Slow stitches

Fabric manipulation has so many variations that I think I shall never be able to try them all. Some techniques are done by machine, of course, and many are done by hand. I’m going to spend some time examining the hand stitching aspect of what is known as North American or Canadian smocking.

We began a study of fabric manipulation in my small art quilt group. You can see a bit about where we started here and I’ve decided to try several of the basic patterns and probably make some type of sampler.

The first step for any of these patterns is to mark your fabric with a grid, so that’s what I did. With thoughts of my usual 12 x 12 size, as well as the possible sampler, I marked out a square a bit larger than 12 x 12.

Fab manip 1

I figured that if I hated doing this, I could always quit after I did a 6 x 6 size! However, this is actually sewn row by row, not a square at a time, so I guess I’ll have to do at least this first one at that full size.

This is the back of the first row, when I got started stitching.

Fab manip 2

Almost as interesting as the front!

Fab manip 3

Did I mention that this is hand stitching? That equates to slo-o-o-o-o-o-o-w stitching! All I have done after an evening of TV-watching-sewing is three rows.

Fab manip 4

But I sure love the way it’s looking. Looking forward to finishing this piece and starting on the other patterns. I’m also hearing a hint, in the back of my mind, of some over-dyeing after stitching…I’ll be going through my fabric with that in mind when I’m ready to mark the next grid.


Hmmm….it’s also interesting to see how much difference there is in picture colors taken at different times of the day, with early sunlight, later cloudiness, and at night. They were all taken indoors, on a table near a window and the last one with the table lamp on. I don’t know anything about photography beyond point and shoot…not sure if that’s an area I want to study up on, but I’m going to try to pay more attention to lighting!


2 thoughts on “Slow stitches

  1. I think this is going to be a lovely project. It is always hard to get a true photo that will look like the actual work of art. Even when I run it through my editing program, I am never completely satisfied with the result. But too many shadows can be a problem. Diffused light coming through my sunroom window in the morning is my best shot. Will be interested to see what you come out with.


    • I’m looking for texture and interested in how those little directional lines can make such a difference in the final pattern. But it does take a long time, so no quick results. And I think I will add some color experiments when I have several of these made. It’s always good to learn new things!

      On Sun, Jan 31, 2016 at 7:30 AM, Quirks Ltd. wrote:



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