A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Hello everyone! It's Erica Spinks here again with my final post for this month's celebration of hand stitching.. If you missed my other two posts, you can read them here and here.

This time I am sharing a couple of my small layered pieces from my Fragments series.

Last year, I started a Traveller's Blanket online course with Dijanne Cevaal. We were required to hand-dye three layers of fabric - light muslin for the top, cotton flannel for the centre and cotton for the backing. These pieces were then sandwiched and hand stitched.

Although I still haven't finished my blanket, I have taken some smaller pieces of my hand-dyed fabrics and created these two works. The three layers are so soft that my needle slips through easily.

For Fragments 1, I layered the cloth and cut a rough heart-shaped piece from the top layer. I tucked a small piece of a checked fabric into one side of the heart and secured it with cross stitches (kisses!) along the centre edge.

Using various threads, I used running stitch to sew through all layers. After fraying the edges of the muslin, I used a Derwent Inktense block with water to add some pink colour. (Have you tried these Inktense blocks? They are brilliant - it's just like using watercolours!)

Here's a closer photo of part of the piece. You can see the shadow that the tucked-under piece of checked fabric makes - it provides another subtle colour change.

I'm very comfortable with frayed edges - I love the extra texture they add to a textile work. Do you feel differently?

For Fragments 2, I added some freehand-cut, vertical strips of organza that I have screen printed with black and gold paint. Across the top, there's a strip of the plain organza.

There are a lot of subtle shadows on this piece. You can see through the organza, so the colours of the muslin come through. Sections of the muslin are only partially dyed, so more of the centre flannel layer (the green) shows through, too.

In this detail photo, you can see the effect of the variegated thread - stronger colour in some places but fading away in others. This is stitched with my favourite WonderFil Tutti 50wt variegated thread. 

Thank you for reading my guest posts. Hand stitching is an important part of my creative life. If you don't already hand stitch, I hope you might give it a go. You may become just as addicted to it as I am!

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Please pop over and say hello.


  1. They are beautiful little pieces, Erica. I would love to see the whole blanket. I guess I just have to follow your blogs. Thank you so much for sharing your works with us.

  2. Indeed, these are lovely. The touch of Inktense is great!

  3. I enjoyed reading your posts. It's great to combine quilting and embroidery!

  4. Great pieces...love the hand work/stitching!!!

  5. Great pieces...love the hand work/stitching!!!

  6. lOVE this...the colors say spring! AWEsome.


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