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#AskACurator from Fiber Art Now

24 Sep

Just had to share some of the content compiled by Fiber Art Now after their Twitter chat on September 17, 2014.

Textilfilia applauds Fiber Art Now Ask A Curator Day

Ask a Curator Day, September 17

As I can’t seem to embed this directly into my blog, let me link you to the Storify page, which has some great contemporary and historic textile photos from museums.

Thanks, Fiber Art Now for organizing this chat. Their quarterly magazine does more than make up for the disappearance of FiberArts Magazine in 2011 (why Interweave dropped it? So a dynamite global woman could make it better, I guess!).

Cool, Baby: MFA’s Hippie Chic

4 Oct Textilfilia excited about Hippie Chic at the MFA Boston

Did you catch it yet? It’s a total trip that I really dig. The Museum of Fine Art’s Hippie Chic fashion exhibit is a blast from the past.

The fifty-three outfits span the 1960s and 70s and are curated into five themes according to influence.  The installation is super, complete with a juke box full of period music. Frequently, you can the view the garments from several angles which I appreciated. The enthusiasm of the time period radiated, as suddenly I loved the shag carpet in neon colors on round go go platforms!

Hippie Chic is on view until November 11, 2013, so there’s still plenty of time to soak it up.  Meanwhile, the MFA web site has great features to whet your anticipation.  There’s even a fab game (this coming from some one who would rather do just about anything than play games on her computer!) where you create your own album cover.

Don’t miss this fun exhibit! I heartily recommend soaking it up as soon as possible, then heading back to Lauren Whitley’s gallery talk on November 7.

Textilfilia excited about Hippie Chic at the MFA Boston

Love the dress!

Christmas in August Stockings

25 Aug

When I worked as a seasonal ranger for the National Park Service, August 25 was a great excuse for a party.  Dubbed “Christmas in August”, we enjoyed more of each other’s company  with a dose of Christmas cooking and perhaps a small present or two. When you live in a transient, isolated small community, hanging out together is a pretty popular activity.  Most of us wouldn’t be together for the winter holiday and the summer season was beginning to wind down. While there might be mulled cider at “Christmas in December,” there never were stockings and Saint Nick wasn’t even discussed.

Crater Lake National Park, OR

Thanks to the NPS for this aerial view.

Now that you know this little tidbit about me, you can understand why debuting a Christmas stocking pattern in late August  isn’t so crazy.  It gives you plenty of time for you to knit up a couple for this Christmas.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to reproduce Christmas stockings for a Stoneham, MA family.  When their girls were small, a neighbor had knit them each a stocking.  Now that the girls are women and building their own families, the parents wanted to add a stocking for the son in laws as well.  The original stocking was typical sock construction, with a seam up the back and an attached loop to hang from the chimney.  I altered the pattern to work the stocking in the round and incorporated the loop into the stocking itself.  For those who hate to seam, this is a simple stocking for you!

I’m planning to riff on this pattern for some color work holiday stockings, but click The Warren Christmas Stockings by Alanna Nelson for your own copy of this classic Christmas stocking to knit in worsted weight yarn.

Those Goldwork Currents

16 Jun

So what on earth led me into this gold work phase? We could start with my first trip to Tunisia in the 80s, when a friend’s mom dressed me up in traditional wedding clothes of Ksibet El Medouni.

Fine Fabric and Fiber Creations by Alanna Nelson

Each town in Tunisia had its own bridal style.  If you’re from Hammamet, you’d wear the Hammamet style wedding clothes.  If you’re from Ksibet El Medouni, you’d of course wear something like this.  There are many layers to their traditional clothing, which is topped with a long woven “malia” (this link  gives you an idea of the variation of styles).  Two things are common to all Tunisian bridal wear: jewelry and gold work.

This summer, I’m going to a formal wedding in Beirut.  They are a lovely couple… so cute to see how excited they are about bringing their lives together.  I’d love to wear something that reflects my ties to Tunisia.  Goldwork certainly would be lovely.

Having perused all of those lovely books, I decided that whatever I make should definitely be something that I can wear again. This means real gold is out.  Never fear, I’ve already started imagining a couple of projects where I’ll use the real thing. I have a dark teal silk mix fabric in my stash.  Metallic machine embroidery on a “fouta et blousa” style two pieces ensemble is the thought of the moment.

Ok, I don’t think I’ll get this fancy, but step back and let your imagination wander

So think of me this weekend, making the  muslin, playing with stabilizers and putting my sewing machine to work.

Dipping into Goldwork

8 Jun

A variety of currents sent me scurrying to the library looking for books on goldwork embroidery.  For those of you not familiar with the term, it refers to metallic embroidery of many genres.  There’s a rich history of metals in embroidery, and of course, technology makes many of these materials accessible to the everyday embroiderer.  My library system had several books with Western historic and contemporary perspectives.

"New Ideas in Gold Work" by Tracy Franklin embroidery

"New Ideas in Goldwork" by Tracy Franklin

Alanna Nelson Explores Historical Gold Work Embroidery Techniques

"18th Century Embroidery Techniques" by Gail Marsh

I also enjoyed reading Virginia Churchill Bath’s “Embroidery Masterworks: Classic patterns and techniques for contemporary applications.”  And of course, even though it’s not gold work, this was irresistible:

Crewel and Surface Embroidery Designs by Trish Burr

Once this was gobbled up, I couldn’t resist and bought a copy of:


I’ve got a couple of projects in mind, and I’ve been trolling the Kreinik, Superior Threads and Berlin Embroidery sites for supplies. Mary Corbett has some interesting posts about her Tudor Rose goldwork project. Oh, dear, I feel a wave of metal embroidery coming on…