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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Fabric books…

I've enjoyed the process of making the individual sections for my white quilt, but the overall effect is just too fussy and frilly for me. So, into storage the white quilt goes, until I fall back in love with it, or have need for a particularly feminine quilt. While this feels somewhat like jumping the last fence of the Grand National, only to decide to abandon the actual race, I'm not going to feel guilty about letting my quilt become a UFO. 

Part of the problem is that while I like manipulating fabric and doing lots of dense stitching, what I actually like to wear, and have around me is very pared down and fuss free. So fuss free in fact that I often don't bother showing them here for fear of boring you to death. I like things to be utilitarian and devoid of fussiness, and grey and navy blue are my favourite colours (some people have Dita Von Tease as a style icon, I have Chairman Mao). 

So, how to get around this dilemma? How to satisfy my need to be stitchy, and combine it with making things I'll actually use? Well, I think the answer might be in handmade books. I've done bookbinding before, firstly at college when training as a graphic designer, then intermittently over the years on evening courses. (Funnily enough, the teacher on the part-time bookbinding course I most recently attended, is the same one who first taught me nearly 30 years ago!).

With a book, I can make the pages as fussy as I please. I can play with colours (such as the yellow and lilacs in the chain stitch example) that I would never normally use, but really rather like. Making samples and storing them in a handmade book will become a long term project in itself, even though the samples need only be around A4 in size. A book can be a collection of random samples, yet still have use as a single source of reference. It's just a pity I didn't think of this before I assembled my quilt top, as then, some of the blocks would have found their way into the book instead of languishing in a bag, at the back of a cupboard.



  1. Low key, both in dress and interior, is very calming and makes a single splash of colour or interesting line, stand out. However, working on low key items for months on end can become boring. I understand your urge to switch to something colourful. Your 'Dorset button' flowers are stunning and the close up photo of your chain stitches is a piece of art in itself. Whatever style you work on, have fun!

  2. It's been on my mind for some time to construct a book. I will follow your progress with interest

  3. It's interesting that you have been enjoying the process even if the end results fitting with your aesthetic. Your book sounds like a great way to merge the two.

  4. I lvoe the embroidery work. That last picture is really beautiful!

  5. Your stitching is wonderful and combining embroidery, creativity and pages in a book is a great idea. Last year I stitched a book with an owl theme using different stitching techniques on each page. It was so much fun. I've been caught up with doing so many other things right now but would love to make another. Good luck :)


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