Friday, May 30, 2008

All About: Needles

Another indispensable tool in the arsenal of textile artists is the needle - tiny in size but with the power to reduce you to tears and/or cause you to say things that would merit having your mouth washed out with soap...

A Guide to Sewing Machine Needle Selection

All About Sewing Machine Needles

Anatomy of a Needle

Dull Needle Illustration - many machine problems can be corrected by simply changing the needle - through the use of magnification, this illustration demonstrates why

Embroidery Needle Reference Chart

Embroidery Needles: How to Select the Right Needle for Your Project; and Easy Steps for Choosing the Correct Needles for Today's Needlework.

Fabric/Needle Cross Reference

Hand Sewing Needle Guide

How’s Your Needle Knowledge? – this excellent video takes you through all of the basics about needles from detailed information about the parts of a needle to the differences between the European & American sizes to different needle types to how to choose the right needle for your project. Even if you're experienced, you'll probably learn something.{7F5D1010-7D94-4922-AFF0-31935DCB8BDA}&EFID=1051&DocID=1635&shopstop=1

Needle Know-How: Guidelines for type and size of needle for different weights and types of fabrics

Needle Selection Guide

Needle Size Chart (European/US)

Quilt Tips [about needles] from Quilters Around the World

Schmetz Sewing Machine Needle Guide - illustrated

Troubleshooting Sewing Problems

Twin Needle Reference Chart

What Every Home Sewer Needs to Know

Using the Right Needle

Monday, May 26, 2008

Marketing Crafts and Visual Arts: The Role of Intellectual Property – A Practical Guide

This 150 page free e-book is a practical and user-friendly guide that “…brings out the relationship between successful marketing of crafts and visual arts, and the use of intellectual property (IP) tools…This Guide assumes the reader has limited knowledge or expertise, if any, about principles of marketing or IP. An effort has been made to write in clear, and, to the extent possible, jargon-free language, and from a practical and common sense perspective…It is hoped that the Guide will be as relevant for a person belonging to an indigenous group or tribe as for a traditional artist or craftsperson, or for a modern, city-based enterprise in a fast-paced business environment. The Guide is essentially aimed at readers in developing countries and countries in transition, but will also be applicable for those in developed countries. [Emphasis added]”.

One of the case studies cited is: “Mary Engelbreit: Artist and entrepreneur – A licensing story”
NOTE: If desired, a print version can be purchased:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Project Facade - Paddy Hartley's Artistic Response to World War I Facial Injuries

The horrific facial injuries from high explosives and heavy artillery that occurred during World War I inspired surgeon Sir Harold Gillies to propel the fledgling field of plastic surgery to new heights for facial reconstruction. Since 2004, artist Paddy Hartley has sought to interpret through digital and hand embroidered sculptures of their uniforms, the stories of these valiant men who underwent many long and painful reconstructive surgeries in the attempt to regain some semblance of their former lives.
Note: Some pages may take a while to load - be patient
An Approach to Artistic Response

Case Studies - Selected Records of Treated Servicemen and Paddy Hartley's Artistic Response


Interview with Paddy Hartley - by Regine

Please visit all of the pages of Project Facade - this project is remarkable. Home Page:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Textile Artist: Fiona Kirkwood

Fiona Kirkwood is a fibre/mixed media artist whose work is primarily sculptural and frequently targets sociopolitical issues of her native South Africa. "Survival", uses thousands of male and female condoms to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic (she notes that 'virus', 'save life' and 'viva' can be found within the word 'survival') . "Pachyderm Pelt" deals with man's threat to the elephant's existence. "The Struggle" reflects her response to the violence and turmoil of the struggle for freedom from apartheid.

A response to Virginia MacKenny's review of Fiona Kirkwood's 'Coats and Coverings' at the NSA - by Frances van Melsen, Curator: Technikon Natal Gallery - This is a fascinating look at art criticism. It begins...
"Art criticism has always been partial and personal,
yet despite the fact that we all know that a review
represents one person's viewpoint only, it does
affect one's own response to the artwork if it is written
by someone who has a sound reputation in both art
theory and practice. Virginia MacKenny is recognised
as an authoritative voice in the "art world".

For this reason I would like to respond to her recent
review of Fiona Kirkwood's exhibition at the NSA
Gallery titled 'Coats and Coverings'. MacKenny
is entitled to her point of view, but the general tone
of the review is dismissive and many statements are
superficial and erroneous. My concern is that it could
be damaging to the artist and that there are other
ways of "seeing" Kirkwood's work. "
Full Review:

Fiona Kirkwood's website and access to her portfolio:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

All About: TYVEK

One of the fascinating "textiles" now available is Tyvek

Product Handbook for Dupont Tyvek - 28 pages that include information about printing and sewing with/on Tyvek

Tyvek Material Safety Data Sheet

Tyvek Safety Information - Embroidery Adventures

Working with Tyvek

Tyvek and Lumiere Paint Melted Altered Art Technique

Try Tyvek - Embroidery Adventures

Playing with Tyvek - Linda Monk

More Tyvek - Linda Monk

Tyvek Leaf Tutorial

Tyvek Beaded Necklace – Linda Edkins Wyatt

Making Tyvek Beads Workshop - Jill Smith

Tyvek Beads - Carol Clasper

8 1/2" X 11" Tyvek Sheets in Red or Yellow

Tyvek Envelopes in colors ($1 each) 10"x13" - Hot Pink, Purple, Black, Lime, Gold, Yellow, Green, Silver, Red, & Ultra Blue

Tyvek Sheets for Desktop Printers

Tyvek Yardage - Fabric Type TVYEK - 60" wide for $3.50/yd

Friday, May 9, 2008

Just for Fun: Textile Oddities & Absurdities - Part 3

And the beat goes on...and on...and on...

Woven Scaffold Mimics Cartilage - Weaving enters the medical world: "Researchers at Duke University and MIT have developed a three-dimensional weaving technique for making biodegradable scaffolds that mimic the properties of natural cartilage."

Walking Around Embroidered Animation – Andrea Dezso – NOTE: be patient, the blank page will load, then click the start icon

Knitted Faberge Egg – Gayle Roehm – like the original, it opens to reveal a small basket of flowers - Also, Audrey II from the Little Shop of Horrors

Knit Guitar

Someone for Everyone – Benji Whalen

Short-Arm Quilting Machine

Subversive Cross Stitch - WARNING - Very Strong Language Content - may be considered to be offensive

Embroidered Tattos on Stuffed Fabric Arms - Benji Whalen


Farty Pants – yep, pants that have a visual fart attached

Brain Bag – that’s right, a purse knitted to look like a brain

Princess Leia Hat (with instructions)

What the…??? – A John Galliano design for men (2007 Fall Collection)
Tiny URL:


Felt Typewriter – so real looking, you’d think you can type on it

Fire Extinguisher

Knitted Electrical Cord

Tool Box and Tools

Crocheted Computer Tower


A is for… [Ambulance?] - Benji Whalen

C is for… - Benji Whalen

Heart – Andrea Dezso


Arm Prosthesis

Leg Prosthesis

Walking Aid

Invalid Toilet

Prozac, Thorazine & Zoloft – Laura Splan – latch hooked

Female Anatomy Cross Stitch


Felted Impaled Heads – Adam Parker Smith


Sado/Masochistic Salon

Knitted Nudes – Wall hangings knitted from photographic patterns

Knitted Nude Body Suits – these are anatomically correct

Anatomically Correct Crocheted Aliens

Sunday, May 4, 2008

TALKING KNOTS - Incan Khipu [Quipu]

Khipu [or Quipu] are intricate knotted textile objects used by the Incas for record keeping. Massive amounts of information were recorded on these deceptively simple looking strings of knots. Every detail has meaning: the colors of the cords; their spacing; the ways in which they are connected; the types of knots used. These are just a few of the attributes that are used in this unique form of written language that dates back 5,000 years. Their vast storehouse of information has only recently begun to be decoded.

Code of the Quipu: Databooks - Marcia & Robert Ascher - look at the Photo Archive

Khipu Database Project - This site is dedicated to the decoding of these artifacts.

A Collaborative Project to Rehouse and Conserve Peruvian Khipu - "Many of the cords have dangles, attachments and extensions like bits of wool, leather, pompons and textiles."

String, and Knot, Theory of Inca Writing - John Noble Wilford

Geometry from the Land of the Incas

An online jigsaw puzzle of the oldest known Quipu can be played on the following site: