Stitching News November 2018

This month I am going to write a little more about the way I often like to approach new work. But, first I would like to put some cheerful autumnal colour into your lives, and show you a scarf I have made…

…along with the shoes that I bought! Let me tell you the story!

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Anyone who knows me will know I am a very “blue” girl!”. Most of my wardrobe consists of blue in some form or other! So, when I went to buy some new shoes at the beginning of this month, I wanted blue. I knew the style I wanted but they have not produced them in blue this year!

They had the style in red suede or black, and the red shoes were my size, so having said to the shop assistant that I definitely did not want red, and very particularly not suede, either…I looked around, but nothing else caught my eye….so I said “Let me just try on the red ones….and then perhaps you can order the black, in my size”!

Well I don’t need to finish the story. I fell in love with them immediately. They made me feel so happy! …but then I just had to make something to wear with them!!

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The photo above shows the other side of the scarf. The two sides have a mix of my own dyed fabric, and some commercial prints. I made the two lengths and then tacked them together, rights sides out. There is no inner layer, as I didn’t want to add any more “bulk”, wanting the scarf to be drapable.

Cotton fabric might not be the best choice for drapability, especially batiks, of which I have included several patches, but with all the stitching I have done, it feels a nice weight, and quite drapable, as well.

The two sides are pieced, using the same range of fabrics. The front has three appliqued patches as well. They have been applied by hand with a blanket stitch. I did this to add more colour and to break up the large geometric pieces. They have added interest, and offered obvious areas for a change of direction in the quilting. I have quilted throughout with a big stitch and hand dyed threads…a brilliant way to use up odds and ends! I turned in the edges, hand stitching with a tiny running stitch, and a fine machine thread.

I feel ready to burst through Autumn and definitely into winter now. Why have I never had red shoes before…? I love my scarf. It makes me smile, as do my shoes, and I will never get fed up wearing them!

Now, to return to my (often) preferred way of starting a fresh body of work.

As I explained in last month’s newsletter;   I have built up several bodies of design work over many years. All this experience has shown me the design tools that I feel “most comfortable” using when planning fresh work.

In the October newsletter I explained and showed you my approach for designing my first two house panels, and the third is on the drawing board. I drew this one on a distorted hexagon grid this time, shown below.

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I drew in my houses, removing many of the grid lines which simplified the design considerably.

I also really like the fact that there is still evidence of the hexagons as well

I thought it would be fun to create these houses with teracotta roofs and white walls, but couldn’t work out what to do about the background, so I painted it , and really disliked the result. I was disappointed, as I had already spent a lot of time on it!


This is all part and parcel of the lengthy process of designing, and let’s face it, far less costly in time and materials, than making it up, and then wanting to put it in the bin!

What to do next? I put it on one side for  few days, kept looking at it, then decided to cut away the colour I didn’t like in the background…..

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Now I felt I was getting there! I was beginning to smile again….I can see possibilities, that I hadn’t even considered before! May change the colour….as not sure if I want it so bland! On the other hand it is part of a “series” and as such offers a different palette!

The biggest transformation was that I needed to remove a lot more lines, to simplify the “negative space”. It was still far too busy,





In the grid photograph of the line design, I have already simplified, and may well do a little more, yet. As I was making changes to my working drawing all the time, I cannot show you how “busy” the original was, I’m afraid.

It has now become a very worthwile exercise to have done! It illustrates very clearly why it really is important to keep on….!

I can work with the ideas here, but will also work with the hexi grid design as well. As work and ideas progress, I will keep you up to date!

Moving on to a different process but using still using Fibonacci for my final design decisions

Below, the first photo shows a section of a drawing of a Welsh whole cloth quilt design from the Welsh Folk Museum in Cardiff. I had taken my students for a visit, and during the day the curator had given us all the opportunity to see drawings of traditional patterns from their archive. We were allowed to photograph and draw them. She was an extremely knowledgeable lady and we had an amazing day.

Working from the inspirational traditional Welsh pattern I developed my own  patterns. Whether I use them or not, it is a good way of experimenting!

I like to work within structured geometric units as the grid formation really suits my “organised” mind! It was an automatic way for me to work… I actually didn’t plan it like that, I found it was just happening! Below are a selection of pages from one of my work books.

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There are lots of ideas within all of this work as well as in the rest of my book, certainly plenty to come back to at any time!

Some of these ideas are simple, others far more complicated….but areas can be subtracted using L-shapes, or a cut out window, which can be trawled over a page. This really helps to isolate an area, and simplify detail.

Just writing about this has triggered  ideas that I didn’t have time to explore at the time! I would certainly want to experiment with collage and colour Autumnal colours and painted paper; magazine papers, and a dip into my “paper scrap stash” would be a great start!

At the time, these exercises and several more eventually led me to start planning for a piece of work, which would be a triptych. The fact that I have done nothing with it to date is irrelevant. It is all well documented and can be picked up and modified at any time in the future!

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As ideas formulate it is essential to be considering techniques and materials and a final size for any piece of work.  Contrasts; change of scale; texture; repetition, colour, and so much more are all really important to a successful result.

I must emphasize that there are many many ways to design quilts, hangings etc, and a mathematical way is only one. I can hear many sighs of relief, and imagine vigorous nodding of heads!

We are all very different, which means there is always a terrific energy in the wonderful work we see within our stitching groups, and in all the exhibitions we are lucky enough to visit.

The main thing is that every individual just enjoys what they are doing, and that it makes them smile! Which ever way we get there is personal to us. I find it endlessly fascinating to read how other people do it, so I hope this has been an interesting and insightful read for you, too.

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Now! What could I possibly be going to do with a box of cotton reels!  I will show you in the n  ext newsletter. I have started!



I will also explain how my idea for this year’s Christmas card has come about!




If you enjoy reading my newsletters, please recommend them to your stitchy friends. There is a real mix of information, ideas, mini tutorials etc in them. Hopefully, there is something for everybody.

I constantly hear from past readers, (and those are only the ones I come into contact with),  that they are confused when I mention my newsletter. They realise that they haven’t had one come into their own inbox for ages.

The very first blog I wrote explains the reasons for that, so if you also hear your friends say this, please inform them that they can follow the stitching news from the blog site, and start receiving it again. I cannot put them on my email list , as before, each individual must activate it themselves.

Happy stitching!






9 thoughts on “Stitching News November 2018

  1. Many thanks for informative news letter once again! it was good to catch up a few weeks ago with a great workshop and good venue. My bag is completed and my pin cushion is also finished but just waiting for the stuffing and I will send a pic’ regards Ann xx


    1. The shoes really are comfortable….but then I knew that before I bought them. Thank you for your kind comments. It is quite wild down here today….hope you are more sheltered. Lovely to see you in September. Thank you so much for supporting the day x


  2. Hi Di, would love to read your post but as well as having annoying adverts there is a Google spam thing popping up and taking over my iPad. I’ve tricked it I to letting me down here to let you know but I’m not happy about the pop Up!


    1. Dear Amanda, I am so sorry to hear about the annoying adverts that accompany my blog. I suppose it is the way that WordPress works… and makes it’s money. I can imagine that it is very intrusive, and for that I apologise. As for the Google pop-ups. I really have no idea how that works. It is not something that I have instigated or ever would. I have had to look it up to see what it is! No-one else has ever mentioned it to me, but I would certainly like to hear from any reader who also has a problem with this, and I will also continue to investigate it. I sincerely apologise, and thank you for alerting me…and I am really sorry that I will lose you as a reader. If I do discover anything more that can hep I will of course let you know. Very best wishes,


    2. Dear Amanda, I am really sorry about the adverts. I know that they do sometimes occur, because it is clearly the way that wordPress works. I have no idea about why a Google pop up should be happening, I have not heard from anyone else, at all about that that happening I must admit that I wouldn’t be happy about a google pop up either. I will endeavour to find out why it happens, and if I can find out, I will certainly let you know. It is not anything I have instigated, I can assure you. Best wishes,


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