Ebb and Flow quilt

Finally finished my quilt to the point where I could submit the entry form for the Tasmanian art quilt prize. I wasn’t happy with the quality of the photos I submitted. I think I took them in too low light. And then I had to resubmit my artist statement because it had too many typos. I was rushing because I didn’t finish it until this afternoon. My own fault but it annoyed me that it was such a shambles at the last minute.

Learnt a lot in the process of making this. It is 150 cm wide and extremely heavily stitched. I broke my embellisher in the process. I was reminded of last years workshop at the last minute and used two threads in the sweet sixteen to speed up coverage and alter the colour in the green sections. I’m excited about using more self dyed sheers. They take the colour well and produce interesting effects and colours in overlay. I’ve ordered some silk gauze but thinking now that the most translucent is organza or even tulle. Several layers of tulle could be really interesting and the non sparkly tulle is also quite cheap. Only issue is that it is rough and crunchy. Not my idea of a cuddly artwork. Still I’m excited to try it out more. Think I’ll do another small quilt for the Desert Threads exhibition. I have lots of desert dyed fabric left over. All in all it was a good experience making this quilt and it gels with some of the things I gravitate towards in art, like serendipity – needle felting and crazy stitching creates some effects that I cant predict. It resonates back to something I also considered years ago – like 15 years ago- and that is creating a painting from fabric heavily sewn down with stitch. I’ve been thinking about that for a long time. Now to see if I’m brave enough to apply stitch and fabric to my upcoming drawing and painting units. I’m going to try. Only need to pass now to complete the BFA.

Ebb and Flow Art Quilt

Planning here for the Ebb and Flow themed art quilt to go in the TQG art prize. As usual not much time left so need to get going.

I have started making a range of fabrics by combining my dyed fabrics from the outback with rough raw edge appliqué in the following configuration based on the composition of the following photo. The collage technique in the coursework has inspired me to start with a fabric collage technique to create a unique fabric and then move on to cutting that up in order to abstract the idea a bit while staying true to the colour combinations.

I’ve left this black and white so I can introduce the appropriate colours based on the changing weather.

Next the plan is to cut these fabrics into 5 inch raw edge approximate squares. Because of the nature of my sloppy appliqué the squares are not all perfect but I plan to leave them raw edge and apply them with space in between to a further dyed batting background. I’ve ordered some woven batting because my cotton batting went crazy with shrinkage and shredding in the washing machine after dyeing.

Next the plan is to grade the squares from the different weather states across the quilt in some way. Sort of similar to a colourwash quilt. I’m doing this because I always enjoy working on small individual pieces to create a series of mini landscapes within the larger landscape. But also as a bit of a nod to traditional quilting.

I’m not sure of the shape yet. I am bound by the constraints of max 150 x150 cm when I would have like to do something more like 50 x 300 cm so that it would read left to right and I could emphasise the ebb and flow idea. I’m thinking now about using a golden mean rectangle with the long edge close to 150. That would make the short side around 90 cm and the long edge 146 cm.

I’m not sure how to flow the blocks across so the ebb and flow of water, land and foliage is best illustrated. Possibly diagonal so that it reads across with a forward leaning diagonal?

Plan to individually embellish each square to make them tiny works of art in their own right but hopefully also work together to read as I planned.

Finally I would like it to hang fairly stiffly rather than drape like a painting with texture rather than completely as a crinkled quilt. For this I may apply the lot to unstretched canvas and quilt heavily in diagonals over the top. Don’t want this quilting to be too dominant so I may use fine red dirt coloured thread, just to apply the haze of red dirt over my landscape.

Will need to find out what the rules are about binding. I’d be happy not to bind and just maybe seal the edge with paint? Or can it be stretched on a frame? I like stretched on a frame because it can be removed afterwards and used in other projects that need drape. I just don’t like the drape of a quilt on a wall. I think the surface is better displayed stretched. Maybe I could stretch over a board?

Had a range of other ideas since then:

-Interfacing to back of individual blocks making them stiff enough to felt through. I have a woven fusible interfacing so should be able to do the felting through that.

-Once individually felted will hopefully be quite stiff. Plan is to add stitch at this stage to try and enhance the mini landscape feel of each block. Then can then be attached to dyed woven batting and backing and further embellished with quilting.

-Revisited the outback photo I have that highlights all the colours of the outback with storm and blue sky, orange dirt and trees. The palette there does not include anything that is truly green. Today I sorted out the fabrics that I dyed from life while there and selected that palette. It does look harmonious and natural and has made me rethink how much of the brighter green I need in the quilt. Think I will make a collage of this colour scheme for a few more blocks and then make one with very small amounts of brighter green only. I think the bright green is present in the landscape in close up and needs to be included as part of the ebb and flow.

Knit Weave Stitch

Tried out this idea in the sample above. First I knitted an open weave and then I wove the same yarn through in two directions. It’s a bit messy but it did give stability to the knit which reduced stretch and lying flat. Pretty much what I was after in terms of thinking of knit as a substrate for further textile work. 

The smaller sample is an example of linen stitch with a couple of variations through it. Linen stitchis what I came up with when I researched for knit stitch that looked like weave. This is a great stitch that produces a fabric that is more flat on the surface and doesn’t curl. It’s a bit time consuming and could be stiffer than us sometimes useful. 

Here is an example of linen stitch with self striping yarn and using a needle size ranging from 4 mm/5mm/7mm/8mm. Couldn’t find any sixes😕.

The resultant fabric is flat and soft. It becomes more open weave as it gets larger but would still be useable. 


All this paper manipulation got me thinking about rusting paper. Out here there is rusted metal everywhere and I have collected some bits and and old rusted metal box. 

I put the lot together with some water and vinegar and popped in a piece of organza and some paper. Two days later I have this piece of silk organza after washing.  Paper still needs rinsing. Not particularly related to my drawings but related to the environment I’m in at the moment. 


Got my book on Haiku a couple of days ago. Had a quick read and then yesterday morning thought I would write a haiku about getting out of bed, as that was what I was doing at the time I thought of it.

Stiff ankles gritted teeth

Rise from bed

Another day


Haven’t really read the rules yet and I think this is wrong but fun. I really love the ambiguity in haiku. It can resonate because of this. Your own feelings and meanings can be overlaid to fit.


Don’t want to forget about Haiku. Reminded today when I was flicking through the course outline and saw mention of wabi-sabi. Went to investigate the recommended book and saw books on Haiku too.

I remember the gist of a haiku from forty years ago when I was at school. A couple of years ago I looked it up using the wonders of the internet and found that it was a haiku by Taigi – a japanese guy who lived in the 1700s.

My memory was this:

A butterfly flew by

Look, look there I said

But there was noone there.


The actual haiku was about a firefly and is translated differently to what I have written, but still the mood and meaning has stayed with me. It’s the only poem I remember from school and at the time, and still, I find it poignantly sad.

I’m thinking that I would like to be able to write haiku to accompany my work. Or maybe write haiku to inspire my work. Perhaps a fragment as title. One line of a haiku is even called a fragment – an evocative word in itself.  They just seem so expressive, and at the same time accessible.