Freddie. . .

And the waves still lap the shore there, the sun still lights up the water and the woods, and we still find great joy on that porch, where such horrible news was delivered in July of 1958….that’s part of the incredible blessing of a place like Michillinda. It absorbs all the drama of our little lives, it’s unchanging beauty and rhythms give us a sense of perspective, and we have a polestar to refer to when all else is in flux….

So I had to write Freddie’s name in the sand on the beach….

I can’t tell you how wonderful it has felt for me to do this. Now the quilt is saying what it is meant to say in its entirety.

Have you seen, made, or received a memory quilt? Would you consider making one, or do you disagree with the idea of them? Please tell us about it.

Intermittent Inspiration: French Knots

Mal | Intermittent Inspiration,Stitching | Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Inspiration: French Knots

I finished the french knot section on my band sampler, but have been collecting pictures of french knots for a few weeks.

Some people use french knots as outline, as ”fill stitch” or as a physical construct (i.e. tiny eyeballs or cherries on trees, which look just like french knots). Some are packed together tightly, like a carpet. Others are sprinkled sparsely to good effect. There are french knot hairdos, french knot flowers, french knot bacteria… I mean, really. There are lots of french knots out there. Don’t be scared.

Click the image for more details on the artists of these wonderful creations.

Intermittent Inspiration: Quilts with Circles

Mal | Intermittent Inspiration,Quilting,Resources | Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Inspiration: Quilts with Circles

The thing that appeals to me about quilts with circles is that the process of quilting lends itself so well to straight lines, angles, squares, triangles and the like. Circles, for all of their difficulties, are a welcome sight amidst all of those straight stitching lines. We impose their soft, curved sweetness onto all of that gridded order and it makes me feel both complicated and simple. I sort of love that.

(Click the image to learn more about the artists of these beautiful quilts.)

Intermittent Inspiration: Back Stitch

Mal | Intermittent Inspiration,Resources,Stitching | Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Inspiration: Back Stitch

I posted the back stitch section of my band sampler (with links to tutorials) a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I’ve collected some happy examples of back stitch created by other people to show you. (Click on the image above to learn more about the artists.)

Back stitch is a very simple outline stitch, and you can see from these examples that it is one of the easiest (and most popular) ways to convert a simple line drawing to cloth. Because of that, you’ll see back stitch used by lots of illustrators as it is the nearest thing to drawing with a pen.

What about you? Have you ever used simple stitches to convert a drawing to embroidery?

Intermittent Inspiration: Running Stitch

Mal | Intermittent Inspiration,Resources,Stitching | Sunday, March 8th, 2009

My creation

Since I completed the running stitch section on my band sampler, I have been tuned into examples of running stitch all over the place. If you’re wondering how this stitch can be put into practice, there are some wonderful examples above. Click the image to learn more about the artists who made these wonderful creations.

I’ve especially been inspired by the way this stitch can become so textural. I always considered it an outline stitch, but when used as a texture, it’s really interesting. Also, you can see running stitch on lots of applique and 3d projects, too, which is something to consider next time you feel layer-y or sculptural.

Intermittent Inspiration: Hexagon Quilts

The march toward more handwork and less machinework continues. While collecting patchwork inspiration a few days ago, I was drawn (and who wouldn’t be!?) to this little pincushion made by duniris.

Duniris's hexagon pincushion

It took my breath away and I have since stared at it for what seems like hours.

I have always enjoyed looking at hexagon patchwork, but never got too far beyond lamely wondering how it was done. Well, it turns out that the only good way is by hand — cutting, piecing, and stitching them together with needle and thread.

Well, then there was no stopping me. Look at all the delicious hexagon inspiration to be had.

Intermittent Inspiration: Handpieced Hexagons

What about you? Have you ever done hexagons or other hand quilting?

Intermittent Inspiration: Quilts with Orange

Mal | Intermittent Inspiration | Friday, February 20th, 2009

Intermittent Inspiration: Quilts with Orange

Continuing inspiration from flickr, I noticed I was really being drawn to the color orange this week. Orange is a funny color — it is thought to be bold (but is not necessarily so), is associated with sunshine (though it is really more the color of fire), and is generally associated with cheeriness (with a few notable exceptions).

I agree with Sarah that in craft, there seem to be two camps: orange believers and non-believers. Those who have embraced orange in their lives really inspire me. It’s not an easy thing to do in our culture.

Rough draft quilt

I definitely had fun playing with orange recently, and can’t wait for next week to show you photos of my latest. 

Tell us: Are you a member of team orange?

Intermittent Inspiration: Pieced Quilts Edition

Mal | Intermittent Inspiration,Quilting | Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Weekly roundup: Pieced quilt edition

There’s so much inspiration to be found on flickr. Lots of amazing quilters out there showing their piecing skills — both traditional and contemporary. (Click through to see the list of artists.)

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