Nellie"s Needles

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Today I'm featured on the Selvage Blog. It's a site that presents quilts and other items made with or includes selvages ... you know, those edges of fabrics that so many people can't wait to cut off their yardage and throw away. I'm there specifically because of the center (and focal) block created by Christine Copenhaver in my quilt "Come With Me to the Kasbah".
Selvages and the trimmed away scraps or "orts" (as the British call them) are intriguing to me. Those of you who follow my blog know I collect them by bags full and they're the origin of a lot of my work.
My "ortwork" collage quilts (click to see album) have selvages worked into them. Those with the most are the lake series. I went through all the lake piece photos to find one good example. The selvages are difficult to spot because there is so much layering and twisting of pieces. My favorites are those that have a "fringed" edge because they have the look of spray shooting up from the top of a breaking wave. It's easier to spot the selvages within the compositions before the free-motion machine quilting is added.

I sometimes wonder why I have shelves of folded big pieces of fabric when it's the bags of orts that I'm digging through so often.

Well, there are times that I do need large pieces for borders and backings. And then I do occasionally piece regular quilts . Most recently I've pulled out just about all those you see in the above photos to find just the right combination of fabrics to make birds. Oh, what a mess!


Karen said...

Congrats on the feature! I just came back upstairs from my basement "studio" leaving it in a nasty state of disarray! Such is the nature of art making. thank goodness I save my scraps.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

There must be something in the air! My blog post today talks about orts too. Odd, that.

Elaine Adair said...

I just KNEW you were an orderly person! 8-)

self taught artist said...

I look at that huge bag of SCRAPPY mess and laugh out loud...we are of the same yolk, just like different scraps. good for you for the write up on the blog...thats a gorgeous piece, always thought one of your best! (though who can really choose?)

Anonymous said...

Nellie - I'm delighted to see the spiral block I created for you found its place in the center of your Kasbah quilt! I love what you did with everyone's blocks and that you show the process of the quilt coming together. I'm inspired to keep similar records. I've stopped sending you my orts - I'm haording them for myself! Your site has given me some great ideas that I want to try. Thanks for the inspiration. Christine

Heather said...

I have just had a lovely time looking at and admiring your ortwork quilted collages - they are just spectacular. I started making a note of my favourites, but the list got too long!! I think we both like the same artists, but I specially like the impressionist flower quilts and Spectrum of Love is amazing. There must be thousands of fabric pieces in each quilt and they all blend to perfection. Wonderful.

Allison Ann Aller said...

What a fantastic sewing space!

I know what you mean...I always dig through my bits and scraps when I am working...I only haul out the "big stuff" when I have to!