I’ve been overtaken by life for the last couple of weeks – this weekend was the first chance I had to get back to the TIF Challenge for February, and February is nearly over! I was thinking about joining fragments of fabric like fragments of memory, so I got out a pile of fabric saved from clothes I’ve worn to pieces over the last 30 years or so and tore a small square of each. Then I looked at several kinds of insertion stitches from Mrs Christie’s Samplers and Stitches, the book my grandmother used. Laced, twisted, knotted – how I struggled! Learning stitches from diagrams doesn’t come easily to me. I double checked the moves in one of the first embroidery books I ever got, back in 1984 (Needlework School by the Practical Study Group), but still I struggled.

In the end, I worked out how to do one stitch – buttonhole insertion stitch using a Tailor’s buttonhole – which is the same as buttonhole stitch but with an extra knot in the formation. I was jubilant when I got the hang of this!


I stitched the pieces together on a background fabric that was also an old shirt of mine, then cut away the background. It was something like shot viscose – another time I would use a natural fabric that would fray well. I managed to cut through one or two of the insertion stitches as I cut it away as well 🙁

stitched sample

I’m not sure if this sample will be the final piece or not – I’ll tell you on the 29th! I’d like to do another version on a different background, maybe a dark silk. I’d like to try a variation on vanishing fabric with machine insertion stitching. And I would love to master some more of those tricky hand stitches…

TIF Challenge February 2

26 thoughts on “TIF Challenge February 2

  • February 24, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    i absolutely love this, how they are all connected. it is perfect!

  • February 25, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    This is lovely. Joining together bits of you’re clothes is a bit like joining together fragments of self, do you think, and memory is also like that.. in fragments with threads that weave and connect.

  • February 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    the interconnection of the pieces is brilliant and there’s something soothing and comforting about this piece.

    neki desu

  • February 25, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Needlework School was one of my first books aswell, and I later find out that as a random purchase, it was one of my better ideas! Unlike those white high heels which still lurk somewhere! maybe Altered Shoes is the way to go.

  • February 25, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    You have made such an exciting piece . I do love your work. I have just read your previous post which I enjoyed considerably. I am also fascinated by how memories change and enhance over time and how I am not sure which I really experienced and which I acquired from family folklore – this is why I have left the February theme for the moment as it seemed more than I could complete this month and settled for the colour option

  • February 26, 2008 at 3:30 am

    This is such a creative idea. The colors work together so beautifully, and your stitching really sets off the patches. What a nice remembrance! Connie

  • February 26, 2008 at 6:06 am

    I have signed up for the challenge too but I am not able to progress beyond the Idea part.Your work for the Challenge is very beautiful &thought provoking.It was a beautiful experience visiting your site.

  • February 26, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Fiona – it’s great and you have done a fantastic job with the embroidery bits. I wouldn’t worry about the silk version, if I were you unless you want to! This “speaks” volumes about your past and it is very evocative. You can be proud of achieving the challenge.

  • February 27, 2008 at 8:51 am

    What a beautiful piece.Very inspiring.I love the way you translated your memories.

  • February 27, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    I love everything about this piece!! I may have to borrow the idea for a project sometime. Not for TIF, but something. I loved reading about your thought process as you developed the piece.

  • February 27, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    I like your TIF for this month, although I have to say, you save more scraps than I do. Now I don’t feel so bad about my scraps. I think black silk might work on this, the contrast between the cottons and misc. and the elegance of the stitches and the silk.

  • February 28, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Fiona, this is such a jouyful piece – at least to me, I don’t know if you cosider your memories joyous. First, I like how again you took it further: not thinking about specific events but about memories as such. And the way you interpreted it – the insertion stitches are like little hands holding all the pieces together.Lovely!

  • February 29, 2008 at 10:49 am

    I love the stitching on this, the vanishing fabric idea sounds very interesting!

  • February 29, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Fiona – this is too cool! I love the concept, I love the stitching, I love the texture BUT most of all, I love the way it comes together. And now you have a precious little meaningful piece that is rich with your history. So very nice!

  • February 29, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Areally evocative and lovely piece.

  • February 29, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    Brilliant interpretation of the theme! I love it!

  • February 29, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    This is just beautiful – I love it. The interconnectedness of memories and the whole concept of fragments, great idea!!

  • February 29, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    Great job Fiona, love the piece!! Wow. the patterns we used to wear, ehh??

  • March 1, 2008 at 3:57 am

    This is wonderful…found this while wandering randomly through blogspot, but it was such a nice surprise.

  • March 1, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    I like the way they are so tied together, both conceptually and physically. Nice work.

  • March 4, 2008 at 12:51 am

    You kept clothes for 30 yrs! Wow, what more can I say. I love the idea of using your old clothes, the old book, your grandmother and connecting it altogether. Its bit like DNA for your life.

  • March 4, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    thank you all so much – I think (hope) I’ve replied to you all by email or on your blog – if I missed anyone, this is my thank you to you – I’m overwhelmed that so many people have taken the time to comment 🙂

  • June 12, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    I really like this. It particularly made me smile because three weekends ago I had a good sort through the wardrobe. At the end I had two piles of cloths – one for the charity shop and one to keep for crafts and lots of space in the wardrobe! When I came home from a workshop two weeks ago my partner proudly told me he had take the pile of clothes to the charity shop – both of them 🙁


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