On Hand Stitching

This is not the first time that I am writing about hand stitching. I will try not to repeat myself on the delights of using a needle and thread to transform a piece of plain fabric. This week’s excitement was the arrival of hanks of hand dyed no. 12 perlé thread from House of Embroidery.

At left is the remains of the hank of thread bought a year ago from the House of Embroidery stall at the (South African) National Quilt Festival

My local quilt shop (LQS) kindly ordered a new hank for me. To make sure, she ordered the two shades that best matched the plum coloured hank acquired a year ago. They are both enticing and enchanting and I could not resist taking both of them. They arrived not a moment too soon, as I do not have enough thread to make my October kantha stitch sampler.

For the September sampler I intended to stitch a flower to celebrate the arrival of spring, and started stitching from the centre. This is where the needle and thread led me.

Kantha stitch sampler for September 2020 (20 x 20 cm; 8 x 8 inches)

A while ago I posted a photograph of a piece that I named Fragmented Flower. I recently finished its companion, Full Lotus, and have renamed the first piece Half Lotus, with thanks to my good friend, The Artist, who suggested that I borrow the names of yoga poses for the titles of the works.

Half Lotus (69 x 23 cm) and (right) Full Lotus (69 x 69 cm)

The gold reproduction fabric that was so kindly sent to me by Laura Bruno Lilly has been used in both pieces and is now all but used up. The cherry coloured petals in Full Lotus are from an old silk blouse and where a pleasure to stitch down, using the stepped kantha stitch. Here follows a close up from Full Lotus.

26 thoughts on “On Hand Stitching

      1. I tried kantha stitching, as inspired by your work, but my eyesight makes it impossible (my damaged retina makes straight lines wavy and small things hard to see. You can imagine what that did to the lines of stitching. Very surprising to think you’ve made one shape and then to find your self veering off yet again!) So your work is extra interesting to me since I know I’ll never be able to try the technique, but I sure can enjoy it!


      2. Yes, I am severely nearsighted and about 6 years ago, due to that and to side effects of medication, my right retina developed a hole and I lost my vision in that eye. It was repaired (thanks to the fact that we have a world class eye hospital here) but there are still defects in my vision and so close work is really impossible (as is drawing a straight line, thank goodness I never could do that anyway in my artwork so … no effect!). I am really grateful to have my sight repaired, no matter what, because even 20 years ago this surgery was not possible and I would have been blind in that eye. Anyway, it hasn’t stopped my appreciation for needlework, in fact, probably enhanced it.

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  1. The complexity in these pieces is amazing. The September sampler is most striking – in addition to being a flower, the design also reminds me of the structure of a dandelion seedhead.


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