Sunday, November 01, 2020

Translucent meanderings

I can't say enough about how much I've enjoyed playing with fabrics with's Stitch Challenge 2020. As you saw from my last post, I have even used free motion quilting (FMQ) in some of these projects. 

Using sheers on my abstract template

This is the first piece that I did based on Sabine Kaner's workshop. She showed us how to make an abstract template by crumpling a piece of paper and then drawing along the ridges of the lines. You can read more about it in my last post which is in Related links below. For this first piece, I used a regular sheet of printing paper, which resulted in lots of lines!

My first impression was of a map of a country or a continent, but I kept it abstract as I put things together. Sabine Kaner's art is abstract but she doesn't use sheer fabrics. It's almost all recycled fabrics with lots of heavier textiles like wool, with lots of texture. I love the look of her work but I had just finished Vinny Stapley's workshop where she works mostly with sheers. I just didn't want to stop working with sheers, so I interpreted Sabine's workshop in translucent fabrics. It made for a very different project.

Working again with sheer fabrics

Here is my crumpled paper pattern placed over the light box. There were some really small sections that would have been impossible for me to applique with different fabrics, so I placed sheer fabrics over a couple of areas, but embroidered them to reflect the small sections within them.
Abstract paper template

This is what the piece looks like when it isn't in front of a window. The colours are much more vibrant.

Translucent Meanderings

As I looked closely, there is something really cool that happens to the stitching when the piece is in front of a window as opposed to against the wall. You can see both here.
Stitches seen against the wall
Stitches seen through the light

As I was writing this post, I had the piece in front of me, leaning on the window. I observed those cool stitches at the very top of the piece and was wondering how I got that effect. They look almost like a chain stitch - but upon closer inspection, I saw that they were a blanket stitch - that I could see both the front and back of!!!! How cool is that?😊

You can also see this kind of effect in the pink piece on the top right of the piece. Against the wall, they are just ordinary seed stitches, but against the window, they are meandering all over the place. Even the running stitches appear as one solid line against the light.
Sheer remnants - what lovely colours :-)
The sheer fabrics that make up the piece are from all over the place. The backing is from a sheer pair of curtains that I purchased at Ikea (I have great plans for them!). I used some very fine silk from a scarf that I picked up in China, a black lace camisole that was my mother's, on fabric that I attempted to sew into a skirt for my daughter and another from a rather useless see-through bathing suit cover! Last month I dyed some silk organza and a little bit made it into this piece. The flower at the top of the piece is from a piece of commercial lace. I also used all kinds of thread and embroidery floss in the piece, including some couched yarn.   

As you may imagine, I am now on the lookout for all kinds of sheer fabrics and I plan on dyeing more silk organza. I believe that these last two projects with sheer fabrics are the beginning of some great fun and adventure!😊

What I learned

  • I find that hand-stitching sheer fabrics is a lot easier than machine-stitching them.
  • It looks like I'm going to be collecting more than just quilting cottons! There are so many kinds of sheer fabrics - from old curtains to some lovely sheers and tulles of all colours. 
  • I also love dyeing silk organza. The colours are so rich. So far I have some amazing fuchsia, violet and dark purple. It's going to be a lot of fun playing with the different dyes!
Related links
Linking parties

Project details

    Translucent Meanderings

    10¼ " x 10¼ " 

    Materials: sheer fabrics (silk, silk organza, tulle etc.),
    embroidery floss, sewing thread and yarn

    Techniques: applique, embroidery, couching


  1. You always play with the most wonderful fabrics and techniques, Andree. Your Translucent Meanderings is fabulous. I find it fascinating all the prettiness that the light through the window reveals. I love reading about all the concepts you learn each time you play.

    1. Thanks so much Kim. Although we may have different styles, I absolutely love your work...I guess we have a mutual admiration society going on here. Have a great day :-) Take care.

  2. I love this. I think the sheer fabrics work really well with this technique. The colours and stitching are beautiful and the light gives a lovely extra dimension.

    1. Thanks so much Janine. I really love playing with sheers and hope to keep making pretty translucent stuff! Take care.

  3. Looks so much fun and the results are so pretty. I trust there is never a dull moment in your studio :-)

    1. Thanks Preeti. During the dull moments, I am reading :-) Take care.

  4. Hi Andree! This is such a COOL project. WOWEE! I am pretty darn sure I don't have any sheer fabrics but I come across any (you never know!) I will send it to you. I can't wait to see what else you come up with. Thanks for linking up this week. ~smile~ Roseanne

    1. Thanks Roseanne. If you start looking, you'll find that there are tons of sheers out there - we use them for curtains, scarves etc but we don't usually quilt with them! My favourite pieces come from scarves and old tops :-) I'm looking forward to getting my other projects done so that I can get back to my sheers! Take care.

  5. Quelle belle idée de projet, j'adore !

  6. That was fun, getting the X-ray view of stitches! Who would have imagined blanket stitch looks like a stretched out spring?
    Love, Muv

    1. Thanks Muv - yes, who knew? There's more to learn than just new stitches! Hope you are well. Take care.


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