Monday 27 June 2016

Baskets full of beautiful fabrics and a design day ahead.

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add,
 but when there is nothing left to take away.”

 –Antoine de Saint-Exupery

When I am designing I am in a beautiful bubble, sorting through fabrics, quilt pieces, laces, ribbons and threads.  Adding in lace, buttons and embroidery and sometimes antique pieces of paper too.  I
have often said 'let your work speak for itself ' and it is true.

I have a process that I follow by first looking at the fabrics and the colours that I have, sorting and blending, putting in and taking away.  I have a note book with me and take down ideas or suggestions to myself as to what I am seeing and liking or not liking .. this works for me, everyone is different.

Things do not have to be absolute, let me explain, if you have some antique paper piecing patchwork and they are just stitched to the paper, you can stitch them together and applique them on to fabric.  In
addition if the card the delicious fabric is stitched to has vintage beautiful writing on it, then it can be appliqued like that ... its a twist and is different and in my eyes beautiful.  Gone are the days of stitching when everything has to be 'the correct way' or precise .. the naive way for stitching is in and anything but anything goes ...

It is the freedom to create and put your little bit of soul and personality into a piece of art and with the popular multi media art, you can really mix things up and design and create different pieces.

The process for me then is in the form of ideas and I start to sketch, not a full blown Picasso but sketch and idea or themes on an idea.  I put notes in pencil on them too and ideas for a saying or a little poem maybe - sometimes I use the sayings, sometimes I do not.

I start by drawing lightly on to a piece of fabric or maybe drawing on fabric to cut out and applique.  I make all my own patterns and keep them in folders.  I enjoy embroidery and stitchery and use both in my work.  I like adding vintage beads and silk flowers occasionally for texture and depth and I like to build up on hand embroidery too.  Adding lace or ribbon and embroidering over the top of it .. this all
adds to the picture and makes it interesting and tactile.  If you see a beautiful stitching picture and it is built in layers, it makes you want to touch it or stand near and then stand back to look at the prospective of the picture or scene you have created ....

As you know at this point I make up design baskets and put in all the fabrics and notions along with threads and needles that I feel is needed to complete the design but still its not carved in stone or written in blood.  As you are stitching you start to see it form and you may wish to not add something or indeed look for something else that you think would go better.  Do not forget stitch the bones of the design first then add the buttons, embroidery and embellishments last. 

Do you remember I said that when I went to The Summer Brocante at Cowdray I was looking for something to stitch on to a picture that I am stitching, but I did not know exactly what it was, then I
found the string of silk flowers on The Old Haberdashery stall ... this is what I am talking about, let your work speak for itself and go with the flow.  Enjoy being creative and having the freedom to create.

So today that is what I am going to be up to, I am going to have a design day and go through the processes that I have mentioned above ... Its one of my favourite days ahead.  On Wednesday I will probably make up some design baskets from today's sort and sketch day .....

These sort of days I love as a tiny break from hand stitching, do not get me wrong I adore stitching and embroidery but it is good to have a break and look at your stitching with fresh eyes, what you did or did not see the day before may change ..

I also have a new herbal tea, Apple and Mint and it is sooo very good.  I love black coffee in the morning but come the afternoon I am a delicate herbal tea drinker.  So I will be having a few of these in my break to stand back and look at what I have hunted and gathered together.  Sip the tea and stare and see if it is what was in my imagination and indeed if it looks like it flows.

Well that is it for this Monday morning, I hope you enjoyed listening to how I work and that you all have a great day.  As always Happy Stitching! x


  1. I know what you mean about having a stitching break. It does the brain good, I think it becomes overwhelmed and then you begin to spoil the work which is near completion.
    Julie xxxxxx
    PS - as long as the break doesn't last too long otherwise another piece of unfinished work......... well in my case it is!

    1. Hi Julie

      Oh yes that is so true, just a 20 minute break normally does me for a drink or a little lunch but it does you the world of good looking at your work again through fresh eyes....

      I am normally fairly good with that except I have to say when I delve into my vintage paisley fabric drawers ... then I can be some time.
      I need a rope tied to my leg to be pulled out when my time is up really!

      Sarah xxxx

  2. There's no better place than your own fabric space, everything to hand, singing along to the radio and getting a cup of tea when you want. I call it my LALA LAND.

    1. Hi Lynn

      Yes I so very lucky to be able to do that being that I work from home.
      I call my room vintage haven .. love la la land!

      I have heard of a place called Narnia and it is a good friend who calls her stock room that ...

      Sarah xx

    2. Yes I agree! A dedicated inspiration space works for me too. Basket or whatever, sourcing the materials and putting them all together gets me excited..... ideas flow. Then unfortunately I forget to write them down... good reminder Sarah thank you xx

    3. Sally
      I keep journals ... They are great because that is the thing forgetting an idea or a colour of fabric .. that way you always have it, even if you do not get around to stitching it for a year!!

      So lovely to hear from you.

      See you Saturday.

      Sarah xx