Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Textile Side Projects

I took a little detour from my garment sewing this week (even though I have a skirt nearly done...) because I was struck with the desire to work on an art quilt. I have been experimenting with various ideas for the past few years, although I haven't made even a fraction of the ideas I've considered.

But this week I was looking at some of the patchwork circles I made last year, and felt the need to work on them again. This is a project that uses up both scraps of cotton from various sources, and my own dressmaking offcuts. I start by cutting a circle from medium weight fusible interfacing, then lay strips of cotton in one colourway across the circle and fuse down. I then cut the larger circle into rings and shift them around to make various combos.

This week I was playing with spreading out the rings into different arrangements. As I was doing so with a red circle, I realized that a fabric I had sitting on the giveaway pile would make a great background for the red rings. It was a cotton that I picked up somewhere but didn't like the print -- large, irregular profiles of some kind of statue. But the print was widely spaced and the background was great. So I cut up bits of the green and yellow fabric and stitched them into a block that singes the eye when paired with the red fabrics. I really love it.

I've made a few little tester strips and have been trying out different quilting ideas but haven't got any further yet. I'm hoping to have this little one (12x12), tentatively named In Orbit, done this month.

On the weekend, we went down to the 2021 Grand National Fibre Arts show currently exhibited at the Woodstock Museum, and seeing those pieces in such a variety of styles, with so many techniques and ideas on display, has inspired me to finish something instead of stalling and putting projects aside (common for me...) I hope to be able to share more about this one with you all soon! 

Do any of my readers make textile art projects as well as sewing our own garments? Or do you lean toward fibre arts like needle felting or rug hooking, or anything at all like that? I find it really enjoyable to do both and move back and forth between them, although wardrobe projects have really been taking precedence for a while. But variety is creatively satisfying!


  1. Hi Melanie, I too cross over between various crafts, and find skills can be translated between so many crafts. I spin, knit, crochet, sew garments, pattern making although not great, creating contemporary dolls clothes (Barbie for my granddaughter), dabble in dyeing and block printing. I am quite keen on exploring block printing and stitching fabric to make rich texture. As I think is probably obvious, I absolutely love reading anything textile related, and thinking about it. This in itself is a 'craft' in its own right. This includes texts, fiction, magazines etc. I have an extensive personal library of related books and permanently have holds and borrow related books from the library. I recently picked up a pile of 'Cloth Paper Scissors magazines from a second hand book shop, and I have been pouring over them - very much textile art! If there are any textile exhibitions which I can attend I do, and lately this has included the online exhibitions.

    I think your exploration with the circles and textile art is so clever, plus I love the background fabric! It is nice to think outside the box with textile art - but sometimes very hard to let go (in the mind) and do this, particularly when we are so used to very structured sewing. However I am sure it is good for our brains to extend ideas. Journaling is great for this.

    I think this is why I have also thrown myself into wearable zero waste garment sewing of late, because it really is such a different approach in both pattern design and construction. Very much out of my comfort zone.

    Oh, if only we had twice as many hours in a day!!! No wonder my husband made me a sign for my sewing room - 'Maker and Dreamer'.

    1. I agree with the need for twice as many hours a day to spend on this!! I'm also totally focused on textiles in so many ways, though I don't do any yarn related craft. Garments, these kind of quilt projects, embroidery, mostly - I want to learn more about surface design - and yes, all the reading! It really does expand the mind to move between all these things ;)

      By the way, just love your sewing room saying!

  2. Most of my sewing is quilts, with occasional forays into garment making. I also make a lot of bags (more than any reasonable person could need). I love your red rings project!

    1. Thanks so much Mary! I hope to have it done before the end of this year ;)


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