Ever since I experimented with using waste canvas in order to work a blackwork motif on a crazy quilting block I have been interested in using evenweave stitch techniques applied to crazy quilting. I must also say that I am constantly reminded of this as Linda at Chloe’s place constantly uses waste canvas to apply cross stitch and evenweave embroidery techniques such as chicken scratch to her projects. I have experimented a little with this. For instance last months fabric postcard for the 6 x 4 lives journal fabric postcard challenge included a band of stitching that is a blackwork pattern.
To anyone who is not familiar with crazy quilting it would at first glance look as if doing this was a very traditional way to work but it is not. What marks out contemporary crazy quilting from its forbears is that an extreme mix of styles can be found. Crazy quilts always highlighted needlework skill but the Victorian embroiderers simply did not have access to so many materials, threads aids (such as waste canvas) and information about technique. On contemporary crazy quilts there is everything silk ribbon embroidery, ribbon work, Brazilian and textured embroidery, dimensional embroidery such as stumpwork, needlelace is also used interspersed with beadwork and beading techniques. These are all hand techniques but we should not forget incorporating machine embroidery as well. Basically contemporary crazy quilting is a free for all, drawing techniques from throughout the ages across all cultures. It provides the ultimate collage of technique and styles and now I find my eye drawn to the even weave needlework techniques.
Techniques such as blackwork, chicken scratch or gingham embroidery, are interesting in themselves.
With the use of waste canvas there is no reason why evenweave embroidery techniques could not be pushed further in crazy quilting. For instance techniques like pattern darning, or styles that combine pattern darning and cross stitch such as found in Ukrainian Embroidery Patterns Take a look at Sara Pittenger’s contemporary interpretation of pattern darning.
Using contemporary threads of all sheens and textures could produce an interesting contemporary hybrid. Evenweave styles combined with needle weaving techniques such Teneriffe embroidery or laid work or styles such as Wessex embroidery and Sollerosom could produce a visually interesting piece.
For inspiration have a look at what Jean Draper does with the simple cross stitch. An article on the creative use of Burden stitch is provided by the UK based magazine Stitch with the Embroiderer’s Guild
At first glance Teneriffe Embroidery it is perhaps difficult to see how it could be worked with evenweave techniques but if you look at the structure of how these stiches are made you will see that the principle behind the technique is that the weaving is simply done on spokes arranged in various combinations. Both these free Teneriffe Embroidery designs will give people an idea of the style. There is a free Teneriffe Embroidery project (PDF file format) and Caron has published directions for a Teneriffe Embroidery Christmas ornament. There are a number of lace techniques that are worked on a network of threads.
If you remember that the principle behind these techniques is simply a grid of threads or spokes of thread the possibilities for a contemporary interpretation is wide. Apart from varying thread weight and sheen you could incorporate beads and found objects like shells and the like.
Now as you can see my mind is popping about all over the place and I have the frustrating experience of being too busy right now to explore them. So this stuff is going into my visual journal with the idea of picking it up later in the year. If it still feels right possibly some experiments will find their way onto samplers, fabric postcards and crazy quilt blocks when my to do list is not quite so long!
I am off to eat my cornflakes now…