Monday, July 28, 2014

Dorothy Caldwell Extravaganza 6

Dorothy Caldwell is known as a superb handstitcher, so naturally we did sewing in her workshops. Her favorite stitch is the kantha, aka running stitch, which can be urged into a surprising variety of patterns and rhythms.

Here are the two pieces that I started in the workshop and am still working on.

The top piece started as an exercise in blind stitching, which turned out to be a comfortable exercise for me.  (You put on a blindfold and stitch by feeling where you are.)

Three years ago I worked on a collaborative project with my friend Terry Jarrard-Dimond, who had been introduced to blind stitching in a Dorothy Caldwell workshop and loved it.  We each did twelve hours of blind stitching, in the course of which we got to be pretty good at it.

The white stitching was blind; the blue was added later with eyes open.

The blue details below are more traditional kantha stitches, which I also found comfortable because I had worked with the technique extensively during my year of daily hand-stitching.

On the bottom piece, I wanted to see how the running stitches could go in different directions to set up areas of interest.  (The heavy "drawing" lines are done in coral stitch.)

It's amazing how much you can do with the simplest of stitches!


  1. Are these quilted or through just one layer? I love these.

    1. Two thicknesses of Kona cotton, which is enough to give it a bit of padding. I have always done my hand-stitching on one thickness of Kona, but this gives a slightly different texture. Can't tell you which one I like better.

  2. it occurs to me that there's a Bigger Message in the simple kantha stitch, the workhorse of stitching. what beauty it can make . . .

  3. I've seen you post about the blindfolded stitching exercise before and each time I think I MUST try this. Hopefully this will be the time.