Stitching a Labyrinth

This is some stitching I did a few weeks ago.  For a while now, I’ve been thinking of making something in a labyrinth design, and I pulled some hand dyed fabrics out of my shelves which seemed to work well together.  They are loosely pinks and greens.  I enjoy layering fabrics, stitching a pattern into them and cutting back random layers to make the design emerge serendipitously.  I did this with quite a few of my favourite pieces of work – Dreaming Spirals, the namesake for this blog, is one of them.  My Landscape Series is another.

My design is loosely based on that of the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France.  I drew the design and altered it so that it would work when cut back, and, using my light box, transferred the design on to tissue paper.  I then layered the fabrics, pinned the design on top and stitched along the lines using free motion stitching.

fabrics layered with tissue paper labyrinth design stitched on top

The next job was to remove all the tissue paper.  Here it is half done:

removing tissue paper from labyrinth stitching

Next I started cutting away to reveal the labyrinth design.  I chose to keep the green as the labyrinth and have the other fabrics poking through in the spaces between but I could have done it the other way round.

This was laborious, but meditative at the same time.  I listened to Brenda Dayne’s knitting podcast, Cast On to while away the minutes.

labyrinth design half cut away

Here it is three-quarters done.  Some of this got cut away a bit more to reveal an extra layer beneath, until I was happy with the finished piece.


And this is how it stands at the moment.  Not sure if I’ll cut away any more or if I’m happy with it as it is now.  Nor what I’m going to do with it next.  I think it reminds me a bit of the formal gardens with box hedges and roses planted between.  We shall see.

Wall tidy

I thought I’d put a picture of the only thing I’ve sewn in the last few weeks (apart from turning up the hems on umpteen pairs of trousers and mending DS2’s coat).

It is another sample for the ladies of the sewing studio in Zambia for Health Help International.  Ron is there now and took it with him.  It is one of those wall tidies which you can hang on the wall and use to store small items in pockets. 

wall tidy made from Dutch wax prints with elephant motif

I have been busy this week, tidying and organising my studio yet again (well, I prefer to think of it as continuing the tidying rather than reorganising everything Yet Again….).   Instead of organising my cotton fabrics by colour, I decided to do it by value.  Reading Lisa Call’s blog inspired me.    I ironed them all and folded them into approximately the same size.  Sorting them was relatively easy after that.    Looking at them, I have come to the conclusion that I have far too many in medium values and not enough at either end.  

After that I was energised (inspired, no doubt, by all the fabrics I had forgotten I had!) into sorting all the other sorts of fabrics, which previously I had organised by colour, into each type of fabric… the rusted fabrics have a container to themselves.  I enjoyed stroking the silks and rediscovering the shiny fabrics, the velvets, the scrims, the sheers….  now I just need to use them in something and not just return them to the shelves….

Photos to follow….

Indian silk sari fabric!

It’s half term this week so I haven’t had much time to post.  Haven’t done much else either because I’ve been down with DS2’s lurgy from last week and I haven’t felt like doing much…

So let me titivate your senses with photos of the silk sari fabric which DH brought me back from India.

silk pashmina

Actually this is a pashmina …

blue and green sari fabric

I love the gold edging on these..

burgundy coloured silk sari fabric

This one is very fine, almost chiffony.

green and red sari silk with tie dyeing

This piece is my favourite.  It is mostly green, with that red tie dyed piece at the end.  I love the way the red and green dyes have been allowed to merge into one another at the edges.  Here is a closeup of the tie dyed piece:

red tie dyed piece

another closeup of green/red fabric

I’ve been looking at websites of how to wear sari fabric now… I think it’ll be a while before I dare to cut any of this lot up!!