Flower Thread Doodles

Thread doodles on black linen. Fall brings back the embroidery floss.

This pin was  inspired by a book cover design…

And this one to remember that it is never too late to be creative and learn something new…

Enjoy your weekend!



Foto Lucas Gölén from the book “Yllebroderier

Ever since I’ve discovered Hallandssöm last week, I’ve been exploring the world of Swedish embroidery.  Thanks to very helpful reader M. I spent more time on the internet than with my family last week. She sent me a wealth of information and links to explore the many talented brodös, which is Swedish for embroiderer.

Yllebroderi, or in English: wool embroidery dates back to the 17th and 18th century,  a time, when Mary Delaney created her wonderful botanical compositions of hand cut flowers all mounted on black background. When I saw yllebroderi for the first time I was instantly reminded of her botanicals, even though the nature of her work is quite different.

Hemslöjdens Förlag in Sweden publishes beautiful craft books including this one: Brodera på ylle.

and also this one: Yllebroderier (see close up at top images):

On my Scandinavian internet journey, I also discovered Frida Arnqvist Engström, who writes the interesting blog Kurbits, covering embroidery, arts and crafts.

Lina Holm offers wool embroidered accessories translating traditional designs into modern accessories.

And here are more craft/art/embroidery blogs (all in Swedish). WARNING: Don’t visit, if you have any plans for the day.


As for my own experimentation with wool embroidery, I decided to make coasters experimenting with wool, which is completely impractical and was prone to fail. And fail it did.

What I discovered it that counting and making a precise pattern is not what I like doing. It worked when creating the initial sample for the fabric manipulation, because at that time it was a brand new challenge. Subsequently I saw myself creating many beautiful designs and projects using Hallandssöm.

Reality looked more like this: Yes, the pattern is still great, but I discovered that I didn’t like to do this this kind of “almost thread count”. It usually happens that the “figuring-out-part” is what interests me and after that’s done, my interest wanes. Or better yet, it pops, just like a balloon. Not that I don’t appreciate the technique and the end result, but it’ll end up in my “future projects bin”.

Small scale free hand embroideries are next on my list.

I secretly hope to discover one day a technique/theme/material that ignites my passions so strongly, that I would explore in great depth and detail.

But, I’ll be patient; after all Mary crafted her whole life before she “discovered” collage at the age of 72.

Till then, more ideas, more experiments, more wandering.

Fabric Manipulation or Hallandssöm Is Not A Place In Sweden

This week I encountered Hallandssöm embroidery. At first I thought Hallandssöm was a quaint village somewhere in Sweden, birthplace of this interesting technique, but google maps didn’t  back me up. So I’m not sure from where it derives its name.

Embroidery manipulates a fabric’s surface. What I did here, using this process, is not true fabric manipulation, which includes twisting, knotting and/or folding, transforming a piece of fabric dramatically.

But when I found this image through pinterest, I wanted to give Hallandssöm a try. Here is my very first attempt which looks wonky and nothing compared to the neat example in the blog:

I usually don’t venture into precise “counting-stitches-territory”, but the possibility of making a complex looking surface with two very simple stitches was tempting:

The procedure is simple. Draw a circle (or square) and make a grid. The above sample uses wool. As there were no instructions available, I simply stitched a star on the alternating squares in diagonal rows. That’s probably not the proper way, but it’s easy enough to do while watching a movie or following a radio show.  Once the sample above was finished it became clear that matching thread colors look far better than contrasting ones.

My favorite experiment is the one below using just one kind of thread.

The grid was made with a double strand of pale green thread, and as for the stars just a single strand of the same color and thickness was used.

It looks a bit like chair caning, which is what I was after.

Of course I didn’t get as far as intended which was covering a whole piece of fabric with this stitch, but the image above shows its potential.

There is not much information on the web regarding Hallandssöm embroidery. Here are a few examples of the classical look with instructions, and here are some more…both are Swedish blogs. If you happen to know any more about the topic, would you please let me know? I’m interested in how this technique has been applied in a more modern setting.

For more fabric manipulations, go visit Lucy, who is collecting this month’s manipulations.

Dance of the Crows

At this year’s dOCUMENTA13, I learned about Füsun Onur’s work. She’s an artist from Turkey and uses many different material to express her art including needle and thread.

“Dance of the Crows” was very much what I had envisioned when I cut holes in my curtain (as you may remember). Unfortunately, I had no concept. This is the difference between a real artist and myself.

This beautiful curtain is giving me some inspiration:

The image above is the whole cloth and difficult to photograph. It’s a hand-stitched piece of calico, commissioned by dOCUMENTA that covers a window in the “Neue Gallerie”.

Look at these details:

And my favorite feature…..it’s reversible.

Summery Sunday with Colour Research

Isn’t this just the embodiment of summer? It makes me think of a bohemian retreat or a gypsy caravan in the middle of nowhere. Amanda Goode is the creator of these wonderful fabrics which seemed to be first crocheted or knitted and then top stitched. She was member of the Group “CREATE“, Colour Research for […] Read more »

Junko Oki / Woky Shoten – poesy

Remember this post about my favorite embroiderer Junko Oki and my efforts to get my hands on one of her books? Well, I finally succeeded and yesterday received a copy of her wonderful book ‘poesy’. It features her beautiful embroidery, bags, clothes and simple cloths, some of which are photographed in the context of a […] Read more »

Clay and Fabric, Seams to Match

The pot is not Tuscan pottery, but it’s a start. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of making pots or vessels, but clay is very intimidating to me. Fabric is easier, less messy and best of all, needs no firing. As much as I’ve been more careful with the earth pigments, I do like […] Read more »

Blue Stitching

After a few more days of stitching, my t-shirt is ready. I started with white thread, but I didn’t like it, so I ripped it all out and started from scratch using dark blue buttonhole thread instead. The fabric of the “leaves” and the binding are a slightly darker blue than the rest of the […] Read more »