Posts Tagged ‘paper piecing’

It was our Embroiderers’ Guild Meeting the Saturday before last and between taking my little one for her tennis lesson and not checking the timings on the extremely clear and useful newsletter which our secretary always sends out just prior to the monthly meeting, I managed to roll up late as usual.

By the time I sidled in, everyone was engrossed in their English Paper Piecing project set up by our chair, Ruth, in the morning. As well as providing fabric and sheets of templates, Ruth had brought a fabulous display of books, works in progress and completed projects to inspire.





Debbie had been inspired by one of Ruth’s patchwork pouches and was well on with her own version in some glorious sunflower fabrics.


I had gone for some oddments of prints and hand dyes in coffee shades with some indigo dyed cotton for my fabrics.


Since I’ve been working with hexagons in Auntie Sheila’s patchwork project I decided to go for equilateral triangles for a bit of a challenge.


I really enjoyed getting quite a few pieced in various fabrics so I could play around with some arrangements and I even got some stitched together, but not entirely sure where I’m going to take this next, which is irritating as it was a really good workshop and I like the colour and shape combinations. I’m sure something will come to me when I’m thinking about something else!

In June the Embroiderers’ Guild are having a stand at the annual Lincolnshire Show and members from various branches in the area have been asked to make some little bits and pieces which could be sold to raise funds and at least cover the cost of the stand. I had seen some little pincushion brooches on Pinterest which were made from puffs of stuffed fabric on a flat metal brooch type background. It just so happened that I had some new flat brass discs among my jewellery making kit, so I used a scrap of silk, a length of vintage crochet thread, a gold bead and a small amount of stuffing and made a prototype.


There were ten of the stamped brass discs in the packet, so I decided to use all ten. Works in progress…


And a couple of the finished articles.



They are now all neatly packed up and ready for the Show. Apparently our branch alone has amassed nearly a hundred items to sell!

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My Auntie Sheila was a wonderful woman. She was warm, kind, always elegantly dressed and effortlessly glamorous, arty and creative and I thought she was amazing. The only openly artistic member of our very practical family, she made it OK for me to be creative. I just wish I had really got into my textile art before she died in 2005. I know she would have been fascinated and supportive.

When she died, my uncle gave me a big box full of her craft bits and pieces. Most of it was card making type stuff, but there was a very pretty traditional style quilted patchwork bag, full of pieced paper hexagons. Some cut out ready to stitch, some covered but on their own, quite a lot formed up into flower shapes and some into larger flowers.


Traditional hexagon patchwork has never really appealed, but Auntie Sheila had pieced these, so I put them in the back of the wardrobe as a possible project for the far distant future.

When I was packing for our holiday in the Lake District in May, I was looking for a fairly straightforward project to work on in the evenings alongside my (non-stitching) holiday diary and I don’t know what made me get it out, especially with so many other stitching projects littered around the house, but I did, and it was a winner. Since most of the hard work was done, it was quite soothing starting to put the larger flowers together and I worked on it again when we went away to the Scottish Borders in August.

I’ve nearly completed the middle section which is blues around a central cream and rust flower. It is a proper rust, not garish orange as the photo suggests.


For the next round I’m starting to sort through the pile of smaller hex flowers for ones in cream and rust and there are some florals in a similar colour which I think I’ll incorporate too. I want to use as many of Auntie Sheila’s blocks and fabrics as possible but I also want it to work pattern-wise, so compromises will need to be made. A long-term project, this one.

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I first started to think about this on the first evening of our holiday as I sat piecing my first patchwork block.

Although I’ve never been particularly interested in paper pieced patchwork before, I love the work of Karen Turner, who used to blog as Stitching Life but has now retired from the world of blogging and left it poorer for her absence.

It was following Karen’s blog and being so inspired by her work that led me to buying some of her hand dyed fabrics and deciding to have a go at paper piecing.

But as I sat there with fabrics Karen had dyed, piecing them in the way I’d seen so often on her blog, intending to stitch into the surface afterwards as she does, a horrible thought struck me.

Was this copying?

In a world where intellectual and actual copyright seems increasingly difficult to protect, was I breaching someone else’s copyright? When does admiration and inspiration step over that line?

It almost stopped me making the blocks I’ve just finished documenting on this blog. As a writer, I do understand about copyright and I respect the rights of anyone who makes their living through the original work they produce to not be copied. So how could I reasonably continue? I argued, the block lying abandoned in my lap.

I wasn’t trying to copy Karen’s work, just trying out some of her techniques. And I certainly wasn’t trying to make money out of the results. Can any of us ‘own’ the techniques we use in our work? Is this any different to the results people get from following projects in books and magazines; in online or face-to-face workshops and courses?

Still without any defintive answers, I continued with the blocks, hoping that they ended up as ‘my’ work, whatever that is. Paper piecing, I’ve decided, is not my medium, interesting though it was for a limited time. I’m glad I tried it out; I like the results, but my magpie mind is already looking elsewhere.

One of the things that interested me about stitching on the surface of a patchworked block was how the colours of the fabric alters your preception of the stitches. I wanted to explore that a bit more without the constraints of the  holiday journal and when I found Karen was selling a bag of scrappy offcuts, including some oddments of her patchwork, I couldn’t resist.

So this is one of my current fragment experiments – my stitching in space-dyed silk thread on patchwork that I didn’t even piece.

Whose work?

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